Katūīvei reviewed on Kete


Elizabeth Heritage reviews Katūīvei: Contemporary Pasifika Poetry from Aotearoa New Zealand on Kete: 

Katūīvei: Contemporary Pasifika Poetry from Aotearoa New Zealand is the latest in a decades-long line of anthologies of Pasifika poetry written in English. The title is a neologism created by editors David Eggleton, Vaughan Rapatahana and Mere Taito, referencing the Rotuman verb to navigate and the tūī, bird of two voiceboxes. 

I love reading anthologies but they’re a bugger to review: how on earth to summarise a starburst of different reading experiences? My copy bristles with the post-it flags I use to mark particularly memorable lines. In the absence of any sensible criteria, then, and out of the editors’ careful alphabetical order, here are some routes into these wayfinding double-voiced songs.

Rhegan Tu’akoi is a young poet of Tongan and Pākehā descent based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. I’m a sucker for a funny title and loved hers: ‘Emails from AirNZ are the bane of my existence’. The tone is lively and humorous, bubbling with Tu’akoi’s anger at the airline’s hypocrisy in asking passengers to pay extra to reduce their carbon footprint. The poem ends with the mic-drop:

surely Air New Zealand 
should be paying to
offset colonisation (p. 256)’

Read the full review here.