Aotearoa New Zealand
‘Kotahi ano te kōhao o te ngira
E kuhuna ai te miro ma te miro whero me te miro pango ‘
– Pōtatau Te Wherowhero
]There is but one eye of the needle,
Through which the white, red and black threads must pass.]
ko Aotearoa te ingoa o tēnei whenua ātaahua.
land of the long white cloud for many
nestling in a sea of verdant green,
surrounded by a brilliant blue ocean
& where the All Blacks often reign.
yet of course New Zealand
is also the name of these islands
some say that maybe –
with our increasingly multi-cultural crew
Pākehā, Māori, Asian, Pasifika –
it is time for a new name,
stressing our interconnections?
after all, we are rowing together
in this waka nowadays
heading in the right direction –
learning how we can all work closely
to include, as well as to respect, all our
sometimes confusing cultural credos
and to kōrero together in spite of them
in a continuous talanoa.
malo e lelei
different, yes and yet, respecting this diversity,
this contrasting, this sometime conflicting mix,
where Te Tiriti o Waitangi is the foundation document,
where journalism has flourished for well over 150 years
with upfront news & freedom of views
in the two key tongues, te reo Māori rāua ko te reo Ingarihi,
& Hindi is now the fourth most spoken language – namaste!
together we can connect and thrive.
āe ko Aotearoa te ingoa
throughout both North and South
we are birds singing several different waiata
tui, takahē, kōkako, kiwi
striving to make one mighty nest;
our own place for all –
one of a kind, the very rare huia,
a heaven on earth.
pristine air; clean water; prime food,
scenic vistas second to none,
what else could anyone want?
āe, ko Aotearoa te ingoa
let’s be thankful about who we are
& what we have –
the sense of fair play
the spirit of helping those in need,
sharing & supporting
including one and all.
thank you my friends
kia ora taku hoa
fa’afetai outou o a’u uo
xie xie wo peng-youmen
salamat po mga kaibigan
shukraan lakum ‘asdiqayiy
there is so much to celebrate
in this lengthy land,
tō mātou whenua tino waimarie
& we should all be proud.
from ngā whakamatuatanga / interludes (cyberwit, 2019)
A poet, novelist, teacher, critic, translator and editor, Vaughan Rapatahana, Te Ātiawa, commutes between homes in Hong Kong, Philippines and Aotearoa New Zealand. He is widely published across several genres, in multiple countries, in both his main languages, te reo Māori and English, and his work has been translated into Bahasa Melayu (Malay), Italian, French, Mandarin.
In 2019, he published five books, participated in World Poetry Recital Night, Kuala Lumpur and Poetry International at London’s South Bank Centre and in the launch of Poems from the Edge of Extinction and in Incendiary Art: the power of disruptive poetry. His poem tahi kupu anake included in the presentation by Tove Skutnabb-Kangas to the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues in Geneva in November 2019. His PhD thesis from the University of Auckland is on Colin Wilson and subsequently published a collected works about Wilson, More than the Existentialist Outsider (Paupers Press, Nottingham, UK, 2019.)
His latest poetry collection ngā whakamatuatanga/interludes was published by Cyberwit, Allahabad, 2019) and Aotearoa New Zealand. Atonement (University of Santo Tomas Press, Manila) was nominated for a National Book Award in Philippines (2016). He writes a series of commentaries pertaining to Aotearoa New Zealand poetry for Jacket 2 (University of Pennsylvania, USA): a 2015–2016 series and again during 2018-2019.
His poetry teaching resources have been published in Hong Kong SAR, Brunei Darussalam, Australia, and New Zealand, including the first bilingual (Māori and English) such resource in 2011, Teaching Poetry. In 2019, book three of the series Poetry in Multicultural Oceania has been published by Essential Resources, Christchurch, New Zealand – with a new resource Exploring Multicultural Poetry for younger students due at the end of 2019.
Rapatahana will be participating in The Foundation and Cultural Organization International Academy Orient-Occident. Curtea de Argeş, Romania in July 2020.
Rapatahana is one of the few World authors who consistently writes in and is published in te reo Māori – in all of his books and also poetry publications in Aotearoa NZ (for example, Mayhem, Poetry New Zealand, takahē), USA (Antipodes), Canada (The Capilano Review), Australia (Meniscus), U.K. and so on. It is his mission to continue to do so and to push for a far wider recognition of the need to write and to be published in this tongue.
His New Zealand Book Council Writers File