Judge Ida Malosi was New Zealand's first Pasifika woman judge and set up the first Pacific Youth Court, a restorative justice environment where elders help counsel wayward Pacific youth. She's the heroine of many Pasifika law students and has paved the way for others to follow her footsteps. As she has said herself, "It only takes one and the others will follow." She's just become the recipient of Victoria University's Distinguished Alumni Award.
This poem is from Rumplestiltskin Blues by John Adams, published by Steele Roberts Aotearoa.
(Judge Ida Malosi)
It means sharp, you say: Malosi,
like the sharp strength of pepper,
and you should know: sharpness
cut your flesh to scars of honour
and I’ve seen you withstand
the pecks of stickybeaks.
But your true sharpness,
if honey can be sharp,
is in the sharpness of honey
collected by big Samoan bees
over centuries, now stored in you,
and ladled generously by your hand;
a balm, bearing all such bitterness
of grace that only nectar brings;
a syrup of sufficient
sharpness to season all our kind.