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Autumn 2008, vol 6 no 3
 

HAIBUN
 

Ka kata nga puriri o Taiamai*
Patricia Prime

 

hillside
holiday homes
teeter

A cruise boat ferries us up the Queen Charlotte Sound from Picton under a summertime sky and leaves us beside Captain Cook's plain but prominent monument at Ship's Cove. The cove is much as Cook would have seen it when, in January 1770, he raised the flag on nearby Motuara Island proclaiming British sovereignty.

Hiking overland for a day, we pick up our backpacks and bedrolls, which were left by the ferry at Furneaux Lodge. We stay overnight at the lodge in one of the camp huts before continuing our hike next day. We walk round the bay, admiring the seawater dancing in and out of the bush. In the deep, untouched forest we listen to the fluting, liquid calls of tui.

white pine    on the topmost twig    a bellbird's song

Giants of the forest, puriri, kamahi, kauri and rimu surround us. Stands of manuka and kanuka protect carpets of ferns, and darting fantails, waxeyes and wood pigeons fly through the trees. The sea changes in the light from green to blue and silver and we wish we'd brought our swimming togs.

swing bridge -
rattle of chain links
in the hand rail

Furneaux Lodge is only accessible by foot or boat. In the shelter of Endeavour Inlet, shawled by virgin forest, the old place is a true refuge. While sipping a cold drink at the bar we read about Patrick Howden who in 1904 bought 1000 plum acres running from Mt Furneaux to the beach and built a home that became the lodge. Half a century later, his son Harry left the bulk of the land to the government as a scenic reserve. As we set off on the boat back to Picton, a lady's parasol lifts off into the sea.

 

*The puriri trees of Taiamai are laughing.

Reed Book of Maori Proverbs, compiled by A W Reed & A E Brougham. Published by Reed Books, New Zealand. 2001.

 


Patricia Prime has recently retired after 30 years of teaching and is now involved in the reading recovery programme at her local primary school. She is co-editor of the New Zealand haiku magazine Kokako and reviews editor of the online magazine Stylus. She writes short stories, poetry, articles, reviews and interviews and also enjoys collaborating on poems with other poets. Recently she completed a renku called "Saint Brigid's Day" with UK poet John Carley and Irish poet Norman Darlington, which will appear in the next issue of Kokako. One of her haibun appears in the latest edition of Contemporary Haibun, Volume 6. Patricia has worked hard to have Japanese poetry forms accepted in mainstream poetry journals and has been successful in one or two cases.