Getty Images

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

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 is made possible by the generous support of the following organisations.
Please help us by supporting them.