Last Born

I am the last born
I move through the crowd with my shiny red wheels
I bring with me large animals and flaming spikes in cages
I am the last born and I know who I want to vote for
I know the identity of the figure in black
Low prices are written all over my face
I am the last born and I have a long following
Everything and everyone is my elder
I move through the relatives in my green leaves
I eat canoes and drink inlets
I have a beard and a small fat crab inside my shell
I am the last born the pōtiki the teina
Everything breaks its back over me but there are
Many ways to build from scratch and in spite of the fact
That every fourth corner of the land has been walked
Over I make everything ready, being the last born
I am desired at each event, to lay down the
Cow leather, to direct people to the location of
The demons, the devils in the tarmac
We all bite something for a living
I know not to rave and shout when I reach these places
I bring children with me, just the right number
Of pumpkins and I sing completely out of tune
Buying up all the land around with my lucky sand dollars

Hinemoana Baker is a writer, musician, producer and teacher of creative writing. Her first book of poems, mātuhi | needle (2004), was published in New Zealand and in the US. Hinemoana’s poems have featured in Best New Zealand Poems and various other online and print anthologies. She has edited two collections of New Zealand poetry, Kaupapa: New Zealand poets, world issues and 4th Floor 2008, the online literary journal of Whitireia Polytechnic. She is currently finishing a new poetry collection called I’m sick of this place let’s get back on the canoe. She performs regularly as Taniwha with pop-rock sonic artist Christine White—the pair released a new album in March 2009.

Baker comments: ‘I wrote “Last Born” while watching Māori TV in my first week home after spending some time in Fiji. I had a brief writer’s residence in Suva in 2008, at the University of the South Pacific. Fiji was amazing, very affecting. When I came home I somehow felt more like a Māori writer than I ever have. I don’t even really know what that means, but that’s the best way I can describe it.

I would say “Last Born” works best when read out loud, with a wide smile on your face, while thinking of something that really annoys you.’

Poem source details >



Hinemoana Baker’s website
New Zealand Book Council writer file
Best New Zealand Poems 2004 and 2006
4th Floor 2008
Hinemoana Baker on myspace