blackmail press 37
Ashleigh Fata
Rising Voices Poetry Slam 2014 Winner

Rising Voices Youth Poetry Movement exists to provide a creative platform for the diverse young voices of Aotearoa to be spoken and heard.  Birthed in 2011 by poets Grace Taylor and Jai MacDonald Rising Voices provides a 8 week spoken word poetry workshop series with experienced mentors before the poets it the slam stage in both Auckland and Christchurch".

Ashleigh Fata is young Samoan/Maori woman and poet. Bought up in Manurewa she has a passion to express her love for diversity, culture, nature and family. She is on a continuous journey to explore, develop and challenge her worldview through spoken word.
Ra stands centre of sky

Ra stands centre of sky
Flax pressed up against the mouth of Manukau harbour
Ocean whispers salt into the breeze
Kissing the limbs of pohutakawa trees
She stretches stripped roots out to sisters
The tui bird sings
A Maori chief sits up on Wiri mountain
His sons are flying kites on the belly of Papatuanuku
Tamapahore flies his the highest
Little brother gets jealous
So he breaks his elder’s chord
Break his faith
His hope
I te Manu Rewa O Tamapahore
The drifting kite of Tamapahore
Manurewa you are drifting, broken and lost
There is a humming kaioraora in the concrete here
Ancestral curse has plaited doubt into generations
I know that you’ve heard it
Because our knees buckle to the same rhythm
We have slipped discs out of place in our back bone
Just to have you know that we’ve made it
Forced to stand straight in a crooked nation
Our soft spirit is burnt by false tongues
We are not other
Or another 
We’ve hidden rocks and glass in our torso
To keep us grounded
We are real, we are raw
Will not shy away from our flaws
A census isn’t privileged to walk these streets
In September
We are not statistic
Not a client number
They will read our headlines but not listen to our stories
Here the break in our voices now
We are restless because the sun never sleeps
Chasing our dreams
You’ve been mistaken
A drifting kite for soaring birds

Campaign yourself in a paining community

It’s a scary thing,
When the people who need a party the most
Aren’t even enrolled to vote
So you campaign yourself in a paining community,
The father to a family of seven put your billboard up on his front yard last night.
His only efforts to ever support you
I stood at the corner of your chin and asked what it’s like to stare at a fence all day?
You just smiled.
Your teeth look a little straighter this year.
South Auckland knows that dental bills aren’t cheap these days.
Cause our schools cut back on colour printing a long time ago.
But you seem to have enough ink to paint our roads blue and red.
Sir, a flash couch and silver spoon doesn’t replace a man’s intentions.
For an electorate, for a tick
For a salary and a seat where you can just sit
How deep is the digging dent in your clavicle?
How heavy is this nations’ debt?
Is it almost the weight of mortgage repayments on that family house that I will never inherit?
If you had told me, I’d trade in my first home deposit for a student loan.
That promised no guarantees.  Then I probably wouldn’t.
The most liveable city, is sitting at the bottom of a laundry basket of a house up in Epsom.
Under 100% Egyptian cotton sheets.
Unpicking itself at the seams with laughter at the family who’s greeted by your cardboard smile at their gates.
Poli poli poli politician, when will you make the right decision, for all of us, for all of us.
And remember that time you tried to, problem solve our land like she isn’t  a God to some.
Like she knew how a pen worked.
Like paper isn’t her step daughter,
Mrs Papatuanuku, Sign here.
A treaty, without treating an understanding.
In 1935, the Ratana movement saved a seat for me.
And the little Samoan girl in the elbow of our alleyways is a waiting entrepreneur.
She washes her feet in the gutters of your salty gravel spoken promises you promised into policies.
They sting her soles.
Wounds from chasing a poverty margin for too long.
Little girls shouldn’t have to run that kind of race, Sir.
You said she’s not from here but the hum in her teeth spits that she knows here.
And the dawn holds a different meaning for us.
A different history for us
The dawn holds a different pity on us.
The dawn was stripped from our cuticles. And we were told to crawl.

Poli poli poli Polynesian.
When will you make the right decision for our children’s sake.
For our children sake.

I am 165cm in height

I am 165cm in height
I miss the days when you thought I was tall
Now I am wondering who you look up to.
When our mother has stopped growing
Will you look down on her?
When older sisters grow old
Will you look down on us?
You were too young to remember things you do not know
Your weight has never left me
It is getting heavier
Even though
I would tap on your spine instil rhythm into your bones
While you slept I sang prayers
Sent spirits with you to school
Hoping you’d be the cool kid
And now you’re too cool, kid
These are the sad stories of soul sisters
We smile.
Sink deeper
Blows kisses through the wall
While little brothers
Grow tall.