Redemption & Resurrection


This Couplet of poems is deliberately thematically linked.

The common underlying idea is that of redemption and resurrection.

This theme is not new in the indigenous discourse

– poets such as Fanon and DuBois used it extensively.

Hone Tuwhare touches on it.

More recently singers such as Bob Marley and Ben Harper have used it.

Marley’s Redemption Songs is still one of my personal favourites.

Our own redemption of Te Ao Maori is implicit in such songs as E Tu by Upper Hutt Posse

and the work of people like Hinemohi Wehi and Whirimako Black.


to the poems,

penned appropriately at 2am this morning,

in the star light filled night.


1. Mata/a/riki



Mata – a – riki

Ariki nui

Ariki roa

Ariki Pamamao

Nga whetu tapu mo Ariki-rangi

He tohu mo Papa-tua-nuku.

E tu  – nga whetu

E tu.

Twinkle, twinkle little stars

At last we know who you really are.


2. The wail of Lost Stars / Redemption stars


You weren’t around

when I was young,

a little bit like  – my native tongue,

you were the Pleiades to them

just another constellation,

in their white sports coats

and all pink nation.

That didn’t mean a lot to me

it had no song, no himeni* or anthem,

a few of the old people – talked of you

as if you’d died

Tuwhare’s ‘wail of lost stars’

and now, you’ve been revived.

The key thing for me

in this redeemed paradigm,

is that first and foremost

everything you mean and stand for

is mine.

Pikimai, Kakemai, Te Hei Mauriora.

* hymn


3. Wail of lost stars – ano.


You were never lost, just erased,

whited –  out,

assimilated, no eliminated,

the stars, rhythms and seasons

of the native existence,

were denied to me,

as a deliberate, post colonial strategy.

No wonder I want to shout ……………

‘ All around me he white man

and the white sky

tears at its navel,

all this whiteness that burns’ [ Du Bois ].

And now the white world

turns more and more, in upon itself,

is uprooted and lost

in te po roa [ the long darkness ],

is eaten and consumed

by its own,

plastic wealth.


8th June 2011

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