methods of assessing the likely presence of a terrorist threat in a remote indigenous community

Wake in the dark to the sound of a log
dropping to the ground in a distant timber yard
a train uncoupling in the village
the growl of something old
angry and tethered.

No. It’s just your wife’s gentle snore.
Don’t allow the year to scare
the substance out of you – a woeful
fight between a toddler and a swarm of bees.
A predetermined sonata, but screamed.

Hide your Christmas funds in the empty
World War Two artillery shell.
When it matters most
have someone bend over your bed
to adjust the pillows, lifting and opening.

When she says Please don’t leave me
Say No, it is you who is leaving me.
Choose the avocado and the yellow ballpoint
with the testament This pen was stolen
from Finn McCool’s Irish Pub

712 Great South Road Manukau City.
For your final meal demand
beer and jaffa custard plus those twig-thin
chocolate spirals at two dollars ninety-five a dozen.
A fine writing implement melting between your fingers.

When someone says a pole without a flag
respond a woman in her pyjamas kneeling
on concrete. Post something
to PO Box 47 Taneatua
then wait for the small, brown flowers

to burst open. Listen to the
newspaper-reading in the next room
the crack of the page under your writing hand
something metal, unoiled
turning in the wind.

LISTEN to ‘methods of assessing…’ by Hinemoana Baker

Hinemoana Baker is a writer, musician, sound enthusiast and creative writing tutor. She hails from Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Te Āti Awa and Ngāi Tahu on her father's side, and her mother's ancestors are from England and Bavaria. Her first collection of poetry, mātuhi | needle (2004), was released in New Zealand and the United States. Her second, kōiwi kōiwi | bone bone, was launched in July 2010. She spent three months in Australia as 2009 Arts Queensland Poet in Residence, and the Fall semester of 2010 in the US, as one of 38 Writers in Residence at the University of Iowa's International Writing Programme.

Baker comments: ‘This poem is a response to the events of 15 October 2007 in Taneatua, Ruatoki and around the country, which have come to be known as the State Terror Raids. As well as being shocked by the methods employed by armed police on that day, which terrorised many innocent people, I found myself questioning what kind of ethical decisions a person would have had to make in order to be involved in the 12-month surveillance campaign which lead up to the raids. I was moved to write the poem because of these things, and also after watching The Lives of Others, a film whose plot unfolds around the practice of surveillance by agents of the Stasi in East Berlin in 1984.’

Poem source details >



Hinemoana's website
Wikipedia: more information on the State Terror Raids
October 15th Solidarity: more information about the State Terror Raids