AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 30: Maori Warriors arrive on Waka during the Tamaki Herenga Waka Festival on January 30, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. The inaugural festival aims to celebrate Auckland's Maori history, heritage and culture of the city. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

The Friday Poem: ‘Kuramārōtini’ by Briar Wood.

New verse by Northland writer Briar Wood.




So the story goes

that trickster Kupe

cheated his friend

into diving overboard

to free the lines

then paddled rapidly away.


Some hoa.

Best to know that

legendary navigators take huge risks

and do not make the safest companions.



she asked herself—

what do I want—

home in Hawaiki

or the travelling years?


What does he want—

the waka my father gifted?

Matahourua and me?


Or maybe unhappiness

with the man she’d married

drove her to the coast.

It’s possible—

she was curious and Hoturapa wasn’t

the kind of man who liked a journey

so she chose Kupe.


Yet even an inveterate traveller

might become weary in a waka

on the open sea,

looking out for landfall.


Travelling direct to her destination—

as the future loomed towards her

she named that radiant land

on the horizon



From Rāwāhi (Anahera Press, $25), the debut collection of verse by Briar Wood, due to be published in October.

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