The Phantom of the Maori

 

This is rude I know but why is the Aotea centre packed

one hundred dollars a seat for this mindless toss about

an ugly man who wants a beautiful woman to sing for him

He’s named the Phantom of the opera, she’s supposed to care

He tells her to tap into her dark side so she will think he’s ok

This guy is dreaming, that mask just covers a pitiful egomaniac

 

We couldn’t stay not even for the quality of the set design

We had to leave before I fell asleep, or worse before I stood up

To shout at the audience for dressing up and buying into this shit

Wondered what we could create with the budget of this thing

The thought of something about our gods, had me lost in the magnificient sets

and the divine dialogue of my forbearers

And if they thought this was a musical they’d be so overawed by our waiata

This thought was only just processed before I started to think cynically

 

About the scraps over what  iwi had more rights to the story

Who owns the waiata and why we can’t refer to Maui

There’d be endless hui to discuss whether to share this sacred history

Then we’d have to bless the sets each night, a budget for the tohunga

Maybe that’s a better story, the one about the dispossesion of mana

How it turns the concept of Maori into something a budget can cater for

How it has the capacity to make a Maori say and do things for the money

And then I think that’s what happens when you don’t have any money, and your

value system undermined and your culture denigrated and no longer do

your beliefs command any respect

 

When you watch the reverence those with money receive

You might just want some for the wrong reasons

You might just say something is Maori to get a piece of the action

You might just do what’s been done to you and shit on someone else

 

I started with the phantom of the Opera but the interesting thing of course is the phantom of the Maori.

 

TraceyTawhiao (c) 2011

 

CRITIQUE OF THIS POEM BY JULIE ARROWSMITH