kani te manukura

te pōrere

te pōrere 
where the night is a cloak 
dropped from 
the bones of the sky 
the black descends 
where the realm 
of potential 
holds tight 
to the realm 
of light 
one smelling 
of sweet 
gunpowder tang 
the other echoing 
distant shouts 
up close

i can smell 
their fear 
in my own 

te pōrere 
where te ao mārama 
all caught up 
on itself 
the fabric 
of the universe 
gathers twists 
folds in on itself 
where with each 
swoop through 
branching bush 
tūī stitch 
time to space: 
wā to wā

sewing like this 
creates holes 
haphazardly sized 
through which 
different points 
of the race-time 
bleed through 
into each other 
it’s how the wīwī 
wraps around 
the wāwā

weft through warp 
dextrals under sinistrals 
tūī tui tuia

kani te manukura. ngāi tūhoe. hunter/gatherer/grower/cook/storyteller. kani lives a life of quiet rebellion in a small seaside town. this is both better and worse than it sounds. kani also finds writing about himself in the third person quite odd.

manukura comments: ‘these words came to me whilst on pilgrimage to te pōrere, where te kooti, māori geurilla resistance leader & prophet of te haahi ringatu, fought the last major battle of the colonial invasion of aotearoa in October 1869. 37 of his warriors were killed at te pōrere and buried in one spot at the site. while i was there i had to persuade an English tourist not to camp on top of their grave.

‘i’m sure that all has something to do with it, but like most of the words that come out of the wīwī-wāwā and through me, i don’t really know what “te pōrere” is about. i don’t see it as my role to make up meanings, that’s a game for the reader to play’

Poem source details >


pāterehi ki te pō