Daren Kamali

Photo by Jay Tauamiti

Daren Kamali (Pacific Poet/Musician/ Teacher Artist). Born in Suva, Fiji Islands, he arrived in Aotearoa, New Zeeland, in 1992 at the age of seventeen. He strictly writes and performs Pacific poetry and also facilitates poetry writing and performance workshops and presentations on Pacific Literature on the international stage and in the Pacific and New Zeeland. He started as a street poet / busker in 1998. He graduated from the school of hard knocks, Tagata Pasifika Resources and Development Trust.

What Becomes of the Flying Squid? (Ala press, Hawai’i; forthcoming) is his third published book of poems. His second poetry collection is Squid Out of Water: the Evolution (2014). His first book, Tales, Poems and Songs from the Underwater World, was translated into Fijian (Anahera, New Zeeland, 2011) and Ukrainian (KROK, 2013). Between 2000 and 2005, he released two musical albums: Immigrant Story and Keep It Real.

He was part of the International Writing Program 2014, University of Iowa August – November (which included visits to New Orleans, Chicago, Washington DC and New York City). He holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Creative Writing (Manukau Institute of Technology, 2011-2013). In August – November 2012, he was a Fulbright/CNZ Pacific Writer in Residence, University of Hawai’i, Manoa, Center of Pacific Island Studies. International exposure: New Zeeland, Australia, Ukraine, UK, Dubai, USA, Hawaii, Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, Rarotonga, Palau, Solomons.

© Jocelen Janon

© Julia Mage’au Gray

© Julia Mage’au Gray

© Tanya Muagututi’a

“Giant Unleashed”, Spoken Word by Daren Kamali, Karangahape Rd, Auckland, New Zealand.

Giant Squid, drawing by Munroe Tewhata

Degei and Turukawa


In the beginning there was water. In darkness. Out of the darkness arose Degei. The Serpent
The first living creature to slither the vanua. So he thought.

Turukawa, Lady Hawk, goddess of light. Lived on the North side of nothingness. She knew she
was not alone.

Turukawa flew the skies for centuries. Degei slipped and slid over lands, through rivers and
under seas. They met in the cornfields of Sigatoka. Vast as the wasawasa with a golden horizon.

They settled in a place in the mountains. Near the Wailoku waterfalls. Turukawa bore two eggs.
Time was the master of separation and they ended up apart.

Degei returned to the South Seas, nurtured his egg into a totoka slender princess with butterfly

Turukawa returned to her northern home. Nurtured her egg into a fine young Vu.

This is how the world began.


* Degei: Serpent God: Paramount God of Fiji
* Turukawa: Hawk goddess
* Va: The great ocean that connects, not separate us
* Vu: Sea God
* Totoka: Beautiful




manumanusa neglects her nest
so shall she be neglected

destined to fly aimlessly
into the unknown

the lover she loves
loves another

he loved her but stay
he flew away
leaving her heartless

the wasawasa her restless friend
her vasa her sacred space
is out of place

flew for days
on the uto ni yalo
and navigated moana nui a kiwa

showing herself on mystical days
leading a pack of ocean birds astray

manumanusa is now a chosen guardian of Burotukula
adorned with kula bird feathers and mokosoi flowers

manumanusa drinks warm blood from the kava bowl
revenge in her eyes

she dives down into the depths of her loneliness
washing her burnt-out body in the unforgiving sea

manumanusa is a dead chant by spirits of old
sorrow she caused her vuvale found her out

she has become a lost soul stuck in limbo
surrenders to the concrete forest

manumanusa banished her nest to chase a dream
leaving her egg to the lulu of the night

There will be no rest till she returns to her nest


* Manumanusa: Magpie in Fijian
* Wasawasa: Ocean in Fijian
* Moana nui a kiwa: Vast Ocean in Maori
* Uto Ni Yalo: Fijian double hull canoe
* Vuvale: Family
* Lulu: Owl

Ciwa Na Gogosina


Dua: Guardian
Wards off bad spirits

Rua: Company
Two Kawas are never alone

Tolu: Three too many
Grandmother daughter grandson

Va: Broken Family
Used to be mother father son daughter

Lima: Blessed
Withstand trials and tribulations

Ono: Determined
Never looking back

Vitu: Ambitious
Explores the seven seas

Walu: Untangled
Set free from tentacles

Ciwa: Sacred
Her deepest secret shines bright


* Dua – Ciwa: Counting one to nine in Fijian
* Kawas: Sons
* Gogosina (Ngongosina): Frigate bird


She is the Master


She is the master of existence
For when I think of her
I think of a Dolphin
Swimming up my arm

She is the master of resistance
From the day I was inside her womb
I felt lovo heat
From the blazing hot earth oven

She is the master of understanding
Calm as the word Pacificum
Peaceful as a dove
Sailing the blue ocean skies

She is the master of love
Pulling lovers into the bushes
Returning them home wanting more
She is the master of love


* Lovo: Fijian earth oven


Uku Maiden


Uku Maiden
Gets her hands dirty
Molding gifts from soil
Treasures presented to Tagaroa
Cheeks red with clay
She is Lapita people

Uku Maiden
Sits alone
Under the banyan tree
Paving the path
From Rangi to Hawaiki
Talking to gods
Carving words
On stolen ground

Uku Maiden
Bitten by wild dogs
Uku Maiden
Beaten by wild dogs

Uku Maiden
Is mother sitting by the awa
All covered in dirt
Star gazing into the night
Fishing up the moon


* Uku: Clay/Mud in Maori
* Tagaroa: Maori god of the ocean
* Rangi: Maori word for sky
* Hawaiki: Maori underworld
* Lapita: Clay pottery
* Awa: River in Maori

by | May 23, 2017 | Author, Author(s)hip, Daren Kamali