Queen Shirl’e | Māngere
“A memory that I experienced that has changed my life, and I will never forget – about diversity and experiencing that, is when I came from Samoa in ’86.
So, coming from my country where I only knew one language, I was really excited, and at the same time, I didn’t expect all this different culture here in New Zealand, but I think I adapted to the Māori culture quickly, because I think some of their ways were similar to how I was brought up with our traditions in Samoa. But I think seeing other cultures here was really beautiful, and I thought that was really awesome. To come to a country where it was diverse, and it accepted so many different cultures here, and growing up in South Auckland, it was really awesome, because I see my people out here. So, I felt a deeper connection with our culture being here in Aotearoa, and I think for me, I’ve really enjoyed learning the Māori culture, and I got to the point where I’ve almost felt that Papatūānuku had actually adopted me. I do a lot of community stuff now, and I’m MCing fundraisers and helping out here and there with their festivals and their fundraisers. I’ve also done gigs here in Ōtara, Māngere. I love it here, and I’m thankful for the diverse multi-cultural environment. That’s why I’m still here.
Probably like most people, I value family. Being a mother of three, it’s really changed my life. It’s humbled me, and it’s made me grounded, especially being an artist, a muso, an MC. I’ve dropped a lot of music in the past, and I’ve had interviews on radio, TV and for me, just staying grounded, remembering who I am, and remembering that I’m a mother first and foremost. I’ve got to take care of my kids, so they’re my main priority. But I also want them to grow up around me, if I have a gig, or a show, I always take the kids with me, and I want them to know that this is my job, and to be understanding and to know that this is the way that our life is. And it is hard for the kids and especially growing up here in the South, you know, it’s a mixed culture. You kind of get pulled in your traditions with being Samoan, but I’ve learned a way where I could love both cultures, like Samoan and my hip-hop culture together and just keep it real and be creative as much as I can, because that’s what I love. I love being creative, and I feel like as an artist, that’s what we need to keep doing. We have to just keep creating.
I’m thankful that I’m able to give up my time to give back to the community. I’m thankful for the opportunity I have here in Aotearoa to be part of an amazing community. I love helping our youth. I love helping our community now with anything that is to empower and just involve and help each other in the community, be better and be more supportive. So, I’m just thankful to be a member of this community.
So earlier last year, I received some New Zealand On Air funding for one of my tracks. Honestly, I’m so not prepared for that, eh? If it doesn’t work out, I’ll just come back another time and do another one.
My current situation is a game of chess.
I’m strengthening my horseman.
Sharpening my bishop.
Protecting my kingdom.
Make way for QS.
Never disrespect the Polynesian woman.
A once in a lifetime kind of lady.
He call her Wifey.
Seeds in her tummy.
Eats healthily and cares for the community.
Posted at a protest.
Rep it for humanity.”