Island Bay Community Centre, 137 The Parade, Island Bay, Wellington

12/06/2021 - 12/06/2021

Kia Mau Festival 2021

Production Details

A night of poetry celebrating migrant voices of Pōneke. 

Curated & hosted by Wellington poets Khadro Mohamed and Ronia Ibrahim, Before I Go Home features popular and emerging Pōneke poets from migrant backgrounds, including Chris Tse, Vanessa Crofskey, Emma Shi, Nuzha Salem, Areez Katki and Adriana Che Ismail.

The event will be in collaboration with independent book sellers Caro DeCarlo and Jackson Nieuwland from Food Court Books.

Join us for a special evening to celebrate local and diverse talents from all over Wellington.

Island Bay Community Centre, 137 The Parade, Island Bay
12 June 2021
Book Tickets

Curated by Khadro Mohamed & Ronia Ibrahim 

Poetry written & performed by:
Chris Tse
Vanessa Crofskey
Emma Shi
Nuzha Salem
Areez Katki
Adriana Che Ismail
Khadro Mohamed
Ronia Ibrahim 

Theatre , Performance Poetry ,

Soft, generous, warm, loving, inclusive

Review by Emilie Hope 13th Jun 2021

Before I Go Home is a poetry showcase curated and directed by Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) based poets Khadro Mohamed and Ronia Ibrahim, and in collaboration with Caro DeCarlo and Jackson Nieuwland from Food Court Books. It presents amazing talent from mostly Muslim and mostly women poets. I feel this show is particularly poignant as the They Are Us film controversy highlights the further need to have these voices heard.  

The evening is beautiful and still, the Island Bay Community Centre transformed into a calm, cosy oasis with twinkle lights zig-zagging overhead, yellow bean bags and blankets placed on the floor. Shoes are left at the door, as people snuggle in together, ready to be fed by heartfelt, touching, and insightful poetry.  

The poets are each unique and each leaves me with a feeling. Each poem is philosophical and defiant, encouraging us to acknowledge our differences while connecting us emotionally to each one reminding us we are all human.

Vanessa Crofskey is a confident and well-crafted poet who reminds me that even in our adult world, it’s good, lucky even, to “still be surprised on occasion.”

It is Nuzha Salem’s debut poetry show and I sincerely hope it is not the last. Her poems are short, heartfelt, hitting everyone in our emotional centre.

Curator, director and emcee Ronia Ibrahim is one of my favourites of the evening. She describes one of her poems as “a little bit embarrassing but oh well.” And it is with this casual strength that she serves wonderful images which she dives deeper into, leaving me with plenty of comforting food for thought.

Areez Katki reads a poetic letter as he travels from Te Whanganui-a-Tara to Kirikiriroa (Hamilton) by train with his boyfriend. The letter transports us entirely as we are easily connected to his words and visualise all he describes with ease.

Adriana Che Ismail is a commanding presence, delivering her poetry with a subtle strength one should not underestimate. Her poems expand on conversations on diaspora children and climate change.

Curator, director, and emcee Khadro Mohamed, who has such a warm and welcoming presence shares poems of defiance and resistance.

A promising young poet, Emma Shi, is a powerful poet, her work is bold and challenges racist stereotypes.

Chris Tse closes the show and, of course, is sassy and compelling.

The show is broken up into two acts and the intermission has glorious food on offer in the lounge for everyone and is a chance for people to catch up with one another and for others to talk to the poets themselves. Or for people to check out the selected books on offer from Food Court Books. 

Overall, Before I Go Home has a soft, generous, warm, loving atmosphere, one of inclusivity, raising up voices from “the diverse and vibrant migrant arts scene that is often unseen and forgotten,” as the writers’ note in the programme says. This is absolutely a show which should return in the future and we as a collective society should be encouraging these voices and also take the time to listen to them. Before I Go Home is a wonderful and fulfilling evening of poetry.


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