Hearty. That’s the word I would sum up the incredible experience that is ‘An intimate evening with Stan Walker’.
It was like being at a concert, church and on a marae with your cuzzies all at the same time, where the stories, laughter and singing took us all on this magic carpet ride of Stan’s life journey so far – his challenges, road bumps, successes, reflections and lessons. From being ‘a little hori running around on the marae’, to the family violence and sexual abuse he endured as a child, to a cheeky little thief that got kicked out of 11 schools, his stop-start-go again spiritual journey with God, to the identity struggles he faced in the music industry that kept telling him to stop being ‘too brown’.
And in our own unique Polynesian way, it was the rocking in your chair from laugh out loud moments combined with the hold-your-breathe angelic singing that got us through the real, raw and sometimes grim personal recounts, which you could sense, connected with so many of us sitting in the audience.
Like his book, Stan is a true testament of what is possible from impossible circumstances, sharing that who he is, what he represents and where he comes from is at the core of his being. Something the audience learnt, and felt first hand, is wrapped in so much aroha (love) for his whanau (family), his reo (Maori language), tikanga Maori (Maori culture) and his God given talent and mission to bring his people home to be healed.
Some of the amazing messages he shared was about the power of our dreams and our purpose. Nothing is an accident. Then there was letting go, healing and breaking cycles. Being aware and always grateful to those shoulders we stand upon and the sacrifices that were made for us to be free, as who we were born and destined to be. And we can’t forget the importance of hope, never giving up and staying strong enough to continue to prove the nay-sayers wrong – like the time he was told by an Australian Idol producer before his first ever audition, ‘All you Polynesians think you can sing, but you’re all lazy.’
It was such an inspiring night of storytelling. An evening I wish that so many of our tamariki/tamaiti (children) and our people could experience.
And when I really think about it as an educator and author, it reminded me of the true power of our Polynesian storytelling – through our korero/talanoa (conversations), whakakata/malie (humour), aroha/alofa (love) and waiata/pese (songs) – while also proving, once again, the need and importance for our beautiful brown stories to help heal and empower us to know that ‘I’m Possible’, so that we can show others what is possible for them as well.
Malo lava again to Stan, his whanau and the team behind the dream for the Impossible book and this amazing book tour #Concert #Church #Churr experience that will no doubt enable more of our brown stories to be told and heard.
“This is my story of family, love, belief, redemption and the power of forgiveness.”
– Stan Walker.