Poetry Shelf Favourite Poems: Apirana Taylor’s ‘waewae pākura’

waewae pākura

footprints of the swamp hen
weaving pattern tukutuku
across the criss-cross patterns
woven into the panels
of the house
where the swamp hen
presses its feet into
the mud forever
leaving imprints tracks
of red toes in the ooze
where the flax weaver’s dreams
of the people are woven
into the whare tipuna
between the ancestors
who dance with the stars

Apirana Taylor


 I was inspired to write this poem while gazing at the pattern Waewae Pākura in a Whare Tipuna. I wanted to share the experience in words and take others on the journey I went on. I painted the poem first before I wrote it. The poem was first published in, the breathing tree, by Canterbury University Press (2014).

Apirana Taylor from the Ngati Porou, Te Whanau a Apanui, and Ngati Ruanui tribes, and also Pakeha heritage, is a poet, playwright, novelist, short story writer, story teller, actor, painter, and musician. His poems and short stories are frequently studied in schools at NCEA and tertiary level and his poetry and prose has been translated into several languages. He has been Writer in Residence at Massey and Canterbury Universities, and various NZ schools. He has been invited several times to India and Europe and also Colombia to read his poetry and tell his stories, and to National and International festivals. He travels to schools, libraries, tertiary institutions and prisons throughout NZ to read his poetry, tell his stories, and take creative writing workshops.

This is part of an ongoing Poetry Shelf series where poets pick a favourite poem from their own backlist and write a note to go with it.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s