Vaughan Rapatahana
New Zealand

Karakia Precari - Penny Howard 2016
my father’s death

I watched my father                        die;
his lone last act
one anonymous evening. 

there were no exultant angels
no perfumed pearly gates
swinging    w  i  d  e   their welcoming arms.

the young oldest son
there to witness
his shrivelled size,
the estranged demise
- astray the slim single bed,
                                                                                  in a spare   back   bedroom.

  the final
s u b l i m a t i o n,
the unique
death clatter
an uncanny

no poet could                                                         ever

rua kenana century

so 100 years on
has there been change?
toka,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              the son, was shot;
then rua taken                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                te mīhaia,                 pea                                                                                                                                                                                                               
trial was a farce
charge a canard:
their otiose reason?
mana motuhake  
let’s map some more
claptrap -
subversive/disruptive/contempt/morally resisting arrest

tino rangatiratanga   
‘a race still in tutelage’
lectured judge chapman.

the crap colonialist rap
kei muri i te awe kāpara he tangata ke,
                                                              mana te ao,
                                                                                he mā
& nothing seems different
as tūhoe stand firm.

so, how does it end?
not with a whimper,
                                                                    but the bang.

[pea – perhaps
mana motuhake –self-determination
tino rangatiratanga –independence; autonomy
kei muri i te awe kāpara he tangata ke, mana te ao, he mā – shadowed behind the tattooed face a stranger stands; he owns the earth; he is white]

Historical Note:
On the morning of 2 April, 1916, armed police raided the Tūhoe iwi (or tribe) non-violent settlement of Maungapōhatu, set in the remote Urewera country of North Island New Zealand. They arrested the spiritual leader and prophet Rua Kenana, the self-proclaimed Mīhaia or Messiah. Gunfire erupted and two Maori were murdered, including Kenana’s son, Toko. Rua Kenana was arrested on charges of treason and sentenced to 30 months imprisonment, including hard labour. Maungapōhatu never recovered its model status, including its farming co-operative and its savings bank.