Te Awa Kaitunu has forged its way
from Rotoiti to Maketu
where tides whirl to the horizon.
A small boat is caught
on a sand bar.
A young man on shore,
cell phone in hand, calls
‘Get in quick bro.’
The sea is playful, deceptive,
My feet kick silver sand
but just there, it’s golden,
Where seabirds pick for kai.
I huddle in my jacket,
Shelter from that biting wind.
Stones, round like dinosaur eggs
Crowd under bossy cliffs,
Were they here when the first waka arrived
Plunging the waves,
No cell phone to guide them in.
Hard-case houses gaze to sea
Simple, and functional.
Their brown-legged inhabitants
wander sand flats, kete in hand,
rugby shorts the uniform
pipi fritters, best kaimoana for tea.
The world has changed
since that first waka came,
Te Awa Kaitunu still wanders to sea,
the tide still whirls to the horizon,
these cliffs boss the same stony beach
and sea birds screech in search of scraps.