Late to the ball by Ming Ranginui is a Cinderella-inspired commentary on the mundane and oppressive experience of working nine to five in retail.
The works reflect on both her personal experiences and the collective experience for Māori trying to exert tino rangatiratanga within a capitalist society. Not unlike Cinderella, Ming finds herself labouring away in the haberdashery department of Pete’s Emporium, serving entitled ‘ugly stepsister’ customers. Tikanga handed down through whakapapa is cast aside ‘till the clock strikes five’. What part of Te Tiriti o Waitangi accounts for being subjected to verbal abuse and having to be complicit in the appropriation of our taonga by Pākehā women profiteering off chicken-feather ‘Mowree cloaks’? For those whose families don’t own their houses and don’t have the privilege of generational wealth, standing up for the values our tūpuna lived by could mean ending up in the ‘dole house’. As Māori, we often find ourselves late to the ball. We have centuries of mamae that has been ‘swept under the rug’ and must be attended to before we can find our happily ever after.