Regan Stokes


Many of the things that are here
should not be here;
perhaps a reordering is required.

Write a return order for all those koha kua riro atu:
taiaha lying in London museums
kauri waiting in offshore whare, kaha tonu.
They carry our hau
and when returned will carry yours too.

We’ll send back the possums,
send back the settlers?
No manaakitanga in that,
and very unsettling;
I’d have to pack my bags too.
But I would send back Hobson
request someone competent
or just return pene and pepa
along with The Treaty of Waitangi.
Te Tiriti can stay,
it had significant signature anyway,
and the promise of tino rangatiratanga…

Return the humans?
We all came from Elsewhere.
Manu say “Āe,
leave us with your attics
and cupboards full of bread;
we were doing fine without you,
and will do even better in your supermarket aisles.”

Āna, maybe for the best
to trade us people for moa, pouākai, kiwi, kererū, drinkable awa?
Throw in huia and you got a deal,
leave the whenua as it wants to be
Papa for PM, Rangi for deputy
though we’d always bump into it sooner or later,
star maps or compass
Ao-tea-roa or Zeeland volume two.

The most dangerous thing in this country is an open copy of Ka Whawhai Tonu Mātou.
The taiaha is waking;
ka kōrero te arero.

Some of the things that should be here
are coming back.

Regan Graham Kupu Stokes (Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ingarangi) is an Ōtautahi-based kaiako reo Māori, writer and musician. He completed the Hagley Writers’ Institute course in 2017 and enjoys writing poetry, short stories and songs in amongst the delight of whānau life.