Kia Toa, Kia Kaha!
thoughts from an old warrior
Not now, my son, the slapping of flesh the stamping of feet and the pulsating voices of frenzy,
No longer utu for insults thrust at us.
No longer chance for the warrior.
—You would have been one, firm-fleshed and brazen, wily and swift with your weapons…
Now but faintly the echo will drift to you sometimes
When some of you act out a war-dance.
Now but weakly the pulsing of warrior's lust
Will rise in your blood to throb madly.
Very dimly the cry will ring in your ear-drums.
Kia toa! Kia kaha! Be a warrior!
There is no longer the stamping of feet
And the slapping of flesh in the war-dance.
But, my son, listen. Still, still be a Maori;
Not a warrior for now it is peace-time.
Think as you work by your Pakeha brother
Of the skills that we had. Use them wisely.
Know where you go as you sail your canoe.
Hold firmly the paddles, dip strongly.
Be proud of the fleet that you sail with.
Make your eye keen in your hunting.
Use the best flax in your weaving.
Cast your nets wide in your fishing.
Kia toa, my son!
Kia kaha, my son!
Kia toa! Kia kaha! Be a Maori!