Speaking out at McAuley High School

A group of friends from South Auckland’s McAuley High School are using poetry to make sure their voices are heard loud and clear.

“When you put yourself on stage, you’re putting yourself in a very vulnerable state,” says Annonica Mavaega, 16. “Anyone can just stand up and say: ‘Be quiet!’ They can mock you.

“But once you’re up on that stage, people can’t help but hear your story. They can’t help but respect you.”

Annonica and Rebecca Sang Yum, also 16, are two members of the school’s ASO Collective – a group that practises performance-based poetry.

“It stands for Adolescents Speaking Out. It also has a double meaning because it’s the Samoan word for ‘day’. So with every new day, there are new opportunities, new stories to tell, new friends to make and every day there is something for us to discover.”

The group will be going to Brisbane this year to perform and attend workshops with international poets.

That trip came after they won the first Auckland secondary schools spoken word competition – Word: The Front Line – this year.


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