Joy Studio - Polly's story


I would love to hear your story? What are the experiences that shaped who you are today?

Being cross culturally adopted meant I had to fit in but never really belonged to either the home I came from or the home I eventually went to. I went through various interventions by the state system- foster care, two adoptions and faith based care. There were wonderful things: I was blessed to have an education, to learn music, I had my Samoan brother, my adopted sisters and grandparents. There were some not- so-good things which taught me to struggle against abuse, and prejudice.   I spent some thirty years searching for my whakapapa because I didn’t want my children to ever know what it was like not to know who they are. My birth mum never got to enjoy her mokopuna, being a victim of the way the state treated mental health matters, so I feel privileged that I can. All of these things have taught me empathy, determination to take back what is rightfully mine and the value of hard work. It’s also taught me that society can be deeply entitled, judgemental and unforgiving so striving for acceptance can be counter productive. 

Tell about the time in your life when you felt the most powerful?

I felt most powerful when I stopped trying to earn people’s approval

What is your inner attribute that you like the most?

My care for people

Joy Studio - Polly's story

Are you at ease with your own body and age?

Not always

What would you try to do if you felt that you couldn’t fail?                                          

Do full immersion Te Reo and teach my mokopuna- I’m learning, but the struggle is real. Kura Kaupapa kids are so blessed.

Research shows that a lot of women want to know that the work they do is significant, meaningful and embodies their highest potential. What do you think?

Completely agree.

What words of wisdom, based on your personal experience, would you like to share with others who struggle to see their own inner light and inner power?

Not understanding something when others can, not processing things the same way others do is not an indication of our intelligence or value. Neither is what we look like.  Sometimes the way we were made to feel when we were little haunts us as adults and we continue to suffer the same anxieties unless we can learn to tell our inner child the truth about our worth. If there’s one thing I would tell my younger self is not to wear yourself out trying to earn the approval of others. People who really value you won’t make you guess, they’ll be generous in sharing their love. 

What do you do to let your hair down or as a self-care ritual?

Spending time with my mokopuna, wandering around bookstores (specially second hand), looking at indigenous and folk art, walking by the moana or in the ngahere, listening to music and if I can: travel.

Who are the women that you find inspiring and have influenced you in some way?

Sister Aubert, Dame Tariana Turia, Sharon Davis (Te Ora Hou), Celia Lashlie

Why are beautiful photos of yourself important to you now?

These photos mean a lot to me. They help me celebrate my feminine strength, now that I’m in my fifth decade. I also know what it’s like to have to search for photos of my whanau- I’m able to pass these on to mine. 

Joy Studio - Polly's story