When they announced his name
his Koro swelled onto the stage
to pass on his korowai
I shed a tear.
When the Kuia called out in a voice
which took centuries to create
to tautoko her boy
I felt the blood in my veins stir.
Had I not have been so proud
in this moment of this boy I’ve never even spoken to
I would have remembered to look at your face.
Had I been brave enough
to learn that haka when I walked these floors
I would have gotten up too.
How my angry tears would have rejoiced in the opportunity to startle you from the row behind
Arms, legs and fingers trembling from beneath my robe
Letting centuries of tīpuna rub your nose in it.
Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.
Subscribe | Renew | Donate November 9–16 to support progressive literary culture for another year – and for the chance to win magnificent prizes!