We are stroking, caressing the spine
of the land.
We are massaging the ricked
back of the land
with our sore but ever-loving feet:
hell, she loves it!
Squirming, the land wriggles
We love her.
This poem refers to the Awakening — the Maori land march that began at Te Hapua, the northernmost settlement of Te Aupouri, on 14 September 1975 and ended at Parliament Buildings, Wellington on 17 October.
'Papa-Tu-A-Nuku', from Small Holes in the Silence: Collected Works (Godwit, Random House, 2011), Hone Tuwhare 2011, used by permission of Rob Tuwhare on behalf of the Estate of Hone Tuwhare. Recording from the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archives 2004.