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.
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
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,
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
What palace corridor does she tenant,
what became of, the girl with clematis around
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
clean out of sight from Pilsen,
his church images, his Nazarene mentors.
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/BUCK
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
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