Dear Matafele Peinam

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Resource Pack for: Dear Matafele Peinam, by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

Created by Frederica Simpson

Context

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner is a poet and climate change activist. She comes from the Marshall Islands in Micronesia, Oceania. She presented her poem, Dear Matafele Peinam , to the United Nations Climate Summit in 2014, in New York City. She is a poet, a journalist, a performance artist and spoken word poet, and received her MA from the University of Hawai’i.

As a Marshallese poet, she is concerned about the issues that affect her home and people, especially climate change and the rising sea levels, as well as migration, racism, and nuclear testing. You can read more about Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner on her WordPress blog:

https://jkijiner.wordpress.com/about-2/

The impact of climate change on rising sea levels and the effects on our Pacific neighbours is an important topic in our contemporary and regional landscape. The term ‘climate refugee’ is no longer favoured, but displacement and migration due to climate change is a very real issue, and one that must be considered by New Zealand. You can read more from Newsroom’s 3-part series on this issue, under ‘Further Reading’, to contextualise some of the issues that are explored in Jetnil-Kijiner’s work.

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