The writer and the rap­per


They both deal with words, but for the first time in her life, the Porirua rap­per was speech­less.

Moe Nanai was meet­ing her idol – ac­claimed Pa­cific writer Al­bert Wendt.

It was one of the big­gest mo­ments in her young life.

‘‘I stud­ied him at univer­sity, but never thought I would meet him,’’ she said.

Wendt came to New Zealand from Samoa at 13. Later he gained an MA and has be­come a noted writer.

What would he think of a 22-year-old rap­per, a young woman who rasps out her mes­sage with the spo­ken word, not the writ­ten? ‘‘She’s mar­vel­lous,’’ he said. Their meet­ing was ar­ranged by fes­ti­val or­gan­is­ers. Wendt knew about it in ad­vance, but not Nanai.

She thought she would qui­etly catch Al­bert at his workshop at Pataka Mu­seum, one of the crowd.

Fes­ti­val or­gan­is­ers gave her a few min­utes’ warn­ing and she sat through his ses­sion ner­vously.

Then she was be­ing in­tro­duced to the man him­self.

‘‘ I was ex­cited, but just didn’t know what to say,’’ said Nnanai, who or­di­nar­ily can rap to au­di­ences any­where, any time.

Nanai’s par­ents come from Fale­latai on the Samoan is­land of Upolu, and she is Porirua born and bred.

Her fans re­fer to her as the Bard of Porirua. She writes poetry then raps it out.

One of her pieces for the fes­ti­val ti­tled All things Beau­ti­ful was about Porirua.

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