I came across this wonderful piece of bush poetry by East Coast farmer Graeme Williams and asked his permission to publish it. It recalls a distant time that may come to be known as the BIP (Before Identity Politics) Era. I have left the punctuation as it is – that is to say, non-existent – so as not to detract from its rough and raw charm.
I need to write to you again
Because this ridiculous Three Waters nonsense
needs rapidly flushing down the drain
I was born and raised in Tokomaru Bay
and for that reason luckier than most
I think that you and the rest of the country
should behave as we do on the Coast
You see when I was at primary school
And it’s only now I stop to think
That all my mates had brownish skin
and only two of us had pink
Freckles I had plenty of
and copped a bit of flak
I learnt that when you cop some flak
you simply throw it back
Nothing was a problem
cause we thought we were the same
It mattered not our heritage
or from where or how we came
We lived a rich and happy life
the envy I suggest of most
A mutual respect by unity
that is synonymous with the Coast
Our forefathers worked the land together
having cleared it from the bush
They also toiled in the trenches together
when shove it came to push
In every way in every respect
they were equally brothers in arms
Whether it was at Gallipoli
on the rugby field or farms
I took a stand at Ihungia*
the year was 1979
An 8-stand gang of Ju Maraki’s
the only pinkish skin was mine
I was treated as an equal
after all it’s all we knew
A pity the rest of the country
do not do what coasters do
5 till 5 the daily runs
there were tens of thousands to be shorn
My contribution was minimal
but no criticism there was borne
Legend Frankie Wharehinga
one of the most gracious men you’d meet
Shearing right beside me
500, consistently and neat
A beer together at knock off time
it was always Lion Red
Heaps of fun and laughter
to the quarters from the shed
Showers were by hierarchy
despite it being an English tank
We were in a gang together
but we never preceded Frank
You see the water belonged to all of us
and equally we did rely
Ownership’s a crock of shit
when its falling from the sky
We’re all in the same shower together
and of that we should be proud
The shower belongs to all of us
When she’s falling from the cloud
Ihungia’s now in carbon credits
and that’s a bigger crock of shit
For when it comes to logic
There’s not even a teenie weenie bit
Perhaps Aunty Jacinda
you could explain to me just why
How a German owning a Kiwi tree
can pump endless crap into the sky.
I worry about the future
for our grandies and tiny totters
With the illogic, logic of carbon credits
and the bureaucracy of 3 “whaters”
“whater” we going to do about it
“whater” we going to say
“whater” we going to do in the shit
when sure will come the day
I return you back to Ihungia
an iconic station before the trees
Beef and lamb and orchards
with honey birds and bees
I think of all our forebears
and the ilk of those like Frank
Logic says, 3 “whaters” and carbon credits
best put in a septic tank.
*Ihungia: one of the last great sheep and cattle stations on the East Coast, now planted in forestry and overseas-owned.
That says it all.
Thumbs up !!!! Quadruple !!!
Very sad indeed. A madness has descended on the country.
Just brilliant, poignant, heart-felt words. And very sad truth.
.Trev." A madness has descended on the country."
Careful she's the PM.
Karl I have been working on a video about the decolonisation of Christchurch and so I hunt for (preferably) someone saying something.
Dalziel says Ngai tahu are the soul of the city (is she serious?).
You have the Cera Act which gave Ngai tahu equal power in decision making; I have Julia Whapooti saying that was done by stealth (she uses stealth 3 times).
I have a woman from ChristchurchNZ telling we bus drivers how to present Christchurch in a way that excludes it’s mass of settlers and then telling us that Victoria Square was the Ngai tau, Ngati momoe, Waitaha “market place – if you like” and we tend to think of Christchurch in it’s European history – it’s not. It wa as far as you could come up the tide...It’s just that we centered Chc in the square instead of where it had been”
I have Professor H from Lincoln (planning professor) saying “this is the 3rd phase of the city “and “this place teemed with Ngai tahu”.
I have Kathy Davidson’s archeology blog where despite “keeping her eyes peeled” they only found European artefacts.
I have Katie Pickles talking about Butler and her eyes glazing when she talks about Maori and landscape (what a mess that settlement was).
I have a vice chancellor talking about Hamilton statues. She groups the farming family with the ‘racist statues”. She doesn’t come outright and say it but by implication.
I’m trying to get to the need to rename.
I read a review (have it somewhere) where Simone Drichell discusses a book that describes the “imperial project” which casts it’s gaze on foreign peoples.
Last night I found
It is about the politics of naming. They do a discourse analysis of objections to the geographic board changing Murderers Bay to ____. What you find though is critque ( dissing) of the European argument with an implied assumption that this is the correct thing to do (except for those Colonel Blimp types).
So you are always following a mirage which doesn’t get to that underlying motivation and I woke up this morning thinking that is a type of vandalism.
Then you get the motivatedness of some people. On Pete George blog there was a non-Maori leftist type who, when it was suggested that we have 50:50 Maori/Pakeha representation was over the moon at the idea. Or the “child” behind having a national holiday for the NZ Wars. Her parents were activists from way back and she had wanted to be Maori. Scott Hamilton is the classic example.
So it is hard to make a case when it may even be religion. I had a friend who was a Bahai and when he explained it I’m thinking “how would that make me want to be a Bahai?”.
So I’m still working on it.
In the meantime the Tablet has interesting articles and I have one go at this but have to go over it again
The Open Society and Its Prophets
Great poem, lot of good old country common sense there. I think this guy was on Country Calendar 2-3 years ago. He and his wife sleep out on the verandah during the summer.
That's a great and relevent poem thanks. The answer to the carbon farming problem seems simple. Act and National need to loudly and firmly state that next time they are in power they will ban carbon farming without compensation.
Unknown – I came to this in your piece : “So you are always following a mirage which doesn’t get to that underlying motivation and I woke up this morning thinking that is a type of vandalism”. You are right. That is exactly what Auntie Jacinda and her naive crowd are doing to New Zealand at this very moment : They are vandalising. They are ploughing down, riding roughshod over so many of our old established institutions, our ways of thinking, our established culture, our beloved cities with their accepted history, our place names that are an integral part of our lives, et cetera, et cetera. And as underlying motivation we have only their flim-flam, fancy notions - a mirage, as you put it so very aptly.
I would be interested to see your planned video on decolonisation – and let us see it on You Tube. This is where intelligent, critical minds like yours must now flourish – as a well as on blogs like Karl’s. The printed media has had it. I would like to see them all go bankrupt and disappear.
Cindy you are trying to convince the people of NZ that history has changed. Time for you to get married and leave politics before you ruin this country so much that even you won’t want to live here
Jacinda has a program to work to and is masterful at shutting down decent. The newspapers in New Zealand are not worth the paper they are printed on. The editors are so happy to have a pot to dip into and they will not print any article that criticises the Labour Government, its members or its leaders. Don't expect the newspapers to run critical stories about Labour but stories that discredit the opposition will be published with vigour, fact or fancy. It is not easy to distinguish which stories are true, and who knows what stories have been withheld
Today, I received a flyer from the New Zealand Herald offering the NZ Herald for 5 weeks free of charge, this is an indication of the sorry state of their circulation. I would prefer to see the circulation drop to rock bottom. Maybe to increase circulation they could change the name to the “Labour Herald”. I can no longer trust their articles as long as they have Jacinda's honey pot.
Great poem and thanks for sharing. Not exactly sure the Mahia counts as East Coast, but from a Mahia expat on the other side of the world, this was my childhood and better then than now.
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