Gilbert Mair shot Rota Waitapu in a cave
under a waterfall near Whakamarama,
inland from Tauranga, 1867.
Rota, known as Aporo, was Hauhau.
From his body Mair took a packet,
nineteen sketches, Aporo's dreams.
One dream: points of compass as cross.
To the left, Man (Moses?) holds a staff (with leaves?).
Up that staff climbs (or is the staff turning into?)
Left margin, a hill turned so the hilltop is to
the centre of the drawing. From the hilltop
two sprays of vegetation; I am going to say,
they are trees. Left and right of the hill
two hands, as though in supplication
or as though arms unseen were outspread?
The hilltop has been cleared except for the trees,
in parts which are bared, or perhaps paths.
Right margin, a hill turned so the hilltop is to
the centre of the drawing, From the hilltop
a signal mast rises. Emphatically, not a niu
pole, not a flagstaff. The mast (necessarily?)
points to the trees opposite.
Bottom margin, a hill.
From the hilltop
Man's head protrudes; this is the head of
the body of the land?
This is the body which is
tenanted by a lizard-like creature. It has
perhaps four sets of legs. The extreme tail curls
round Man's head. Man looks up,
to, diagonal, rising from left low to high right,
another lizard-like creature with four pairs
of legs, a fifth pair more arms than legs.
One pair of eyes, but the head, heavily blacked,
is in double (beaked?) profile.
No question about it being a monster.
You might argue that the head is associated
with the demon figure, a Satan or Apollyon figure,
used in another drawing where it stands for
Sir George Grey
who carries off the poor Maori in a bag.
The drawings are from before Te Kooti/Turuki's time.
The serpent is not of Pai Marire.
aporo was mixed up.
He was dreaming more than Pai Marire.
He dreamt what didn't make enough Te Ua sense
or after him enough Te Kooti sense
give and take a bit of the kind
which follows not straight from but through
make Papahurihia sense:
one dream Man holds a staff branch of tree
which is climbed by turns into Serpent
which is nakahi and Aaron's rod
or a Tree of Jesse
where Hurai is Teu and Teu is priest
to compass all
another dream where the top of the drawing is North.
Then left is West, hill with spirit hands
Right is East, hill with signal mast.
Between them (and not north of) hill
with Man who looks above, is South then,
south of what?
One mast most famous, at Kororareka.
This reads the right, the East, margin, and coastal.
Then the left, West margin, land's limit, is
Hokianga South Head once a tree place of power,
spirit place, made common ground (noa)
when it was made over as signal station.
Between Hokianga and the bay flies
lizard-not-lizard, dragon-not-dragon, serpent-not-snake
flies nakahi. Man whom ngarara sickens looks up
to te nakahi, to Te atua Wera,
looks up from . . . If atua Wera is God of Wrath
then the heights which fit best are Ngapukehaua
above Waima, Omanaia and Whirinaki,
the Hills of Anger, on Hokianga's south side.
Alternative reading, but still northern:
Aporo's drawing is not from a Papahurihia line,
it's a version of something more likely heard about
then remembered, a Red Dragon talisman,
"From west to east Satan lies over a sick land."
Leaves too much unaccounted.