Hana Pera Aoake

Neither solid nor liquid

Have
you
ever
been
to the space where the
moana
meets
the
shore?

Kimihia katoa nga putake o te kaupapa, ingia I kitea, kimihia te rongoa.1

When a child is born the water comes first,
Then the child,
Followed by the afterbirth.
What we call our whenua.

The ocean expands
It open and shuts
licking the shore’s edge
its hinge has almost fallen off

Slapping the sandflies against the surface of skin
Squish
Parasites
Weeds
Bacteria
Takarangi

Our lungs turn into gills as we swim in grey smoke

I dream that my body is an octopus
My brain surrounds its throat
My nerve cells stretch from my brain down my arms
My arms can regrow and move independently
My skin can change colour and shape
My suckers can feel and taste
I have two hearts

I glide through the water purposefully propelling myself against its currents from far far away

A whale washes ashore
It’s lungs are made of plastic bags and tin cans
It’s breath is like a pohutukawa tree snapping into the ocean

Taawhirimaatea stirs

Rust coloured pohutukawa flower
Stuck in the cracks
Roots like twisted muscles and bones
We used to place our placentas into its mouth
We buried our bones in its caves beneath its network of tentacles

Perhaps they sense that something is wrong
The whales song of despair
Perhaps they get lost
Cannot be heard by the human ear
It’s frequency cannot be
detected

Echolocation function failure

It is believed that the reason whales commit mass suicide
Stranding themselves on the shore
Much like the krill,
Who stained the beach red

It appears as dust

A diving programme on raupatu roto
Learn to drive through a sunken urupa
A subdivision on scorcia rock
Lifestyle blocks of identical utopian dreams
Dressed in grey and named “The Botanical”
Highway sprawls against the picket fence
In a way a highway is like an ocean

The flattened volcano tops

In the city the sewers say
Throw no waste flows to the sea
The Waitemata stream stirs below us
Water creaking through the cracks of a cheese grater
Ripping up Karangahape road to see it’s insides
The water beneath
The stream
A waka highway

Constructed narratives are our bottled water

In 1900 Phosphorous was found in Te Aka or ‘Banaba’
Discovered by a New Zealander
an “agreement” was made
999 years, at a cost of 50 pounds per year.
Te Aka was exploded, bulldozed, crunched and ripped apart
—all for its phosphate
We used it to feed our crops and livestock
We now use phosphorus from Western Sahara

History is not history

There was a town called Horahora
That disappeared into Lake Karapiro
It was the first hydro station on my river
Built to serve the Waihi gold mining company

Endless growth

and we drink the chemicals
and we wash our bodies with chemicals
and we brush our teeth with chemicals
and we don’t collect seeds anymore
But maybe that’s a start

Tiny particles pop

  1. Morgan, K. (2009). Takarangi, yin and yang, mauri and qi. MAI Review, (5), peer commentary, 1. doi:http://www.review.mai.ac.nz/mrindex/MR/article/viewFile/284/284-1915-1-PB.pdf

Hana Pera Aoake (Ngaati Mahuta, Tainui/Waikato, Ngaati Raukawa) is an artist, writer and editor based in Waikouaiti on stolen Kai Tahu land. They are studying at Maumaus escola des artes, co-edit Kei te pai press and Tupuranga journal and co-host a podcast, KISS ME THRU THE PHONE with Mya Cole (iTaukei). They love eating kaimoana and defacing colonial property.

Chris Tse >

By Hana Pera Aoake

(Ngaati Mahuta, Tainui/Waikato, Ngaati Raukawa) is an artist, writer and editor based in Waikouaiti on stolen Kai Tahu land. They are studying at Maumaus escola des artes, co-edit Kei te pai press and Tupuranga journal and co-host a podcast, KISS ME THRU THE PHONE with Mya Cole (iTaukei). They love eating kaimoana and defacing colonial property.