Getty Images
Getty Images

BooksSeptember 7, 2018

The Friday Poem: ‘Kei te whakaako au i taku kurī/I am teaching my dog Māori’ by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman

Getty Images
Getty Images

New verse by Christchurch writer Jeffrey Paparoa Holman.


Kei te whakaako au i taku kurī/I am teaching my dog Māori



I am teaching my dog Māori.

Nobody will object

outside the supermarket


when I tie Tiaki to the bike stand

and bark, “E noho!”



“Enoho, what a lovely name!”

one will say; then another,

“What’s wrong with Jack?


It’s a Jack Russell, isn’t it?”

“Āe, tika tāu, ko Tiaki te ingoa!”

I’ll reply, carefully


so as not to offend.

You can’t be too careful

when speaking Dog


to careless ears. On

windy days out on the park,

I’ll toss Tiaki tennis


balls, call, “Mauria mai e te kurī,

kia tere!” Cricketers in white

will cheer, “Oh my Dog, did


you hear that? That wee Jack Russell,

speaking Māori?” Tiaki cocks

an ear, then cocks a leg.


Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, 2018

The Spinoff Review of Books is brought to you by Unity Books.

The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books, recently named 2020 International Book Store of the Year, London Book Fair, and Creative New Zealand. Visit Unity Books Wellington or Unity Books Auckland online stores today. 

Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

Get The Spinoff
in your inbox