Whatungarongaro te tangata toitū te whenua
As man disappears from sight, the land remains
Tēnā koutou katoa.
Kō Kate Laughter tōku ingoa. My whakapapa connects me to Ngāti Porou, and I was born in North Carolina, USA. I am in my final year of school at St Mary’s College.
I love spoken word poetry and was introduced to this medium by Action Education's inter-high school competition ‘WORD - The Front Line’. I use the power of poetry to engage my audiences and leave them with an awareness of issues or historical events they may have never heard before. I write about identity, social justice, and being a kaitiaki of the whenua. Spoken word has opened up many opportunities and different platforms (both live events and published print) to share my poems with a broader audience.
I am an active leader in the Auckland Council’s Young Leaders Sustainability Programme. The programme connects like-minded rangatahi to bring about change through an environmental justice and action lens. I also volunteer on the Operations Team of the Puketāpapa Youth Foundation. It is our mission to create sustainable Council events to engage the rangatahi of our local community.
I actively volunteer for the St Vincent de Paul Society (Young Vinnies), which is a social justice movement of the Catholic Church. Through Vinnies we cook meals for people facing food insecurity and regularly make food parcels to be distributed from their Onehunga Food Bank.
I am so thankful to have been selected to be a part of the Pinnacle Programme. I hope that the physical challenges of the programme will deepen my mental resilience and determination to overcome any rejection or setbacks I may encounter in my future pathway: the creative arts industry. I have great plans to bring forth the stories of my whenua, and my people, to a wider mainstream audience.