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He whakaoriori nō Tāoho

A Lament from Taoho


English

O Rae', crying so fretfully within the house,

Let us two nestle closer,

As if in the haven of Taputapuatea,

A shelter against the wind,

While we listen to the roar of the sea

Below Maunganui,

We might then see clearly the land mist,

As we listen, we two,

To the rattling weapons of the many of Ati Puhi

As chiefs rally their forces, for battle.

Where is he, Te Huki,

The man who was destined for the blood-like kowhai waters

As multitudes gather within Puriri.

What to do about you, O son,

In the overturning of war canoes

Of Mahuhu itself, in the deep waters?

Hurry enter the doorway of the house of Nukutawhiti,

In the light of dawn.

Te Koikoi has now risen to vie with Rona

There is light all about,

There is a bright light o'er yonder horizon

that (you see) is but a lightsome cloud

Fastened there by the sun.

Your face is that of Tawhaki

Which shines forth and sets the heavens alight

As the call to war goes forth,

Let your gritting voice be heard and obeyed

In the glorious slaying (of men)

As your renowned footsteps resound in the North

What man will survive live in your land?

There will be Tuturiwhatu and Torea,

The sentinel birds of the Western inlet,

There you may be set adrift on the great ocean wave

That roars close by

There is nothing else, O son, in times of war,

It is indeed a slippery trail,

If we two only had

The warrior of the land, your uncle Tuoho

Alas, we are denied (his help)

If we were to grow the tukou for food,

The muharu will bide his time;

If we were to grow the tukou for Rongo,

The hotete will bide his time.

There is naught else but omens of death,

Let us in our plight seek refuge

Among the giant trees with Karawai yonder,

The hiding place of Reremura

When he is thereabouts

You will not otherwise survive

The swirling winds that blow

The puputara aground upon the shore

Nga Moteatea (The songs: scattered pieces from many canoe areas) collected by A T Ngata and translated by Pei Te Hurinui Jones (Auckland, 1985) part 2, #158, pp 194-197. See also I1(a):96-97.

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