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Depression, winter of 1930:
He frequented Government House, the Bledisloes
wanting to learn the right way with Maori.
Loneliness grew like rain forest lichens.
From his room at the Turnbull he stared
broodingly at Wadestown high places
as though. Baucke died,
a fortnight after him Pomare in a strange land.
Then Buck, passing through from the Cooks
on his way to Honolulu - Peehi guessed
he wouldn’t be seeing Buck again.
Somebody knocked at his door.
Another old man, come to say "The last time
I saw you, you were …" lugging weapons, weirdly
kitted out, footslogging, sixty years before
on the track to Manaia, the Armed Constabulary
off to build themselves a fort.
Never again.
Catching a glimpse of him, who would have thought
he was famous? He didn’t feel like that,
tired, urgent. He tumbled under a small stroke
not to take seriously. He was sometimes
taken in.
             One year more. When he went
people were upset: by his own wish, he was cremated.
Noone could have the honour of caring.
If you are driving through the Park -
it is his as much as anyone’s memorial -
you can afford him a moment’s remembering
at Heipipi where two streams still run clean,
joining, headwaters of the Whakatane River.
You may even recall a line he wrote:
‘Think not, O Children of the Earth,
our parents’ love is dead.’

         was from a German missionary
         which came to the Chathams, off
from the Middle Island,
                                    which is      off
by (say) 600 miles
                             and they were
off the main island where they arrived
at but somehow (for God’s sake, can you
imagine how?) he grew into
                                    love of the classics,
commanded languages.
                                  He worked
on the North Island, especially the King
Country. Perhaps what he read had
in several languages
                                    something to do with
his sense of justice and injustice
particularly about the Treaty.
         When he died, he died in Otorohanga
where people who may not know about
         try to do something    about
preserving the kiwi, which are
         endangered species.

What palace corridor does she tenant,
what became of, the girl with clematis around
her head
             admired by Edward Prince of Wales
and given him, eighteen eighty-five?
A long haul
                  From the India and Colonial Exhibition,
from the World Fair at St Louis, nineteen four.
Offers were made
                           along with the grand prize and gold
medal, of the Palace of Art. A long haul
from Vienna
clean out of sight from Pilsen,
    his church images, his Nazarene mentors.
How far
            between his paintings,
his subjects’ world,
                              and his. Ex voto.
In a main street dairy dedicated to rugby
HART is getting a going over.
There’s a special on riding boots for pony club
members a couple of shops along,
what else is special one may not hazard.
Why, you ask, did he settle here?
And, settled, stay?
Twice he returned to Europe, briefly.
He travelled the country, yes, but also
sitters came to him. He wasn’t a landscape man.
This wasn’t (and isn’t) in that sense ‘landscape’
country. When you think
                                       what it was like,
what old photographs tell . . .
       Sheepdogs penned on a utility stare
perplexedly. Mongrel Mob riders passing through
do not look sideways at the black and white
at an intersection, idling.
In the dairy they argue about apartheid,
bringing things down to black and white.

Tainui’s anchor stone keeps its proper distance
up the road. A local tourist brochure has
things arse about face. Never mind, we can live
with that. At least, they seem able.
This isn’t Tainui country. This isn’t
what it used to be.
Pomare and Buck were much of an age,
they saw day first in the same place which is not
same. And won’t be, day by day.
Motunui stands between them almost halfway,
rigs, gantries, its several shapes
which are of things to come.
Buck remembered Pomare returned from the States,
‘top hat, frock coat, and striped trousers that characterized
the profession in those days’ . . . ‘Dr Pomare and I
the North Island between us.’
In South Africa lands were being divided between,
barbed, wired. Shadow, and overshadow.
They went their ways.
Like anatomies. Think Big steels diagrammatize
a made-over prospect. Pomare, he’s buried with
Sicilian marbles, Sicilian granite.
You’d have thought, they had enough stones of own kind.

Te Rangi Hiroa is sleeping
at Oroki, outside Urenui.
There he and Pomare were boys.
Offsea winds arrive to make their blades keen;
every so often they need to come, to sharpen.
They rub on the canoe’s prow, perhaps
they have questions.
Buck had questions. Wherever he went
he mightn’t ask outright - he knew how to behave -
of this one and that one, or of this one and that knew
alright to say directly "Tell me . . . Show me".
Said "Show me how they tie a knot and I’ll tell you
something worth knowing about these people."
Looking down the land to Petrocorp,
it makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
He went up and down dividing the North Island.
Later, he went up and down in many islands.
Knew this, getting to know that. He liked knowing.
Knowing today, knowing only something about yesterday.
Once he dreamed a long, very detailed, dream
about a marae on Nukuhiva (he wasn’t half-Irish for nothing)
where he hadn’t been. A voice said
‘To ha‘afiti ia Te ‘Ani Hi‘oa. This share for
                     Te Rangi Hiroa.’
That was his share. Can we, he wrote, ever
see the throbbing past except in dreams?
So there he is, only ashes, but dreaming in his sleeping.
Catching up with, all that he didn’t get to know.
Somebody robbed the gravegoods.
Buck hadn’t been to the Marquesas.
All he had were Linton’s diagrams. ‘I do not wish
to awake, for when I do, I will see but a line drawing
in a book that conjures up a lone terrace overgrown
with exotic weeds, and sad stone walls crumbling to
He did not mean, to refer to Petrocorp.
Think not, O Children of the Earth, our parents’ love
         is dead.
                                                                                      (). 9. 83
Editor's note

ELDERS: These are all figures associated with the study and recording of Maori customs and culture in the late 19th/early 20th century; Full biographies can be found on the DNZB website or in volumes II and III of the DNZB; KS’ Acknowledgements in Stories reads: ‘‘Peehi/Best’ is indebted to the biography of Elsdon Best by the late Elsdon Craig; ‘Baucke’ to the entry in the D.N.Z.B. and to Where the White Man Treads; ‘Rinaua/Lindauer’ to ed. J.C. Graham, Maori Paintings by Gottfried Lindauer; for ‘Pomare’ and ‘Te Rangi Hiroa/Buck’, see Buck’s Vikings of the Sunrise (1938, p. 162) and The Coming of the Maori (1949, p. 410)

Peehi/Best: first published in Span 19 (October 1984), 35; also in Stories About Wooden Keyboards and Selected Poems; Best: Elsdon Best (1856-1931), ethnologist, author of 25 books on Maori history and lore, including The Maori as He Was (1924) and Tuhoe: The Children of the Mist (1925);Bledisloe: Viscount Bledisloe (1867-1958), Governor General of New Zealand, 1930-35;Turnbull:the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington is a major research library; Baucke, Pomare, Buck: see below; Manaia, Armed Constabulary: Best was a member of the Armed Constabulary, who established a redoubt at Manaia in Taranaki in 1880 during the unrest caused by Te Whiti’s non-violent resistance to settler encroachment at Parihaka; the Park: Urewera National Park which Best had much to do with establishing

Baucke: first published in Span 19 (October 1984), 37 also in Stories About Wooden Keyboards and Selected Poems; Baucke: William Baucke (1848-1931) Grew up on the Chatham Islands, later became an interpreter and expert on Maori culture, author of Where the White Man Treads (1905); King Country: an area in the North Island roughly between Te Awamutu and Taupo. It was an independent and settler-free territory, under the control of the Maori King, between 1864-1885. Otorohonga: town in King Country where the frontier began; there is a Kiwi centre there

Rinaua/Lindauer:first published in Span 19 (October 1984), 38, also in Stories About Wooden Keyboards and Selected Poems: Lindauer: Gottfried Lindauer (1839- 1926), Bohemian painter, born in Pilsen, studied in Vienna, came to New Zealand in 1873, specialised in portraits of Maori chiefs in traditional costume, moved to Woodville, Hawkes Bay in 1889, where he died; the poem records other details of his career; HART: acronym of Halt All Racist Tours, a protest group formed to oppose sporting contacts with apartheid South Africa in the 1970s; Mongrel Mob: Maori motorcycle gang

Pomare:first published in Span 19 (October 1984), 40, also in Stories About Wooden Keyboards and Selected Poems; Pomare: Sir Maui Pomare (1876-1930), influential Maori politician from Tainui tribe, born at Pahou Pa at Urenui, north of New Plymouth, educated at Te Aute College and in the United States where he became a medical doctor, back in New Zealand he became a health officer and then Member of Parliament, and later Minister of Health;Tainui:the Tainui canoe was part of the so-called Great Fleet which populated NZ from the Pacific; the Tainui anchor stone is said to be buried at the mouth of the Mokau River in Taranaki, but it was the Aotea canoe that beached there; Motunui: site in Taranaki of huge petrochemical plant; Think Big: controversial energy programme of Muldoon government (1975-1984) in 1980s to make New Zealand self sufficient in energy

Te Rangi Hiroa/Buck:first published in Span 19 (October 1984), 40, also in Stories About Wooden Keyboards and Selected Poems; Buck: Sir Peter Buck (c.1880- 1951), Maori politician and anthropologist, author of Vikings of the Sunrise (1938), The Coming of the Maori (1949) and other books; director of Bishop Museum in Honolulu and Professor of Anthropology at Yale University; buried at Okoko near Urenui in TaranakiPetrocorp: Petroleum Corporation of New Zealand 1976; oil and natural gas fields are found in the Taranaki area and off the coast; Nukuhiva is one of the islands of the Marquesas; the dream is recounted in Chapter XII of Vikings of the Sunrise; Linton: Dr Ralph Lintonwas part of an expedition to the Marquesas in 1920-1; Buck says his dream started after studying Linton’s plan of the assembly place of Nanauhi, in the Hatiheu Valley of Nukuhiva

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