Hitia O Te Ra Vahines

Hitia O Te Ra Vahines

Pukana Face

Kahurangi Maori Dance Group

Te Anuanua: HOTR’s Spring Recital

These photos are from Act 2 of the show and include the Kahurangi Maori Dance Company. Oooooh man, Kahurangi was amazing! Their mana was so strong and their pukanas were on. point. They were also lovely people.

As for the Hitia O Te Ra portion of the show — I’ve seen a lot of their shows over the last three years and I never get tired of watching them perform.


First PRP game of 2015

Given the number of games I attended last year, it’s hard to believe the PRP season is more than half over and I’ve only just now seen my first match of the season. I’ve been to a few D1 games, but only photographed one of those.

Last Saturday was postcard-perfect weather for Southern California. The second half of the game was particularly exciting with OMBAC mustering a much desired win from their Belmont rivals.


On turning 30

I’ve been 30 for a whole week.

Thirty. Years. Old. 


There’s something about the number 30 in relation to years lived that makes a lot of people squirm (mostly people under the age of 30). It is a milestone that feels significant and insignificant all at once.

It feels insignficant in perspective. I understand now that three decades isn’t as long a time as it seemed when I was 10. It is, in theory, only a small portion of one person’s life. On a larger scale, 30 years barely registers as a drop in the bucket of history. 

On the counter, turning 30 feels significant because of all the things I learned in the last decade. The best way to describe my 20’s is: it was a process. A process of learning, experiencing, and knowing. It was mostly a process of figuring myself out. Parts of that process were ugly, miserable, and downright lonely. They were also painfully necessary. It was like going on a Bear Hunt:

Can’t go over it
Can’t go under it
Can’t go around it
Got to go through it

Now that I’m through, the difference between who I was at 20 and who I am at 30 is surprisingly huge — and yet, in all the best (and a few of the worst) ways, I am still me. Thanks to all of the mistakes and failures, small victories and major triumphs, I am more myself today than I ever have been.

Better yet, I like who I am. Flawed, yes. But accepting of the fact that I’m still changing and growing. That was not true at 15, when I desperately wished to be anyone other than myself. It wasn’t even half true at 25.

With all of this context, you’ll understand why I’m kind of thrilled to be 30. Here’s to taking on a new decade of adventures armed with some hard earned confidence, and the boldness to live well.

Balancing two communities

It’s a strange thing, belonging to two communities.

Growing up in California with my mom’s family meant the pacific half of my blood had a minimal impact on my upbringing. Partly because my dad grew up a member of the generation that was taught to de-emphasize their culture in order to fit in. Partly because my dad’s family was only an occasional presence — a voice on the phone in the middle of the night or a fun stranger who came to visit for a couple of weeks.

I’ve discovered the values my siblings and I were raised with are in essence, the same or similar to pacific values (clearly, my parents saw eye-to-eye on that front). Shared values is the main reason I think I’ve been able to — assimilate isn’t quite the word — insert myself relatively seamlessly into the pacific community (insert isn’t quite right either, but you get the point).

Entering the pacific community as an adult has been an interesting experience. I frequently feel like I’ve been caught in a rip tide — one blink of the eye and suddenly I’m further out to sea than I anticipated. I tagged along to a few meetings to learn more about my culture and an unfamiliar community, I blinked once… Now I’m an active part of PICC and PACCC.

Just like a rip tide, the key is to swim with the current.

Blink. I find myself sitting in the Office of Samoan Affairs on a Tuesday night, writing down my vision for a preschool founded on pacific values and culture. PACCC is beginning the work of a preschool that we hope to open this fall. Launching a preschool on a tight timeline is ambitious, but not impossible. To get the process moving forward and to make sure all involved are properly informed, PACCC is holding a series of workshops (which you should attend if you’re local and interested).

The first workshop was an eye opening experience. I guessed the workshops would be more akin to a passive classroom type of experience. We would turn up, sit, and spend two hours listening to someone deliver a lecture on the school’s mission and vision statements were. However, I’m pleased to say the experience was the opposite. Instead of being handed a few prepared sentences, we, the community began the work of determining the school’s mission.

The group of folks in attendance was about as diverse as you could ask for in terms of background, opinions and perspectives. It was a good mix of ages. The discussion was passionate. Everyone contributed and, perhaps most importantly, everyone was heard.

Together, we shaped a vision of a school that will give our children a foundation for their future. A place steeped in culture and values that matter. A future that pushes our people forward, away from stereotypes.

Our people. My people. It’s strange to put that in writing and it will still come off my tongue with hesitation. Maybe it will never be a thing that I can articulate without hesitation. It’s possible that I’m too white, too haole, for the feeling of being an outsider to ever fully go away. And you know, that’s okay. Just the fact that something shifted enough in my brain for “pacific people” to morph into “my people” is progress.

The fact is that I do belong to two communities. They don’t have to clash, but maybe they also don’t have to blend. The trick is to make peace with the tension. Embrace the otherness of the situation as the solution, rather than the problem.

(I anticipate writing more about the workshops as we go along. I don’t expect all such posts to be so…existential crisis-y…but I’m also not making any promises they won’t be.)

Gray sky day

Everyone knows that life in Southern California is an endless parade of sunny skies and mild winters that are the envy of every snow-bound resident in the country.

Lately I’ve been wishing for a cold gray sky. Just one. Even sunshine becomes monotonous with time. It’s winter for crying out loud. We get shorts-and-tshirts weather at least once every month of the year.

Happily, today was that wished-for day. The leaf-less trees stood dark against the stark gray, all was right and wintery.

Garden Grove Open Streets

Last Sunday the City of Garden Grove hosted their first Re:Imagine Garden Grove Open Streets event. Three miles of main streets in the downtown area of Garden Grove were closed to cars, leaving them open for the community to ride bikes and skateboards, walk and even rollerblade. There was live music, food, crafts, and all kinds of activities for people to enjoy.

Sometimes events like these don’t end up being as cool as the organizers describe in the weeks leading up to it. However, this one lived up to the hype. Everywhere I looked there were smiling faces thoroughly enjoying the day. I was working as part of Channel 3’s third camera unit covering the event, so I didn’t get the opportunity to participate as a community member. I’m not sorry though; it was a fun event to work!

Bandette: a review

Written by Paul Tobin, with art by Colleen Coover, Bandette Volume 1: Presto! was exactly the kind of light hearted romp I needed to shake off the excessive busyness of the summer.

The first couple of issues are pretty fluffy, but once the plot kicks in it adds a bit of menace to balance out the silliness nicely. I particularly enjoyed how the Urchin Stories fleshed out the supporting characters. Coover’s art is lovely, adding a vintage-y comics feel that perfectly beings the characters to life.

Oh, and did I mention that Volume 1 is a beautiful hard bound edition? I am a sucker for a nice hard bound book. Volume 2 is several months out, perhaps I’ll have to break my rule and start reading the series on Comixology…

All in all, I’m glad to have so thoroughly enjoyed my first solo selected comic venture. Everything I’ve read previously has been on recommendations from friends or a preexisting superhero interest.

Edited to add: This would be a good one to read if you’re new to comics.

Grillin’ like a villain