Case 3392: Tusiata Avia can’t wait to make you uncomfortable (or, I Become an Evil-Brown-Woman-Poet-Werewolf)

Tusiata Avia turns into evil-poet-werewolf, and responds to the complaints against her in the New Zealand Media Council ruling, re: The 250th anniversary of James Cook's arrival in New Zealand.

Sorry guys, the thing is, when I write a poem I become a werewolf.

My views become exactly the same as “those expressed in Germany”. What I mean is, I’m the whole of Nazism and the entire Second World War.

When I write a poem “sexual and racial violence” burst out of me like wolf-fur through the rents in my smooth brown skin. I start howling at the moon and “inciting racial violence” all over the place.

My daughter locks me in the bathroom and says through the door: Mum, stop that “racist violence dressed up as art”, because, Mum, “poor white people disaffected by the effects of globalism” couldn’t say those things.

My daughter slumps down outside the bathroom door in tears and whispers: I’m tired of my “acceptable ethnicity”. We brown people have all the privileges now. We can say anything we like and get away with it.


When I am under a full moon, I start writing a poem about colonisation, which is exactly the same as “inciting murder”. Writing a poem is the same as a “manifesto” justifying terrorism and massacre.

Exactly the same.

Now, I’m howling and ripping off my clothes and writing a poem which is “inciting violence” right through the walls of my house.

The neighbours hear me writing a poem about colonisation and they yell: Stop that “race-baiting”, our kids are trying to sleep.

Later, my white neighbour will come over to my house and say: Let me explain something to you, Tusiata. “Racism is like a scab on your knee”, and “if you pick it”, what will happen? “Leave it alone and it will heal”, otherwise I fear the “wound will get infected”. And what will happen to me then? Huh? What will happen to me then?


When I write a poem it turns into a “hate crime” right then and there. It springs up off the page, and marches out into the street like an army of ten thousand colonial soldiers armed with guns.

My poem steals my neighbour’s land, and everybody’s land. My poem steals 94 percent of all the land in New Zealand. It steals millions upon millions of acres of land.

My poem kidnaps children, puts them in state welfare institutions, abuses them and stops them speaking their own language.

In the space of a few generations, my poem has traumatised the people who originally owned this land and their language almost disappears.

My poem is no accident. My poem does all these things on purpose. My poem has a plan to take over everyone and everything.


When I write a poem, my “moral compass is marginal” at best and the consequences of my poem “devastate” innocent people all over the country. Look at my poem, causing the “radicalisation of people” and ruining “social cohesion”.

Oh no! Here I go again, with my pen and my exercise book, inciting “hate speech” and “dehumanising” people.

Now, I want you to listen closely because I’m going to tell you something very important: Brown women are so privileged now, we can get away with anything. If I was a “white male I would be taken apart!”.

That’s honestly how simple it is.

It is not complex.

No colonisation. No genocide. No intergenerational trauma. No two centuries of white privilege.

There is truly nothing more to think about.


Damn this poem! It is making my jaw grow long and shaggy, fangs grow from my mouth and my eyes turn red. Here I go, on all fours now, with a tail growing out from under my skirt like a wild dog. Here I go, writing a “racist rant about one of history’s greatest explorers”.

How dare I!

Don’t I know who Captain James Cook was?

Someone help me, please!

Because when I write a poem it is “borderline terrorism”.

When I write a poem it is the same as an “Isis beheading video”.


Mum, my daughter screams into the street behind me as I bound away, “I don’t care how hard your upbringing was in Christchurch”, it’s just not fair that you get “freedom of expression.” I’m sick to death of us “brown skinned female poets” and the generations of privilege we come from.

Now the neighbours are out on the street, wringing their hands and shouting, “Our children have access to this” poem!

Look at the way the pendulum has swung. Things used to be in the right-white order. Things used to be fair.  Things used to normal. And now it’s not safe to be white.

But it’s too late, I am running with my Evil-Brown-Woman-Poet-Werewolf strength.

I am writing a poem which bursts into flames.

I am writing a poem which will burn down the whole of New Zealand.

I am writing a poem which will destroy the whole of Western civilisation.


Quotes are from complainants quoted in the New Zealand Media Council report.

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The Pantograph Punch publishes urgent and vital cultural commentary by the most exciting new voices in Aotearoa.

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