Sacred Resting Ground


Taupiri Mountain. Sacred resting ground for the Waikato iwi (tribe.) I was just a young princess when crowned the first Māori queen over forty years ago. Because I have strong visionary gifts, my people called me, Te Atairangikaahu, or the “Hawk of the Morning Sky. The problem my people face is the European invasion and their rapid control over Māori lands. Without a centralized government, the survival of the Māori culture simply is impossible.

Kingitanga, or the Māori King movement, makes it possible for some of the tribal leaders to unite under one King, or in my case, Queen. My goals? Simple: Promote peace; give educational opportunities and spiritual guidance for the Māori people. While my predecessors killed Europeans if they entered the Kingitanga, I put a stop to this practice early in my career.

Today my kidneys are failing. Soon my dear husband will bury me somewhere on Taupiri Mountain in an unmarked grave, a Māori tradition to show my equality with my people.  I do not fear death. In fact, forty long years as the “Hawk of the Morning Sky” has made me quite tired. I am grateful for the opportunity to dedicate most of my life helping and serving my people. Farewell and all the best to my beloved country, New Zealand.

oldest son commands
ceremonial puppet
washed up royalty

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22 thoughts on “Sacred Resting Ground

  1. Kozo Hattori says:

    Your empathy with cultures around the world is amazing, Sunshine. It is as if you are the sun who sees into every nook an cranny of every spot on earth. I love this tribute to women, peace, Moaris, Nature, and multiculturalism. Two of my favorite films are The Whale Rider and Once Were Warriors. Both focus on Moari culture. One day we will meet in New Zealand, Sunshine, and soak in the sunshine and culture. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

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    • Sunshine says:

      *eek…Kozo, i need to see both of those films! ☺
      and how is it that a queen reigns over 40 years and it took this haibun for me to learn about it? sad truth on not paying attention during history classes…ha ha.
      here’s to the future grand gathering in New Zealand!! ☼sunHUGS!!

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  2. Penny L Howe says:

    I found your haibun delightfully intriguing. This woman, a nurturer of so very many, always there, always the leader, intelligent and strong yet with a loving heart. The history and changes of the country woven through the story, so much was said in these few hundred words, you always impress me with your written words. Perfect haiku!

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    • Sunshine says:

      we need more folks like her…generous and loving heart that serves to bring great things to her country. wait. you do this for us, IT…inspire and give us hope as you share your journey. ☺ thank you! ☼sunHUGS!!

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