In New Zealand, the “native peoples” are called the Maori. My mother’s father came from a settlement called Parihaka. This marae was born in response to the Pakeha (white) government killing Maori and taking their land, but instead of it being a place of war, it was a place of passive resistance. They came together and educated each other, resisting the colonisation process by simply standing against it. Plowing their fields, even when someone else had claimed the area. Pulling out survey pegs. Making fences over roads. They just said no. When the soldiers eventually arrived to arrest and kill everyone, they were met by children. None of the Parihaka residents resisted, even when the soldiers rounded them up in front of the canons. Thankfully, the soldiers chose not to fire.

Belonging to that history makes me incredibly proud, and I feel obligated in that identity to live my life as close to that concept as I can, to honour my ancestors. So that even though my characters generally resist with violence, my heart is peaceful.

I have lived my whole life fighting off severe depression and chronic illnesses, but TSU is my breath, my reason for still being alive. It is my passion and my precious haven from a difficult life. It is my bliss, my joy and it’s just as much a part of my deeper identity as being a descendant of Parihaka. My story is my haka; my stand, my expression of strength.

As someone who has often felt alone and rejected, I know that there are many others who feel this way as well. TSU saved me, and it is my hope that in sharing my story, it will reach out and be a haven for others. As a consequence the universe has been made by design to be as inclusive as possible. Also, the larger themes of the story are deliberate, where I try to ask the questions that might get people to think about the world around them instead of just taking everything at face value.

I hope that in TSU, I can not only create a place where people can find hope and comfort, but that I can create a vehicle to peaceably challenge the inequalities of the world around me and help to improve the situation of as many people as I can.