new zealand electronic poetry centre



S A M U E L   C R U I C K S H A N K

Samuel Cruickshank writes that he is “a Maori-Scots kid who was conceived in Christchurch, gestated in Tonga and eventually surfaced in Labasa, Fiji”.

urban iwi: tihei mauri ora!

bound together by mobile phones
we kōrero our brown words
through fibre-optic, satellite networks
of tukutuku DNA.

daily, our moko spirals are served
to us in coffee cups of ground
dark beans, infused with
milky, swirling froth

with bums on seats, we gather kūmara,
ika, oysters, kūtai and organic watercress
from menus at restaurants on Ponsonby Rd.

we navigate our paths in waka
that are power-steering pulled
through High St seas of suits and ties.

the city is our marae; skyscraper
tekoteko with a hundred square eyes
surround us on all sides.

at night, our people climb the sky tower
maunga and offer their koha
in karakia rituals of chance.

we email each other
fingers playing the pūtōrino on keyboards
of corporate hardware –
                    – there is not an adze in sight.
only, the taiaha of new technologies
used skilfully in brown hands.

Sky Digital offers up images of our haka,
chanting its close-up shots of All Black
                                        Te Rauparahas.
we lost the World Cup, and Hinewehi
Mohi could not sing our anthem in te reo
on a global satellite stage.

for waiata, we reach for our stereo remotes.
Mai FM 88.6, CDs – Oceania, Moana,
Betty Anne, Bic, Boh, & Kiri for a bit of an aria.
we hit the random button, and our people’s songs
segue into Riki, Jennifer, Shania and
                                                 Robbie Williams.

there is a political swing towards removing
The Treaty. The Beehive is an uncontested site
for Maori Sovereignty –
                    – it was a book once.
now it sits on the backbenches obscured
                    by darkened spectacles.

and “we who sit in darkness” –
           – do we ride the crest of a new millennium?
who will be our Kupe next?

urban iwi, may we rise up and be counted.
may our voices be heard in this whenua,
                                        that is Our home.
may we pull the mana of our tupuna from
within our globalised selves, and breathe again.

Tihei Mauri Ora! There is life within us!



Last updated 04 July, 2004