From revered, established writers as well as exciting new voices, the poems in Puna Wai Korero offer a broad picture of Maori poetry in English. The voices are many and diverse: confident, angry, traditional, respectful, experimental, despairing, and full of hope, expressing a range of poetic techniques and the full scope of what it is to be Maori. There are poems from all walks of life and modes of writing: laments for koro and hopes for mokopuna, celebrations of the land and anger at its abuse, retellings of myth and reclamations of history. Puna Wai Korero collects work from the many iwi and hapu of Aotearoa as well as Maori living in Australia and around the world, featuring the work of Hone Tuwhare, J. C. Sturm, Trixie Te Arama Menzies, Keri Hulme, Apirana Taylor, Roma Potiki, Hinemoana Baker, Tracey Tawhiao and others – as well as writers better known for forms other than poetry such as Witi Ihimaera, Paula Morris, and Ngahuia Te Awekotuku.
|Publisher:||Auckland University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.70(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Reina Whaitiri is of Maori and Pakeha descent, and is a teacher, researcher, and editor of Maori, Pacific and indigenous literature. She taught English literature at the Universities of Auckland and Hawai‘i, and coordinated the former’s Tertiary Education Foundation Programme. She has coedited three anthologies, Homeland: New Writing from America, the Pacific, and Asia, Mauri Ola, and Whetu Moana. Robert Sullivan is a poet of Ngapuhi/Irish descent, and is the author of a number of books of poetry, a graphic novel, and a prize-winning book of Maori legends for children. He coedited Mauri Ola, and Whetu Moana. He is a former literary fellow at the University of Auckland and a former distinguished visiting writer at the University of Hawai‘i–Manoa, where he taught creative writing. He now heads the creative writing program at Manukau Institute of Technology in Auckland.
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Puna Wai Korero
An Anthology of Maori Poetry in English
By Reina Whaitiri, Robert Sullivan
Auckland University PressCopyright © 2014 Reina Whaitiri and Robert Sullivan
All rights reserved.
Apirana Ngata (1874–1950) of Ngati Porou was the first Maori to complete a New Zealand university education, gaining an MA and a law degree. In 1927 Ngata was granted a knighthood for his immense contribution to Maori cultural and economic revival in the first half of the twentieth century. He instigated Maori land reforms and health and hygiene programmes. Among his many achievements were his serial publications of waiata in the Journal of the Polynesian Society, later and posthumously published as Nga Moteatea by his protégé, Pei Te Hurinui Jones. His intelligence, tact, persistence, charm and political skill brought him considerable success in his many endeavours.
A scene from the past
A description of the Maori haka by Apirana T. Ngata.
We reck not that the day has past;
That Death and Time, the cruel Fates,
Have torn us from the scenes we loved,
And brought us to this unknown world.
In mem'ry ling'ring, all too hazy,
Blurred, uncertain, still they charm us.
Ah, we love them! Language doth but
Clothe in artifice our passion,
Doth but to the world proclaim
We are traitors to the past.
Traitors? when our hearts are beating,
Thrilling stirred by recollections?
Present, Future? Them we know not;
For us no memories they hold.
Traitors? when our ears are ringing,
Filled with echoes from the dead?
Deaf to all, these chords alone
Make heavenly music, penetrating
Souls by strangeness long since deadened,
Now in sympathy vibrating.
Traitors? Nay, we scorn the name!
Bigots, blind fanatic worshippers,
Idolaters serving things of clay,
Call us, and that name were dear!
On life's rough stream you launched us forth;
You thought to buoy us, gave us hope.
Your sturdy oak, our flaxen bark,
Your iron-clad, our humble reed,
Made sorry company, and you glided,
Well equipped, the whilst we trembled.
Ah, no! your hope but kills all hope;
You crush the life you wish to save.
Nay, rather leave us with the past;
In mem'ry let us wander back
Amid the scenes we loved of yore.
There let us roam, untrammelled, free,
For mem'ry, like that herb, embalms,
Preserves, endears our recollections.
(The marae and hui.)
One dear scene in my mind's eye is floating,
Martial, warlike, yet so graceful;
Stag'd in meads that heard no bleating,
Save of savage babes at play.
There the old pa stands to-day,
Where the mountain, clad in koukas,
Bends with gentle slope and fondly
Show'rs kisses on the stream.
Rippling, laughing, winding, moaning,
Hies she on to join the ocean,
Emblem of a race that's speeding
Sadly onwards to oblivion.
Day is breaking on that pa,
All within is bustle, stir.
'Tis the hour of dedication,
Te Kawanga, solemn consecration,
When our whare in its beauty
Tukutuku, pukana e korirari!
Duly to the gods in Heaven
With our war-dance must be given.
(The assembly of the tribes.)
All day long, from far and near,
The crowds pour in to see and hear.
Amid this group are chieftains bold,
Rewi, Taonui – names of old.
Yonder Kahungunu, mere in hand,
Frowning marshals forth his band –
Te Arawa, Tainui me Te Whakatohea
Whakaata, Taupare, Tuwhakairiora.
A noble sight th' intruding band.
But grander yet unfolds itself,
Yonder, massed, one sea of forms,
Maids with warriors alternating.
In the van are maidens lovely,
Dressed in mats of finest fibre,
Cheeks with takou gaily hued,
Plumed with quills of rarest huia.
Beyond – but no; no more is seen,
Though hundreds lie to shout 'Haere mai!'
The maids must first display their graces,
Then we'll gaze on warriors' faces.
Softly and gently, and chanting most sweetly,
Uplift they their welcome, 'Haere mai! Haere mai!'
With knees bent gracefully, with slow step and gesture,
As soft as the panther; yet queenly and stately.
Hark! now it is changing, in chorus they're joining;
It swells and it rings, it bursts forth triumphant.
In voice and in gesture; in body and limb,
Their welcome is spoken, 'Naumai! naumai!'
How nimbly they foot it, how supple their bodies;
Ye nymphs and ye naiads, beware of your laurels!
These children untutored, by Nature endowed,
May charm yet Apollo, the god of all graces.
(Chant while withdrawing.)
Kihei aku mihi i pau atu, e hine!
Rokohanga koe ka pikauria e!
But now, behold, the nymphs subside,
The rhythmic motion's ceased, and lo!
The ranks give way, the van files off,
Unfolding terrors to our view.
Rows of warriors, dusky, war-like,
Line the earth and make it bristle;
All recumbent, silent, speechless,
Seeming in lethargic sleep.
(The men's welcome.)
Aotearoa's sons, ye warriors stern!
Awake! awake! they come! they come!
'Welcome, ye strangers; Naumai! Naumai!'
Respond ye to the call so feebly,
Though your war-paint glows so fiercely!
'Welcome ye strangers! Haere mai! haere mai!'
Ha! ye sluggards, raise your voices,
Up and stamp and tread like Maoris!
'Tis the haka powhiri, war-dance,
Fierce and warlike, savage, martial!
Ko te iwi Maori e ngunguru nei! Au, au, au e ha!
Ko te iwi Maori e ngunguru nei! Au, au, au e ha!
Ko nga iwi katoa ra, tau tangata e taoho ai koe,
Ha! your blood is coursing now!
Ha! your spirit's roused at last!
Ha! the welcome rings out clear!
Powhiritia atu! Haere mai! Haere mai!
Heads erect and bodies stately,
Proud, imperious, yet be graceful;
Arms and limbs in rhythm moving,
Mars, Apollo, are reviewing.
(The grand powhiri.)
Tena i whiua!
With motion majestic, their arms now wide sweeping;
Now circles describing, then to heav'n up-lifted,
Their bodies set firmly, yet limbs in mid-air!
Tena i takahia!
With knee joints set loose;
With frenzy in gesture, with eye-brows contracting,
With eyes glowing fiercely, with bounding and leaping!
But, mark, mild Apollo, the War-god is soothing.
'Powhiritia atu!' 'Haere mai! Haere mai!'
Ha! warriors are leaping; the ranks they are surging;
The War-god has conquered; the war-cry is raised!
'Tis sounding, 'tis swelling, 'tis roaring, 'tis thund'ring!
Ha! Frenzy, thou workest; 'tis blood now they smell.
'The battle! the battle! our taiahas and meres!'
They shout as they leap; a madness has seized them.
'Tako ki to kai rangatira! Tako!'
Hiria Anderson (Ngati Maniapoto) lives with her whanau in what was once her grandparents' home in Otorohanga and has established a small studio there. She attended Queen Victoria School: 'Hone Tuwhare visited our English classes as a guest and was most influential.' In the mid-1990s she was involved in Nga Puna Waihanga o Tainui – Maori Artists and Writers – and formally trained in visual art under the tutelage of James F. Ormsby. Visual arts and creative writing are a big part of her life. She is currently undertaking an MFA. She is also dyslexic.
You stared me in the face
even looked me in the eye
without a flinch of your furrowed brow
not a wrinkle in your upturned, thin-lipped mouth
with flailing hands you uttered:
'And even though we govern the waterways
it won't stop you praying to "your" god of the sea'
and you expected me to smile, and then you said:
'We will be better caretakers because we have money'
and you expected me to feel better, and then you said:
'It's not just "us" that pollute the water, it's all of us'
and you expected me to agree with this, and then you said:
'You "can" eat the shellfish, after we clean the sewerage up'
and you expected my child to eat, and then you said:
'We will all benefit from this sale, they need our sand'
and you expected me to believe this!
I will never believe this!
It wasn't up to me who I'd see
they'd just be there doing their own thing
as if I wasn't there ... like I'm the ghost or sumthin.
But I noticed them; they would tumble like leaves
down from the trees and swirl all around me
and I would cradle them in my arms
Who lent their eyes to me?
The threads that they have woven said
We had it comin, you and I.
Next time I hope they bring pizza.
TE AWHINA ARAHANGA
Te Awhina Arahanga descends from Ngati Tuwharetoa, Te Ati Haunui a Paparangi, Ngati Hauiti ki Rata, Rapuwai, Waitaha, Ngati Mamoe, Ngai Tahu and a sprinkling of Scottish and English whakapapa. She is a writer, researcher and social historian. Te Awhina has been resident at the Michael King Writers' Centre, has won the Huia short story competition, has contributed short stories to Radio New Zealand, and has been published in various poetry anthologies and journals.
Don't tell the world
specially about oneself
that sweet tender
is not obtainable
Hinemoana Baker (Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Toa Rangatira, Te Atiawa, Ngai Tahu, Germany, England) was born in Christchurch and raised in Whakatane and Nelson. She is a poet, recording artist, singer-songwriter, occasional broadcaster and tutor of creative writing. Her first collection of poetry, matuhi | needle (VUP, 2004), and her second, koiwi koiwi (VUP, 2010), draw on aspects of her mixed Maori and Pakeha heritage. Her third, waha | mouth, will be published during her 2014 term as writer in residence at the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University, Wellington.
Te tangi a te rito
Bones, in this place the soles
of my feet are not null; how
must I walk? My throat
has not woven the call. My throat
has not spoken the harakeke. The north
you say, is thick with it.
Open-mouthed for the host but not
so silenced in the throat. In this kitchen
violence placed its thumbs on the bud
of the call. In this garden violence
pinched us back.
The softness drops
from your forehead, shame
darkens my mouth to a
museum, to a purple
gallery of puha and paua and the sounds
of these things
that keep a family well-fed
and its friends
at your table in the singing
up to their eyeballs
and over us
over like totara
the small leak
in the canoe or
the big rent in the hull
they lie in us
I hang out the washing
Each peg squeaks
You, in the kitchen light,
warming my back.
* * *
I'm worrying again
about your liver
as if it helps.
I feel around
on you – which side
is it? How big?
* * *
You have nightmares
and kick me in your sleep.
I kick you back.
you have gone home
you made me feel
I had discovered fire
you have left the room
you made me feel
I had invented the wheel
in the end
room we gather
you made me feel
the sun wheeled in me
the moon on my tongue
My life part II: I think you're on your own with that one, bro
My father's curling kidney. A funeral a month.
The mackerel sky and a steam train.
Red dust from the 1920s.
Blue fountain pen trailing up and off the page.
Matilda's metatarsals, Banjo's jaw.
And still and still. Slowest jump ever.
I make the joke about how I taught her everything she knows.
Until one of us got chilblains
and the dachsund ruined it. Or the dalmatian.
Everyone but me in aprons. Butter glazing my fingers.
Welsh rarebit lumpy with flour; crumbling fudge.
We all say it wasn't a shark it was your kidney. Peace lifts
the photograph off the wall. They weren't just sisters
they were two white horses. The sun glanced off the windscreen
I swerved and you swore. My scarf pink, my mother's
blue, bone tipping above the surface of noon. She sweats
and still, and still, she sleeps while they
bandage her. What to do with fabric and skin.
Your ankles are weeping pus. Your
eyelids. Keep kneading
and still and still. Butter glazes.
He died on the operating table, nineteen years old.
Watched his girlfriend crying over him and came back.
Fuck that priest and his last rites.
The bed was the one you held me down on
instead I bled out. Or a weta.
And still and still, screech-giggling, a sour smell in my armpits,
hoards of them following me up the footpath.
The black and silver radio, dial like a safe.
Tongue-burn, clouds of steam, crowds waving
identical flags. The crows are children
who have had something taken from them,
something edible. What are you ... thirty-two? Thirty-three?
Wood tells the truth. Outside the room I shook and
shuddered while the Zimbabweans laughed at me.
There will never be a gap in this State Highway 1
traffic that someone will not willingly close before you can join in.
The wind makes a sound through eight different chimes.
It's not the fault of the game, says Peace. I draw the ferns
in a chart alongside mucus and masturbation.
I put down the books and say a prayer for concentration.
That place online where you can listen
to thousands of crickets slowed down and
they sound like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Yes, and a Lakota soprano sings with them in Italian.
He uri no Te Atiawa, Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Toarangatira me Ngai Tahu. 'I have grown up around many great storytellers: my parents, my aunts and uncles and of course my grandfather, who in his old age recalled a world I could only ever imagine. He was a proud man who would remind us that we descended from great navigators, inventors and thinkers. I wrote this poem at age seventeen, within a year of his passing, in remembrance of an upright man whose influence has stayed with me throughout my life.'
It was good to hear your
I was listening to the
Maori radio station,
when your voice came over.
They played a tape of you,
talking about your
It was like sitting once again
in the lounge, on Matene Street,
listening to your hardcase stories.
I never realised how much
I missed you.
And how I missed the way you
clicked your tongue when you were
in awe of something, or your
cups of tea and bread.
And believe it or not I miss
that walking stick, too.
Well, your snotty-nosed
know-it-all mokopuna is still
She hopes to see you again some time.
Maybe you could tell her another
one of your stories.
It was good to hear your
Hilary Baxter, of Taranaki, Whakatohea, was born in 1949 to James K. Baxter and J. C. Sturm. She had several poems published in university magazines and her collection of poetry, The Other Side of Dawn, was published in 1987. Although a long-time resident of Darwin, Australia, she eventually returned to Aotearoa and died in Paekakariki in 2013.
I remember as a child
my father would carry me
high up on
his shoulders or head
I would suffocate
in the red knitted jumpsuit
and father wearing
his old gabardine coat
He would gallop through
the Karori bush
with me precariously above
across the paths banks
made of wet brown leaves
Then coming up
the gravel drive
onto the old road
no more would I feel
as though my throne of trees
looked down on the world
that lay there waiting for me to grow
I am going back ...
I am going back to the land
I am going back to the marae
and I will relive Jerusalem
before I die
My joy is a tribal joy
my loneliness is strong loneliness
and my sorrow
is pathways of flowers
leading to the river
where the taniwha moves
and the moreporks called
for a barefoot father
disciple of the Maori Christ
I hear an old man singing
and there is sunlight in his hair
ARAPERA HINEIRA BLANK
Arapera Hineira Blank (1932–2002) was a descendant of the tribes of Ngati Porou, Ngati Kahungunu, Rongowhakaata and Te Aitanga a Mahaki. She was born in Rangitukia on the East Coast of the North Island, was a teacher and poet, and one of a small group of Maori writers in English during the 1950s. In 1959 she was awarded a special Katherine Mansfield Memorial Award for her essay 'Ko taku kumara hei wai-u mo tama'. She said of herself: 'I enjoy words that sparkle, whether they be Maori, my mother tongue, or English.'
Expression of an inward self with a linocut
I build something up,
complicated and complex,
nothing so deep emerges.
Only simple lines –
hacked out of a piece
of worn-out lino –
that curve and dip
to a traditional line
in their upward
outward bend to the left
to the right
what the hell!
Why should I lie
I am what I am
carved out of a long line
of heavy-footed deep-rooted
wanting to love well
eat well die with the thought of
kumara vine stretched out
reproducing an image –
many images of itself,
drenched in warmth
with roots forever seeking
When you feel
heaviness of spirit
deep hurt under your heart,
reach out for someone,
no one comes,
Fall into gentle breathing,
listen to the music
lie still, float, on
till your body
is bathed in calm,
slowly unfold your
Imagine you came
into this world
in a cloud of
silk, shimmering up
with the dawn, along,
down to a dew-damp earth,
that warmed with you,
filled her people
song-rich with hope
for spiritual peace,
tomorrow, and tomorrow.
'The sun rises,
the sun sets,
the sun rises.
He ra ka whiti
he ra ka to
he ra ka whiti.'
Excerpted from Puna Wai Korero by Reina Whaitiri, Robert Sullivan. Copyright © 2014 Reina Whaitiri and Robert Sullivan. Excerpted by permission of Auckland University Press.
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