new zealand electronic poetry centre



J . C.   S T U R M

J. C. Sturm was born in Opunake, New Zealand and her tribal affiliations are to Taranaki iwi and Whakatōhea. She has published poetry and short stories in periodicals and anthologies since 1947. Her first collection of short stories, The House of the Talking Cat, was published in 1983. Her first collection of poems, Dedications, was published in 1996 and received the Honour Award for poetry in the 1997 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Her second collection of poems was published in 2000. She worked as a librarian in Wellington for 23 years and retired to Paekākāriki where she still lives.

He waiata tēnei mō Parihaka

Have you heard of Parihaka
Maunga Taranaki
And the sea

Where Te Whiti o Rongomai
And Tohu Kakahi
Passive resistance, not war?

Have you heard of Parihaka
Where Taranaki iwi
Seeking a way to keep their land?

Non-violence was their choice
Peace their aim
Raukura their badge
Ploughs their only weapons.

They pulled down fences
Pulled out pegs
Then ploughed whatever
The settlers claimed was theirs.

Have you heard of Parihaka’s
Boys and girls
Waiting outside the gates
When the mounted soldiers came

To rape and murder
Pillage and burn
To take Te Whiti and Tohu away
With all the ploughmen

And ship them south
To build a causeway
Around Dunedin’s
Wintry harbour?

Have you heard of Taranaki iwi
Denied a trial,
Chained like dogs
In sealed caves and tunnels?

Ngāi Tahu smuggled
Food and blankets
To the prisoners
Comforted the sick in the dark.

Kua ngaro ngā tangata
Kua ngaro i te pō!
Auē te mamae
That followed after!

If you haven’t heard of Parihaka,
Be sure
Your grandchildren will
And their children after them,

History will see to that.
But for now,
He waiata tēnei mō Parihaka –
Auē, auē, a-u-ē –



Last updated 04 July, 2004