A new poem by Tusiata Avia.
The City Fathers
James Edward Fitzgerald, first Superintendent of Canterbury Province, 1853-1857.
Minister of Native Affairs, 1861.
William Sefton Moorehouse, twice Superintendent of Canterbury Province, 1857- 1863
and 1866 -1868.
Samuel Bealey, third Superintendent of Canterbury Province, 1863 to 1866.
I stole (COUGHS), I mean owned, 50, 000 acres of Ngai Tahu land.
William Rolleston, fourth Superintendent of Canterbury Province 1868-1877.
Minister of Native Affairs, 1881.
I ordered the invasion of Parihaka, their blood is on my hands.
We sit and stand above the 4 avenues
named for us
we mark the center of our city
you speak us into life every time you plan where to go.
our voices float up out of the parks like smoke from Belsen
the streets whisper our genocide
each avenue a forgotten landgrab.
Our voices are in the breath of each suburb
and the prisons are full.
Well done, Rolleston, old chap!
You speak our names again and again
this is how you tell each other where you are going
and how we still preside over you.
We stand on plinths in the city and wait
for the new murderers
the land thieves
and the rapists.
It’s not long to wait
(in the scheme of things)
here comes the Christchurch shooter
if you can say our names
as if they are names to be proud of
then surely, we can say his.
Build him a statue to join us
he is made in our image.
Massacre and theft –
it’s what we built this country on.
Let us remember our good friend
Governor of New Zealand, 1845 to 1868.
The massacrist of Waikato
a clever chap
he stole 3 million acres of land
and then went to Africa
to rape and pillage some more.
If one day you replace us
then erect statues to modern day murderers
twenty first century thieves
latter day white supremacists.
Replace Queen Victoria
with her granddaughter
Mrs Windsor of the House of Slaughter
and Horatio Herbert Kitchener
the inventor of the concentration camp.
Oh, we are a sterling group of men!
Yes, we are a fine, top notch, first grade, stellar bunch of men.
The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are welcome and will be open until 31 December 2021. Please send up to three poems to firstname.lastname@example.org.