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Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu: E Tala Mei Tonga Ki Tokelau

`Okusitino Māhina

A poem composed in remembrance of the Māori Queen, Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu, with translations into Māori and English. The poem belongs in the Tongan genre ta`anga tangilaulau, ta`anga tengihia or ta`anga tutulu, “poetry of weeping”. The late Queen Salote of Tonga, considered the most famous contemporary poet that Tonga has ever produced, was responsible for refining this literary genre, formally naming it “ta`anga tutulu” (‘tutulu’ being the honorific word for crying or weeping). Specifically, all these poetic forms are concerned with the mourning of death or of the dead. In fact, she wrote several ‘tutulu’ poems, such as the “Tutulu `a `Ene `Afio he Pekia `a Fusipala” (“Weeping of Her Majesty on the Death of Fusipala”), Fusipala being her younger half-sister.

The poem, translated “Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu: Telling the North from the South”, was composed in deep mourning of the death of the much-beloved, well-respected Māori Queen (lines 8-11). Symbolically, the poem makes reference to the extremely sad public pronouncement of her death (lines 4 & 7), which emanated from Aotearoa and reaching Tonga (line 6; see sub-title).

With symbolism, the poem proceeds to celebrate her unique royal trappings and great social achievements as an exceptional Māori heroine (lines 12-24), representing her very own people's common struggle for freedom (lines 25 & 32). A permanent way of life, this ongoing spirit of freedom was originated amongst such great Māori heroes as Te Wherowhero, enumerated through the enduring landscape movement of the Māori as truly a great people (The grand Ranginui-Papatuanuku origin myth attests to this state of greatness, which my most favourite of the Māori myths and I have written a long poem about it) (lines 25-32).

It also talks about the persistent cultural and historical inter-linkages between Aotearoa and Tonga, the so-called Friendly Isles, which can be traced back in time and space to antiquity (lines 6 & 35). It also alludes to the inevitability of death, vested in the hands of women (lines 36 & 37), transforming the ‘mortal’ body by leaving the immortal vanua, fonua or whenua as the indestructible, eternal soul (lines 38-40).

Fatu `e `Okusitino Māhina ko e tengihia mo e fakamanatu `o e hala `a e Kuini `ofeina mo faka`apa`apa`ia `o e kāinga Māori, Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu, Aotearoa Nu`usila, `Ākosi, 2006 `o e ta`u.

  1

Ne u nofo `ou mūnoa pē au

   

`Ikai `apē ha`ate fakakaukau

   

Takamilo e tā mo hono ta`au

   

Ka e fakafokifā kuo pā e peau

  5

Pea mahe`a he `ea `o e ngalu

   

Ke tala mei Tonga ki Tokelau

   

Kuo fasi tanunu pea loka tau

   

He tu`unga ia `ete tangi laulau

   

Ngaruawahia he `api kuo lala

  10

Turangawaewae e kuo lauta

   

Ke tangi lau`aitu mo sī fatafata

   

He kuo `auhia `a e taha`imaka

   

`A e Pounamu ko e tama`imata

   

Fetapaki hono huelo tupu`a

  15

`O maamaloa `i loto Aotearoa

   

Pea hulungia `i he `ulu fonua

   

Pohutukawa ne fisi pea moto

   

`O to`ulu mo matala he Waikato

   

Hono uini hauhau mokomoko

  20

Ne afuhi hono hulufe laumomo

   

`E Tainui mo e `api ko Turongo

   

Ho`o fanautama ko e tāongapō

   

Ko e fai`anga ia `o e tautoko

   

Muka `a `ofa `i he`etau nonofo

  25

`A e Kingitanga ia kuo he`aki

   

Ko e tala kuo fai hono lekesi

   

Kavei he feilaulau faimateaki

   

Te Wherowhero ne ne matua`i

   

Ko e Maui Kisikisi `o e `aho ni

  30

`A e fakapōpula ia na`a ne tau`i

   

Mo e fakapo`uli ne fakafepaki`i

   

Ko e tau`atāina `ene tu`uholoaki

   

Ko e ngātanga ia si`ete tālave

   

Pe`i tōfā koe ka kuo malave

  35

Ka u kalo ange au ki Felenite

   

Ko mate tofu ia mo `ene pule

   

Kātoi `i he `aofinima `o fafine

   

He nofo ni ko e nunu mo vete

   

Tu`uloa `a whenua ko e laumālie

  40

Hu`i teunga pē tui teunga pē

Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu: Telling the North from the South

Literal translation into English, by `Okusitino Māhina, in deep mourning and sincere remembrance of the death of the dearly beloved Māori Queen, Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu, Aotearoa New Zealand, August, 2006.

  1

Carefree and unaware I stay

   

And never was there thought

   

Of the complex cycle of time

   

Suddenly a big wave has crashed

  5

The airwaves sounded the alarm

   

Telling the North from the South

   

Swells crashing through rough seas

   

The cause of my crying in words

  10

Dearest Ngaruawahia is deserted

   

Yet, Turangawaewae is crowded

   

To weep loudly beating one’s breast

   

The one and only stone washed away

   

The Pounamu, the most precious

  15

Its age-old rays that glitter

   

Shining in the midst of Aotearoa

   

Flashing through to distant lands

   

The Pohutukawa is blossoming

   

It branches out and is flowering

  20

Nourished by the cool morning dews

   

Spraying the fine-leaf fern shrubs

   

Dearly beloved Tainui and Turongo

   

The child of your birth, a tāongapō

   

Interweaving, uniting us as tautoko

  25

Thro’ love the motto of our living

   

Of the Kingitanga that’s mentioned

   

A tradition of such refinement

   

Knotted through great sacrifice

   

Led by Te Wherowhero the agitator

  30

The Maui Kisikisi of our own time

   

Who stood up against oppression

   

Anti ignorance he fought it out

   

Making way for freedom to endure

   

Now that I have korero-ed my tangi

  35

Let me retreat to the Friendly Isles

   

Death’s freely acting and inevitable

   

Rightfully invested in women’s hands

   

Life condenses here and rarefies there

   

Yet, whenua is the ever-lasting soul

  40

With trappings worn on and off

Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu: Telling the North from the South

Metamorphic translation from Tongan to English by Manase Lua

  1

I ponder from the deep solace of space

   

lost in the beating of time, point and place

   

lo and behold comes the wind and the waves

   

crashing with force to astound and amaze

  5

carried aloft by a foam gusted breath

   

from South to North swells a black tide of death

   

Te Arikinui in casket of Toa

   

in grief they cry out to the atua

   

Ngaruawahia the house of the fallen

  10

Turangawaewae answers the calling

   

the beating of breasts and tears from sore eyes

   

last parting gifts and the children’s soft cries

   

given with love and sincere aroha

   

to one who gave light both near and afar

  15

her mana shines even now as before

   

pounamu eyes of a wahine toa

   

like the blood bloom of pohutukawa

   

Tainui waka her strength and mana

   

yet like a cool breeze she summoned them all

  20

“stand with me!” she called “stand straight and stand tall!”

   

summon the hosts with gnarled tokotoko

   

the chosen of Hine-nui-te-po

   

call for all waka of Aotearoa

   

Waikato wants peace not settling old scores

  25

to strengthen tomorrows Kingitanga

   

the word spreads forth from whanga to whanga

   

whomever shall wear this garland of kings

   

the hope of Te Wherowhero it brings

   

a burden worthy of Maui to bear

  30

won with valorous endeavour and care

   

the darkness dispelled with unity nigh

   

“freedom is staying together!” the cry

   

and on this bold note I gift you these birds

   

to ease the long road with fluttering words

  35

caught on the mounds of the Friendly islands

   

captured for chiefs from far as the highlands

   

kingly royal lines cross the ocean in grief

   

but her earthly form will find sweet relief

   

on chiefly soil will her head rest in lieu

  40

her spirit alight for me and for you.

Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu Whakaatu ana mai te Raki ki te Tonga.

Metamorphic translation to Māori by Te Aouru Biddle, Ngati Pikiao and Vicki Rangi, Tuhoe

  1

Kei roto au i te māhorahora me te ware

   

Kore rawa he whakaaro

   

Mo te uauatanga o te huringa ao.

   

Mea rawa ake kua tuki he ngaru nunui

  5

I whakaaraarahia e te karehau

   

Mai i te Raki ki te Tonga, ka whaakiihia.

   

E tuki nei te āmai i te moana hīngarungaru

   

Te take o waku kupu hotuhotu.

   

Kua whakarērea a Ngaruawaahia

  10

Engari te minenga, kei Turangawaewae

   

Ki te tangi tīwerawera e kaha mamae nei te uma.

   

Te kōhatu i horoia atu, ko tana kotahi

   

Te kōhatu tino marihi, te Pounamu

  15

E kōritorito nei ana hihi tawhito

   

E piataata nei i te ngākau o Aotearoa

   

Kōpura ana ki ngā whenua tawhiti.

   

E puāwai nei te Pōhutukawa

   

Ka toro atu, ka whaipua

  20

Ka whaangaia e ngā tomairangi hauangi

   

Rere ana te rehu runga rau aruhe.

   

Ngā tau o taku ate,Tainui, Turongo

   

Ka whanau tō tamaiti, he taongapō

   

Hei whakakapiti ka paihere hei tautoko ia tatou.

  25

Ko te aroha hei pepeha i te oranga

   

O ngā whakaaturanga ā-Kingitanga

   

He tīkanga-a-iwi tino tōriretanga

   

Kua pūtikia i roto i te raupanga hirahira.

   

I arahina e Te Wherowhero te kaiwhakaueue

  30

Te Maui Tikitiki o tenei wā

   

I tū maia ki ngā whakawhiunga

   

Ngā kūwaretanga i whawhaitia e ia

   

Kia tuwhera ai te rangatiratanga ka matatū.

   

Kua korerotia nei taku tangi

  35

Tukuna au kia hoki ki ngā Moutere Hoahoa.

   

Ko te Mate he mahinga tuku, he heipu

   

Ka tika te tapae ki ngā ringa o ngā wāhine

   

Ka whakapotoa te oranga i konei i kora

   

He oi ko te whenua te wairua pumau tonu

  40

Ko ngā kahu whakahira hei mau hei wete.

Na Okusitino Māhina i tito.

Okusitino Mahina holds a PhD degree in Pacific history from the Australian National University in Canberra Australia. Dr Mahina has taught at ‘Atenisi University in Tonga and Massey University - Albany campus in Auckland for many years. He now lectures in Pacific political economy and Pacific arts in Anthropology at the University of Auckland. Dr Mahina has published a couple of books and co-edited several others amongst a number of journal articles and book chapters on a range of interdisciplinary topics, including poetry in the Tongan language. His research interests, inter alia, include time and space, development and globalisation, transcultural psychology and transcultural aesthetics.

Translations

Te Aouru Biddle has tribal affiliations to Te Arawa and Ngāti Pikiao. A speaker of Te Reo, she has had acted as a translator for the Māori Television Service and had a successful career as an educator and Principal for over 40 years.

Vicky Te Puhi-o-Te Arawa Rangi is affiliated to Tuhoe and Te Aitanga-a Hauiti. Vicky is a native speaker of Te Reo and has been an advisor and translator for the Māori Television Service since its launch in 2003.

Manase Lua was born on Tongatapu and migrated to New Zealand in 1974. He has lived in South Auckland for for most of his life. He has worked for almost ten years in the public service with the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs and in his current capacity as a Project Manager in the Disability Services Directorate of the Ministry of Health.

AEN Journal Vol.1, Iss.2 | Index for this issue | Open as PDF...