My Grandfather is Fred Aull who resided in Suva before my grandmother caught his eye on one of his trips to Lautoka. My grandmother (nana) is Margaret Aull and she is a Henry, Her mother was Elizabeth Lilo . Nana and Grandpa lived in Lautoka until they joined the big Island Drift to New Zealand in 75 for better education for the kids. My father met my mother Katarina who is Te Rarawa/Tu wharetoa.
I have a big wonderful family that live back in Fiji and we keep in close contact I try make it back there (now that I am older and know how the pot holes go on Fiji roads) every year and in time for the Bula festival!!! Well any festival that I can have a candy floss for 50c, a BBQ for 2 bucks and curry!!
My name is Margaret Aull jnr I am Fijian, Maori.
What privileges have you received as someone of mixed heritage?
Well in terms of privileges there are often two sides with me one is the ‘I am privileged because of my Maori/Fijian Mix my heritage runs through my veins’ the other is the cynical ‘ how would things be different if I didn’t sit in this brown skin of mine.’
Its the stereo typical nuisance when it comes to studying or categorizing my work that you have to handle with the ‘oh you got Islander blood, so can go for grants “ or “ you are Maori you do Maori Art.’
But Hey that’s how the cookie crumbles you either pick the crumbs up or dunk it and eat it!! I have a big Mix and I can draw simultaneously from both cultures to create work!!
But there are resources available to help with studies and I was lucky enough to receive one from the Pacific Island Trust to help with my Degree in Media Arts and of course my Iwi grants. (Well hey it’s our land and that’s what it is all set up for!)
What is like growing up as someone of mixed ancestry of Fijian, Maori and European heritage?
Well I had a great up bringing with Friday nights at Nana’s watching the uncles and aunties drinking grog with nana and Gramps eating curry and roti while on the other hand I had Mum in Kohanga and cooking & eating boil up!!
So it was great- I always made it on the girls rugby team and I always knew I had more meat and bones on me than my cousins from Taupo.
Growing up is always the easy part because everything isn’t as tainted and the rules of life are yet to be applied, as a kid there is freedom.
Mum always kept us in close contact with Nan and Gramps and so being part Fijian (and still is) adds a bit of flavor to the fried bread.
Mum always proudly called my brother and I “her fruit salad kids” but we always knew that our cultures were both very special that we belonged to Aotearoa and the tropical sun of Fiji.
What are some achievements in life you would like to share?
My love for Art History took me through Europe and back home again and after living in Sydney for two years I thought to take up my Art again. I started with Te Wananga o Aotearoa for the first 3 awesome years and have currently finished my Bachelors in Media Arts majoring in Painting and Sculpture through Wintec.
I received the Waikato Museum Arts Post Award from Wintec for outstanding Academic Results in 2006. This year I’m taking a break and working on a body of work for a solo exhibition at Arts post next year (2008). I’ ll be going back to Fiji in a couple of months to do some more research for the exhibition. I am part of collective group of Artists that have opened up Gallery 8 in Te Awamutu but My long term goal is to move to Fiji for a couple of years and run workshops for local artists and get in there with the contemporary art movement.
What is your vision for future generation of mixed Fijian, Maori and European youngsters to appreciate their ancestry?
Well I say you got the goods be proud of it!!
There is something unique about culture, its part of your identity, there’s something on the pads of your fingers that makes you unique and that is your finger print no one has the same as you or I. No one can deny you your birthright because your heritage runs through your veins! And remember you are who you are because of others that have gone before you. Equip your self with knowledge so that you can share what you have and so that “ you make a contribution of consequence.” (Buck Ninn)
Any other comments or advice to those of similar ancestry as yourself reading your story online?
I think any one that is Maori Fijian we would make a pretty strong rugby team!!!
All the very best Margy from all of us at Fijituwawa.