Matagi Mālohi "You are matagi mālohi. Strong winds listening, nourishing, transforming."

Across the Pacific, relationships, like stories, are core to our understanding of the world. It weaves and holds many of us together, and reminds us that we are bound together, ever so intimately with the natural world. Therefore, any harm on creation is inevitably harm on us.

That truth has long been the foundation of our work, as the Pacific Climate Warriors. We are a diverse network of Pacific peoples world over, who are committed to building a Pacific that is secure, peaceful and prosperous.

We rally behind the mantra “we are not drowning, we are fighting.” The ideals behind this mantra allows us to retell the world stories about our people living on the frontlines of climate change. To shift it from one that only paints us as mere victims of climate change to one that recognises that while our cultures and identities face an existential threat from climate change, we are also actively drawing on our indigenous knowledge and time tested traditions to mitigate impacts of climate change and strengthen our resilience.

Since our inception, we have used traditionally built handmade canoes to blockade the largest coal port in the world. On the edge of the largest mine in Europe, we unfurled a large traditional masi (ngatu or tapa cloth) woven by women of Tonga that called on the world to End Fossil Fuels Now. We believe that real climate leadership means keeping fossil fuels in the ground and immediately transitioning to 100% community owned, renewable energy.

In this journey to reclaim our own narratives, we have been purposeful with the stories we tell the world about ourselves.

This journey has allowed us the gift of shaping stories of who we are, why we do what we do, and how we orient ourselves to oppressors threatening our autonomy and our island homes.

It has been, and will continue to be, a journey of us manifesting our own narratives.

Aesthetically, we have celebrated the natural world, using canoes, mats and masi. This storytelling series, focuses on masi. Masi is made from the bark of the mulberry tree. It is pounded into large sheets and stained with intricate designs depicting many stories across many cultures. It has clothed our people and adorned our homes for centuries.

We chose to work with masi for this storytelling series because there is a sacredness to it's cohesiveness and connectedness. We find that the way masi falls off the skin of our people, is unlike anything else. It's striking. Consensual. Symbiotic. It feels ancient in a space reimagined.

This cultural aesthetic is one of the many things that are key to our identity as Pacific Climate Warriors. As young Pacific peoples searching, navigating, reconciling, masi has been the fibre weaving the different parts of ourselves together. It's a fundamental piece of our story as we create and nurture the energy we need to push towards the world we are co-creating.

Using storytelling, we have been able to weave together young people across the region, and the world, in order to create a collective sense of place, people and purpose.

We persevere to be the ancestors we believe our children deserve.

These intricate pieces of fibre we hold close to our skin feel like an extension of the land alive within us. It is our stories. It is our history. It is us.
In many ways, this masi also represents our spirit as a people. We know that we are resilient, adaptable, creative, and innovative, and we know that when we are armed with resources, we can be unstoppable.
Centering masi in this storytelling series, is also an homage to our Mothers and the important role women play in building, rebuilding and strengthening community. Masi is made by our Mothers and worn by our children. They wrap our descendants, adorn our memories and protect our mana as we transcend.

At this point in our journey, masi represents our homes and everything we are fighting to protect. It represents who we are as the Pacific Climate Warriors, and everything that we stand for.

It represents the winds of change caressing our sun-kissed, salt water baptised, masi wrapped, skin.

It represents the matagi mālohi- the strong winds that carried our people across our vast "sea of islands." The matagi mālohi that till today carries the chants of our ancestors and the prayers of our descendants.

A Chant for Our Warriors

You are matagi mālohi. Strong winds. A symbol of our movement blurring identities, validating purpose and strengthening stewardship over this vanua we are called to protect.

You are stained bark cloth for skin, saltwater chants dancing with the moon and reimagined dreams pacing with the tides.

You are matagi mālohi. Strong winds from sacred places and revered spaces.

A spiral kaleidoscope of broken coral and memory called to collect, curate and reconcile.

You are matagi mālohi. Strong winds rising up and villaging children.

Brown bodies moulding brown minds. Moving between healer and warrior, you are future ancestors carving visions of liberation we can't even imagine.

You are matagi mālohi. Strong winds seeking frontline truths in this transcendent talanoa of knowledges.

Masculine culture, feminine consciousness, woven together, lose'd together- wai….donu….

You are matagi mālohi. Strong winds from the four pillars of our fale.

The same ancestors that are calling you to belief will also call you to unbelief, so your faith can take a new form. So you can return to the source and be reminded of the commonality of our plurality.

You are matagi mālohi. Strong winds listening, nourishing, transforming.

We are stewards of gifts from our old people. Noqu wasawasa, era sa vura, era sa vura, era sa vura (my ocean, they have emerged)

Matagi Mālohi means "strong winds." They are words shared by our Pacific Climate Warriors from Tokelau at our recent Pacific Pawa Shift. It was offered as a metaphor of the Pacific Climate Warriors and how we move in the global climate movement. It also helps frame how we want to get involved in the upcoming day of actions around the Global Climate Strike in September 2019.

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