For Gary and his wife Maraea, our hosts in Te Upoko O Te Ika (Wellington).
He called upon the seabirds,
he addressed the fowls in the bush;
He embraced the gust by the cliff,
hands on his heart he chanted.
welcomed us to the sheltered harbour
likened to the head of a mystic fish –
Te Upoko O Te Ika.
He spoke for his past and his present –
his ancestors, himself and his family.
He let us in to his stunning homeland
which he shares with many natural wonders:
This bush bears a bitter fruit that heals the upset stomach,
you can weave all things you need with that flax by the tree;
Captain Cook once made tea with those manuka leaves,
people far and wide now flock over to savour its honey.
He charged ahead the bumpy road
to bring us to his friends in the woods,
upon his bellow handsome deer galloped forth,
chooks and pigs, ducks and goats all joined the call.
The seals down the coast were having a dip
lazing on the head rocks, scratching, sunbathing,
oblivious, idly basking in bliss,
sends visitors oohing and aahing.
Our guide warned us of the unseemly charm
that the sea is not angry nor calm.
For if you get too close to the seal,
it might bite off your arm.
He then drove us to the Esplanade,
for an afternoon nibble at the Bach Cafe.
The food was amazing, so was the view,
best of all we get to meet his lady, it was our pleasure indeed.
The final stop was a marine experience hut,
housing graceful sea creatures galore.
Dare you touch these fish and spikes:
trust me, they don’t sting nor do they bite.
To cap off our afternoon, Gary said a prayer
to give thanks to what brought us together.
A handshake, and a touch of our noses,
friendship sealed as we share the breath of life.
* * * * * * *
photo courtesy of bernard, taken in waitomo, new zealand.