By Anna Reeves
We talk about the loss of
and Te Reo…
but what about the loss of a culture
I read about the tīheru (the canoe bailers) –
What happened to those? (Were they thrown into the sea?)
I read about 1000 waka
hitched up on a beach. (Where are they now – all those waka? Where?)
Who was the last wahine
a piece of moss
to soak up her
I read about the Whare Kōhanga…
I look around the land.
Where were they built?
Must have been
somewhere. (What stands there now?)
I read about the pahū used to send messages
… around a roto.
the last time
the last pahū
sent a message
around the c u r v e
I read about manu tukutuku
how they sent signals to neighbouring pā.
the last one
in the sky? (Never to fly again).
Who was the last one
in a whāriki tūpāpaku
on the atamira
flesh rotting away
leaving nothing but bones? (Kōiwi, kōiwi). (Tell me – where are my bones now?)
the last kākahi
from that stream? (Kua mate koutou katoa).
Who let the last cooking fire go cold? (Leaving nothing but ashes).
Who pulled the hue vine out… Who? (Never to be planted again at that spot.)
Who put the last leaf of kawakawa on the wound that needs healing…
of the people
atamira – raised platform on which deceased person was placed
awa – river
hue – gourd, calabash
kākahi – fresh water mussell
katoa – all of you (used for a group that is all the same)
kōiwi – bones
kua mate koutou katoa – “you are all dead”, kua = past tense, mate = dead/death, koutou
kua roa kē au e  ana – for a long time [I] have been…
manu tukutuku – kite, manu = bird, tukutuku = to send out
mokopuna – grandchild/grandchildren, moko – mark or likeness = representation of, puna – to well up, flow, spring [of water]
ngā ūnga waka – the treasured landing places of waka, ngā = plural, ūnga = landing place, waka = voyaging vessel
pā – village
pahū – drum made from native wood
poi āwhiowhio – object made from a hue (gourd), used to attract native birds
roto – lake
te reo – the language
tūpāpaku – someone who is dying or deceased
wahine – woman
whakapapa – all encompassing system of relationships in customary belief, including those between people, atua (gods), inanimate objects and the land
Whare Kōhanga – temporary houses built for the birth of a child