top of page
Image by R M

fear of flying


(Flute & fixed electronics) 7'30

commissioning note

Commissioned by Bang on a Can for the unbeatable Nathalie Joachim and the October 2020 Bang on a Can Marathon

Programme note

Fear of Flying (in broken Gilbertese)


by Teresia Teaiwa



I maaku

You told me ba ko tangirai

I maaku


I maaku

My arms were awkward so ko taua baiu

I maaku


I maaku

The dancer trembles because te ruoia is a kind of sorcery

I maaku


I maaku

The frigate birds fly high above us and I’m afraid of falling

I maaku






Gilbertese is an Oceanic language spoken in the islands of Kiribati in the South Pacific. The word Kiribati is a transliteration of the country's former European name, "Gilberts." Gilbertese is also spoken by most inhabitants of Nui (an island of Tuvalu), Rabi Island (part of Fiji), and in places to which I-Kiribati emigrated or were relocated because of British phosphate mining.


Dr Teresia Teaiwa (1968-2017) was a Pacific Studies scholar and poet.


Born in Hawai’i to I-Kiribati and African-American parents, Teaiwa was raised in Fiji, studied in the United States, and in 2000 emigrated to New Zealand where she became the director of Va’aomanū Pasifika at Victoria University of Wellington. A feminist activist and pacifist, Teaiwa was an acclaimed teacher and part of the Niu Waves Writers’ Collective, the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Movement and the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum.


Dr Teaiwa died of cancer in 2017 at the age of 48 .

Electronic setup

To play the fixed electronics


  • A laptop or device to play the audio track and click track

  • Ear piece for the click track (optional)

  • Stereo speakers and mixing desk

  • Audio interface and cables from laptop/device to mixing desk


For amplification (required)


  • A directional microphone

  • A microphone stand

  • An XLR cable connecting the microphone to the mixing desk

  • Speakers

Fear of Flying - a piece by composer Gemma Peacocke
bottom of page