Poem for Papatūānuku – Mother Earth

by Ngāti Hine/Ngāpuhi writer Nadine Anne Hura


Rest now, e Papatūānuku

Breathe easy and settle

Right here where you are

We’ll not move upon you

For awhile


We’ll stop, we’ll cease

We’ll slow down and stay home


Draw each other close and be kind

Kinder than we’ve ever been.

I wish we could say we were doing it for you

as much as ourselves


But hei aha


We’re doing it anyway

It’s right. It’s time.

Time to return

Time to remember

Time to listen and forgive

Time to withhold judgment

Time to cry

Time to think


About others


Remove our shoes

Press hands to soil

Sift grains between fingers


Gentle palms


Time to plant

Time to wait

Time to notice

To whom we belong


For now it’s just you

And the wind

And the forests and the oceans and the sky full of rain


Finally, it’s raining!


Ka turuturu te wai kamo o Rangi ki runga i a koe


Embrace it


This sacrifice of solitude we have carved out for you


He iti noaiho – a small offering

People always said it wasn’t possible

To ground flights and stay home and stop our habits of consumption


But it was

It always was.


We were just afraid of how much it was going to hurt

– and it IS hurting and it will hurt and continue to hurt

But not as much as you have been hurt.


So be still now


Wrap your hills around our absence

Loosen the concrete belt cinched tight at your waist


Rest.

Breathe.

Recover.

Heal –


And we will do the same.