Scoop Review of Books

2 Poems from ‘Manifesto Aotearoa’

Excerpt / Release
Manifesto Aotearoa: 101 Political Poems
Edited by Philip Temple & Emma Neale (Otago U Press, $35)

We are grateful to Otago University Press and to Maraea Rakuraku and Vaughan Rapatahana for permission to reproduce their poems below, just two of the 101 included in this collection. Click here for more information about the ‘Manifesto Aotearoa: 101 Political Poems.

For those of you who insist on using the term Te Urewera 17, 12 or 4 to accompany any newspaper headline or media soundbite. by Maraea Rakuraku

anglican prattle. by Vaughan Rapatahana



For those of you who insist on using the term Te Urewera 17, 12 or 4 to accompany any newspaper headline or media soundbite

Maraea Rakuraku

Te Urewera 1 is 20 kms from Whakatane, 65 kms southwest from Rotorua along state highway 38, 32 kms from Opotiki, 63 from Wairoa, 40 minutes from Kawerau, two hours from Rotorua, five hours from Auckland and seven hours 635 kms and a timewarp away from the life I lead in Wellington.

Te Urewera 2 is Ruātoki, Waiohau, Ruatāhuna, Te Waimana and Waikaremoana. It is not Kutarere, Kawerau, Tāneatua, Murupara or a national park.

Te Urewera 3 is Tūhoe.

Te Urewera 4 is a kuia shocked that Māori pay for their watercress and pūhā from the Hainamana down the road when there is some across the fence in the paddock, over there.

Te Urewera 5 is a bum wiggling, eyes googling and tongue swinging on television screens, Every. Single. Time. The iwi is mentioned.

Te Urewera 6 is a 15-year-old girl who sleeps sitting up fully clothed in her bed which lies across the doorway of her bedroom, with the open window within jumping distance, and knives in the door jamb.

Te Urewera 7 is a father pining for a son he hasn’t seen in 20 years.

Te Urewera 8 is a lawyer working her arse off on the raupatu, trying to get the best deal for her people with a tāne undermining her every move.

Te Urewera 9 is a nine-year-old kid who still mimi’s the bed because when he was five, the Armed Offenders boarded his kōhanga bus.

Te Urewera 10 is a whānau in Australia making their biennial pilgrimage back for Te Hui Ahurei a Tūhoe.

Te Urewera 11 is a boy asking what the (moo-teh) mute button on the TV does.

Te Urewera 12 are artists graffitiing under the Onehunga Bridge — Te Mana Motuhake ō Tūhoe.

Te Urewera 13 are at Te Tirahou waiting for the tupāpaku to arrive before they accompany the whānau back to Ruātoki, Waiohau, Ruatāhuna, Maungapohatu, Te Waimana or Waikaremoana.

Te Urewera 14 are the many learning te reo Māori and reconnecting with their Tūhoetanga.

Te Urewera 14 are the many who are not.

Te Urewera 15 is the aunty who orders the whānau to empty their kai from their freezers and bring it to the pā when a whānau from Christchurch turns up with a tupāpaku no one knows. And no money.

Te Urewera 16 is the whānau waiting at the gate, whakamā about walking onto the pā bringing back the mate of their koro who left 40 years ago and never came home.

Te Urewera 17 are those at te hau kāinga tending the flame and burning the fires so we always find our way home.

Te Urewera 18 are those of us who live away from home due to circumstance and choice.

They are not kaupapa-hijacking opportunists who through the skinniest of links arrogantly associate themselves with a cause, a people, a way of life that is here forever and will be, long after they move on to their next cause.

They do not privilege themselves over the historical pain of 40,000 Tūhoe.

He Tūhoe ahau, nō Te Urewera.


anglican prattle

Vaughan Rapatahana

compelled to attend

this cross-high byre

every sacrosanct sunday,

lined up to listen to

a blubber & blither

of blustery bullshit

on repentance, remission,

omission & missions;


ultimate delivery                                                        clasping old hymnals

fed out as forage                                                        like they were electric,

for our souls                                                                pages of gibberish

imploring redemption;                                              faded in hope,

reserving, deserving                                                   singing in lines

to be trucked upwards                                                like synchronized swimmers

via winged chariots                                                    wolfing down wafers

to pledged halls of fame.                                           & stagnant red wine.


listening to sermons

staining our sins,

an obloquy of ordure

from the lips of a jester

dressed across gender

bovine-eyed herds

smiling in lies

while we shook

shaking hands

of choleric clergy;

this pareidolia

of pawns, or peon

to the slaughter?


god, no need for this

deliberate evasion;

just lead us to pasture,

to seek our own succour,

we don’t wish to be fed

such anglophile drivel,

we won’t pray for glib penance,


which steers us


some    sort    of     communion

with    these    white    waves    and    ways.