the taonga are placed on the sand.
taiaha stand quivering in the wind
speaking to the rōpū of sand-diggers,
fire-lighters, early morning risers.
the people of this place mix easily
with us manuhiri, come to watch.
the greenstone mere smashes
the seashell in half: a clean break
between where we’ve come from
and where we are now, understood.
we talk on the wind—impatience,
the ragged wave, sinks into the sand.
we listen to a story of seabirds,
how in the evening, their bellies full
they’ll spiral upwards on the wind.
when high enough, the leading birds
cry out and begin to fly straight
in the direction of their island home.
the birds on the sea, watching this,
lift off and follow
you who first rise up on the wind
to see which way for us, we promise
to follow. call out loud from above
and we in our numbers will fly!
the tide turns, we gather the taonga,
put them in the boot of the car
and drive to the whare, where we eat
together quietly—before one-by-one
we rise to the heights and speak
of all our directions home.