blackmail press 21
Rose Hollins
New Zealand

crossed cultures - special issue
Featured Artist Fiona Holding
Rose Hollins, 58, of Auckland, is a first generation pakeha New Zealander of ex English industrial capitalist/Irish Fabian socialist descent. She has learnt French, German, Latin, Spanish and Maori, but can still speak only English. She grew up working on a small Henderson poultry farm, a wage slave most of her life in a variety of jobs, communist-anarchist, poet, lyrics and leaflet writer, ex-wife and stepmother, and happy survivor of many incarcerations for forty years.
Part-Slave of Occupiers

                                        With thanks to Te Wānanga Aotearoa

                                        For Ilze, Marguerita & Graeme

                                        And for Melba and in loving memory of Rore

                                        And of dear comrade Barbel


Part-tourist, part-visitor, part-tauiwi occupier/overstayer,

– Though knowing no other land –

Part-slave of occupiers, learning to break their chains,

Welcomed guest:

I approach with fear because I must,

Walking in the forgotten skin of my ancestors

– How can I claim I should be welcome here?

But here I am at the marae,

Waiting with friends outside the taiepa

For the karanga to begin, following their familiar lead.

We move as one into the waharoa,

Pause as one.

I listen, but I cannot hear the meaning

Why we pause,

Move on again to the call.

Here we are manuhiri all, but I am pākehā.

Beyond, the whare whakairo:

This body cradles time, shelters life.

Mihi, whaikōrero are offered & exchanged,

Waiata flow melodiously through my ignorant ears

– Understanding some kupu begins to help,

But words are only words –

On the marae ātea I am as usual


Rightly insignificant & small, dazzled by history,

By wairua...

And then the hongi line of home people makes me real

– Greetings with such warmth and unaccusing love

Bring us whole into the wharenui –

Across the paepae

Shedding the dust with our shoes,

Under the mahau, the roro.

The tekoteko stands, has stood, the koruru can see.

I glimpse the maihi, stretching raparapa, as amo

Taller than us all shepherd us in through the kūaha,

The pare overhead, framed by whakawae – for us living.

Over there the matapihi,

Putanga auahi as it was called,

So spirits fly.

Inside, we sit our either sides of the tāhuhu.

The rara/heke of this great tinana, threaded by kaho

Hold up the pakitara/patu

Sharing strength with the poupou

And pou tāhū, pou tokomanawa, pou tuarongo to the back,

While climbing up & in between whakairo

The tukutuku panels:

Poutama, pātiki, purapura-whetū...

That much I know, but only

By dim sense of long-lost memories.

I am illiterate to the language of whakairo,

Blind to tukutuku & kōwhaiwhai:

               The geography of the stars, their dust

               The daily lives of fish

               The interwoven balances of man & world

Able only to wonder at the histories to be read.

Able only to let my eyes follow the shapes, & feel.

So glad to be made welcome here,

Walking in the forgotten skin of my ancestors.

Glossary of Te Reo Māori - Māori Language

(meanings specific to this use, in use order)

Māori - ordinary, indigenous people of Aotearoa

wānanga - place of learning, university

tauiwi – other/strange people, non-Māori residents

marae - meeting area of whānau, hāpu, iwi
ie family, clan/sub-tribe, tribe/people; courtyard

taiepa - fence, wall

karanga - call, summon, welcome, eg onto the marae

waharoa - entrance to fortified pā (waha: mouth, roa: long)

manuhiri - guest, visitor

pākehā - residents of predominantly European descent

whare whakairo - carved house

mihi - lament, acknowledge, praise

whaikōrero - make formal speech

waiata - songs

kupu - words

marae ātea - open area in front of carved house

wairua - spirit

hongi - salute by pressing noses

wharenui - big/main meeting house

paepae - threshold of porch

mahau, roro - porch of whare

tekoteko - carved figure on gable of whare

koruru - carved face on gable of whare

maihi - carved upper facing boards on gable

raparapa - projecting carved lower facing boards on gable

amo - carved posts supporting maihi, raparapa

kūaha - doorway, mouth

pare - carved lintel, slab over door

whakawae - carved uprights of doorway (wae: foot, leg)

matapihi - window

putanga auahi - pathway/outlet for smoke

  (our either sides) - manuhiri: guests/tāngata whenua: home people

tāhuhu - ridgepole of whare

rara - ribs

heke - rafters, thighs

tinana - body, real, actual

kaho - battens

pakitara - side walls

patu - thatch

poupou - internal support posts

  Carved support posts of ridgepole:

pou tāhū - front support post

pou tokomanawa - middle post

pou tuarongo - rear post

whakairo - carvings

tukutuku - lattice/weaving work on panels,

  Some patterns:

poutama - steps pattern

pātiki - flounder pattern

purapura-whetū - weaving pattern of stars

kōwhaiwhai - scrolling patterns painted on rafters

Parkhouse, Oakley Hospital, 1976

Today I was judged,
found happy,
Re-sentenced to a term of indefinite insanity
(soluble in water swallowed twice-daily
with certain chemical additives which
render me Reality in all its glory).

I submitted.
Let myself be led away from hope.
Admitted compromising mood swings.
Resolved not to reveal extraneous emotions.
Even not to feel.

Normality is just so hard to ape.
How do normal people cope?