-        Matehaere Hope Haami
 
I am the river, the river is me,
Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au
 

Trickling blue water runs 
between the towering cliffs of our mountains 
our Grandfathers of this earth
fish are pulled with the force of the rapids 
to bring us our next meal
tangata whenua dip our heads 
deep into its purity to heal
I am the river the river is me
 
I hear the calls of manu 
messengers flying high above the pine trees
in search for their next fresh-water feed
I lay on the soft green grass and stare into blue skies 
motions of clouds pass
I hear the sounds of life
whanau drive by 
muddy tyres, a car horn, 
loose gravel ricocheting off the doors
chilly bins crammed with crayfish for all
Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au
 
Crackling sounds of fire break into the air
I breathe the smell of burning coal 
shovels are digging up dirt 
I hear my aunties talking whilst carving out perfectly sculptured potato
they’ve been doing this for years
the Innocence of children's laughter still echoes here
a feast awaits
with gifts of the land and sea
I am the river, the river is me
 
Metal hits the tea cup 
our heads bow in sync 
eyes closed 
silence
Kaumatua about to speak
karakia is said 
conversations resume 
the sounds of plates, knives and forks begin to clash together
Food and Love both fill this room
Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au
 
Mokopuna lay down the mattresses in the Marae
we can put our heads to rest after a beautiful kai
Nanny's up past midnight,  giggling and chatting 
Cousins outside playing spotlight,
Koro’s inside snoring,
the strumming of guitar floats in the air
singing waiata without a care
Of any troubles in our worlds right now
for tonight we gather around
share stories and share our lives
our innate connection unspoken but felt
through the ancient genealogy of our tribe
 
Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au
I am the river, the river is me


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