Turuturu Mokai Pa Poem by Thomas Golding

Turuturu Mokai Pa


Liam now four
Plays happily by the stream
Where the iwi once set traps for food
We sit in the shade and watch
His Grandmother and I
As the sticks sail slowly away
Waterfowl swim unperturbed
As he hurls another a long way short
This game could go on all day.

Water flows through deep banks of mud
Streams of bubbles plopping through
Fascinating to a child, we adults also
I teased him there must be frogs
Asleep during the hot day
“They’ll wake up tonight, ” I promised
Liam wasn’t impressed
I had forgotten the affinity
Small boys have for frogs
He wants them to wake up now!
Hunting ducks is some compensation.
A peaceful scene unlike the past
When the old people defended this holding with passion
A fearsome name from a fearful time.

Suddenly I sensed others near
“Haire mai, ” whoever you are on this lovely day
The people of this place answered in kind
Old kuia come to see and compare
This mokopuna with their own begotten sons
Of sons and daughters
As elders of all cultures treasure
Their gateways to the future
The ambience is warm and friendly
As we share the pleasure of a child at play
Long indeed since theirs played here
Soon enough it’s time to go
“Haire ra old kuia! ”
We thank you for sharing the day
And allowing us to enjoy your land.

A feeling of welcome return follows
As Liam drags his feet back to the car.

Tom Golding

* Pa-Maori Village.

Thomas Golding

Thomas Golding

Lower Hutt. Wellington. New Zealand
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