Category Archives: Uncategorized

Maraea Rakuraku’s ‘Allies: A Checklist’


Allies: A Checklist

  1. Associated always with some godawful Act of Aggression
  2. Hero swoops in
  3. Woman swooning
  4. War won


Allies:  A Checklist Revisited

  1. Try listening. Actually, scrap that just listen.
  2. i.s.t.e.n. P.a.k.e.h.a men.
  3. Especially you. Specially, special,specifically you.
  4. Alone this checklist applies.
  5. It doesn’t.
  6. It does.
  7. Feel that?
  8. Pissed off? Beset upon? Mis-judged? Angry? Emotional? Overly emotional? Guilty?
  9. You sure bloody are
  10. Look at you, looking at me, looking at you
  11. Assessing
  12. Is she educated enough?
  13. Articulate?
  14. Published?
  15. Literary?
  16. Poetical?
  17. Pretty?
  18. Hot, enough?
  19. Enough already.
  20. Whatever is what, I’m not – white man, white woman,
  21. E noho.
  22. You do you.
  23. I’ll – do me.
  24. Wāhine Māori ma, E tū

Ally: Definition

A country that has agreed officially to give help and support to another one, especially during a war:

If Patriarchy is the Country, Women are at war.

If Women is the Country, Patriarchy is the war.

Ally: Definition

Someone who helps and supports someone else.

Doesn’t takeover. Doesn’t redefine. Doesn’t reinterpret. Doesn’t tell you about you. Doesn’t tell you how you can do you better. Doesn’t make it about them. Just doesn’t.

Ally: Definition

Someone who helps and supports someone else by – helping and supporting, someone else.

  1. Ally from the Latin word alligare,
  2. Alligare – to bind to
  3. We, are bound
  4. To make it happen: Amirite wāhine ma?
  5. As for binding – be it feet, a relationship or “spiritually”. No.
  6. Means no.
  7. No – maybe. No – later. No – after dinner. No – because it makes you sleep easier. No.
  8. Nothing ever stops the Patriarchy from being itself.
  9. Through narcissistic old white.
  10. Men who yet again, tell me they know me better than I know my…
  11. Self actualisation, theirs, reflective in a world created solely by them
  12. for them. Not us.
  13. Selina Tusitala Marsh stretching across the Pacific through whakapapa and words following,
  14. Teresia Teaiwa, who did it first,
  15. Grace Molisa, before her. And the legions –
  16. Legends before her, not myths
  17. Truths
  18. Friend
  19. I ally you and your story
  20. and your telling of it
  21. not mine
  22. yours
  23. In solidarity.
  24. Shoulder to shoulder.
  25. An ally jimmies. There is room enough for two, for multitudes.
  26. Sister, the light is enough for us all. Come. Here. Join me. Join us.


Maraea Rakuraku



Musician and actor Moana Ete read this heart-stunning poem at the Wild Honey National Poetry event at Wellington’s Unity Books and you could hear a pin drop the silence was so deep.

Tonight I am celebrating Wild Honey in Palmerston North, and tomorrow I am heading from the airport to RNZ to talk favourite books, music, poetry and movies with Jessie Mulligan on the Bookmarks spot. It feels like this intensely wonderful time I have had drawing my new book into the world is moving into a different phase. I can retreat into my quiet life and do secret things for a while. Time to recharge the empty fuel tank.

It is utterly fitting to post Maraea’s poem that muses on the word ‘ally’. The past weeks have been a time of poetry friendship, of warmth, empathy and connections. I am so grateful to everyone who has attended and participated in the Wild Honey events.

And I am so moved by Maraea’s poem – it makes my heart sing.


‘Sister, the light is enough for us all. Come. Here. Join me. Join us.’


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






Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Jordan Hamel’s ‘Wednesday’




It used to be on your forehead.

a blackened smudge

filtering through punctured skin,

entering the blood stream

until your cuts and scrapes became

Communion for forgotten sins

and you dripped the sermons

delivered in the precipices

of your childhood.


            Give us today our daily bread

                Forgive us our gluten intolerance


Like a bartender

who only serves

true crime podcast theories

or a stamp collector

who collects other stamp collectors,

habits reimagined

still ask you to bear the same weight.


Deliver us from temptation

Like a reverse Uber Eats


The smudge is still there,

bystanders can’t see it

nesting, in the coil of your

skull, calcified, waiting

to be exhumed and finally

rest behind glass or

stay dormant in the cave

surrendering to the moss,

never to be resurrected.


Jordan Hamel



Jordan Hamel is a Pōneke-based poet and performer. He was raised in Timaru on a diet of Catholicism and masculine emotional repression. He is the current New Zealand Poetry Slam champion and has words published or forthcoming in Takahē, Poetry NZ, Mimicry, Sweet Mammalian, Glass Poetry, Queen Mob’s Teahouse and elsewhere.





A tribute to Dunedin poet: Elizabeth Brooke-Carr (1940 – 2019)

Elizabeth B-C in the Caselberg cottage.jpg



On Friday 6th September I was in Dunedin to celebrate Wild Honey with local poets. The occasion was moving in its connections and warmth, but made even more so by the sadness many felt at the death of much loved Dunedin poet, Elizabeth Brooke-Carr that afternoon.


Elizabeth Brooke-Carr was a poet and writer. She taught English in secondary schools for twenty years and has tutored creative writing evening classes. Her work includes The Soldier and the Poet, a collaborative piece with Clair Beynon. Her poems, and her short story ‘Jimmy the Needle’, have been published in the Otago Daily Times. Her articles on social justice and environmental issues have appeared on the web, in Touchstone, the National Methodist Newspaper, as an exemplar in NZ Secondary Schools Scholarship Examination, and in Connections a collection by Philip Garside Publishing. Her 2005 essay won the open section in the Dunedin City Council’s competition about the built environment. She was awarded an NZSA mentorship in 2007, and in 2009 was winner of the NZSA 75th anniversary National Competition. Elizabeth was the inaugural writer-in-residence, Down the Bay, at the Caselberg Trust cottage in 2010.

I have invited some Dunedin poets to pay tribute to Elizabeth. Jenny Powell shares the poem of Elizabeth’s that she read at the Wild Honey event. I have also included the introduction to the new 8 Poems plus one which became a wee letter-press-printed anthology of 9 poems in order to publish Elizabeth’s this year rather than next. The anthology was released in time for her to see it and depended upon an act of kindness from Riemke Ensing. Thanks to The Pear Tree Press I have also included Elizabeth’s poem.

Elizabeth’s page at Otago Writers network


Jenny Powell:

I chose Elizabeth’s poem to read partly because it’s about a Clydesdale horse and partly because there are a series of coincidences attached to the poem.

Kay McKenzie Cooke and I, otherwise known as touring poets J & K Rolling, posed with Clydesdales for the photo we use on our posters. Elizabeth loved the photo. It reminded her of childhood days, and so she went on to write her poem.

J & K Rolling have a shared trait of getting lost. It’s not a great quality when you’re on tour. Last year, inland from Owaka, we were driving down a country road looking for the farmhouse where we were staying the night. After a while we came to an old dairy factory and Kay decided we weren’t on the right road, so we turned around and drove back. Coincidentally, directly across the road from the dairy factory was the setting for Elizabeth’s poem. It was the site of the farm where she lived as a child.

But I wasn’t prepared for the final coincidence.

Elizabeth died this afternoon.


Nobby and Joseph

He hauled the bulky leather collar from a peg
at the back of the high walled barn,
heaved it up in a crane-swing arc

to fasten around Nobby’s burnished shoulders,
a soft word or two blurted into his neck
with awkward country affection,

a rub of his jaw, a nudge, and down to the garden
they trudged, Joseph close behind
the old Clydesdale, silky leg feathers

flaring wide in a lumbering dance, through the gate
harnessed to a single-furrow plough
nosed firm into the earth.

Joseph held the reins lightly, the hand grips hard
turned the sod slice by slice,
like strips of blubber flensed from

the sides of a dark-fleshed whale, rolling them
over onto the back of the last neat row
until the whole field was an ocean

of green fringed waves. His turf is kept by another
now, who sits astride a ride-on mower,
smoke wafting, incense-blue,

from the exhaust-pipe thurible, rumbling deepthroated
down swathes of sombre lawn
flanked by granite headstones,

one, with Joseph’s name and a few shy words
of love, tethered in gold letters,
blinks in the sinking sun.

Elizabeth Brooke-Carr
Dunedin, New Zealand


Sue Wootton

I selected several of Elizabeth’s poems for the ODT when I was editing the poetry column, and also had the privilege of publishing a couple of pieces by her, recently, for Corpus. “All hitched up” is about receiving her first dose of chemotherapy and contains her poem “The Vein Whisperer”.




With kind permission from The Pear Tree Press, here is the  ‘Introduction’ and Elizabeth’s poem; from 8 Poems plus 1 by New Zealand Poets 2019,designed by Tara McLeod (Auckland: The Pear Tree Press, 2019):




‘All that remains is pressed flat’ Elizabeth Brooke-Carr, 8 Poems plus 1:





Claire Beynon shares one of Elizabeth’s poems that recently came to light after quite a search. ‘I took it to our writing meeting yesterday and read it out to the group – it’s a poem that Paddy Richardson especially loved. She said it had stayed with her long after first being published in the ODT’s Monday Poem series (several years ago, when Diane Brown was editor).’


When bright red was eclipsed by silver shoon


You see your teacher perched on a spare desk

at the front of the classroom. A dusty blackboard

behind, frames her there, skirt tucked tight around

her calves. She stares across the top of your head,

draws a long, deep breath, Silver, she says, pausing

to open the book on her lap. She begins to read.


You are captivated by her bright red lipstick,

it goes right to the corners of her mouth.

You hear your mother say scarlet is for show-offs

and only clowns take lipstick out to the corners.


Your teacher knows none of this.

She is enchanted by Silver. Her lips, full and lucent,

send tiny stars wheeling off into the round,

as she aspirates each soft, silvered sound.

You forget bright red and what your mother said.

Everything is silver.


Your teacher is swaying a little, peering this way

and that as she reads. You know she’s walking

with the moon, and soon you catch up.

You’ve never heard of shoon, or casements,

but now you see them, glistening. You reach out,

touch silver fruit on silver trees, step around

the sleeping dog, look up to doves. Startle

when a mouse darts by. You’re moveless near the

edge of a silver stream when you become aware


your teacher has stopped reading. She has

closed the book, a far-away look in her eyes.

Ah, girls, she sighs, Walter de la Mare!

She speaks his name in a spangle of stars,

clasps him close to her chest as she swoons

and steps down to the floor. You’re still thinking

of the moon, leaving the sky to come and walk

with you at bright red noon, slowly, silently

to the end of your days, in her silver shoon.


Elizabeth Brooke-Carr



From Jane Woodham:



Listen to Elizabeth read an extract from her novel Greywacke







All that remains is pressed flat,


a strip of bare earth up on the hillside

and, between the leaves of a book

she was reading that morning, four stiff stalks

bearing sunrise petals. A softly coiled feather

brats the air when she turns the page.


from ‘All that remains is pressed flat’,  8 Poems plus 1






Poetry Shelf noticeboard: Better Off Read in conversation with Carolyn DeCarlo (AUP New Poets)

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(Image of Carolyn DeCarlo by Tabitha Arthur)


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Launched in 1999, AUP New Poets first introduced readers to Anna Jackson, Sonja Yelich, Janis Freegard, Chris Tse and many other significant New Zealand voices. Relaunching this year under the editorship of Anna Jackson and with a bold new look, AUP New Poets 5 includes substantial selections from the poetry of Carolyn DeCarlo, Sophie van Waardenberg and Rebecca Hawkes.

Go here to listen




Poetry Shelf audio spot: Vana Manasiadis reads ”Hieroglyph 3 (or Colin McCahon’s Gate III in 1993)’






Vana Mansiadis reads ‘Hieroglyph 3 (or Colin McCahon’s Gate III in 1993)’

Published in The Grief Almanac: A Sequel  Seraph Press, 2019



Vana Manasiadis is a Greek-New Zealand poet, translator and creative writing teacher who has been moving between Aotearoa and Greece, and is now living in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland. Her first collection, Ithaca Island Bay Leaves: A Mythistorima, was published by Seraph Press in 2009. She is the co-editor of the Seraph Press Translation Series, and was the editor and translator of Ναυάγια/Καταφύγια: Shipwrecks/Shelters: Six Contemporary Greek Poets (2016) and co-editor, with Maraea Rakuraku, of Tātai Whetū: Seven Māori Women Poets in Translation.


Seraph Press author page