Monday Poem: Maraea Rakuraku’s ‘When does it start?’

 

When does it start?

 

It’s not waving a flag, holding a banner, knowing what postcolonial theory

means and when to use it, memorising quotes and lining them up like

soldiers that are sent out in waves of attacks,

 

It’s not being polite, remaining open, listening fairly, vigilantly assessing

your motivation, re-writing your carefully worded response, marvelling

how the person who has cornered you on-line, at a party, work do or

rugby game is not hearing how every word they are saying is offensive and

they may as well be slicing through your heart, with the intent-sity of a

scythe clearing long grass,

 

It isn’t realising dressing up racist rhetoric in flash language is still just

racist rhetoric in flash language and sniffing that out in the first, I’m not

racist … but,

 

It isn’t recognising white privilege and entitlement, functioning under white

privilege and entitlement, loving under white privilege and entitlement,

 

It doesn’t start with the huge fucking disappointment when a brown

brotha is worse than the worst redneck you’ve encountered in your life,

 

It doesn’t start by standing up for your iwi, people, culture, colleague,

son, daughter, lover, missus, Koro, Nan, cuzzie, animals, Papatūānuku, or

even yourself,

Mō āhea tīmata ai? ka tīmata āwhea?

 

Ehara i te whakakakapa i te haki, i te pupuri ki te kara, i te mōhio ki

te ariā pōhi koroniara me te wā e tika ana kia whakamahia, i te tuhi i

ngā whakataukī ki te rae ka whakarārangi ai anō nei he hōia e tukuna

putupututia ana ki te whawhai,

 

Ehara i te mānawanawa, i te noho areare, i te tōkeke o te whakarongo,

i te mātai i ākinga ōu, i te whatatika i tō whakahoki kua āta tuhia, i te

whakamīharo ki te tangata nāna koe i whakaiti i te ipurangi, i te pāti, i

te kaupapa ā-mahi, i te kēmu whutupōro rānei me tana kore i rongo ki te

hākiki o ia kupu āna, me e haehae ana i te ngākau, he rite tōna kaha ki te

kotinga o te haira e whakawātea ana i te pātītī roa,

 

Ehara i te kitenga o te kōrero kaikiri kua whakareia ki te kupu whakaniko,

me te mōhio tonu iho he kōrero kaikiri tonu kua whakareia ki te kupu

whakaniko, ehara au i te kaikiri … heoi anō,

 

Ehara i te whakamārama i te huanga me te āheinga kiritea, e mahi ana i

raro i te huanga me te āheinga kiritea, e aroha ana i raro i te huanga me te

āheinga kiritea,

 

Kāore e tīmata i te mutunga kē mai o te matekiri i te mea he kino noa ake

te tūngāne kiriparauri i te kakī whero tino kino rawa atu kua tūpono i

roto i ō rā,

 

Kāore e tīmata i tō tū tautoko i tō iwi, i ō tāngata, i tō ahurea, i tō

kaimahi, i tō tama, i tō kōtiro, i tō whaiāipo, i tō wahine, i tō koro, i tō

kuia, i tō whanaunga, i ō mōkai, i a Papatūānuku, i a koe anō hoki,

It starts,

with that first step from the margins into the glare of light

and

opening

your

mouth,

that started

when the idea of you was born and took seed

that started

when the idea of you was born and took seed

that started

when the idea of you was born

that started

with the idea of you.

Ka tīmata,

i te tapuwae tuatahi i te paenga ki te kōnakonako o te tūrama

me te

hāmama

o tōu

waha,

i tīmata tērā

i te tinakutanga me te tupu o te whakaaro ki a koe

i tīmata

i te tinakutanga me te tupu o te whakaaro ki a koe

i tīmata

i te tinakutanga o te whakaaro ki a koe

i tīmata

i te whakaaro ki a koe.

 

 

©Maraea Rakuraku  Translated by Jamie Cowell, Tātai Whetū: Seven Māori Poets in Translation, Seraph Press, 2018.

 

 

Maraea Rakuraku is an award-winning playwright, poet, short story writer, critic, reviewer and broadcaster who lives in Wellington and the Bay of Plenty. She creates work that investigates, examines, calls out and celebrates Te Ao Māori and our navigation of 21st century Aotearoa New Zealand.

Her thoughtful, fierce intellectualism, and grounding in her Tūhoe and Ngāti Kahungunu identity, is matched only by her heart and commitment to giving voice.

With Vana  Manasiadis, Maraea is the co-editor of and contributor to Tātai Whetū: Seven Māori Poets in Translation, which has just been published by Seraph Press.

In 2018 she started a PhD in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters, Wellington.

One thought on “Monday Poem: Maraea Rakuraku’s ‘When does it start?’

  1. Pingback: At The Spin Off: Vana Manasiadis on Tātai Whetū: Seven Māori Women Poets in Translation | NZ Poetry Shelf

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