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Poetry: Vaughan Rapatahana at the 2019 International Festival, London

Vaughan Rapatahana is honoured to be invited to participate in the 2019 Poetry International Festival to be held at The Southbank Centre, London, in mid-October this year.

During the festival an anthology entitled Poems from the Edge of Extinction will be launched on 19th October. Rapatahana is included in this anthology, writing in one of his main languages, Te Reo Māori.

The anthology had its beginnings in the Endangered Poetry Project which was launched in the last Poetry International and brings together some of the most dynamic and engaging poets at work around the world today. Poems from the Edge of Extinction, an anthology of poetry written in endangered languages is available on Amazon.

The following day, 20th October, Rapatahana will participate in the discussion Incendiary Art: the Power of Disruptive Poetry. This will be a reading around the theme of disruptive poetry: poetry that challenges structures of government and of society and explores what it means to be human.

Rapatahana relishes the challenge involved here.

The Southbank Centre’s website has more about Poems from the Edge of Distinction and disruptive poetry.




ko te tāima mō he panoni nui

ko te tāima mō he panoni nui ki tēnei whenua; tāku whenua 
ko te tāima mō ngā whakaaro hōu

ko nui ngā rangatahi e mate whakamomori; 
                               ko tino nui ngā rangatahi Māori
ko nui ngā wāhine ki ngā patunga o te whakarekereke ā-whare;
                               ko tino nui ngā wāhine Māori
ko te kaupapa moroki o aukati iwi hōki;
                               e mahara Ōtautahi.

he aha te raruraru kI ēnei tāngata ko kī tēnei mauāhara? 
he aha te raruraru ki ēnei tāngata ko te tino kāpō kia titiro?
na te aha tēnei raruraru i te tūrūruhi ō mātou ai?

he aha tēnei āwangawanga ki taku whenua?
                               kāore ahau he mōhio.

ko te tāima mō he panoni nui ki tēnei whenua; tāku whenua
ko te tāima mō ngā whakaaro hōu

i mua i te mutunga o te wā. 


it is time for a big change

Translation from te reo Māori to English:

it is time for a big change in this land, my land
it is time for new thoughts

there are many youths suiciding, 
                               too many Māori youths
there are many women as victims of domestic violence
                               too many Māori women
there is the ongoing issue of racism also,
                               remember Christchurch.

what is the problem with these people full of this hatred?
what is the problem of these people too blind to look?
why is there this problem of our inactivity?

what is this anxiety in my land?
I don’t know.

It is time for a big change in this land, my land
It is time for new thoughts

before it is too late.


most my books

most my books concern
doomed men.
the limp pages
their lank arms
that never grasped
the tricks of life.

the fine print 
never gleaned
by their inebriate eyes
& the worn spines
their jaded stance
toward early demise.

most my words concern 
cloven people.
the schismatic sh at te r ings
their bro ken souls,
the arcane stretchings
of orphic lexis
their flailing hopes,
& the convolute repeats
their involute habits.

the body of my work 
                                    is an urupā
                                                                             remote & elusory.
feel free to
drop in & delve,

never forgetting
to s p r i n k l e  
                      your wairua
each time
you clasp shut 
the cover.

[urupā – Māori – burial ground
wairua - aura.]

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