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No. 66 (March 1969)
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YOUNGER READERS' SECTION

‘Te Ao Hou’ is pleased to publish original work in art and language. Art work would need to be in black and white. Poems, stories and short articles will all be acceptable.

Rapi Tane of Northland College describes …

A Ceremony

The 125th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi is a special occasion for those who are Maori and European.

Sailors in their white uniforms and officers in black, congregate around the treaty house. The glittering swords of officers in uniform have their effect on the younger generation. Small boys march behind their ‘phantoms’ and stop as they stop.

Suddenly, the hustle and bustle is over-taken by quietness. The open air is the mansion of those seated in it and the eyes of all turn to study that which has caused the silence.

The New Zealand flag is hoisted to the top of the giant flagstaff, and the brittle stillness is broken by the sound of yelling trumpets and groaning French horns. The naval orchestra sends music to those who attend the ceremony for the first time, and rewelcomes those who have attended the ceremony several times.

The music stops and a Maori warrior sends shrieks of anger to an intruding character. He leaps from the ground to the rhythm of singing women. Silence returns in contrast with the shrieking voice of the warrior, and, as if hypnotized, a tall figure steps slowly from the crowd, the plumes in his hat drifting in the direction of the wind, like that of an 18th Century Frenchman. His sword swings freely on his white uniform covered waist, swishing gently against his thigh. The monocle hiding in his left eye, glitters in the failing light of the passing day. His moustache bristles in the evening breeze, and his feet shuffle on the wooden planks as he rises onto the pulpit. With the help of a handsome officer, he is seated into a wooden chair, beside which are members of parliament and important speakers. Everyone stares in awe at the tall figure, and one can almost hear what they are saying.

The speaker, Sir Turi Caroll, welcomes those who are worthy of being welcomed. His shaky voice bleats the words of wisdom into the minds of those listening.

Then Sir Bernard Fergusson in white uniform speaks to those who can understand Maori, then to those who speak the English language. The subject of equality appears invisibly but audibly in his speech, and the history of the Treaty of Waitangi is told for the 125th time in 125 years.

A shadow suddenly appears before those who are superstitious as, like ghosts, the lighted ships in the harbour drift as though in fresh air. The guns are lit to the very tip and the flags on the ships' bows are luminous in the dark night.

The band begins to play, and the ceremony slowly loses its excitement as time takes control. The slow movement of tired guests is heard as the ceremony concludes.

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Now a poem dedicated to one of New Zealand's great men.

To Apirana Turupa Ngata

O great leader of the past,
whose memory will forever last,
You left behind your Maori race
To seek your homeland in God's place.

Can you see us from above?
Can you see us, share our love?
O Ngata wise, Ngata great,
Look upon your Maori race,
for in this land you left behind
are now, two races of one kind.

Richard Te Haara

St Stephen's School, Auckland

We are pleased to have more contributions from Panguru High School.

The Scrub Fire

During the May holidays my friend Joseph and I were caught in the Rangimatea Ranges between the swift flowing Tauma River and a raging scrub fire.

We were out tramping and were unlucky to have chosen a day when a ‘firebug’ was on the move. The fire was a raging inferno; tongues of yellow and red flame leapt from tree to tree like the swift cougar in pursuit of its prey. Smoke swirled in blankets of dark, sooty cloud. The sky darkened as the fire spread its grasping, hungry fingers over the horizon. My friend and I were on the verge of panic: fear had taken hold of us.

My heart was racing and I seemed to feel it pounding in the air about me. Animals were charging past us in hordes. Others were unlucky and were engulfed in the deathtrap. Wherever we looked there was danger. Old massive Kauri and Puriri trees were being flattened. First a flame would catch a branch, then next moment the whole tree would be alight. Cinders of dying wood were flying everywhere. My eyes were watery and very sore from the dense smoke. Charred logs were burning crazily and were adding to the heat.

I told my friend that there was only one means of escape: the dreaded Tauma River, which was just as dangerous.

‘Isn't there any alternative?’ he gasped.

‘Oh yes!’ I replied. ‘Absolute cremation in the fire … And of course there is the river with its pitless bottom!’

He shuddered with fear, Consoling him, I told him to jump into the river and make for the other side as he was being swept along. The situation was getting out of hand. The fire was too close for comfort and I, too, jumped into the river. I found myself caught up in a swirling dream and my head was reeling feverishly. I felt hard ground but I was too weak to move.

About a week after the incident my friend

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and I returned to the scene of horror. There was no work of Mother Nature to be seen. All that was left was a plain of twisted, charred logs and stumps.

Patrick Newson, Form V

I Remember

I remember the burning glow of
the evening fire
around which we would sit to laugh and sing
after a long day of toil and play

The nights were chilly then
and we'd gather round
to watch the glowing embers
while creepy shadows leapt and danced
across the darkened walls.
And heavy with sleep,
we'd dream before the fire,
in the bright light it provided
soothed by the smell of the candle —
by the friendly flame flickering high upon the mantlepiece.
Then the morning sun would welcome us
and weary ones would plod to school
with sunken hearts and sad faces.

When at last the evening fell
We were happy again
returning to the smoky comforts
of the hearth.

But that was long ago
when childhood days seemed forever,
when we played all day long
under the ever-glowing sun.
O, if Time could now return to a childhood
Lost forever!

A Place in the Sun

I wander along the quiet and dusty roads
Of Kaihu
And I see old railway lines
Long rusted and grown over with long grass and blackberry,
And old, deserted railway shacks and shops long closed and empty.
This is no ghost town
Deserted and forgotten
But where are its people?
They are there in their little houses
Some are in the pub across the road
From where voices of merry men ring out into the drowsy air.

Others rest in deep sleep
Beneath the many headstoned graves,
Beside the grand and well-known church
Lying there unforgotten in the open green
Facing eastwards towards the rising sun
Many graves I see, kept free of creeping weeds and cruel thistles
By one of a compassionate heart …

A gentle breeze, soft and soothing, feels its way
Through my half-entangled hair,
And the ageless sun smiles kindly on this peaceful town.

Isabelle Te Wake, Form V

Another contribution, this time from Sharon Moengaroa White of Maropiu District High School.

Young Ones

‘One, two, three and away we go …’ comes the shout from the top of the tree then splash! Papa hits the water.

Like a cauldron the water bubbles and boils, then up comes Papa's face, bright with excitement.

Then there's a ‘whirlpool’ as Julie jumps in, quite sure that if a boy can do it, so can she. Well, it takes all kinds.

Dawn screams as Jamie pushes her into the creek. But it's all in fun, just like everything else we do here.

I may be wrong, but I think the aim of any Maori is to be happy. And why not? Being happy makes the harder tasks in life so much easier.

Teresa is the showgirl of us all. She is

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quite content to stand on the bank and pretend she is on stage either acting, or dancing and singing. Like the rest of her family, she has natural talent for such things.

Eugene rides up on his horse and all at once everyone is around him.

‘Can I have a ride please Eugene?’

‘Go on, eh, Eugene, let me and Julie have the first ride’.

‘No!’ says Eugene firmly, ‘Just shut up you girls. Papa and I are having the first ride’.

Never mind. We'll wait here for Tony and Mark to bring us some apples from the tree yonder.

About fifteen minutes have passed and we're still waiting for those boys. Well they can have the horse then. We're going in for another swim.

Afterwards we'll go for a walk and may-be steal some fruit.

Indeed it's a good life. Isn't it always when you're a Maori?

Now four poems written last year by pupils of Turaki School, Taumarunui.

The Waves

The moonbeams shone on the soft calm sea,
And the waves all around, seemed to whisper to me,
I looked out the windows
And peeped all around
I listened carefully
But there wasn't a sound
Then I could feel an ocean spray
And then I could see the peeps of day.

Janice Bell, S.4

The Wind

Run everybody, run!
The wind is coming.
Hide from it
Do not let it get you,
For the wind is strong.
Run,
Run, run, hide from it.

Linda Henry, S.3

Autumn

The leaves are falling
And the wind is blowing,
And I am cold.
I put my hands around me
I start to run faster and faster
Suddenly I stop
I look up at the trees.
They are blowing from side to side,
The winds starts to roar,
I am frightened.
At last I am home by the fire.

George Manapiri, S.3

The River

The water deep, mysterious,
Dark
Unforgettable
It urges me closer
Eels slimy and black
Slipping, sliding and beckoning

Himiona Henry, S.4