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The Gravestone May 28, 2010

Posted by Rambling Man in Emigration, Poetry & Humor.
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OK so this is a repost – but one of my “most searched for” terms is poetry from New Zealand or about New Zealand (where I used to live) …

So I wrote this one while I was there … hopefully a few people will find something of interest that they can relate to …

The Gravestone
(Kōhatu)

by The Rambling Man

The gravestone lies quiet, at the end of the lane,
open and looking out on the harbour.  It’s raining.
White and tall stands the monument, adorned with simplicity
It is your sacred place, for I am forbidden to walk there.

Is it a man or a woman you hold ? or maybe a few ?
Are you a rangatira, some powerful man of old ?
Alone now it stands, on a misty patch of sage green grass
surrounded by fences and unwritten rules.

Are you a chief who once commanded many ?
Or a warrior, the slayer of taniwha ?
Or maybe a poet, a wise old lady, chin adorned with moko ?
All now lying quiet, looking over the water, guarding the Moana.

Maybe you roam between the lane and the harbour, just watching.
Ready to greet this Pākehā with a fearsome haka, sending me on my way.
But you would slap your thigh in disclosure and we could share a hongi, breathing the same breath, and sit and share our thoughts.

What can you see from your side ?
What can I not see from mine ?

New Header Image June 9, 2009

Posted by Rambling Man in General Bloggery.
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That’s Mount Maunganui – near Tauranga in New Zealand where we used to live … we came back here ! Don’t ask !

The Gravestone May 24, 2009

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I wrote this one when we were living in New Zealand – it seems like ages ago now.  I still miss it.

From my office window I looked across the expanse of Tauranga harbour and could just about spot a Māori grave marker of some kind.  Nobody in my office seemed to know much about it, except that it was tapu to go near it or past the fence if you weren’t Māori.  One evening as I walked across the old railway bridge across the river (which I frequently did) I decided to take a chance and go as near to the grave as I could … I couldn’t get very far because it was down a lane blocked off by posts and warning signs.  The wind blew up and freaked me out just enough to turn around and come home …. still, every day the grave would twinkle in the distance across my line of vision.  Who knows its story ?

The Gravestone
(Kōhatu)

by The Rambling Man

The gravestone lies quiet, at the end of the lane,
open and looking out to the harbour.  It’s raining.
White and tall stands the monument, adorned with simplicity
It is your sacred place, for I am forbidden to walk there.

Is it a man or a woman you hold ? or maybe a few ?
Is it a warrior, some powerful man of old ?
Alone now it stands, on a misty patch of green
surrounded by fences and unwritten rules.

Are you a chief who once commanded many ?
Or a warrior, the slayer of taniwha ?
Or maybe a poet, a wise old lady, chin adorned with moko ?
All now lying quiet, looking over the water, guarding the Moana.

Maybe you roam between the lane and the harbour, just watching.
Ready to greet this Pākehā with a fearsome haka, sending me on my way.
Or maybe we would share a hongi, breathing the same breath
And sit and share our thoughts.  What can you see from your side ?
What can I not see from mine ?

It’s the little things #2 April 14, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Emigration.
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Continuing with the theme of things that tickle us in NZ – all in a good way …

  • the way they say “kaaysssh” when they mean ‘cache‘.
  • Pukekos … you got to see one to know … pr. Poo-kee-cos
  • the way people thank one another for riding in a lift with them … even though everyone gets in and out at random floors and nobody might know anyone !
  • the (slight) stigma people have about not packing their own bags in the supermarket – so much so that they won’t even shop there !   Come to Ireland folks … you’ll have to buy the bags first and then pack them yourself !!
  • Sushi with pizza strapped to it !
  • Free parking

It’s the little things we like … April 12, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Emigration, Ireland & the Irish.
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So we’ve been in New Zealand over a month and I’ve been seriously neglecting my blogging … suppose it comes with the territory of not having time to scratch myself in my new job !

It’s the little things we like … take for example, the (too) many times we’ve had to go to the doctors and hospital since we’ve been here … the health service, compared to the mess in Ireland, is just wonderful ! And we’re not even residents yet, let alone citizens !!

Take for example, the viral rash the baby got the other day … we walked in to the GPs surgery – they always have 5 or 6 docs on at the clinic … you go in and they have you on record … and guess what ? It links with the hospital records and any other doctors records you might have visited …. and as they assess and treat you in the room, they are looking at your history (on some new fangled device called a laptop ??) And so they knew what Anabel had and what to do …

And the cost ? NZ$ 5 !! thats €2.75 !! and thats about 20 times cheaper than at home where just to start, it’s 55 to get in the door ! And the medicine was free, the wait time less than 10 minutes and the staff friendly !

So there you have it Mary Harney et al. it can be done – and because it was a walk-in clinic and not just a lone GP in his office somewhere, most Kiwis don’t even rate that service !! The more we experience here, unfortunately the more we see what a mess Ireland is in terms of its infrastructure and services. There are things that are better and worse in both places, but in those important things like primary medical care etc. New Zealand is streets ahead.

Just a pity its not “home”, because home is where the heart is.

Bittersweet March 6, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Emigration, General Bloggery, Ireland & the Irish, Poetry & Humor.
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Today we leave Ireland.

I absolutely can’t wait to arrive in New Zealand and get stuck in, but as many’s the times before in this situation, I get butterflies in the airport.

I don’t know when I’ll be back – either to live, or for holidays or for good …

I was sad for a small while yesterday – a good friend had sent me a card and inside was written, as Gaeilge, and by hand :

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat.
Go raibh cóir na gaoithe i gcónaí leat.
Go dtaitní an ghrian go bog bláth ar do chlár éadain,
go dtite an bháisteach go bog mín ar do ghoirt.
Agus go gcasfar le chéile sinn arís,
go gcoinní Dia i mbois a láimhe thú.

Which roughly translates in English as :

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall softly upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Catch you all on the flip side …

Rain January 16, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.
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Rain

by Hone Tuwhare, renowned Maori poet, who died today in New Zealand.


I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence
rain

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

Not long to go now ! January 14, 2008

Posted by Rambling Man in Emigration, General Bloggery.
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It’s certainly not long to go now until we say a temporary goodbye and head first to the city of San Francisco and then on to our new home in Tauranga, New Zealand.

Amidst all the box packing (and re-packing when the baby has gone through them again !) and cleaning and clothes sorting, we’ve had little time to plan the first leg of our trip – San Francisco !!

Some distant family members have graciously offered to put us up for a few days while we break the 23 hour journey to Aoteraoa with 4 days in San Fran – its somewhere I’ve always wanted to go …

So a few questions to any of my fair readers, who’ve ever been to across the Golden Gate Bridge … I was hoping to purchase a good few items since the exchange rate between the € and the $ seems to be very favourable at the moment.

Basically I’m looking for a laptop, fairly high spec and a digital SLR camera, also towards the higher end. Does anyone know of good companies where you can just walk in a buy one off the shelf ? What should I expect to pay …. any links ?

Many thanks – I’ll post the pictures from Alcatraz – me and my buddies used to play at being the Birdman of Alcatraz when we were kids, isolated in the veritable prison that was my garage roof !

New Zealand here we come January 3, 2008

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So I might as well just come out and say it …

Our days on this funny little green island on the eastern Atlantic seaboard are numbered.  Yes that’s right !  These Celtic Tiger cubs are foregoing the wonderful scenery, immense prices and material eyes and heading for a new life in New Zealand.

Yours truly has been offered a job in the city of Tauranga, New Zealand and we intend to be there by March !

So much to do and so little time … but we’ve been thinking about it for years … only now does it seem real !

Unsung Irish : William Hobson October 11, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in The Unsung Irish.
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William Hobson was born in Lombard Street, Waterford in 1792 and went on to become New Zealand’s first governor and the primary signatory and author of that country’s founding accord – the Treaty of Waitangi.

As was not unusual at the time, Hobson was sent away to sea at the age of 10 (!) and with the rank of volunteer served the British Navy fro 13 years without leave. He was both stationed and at sail all over the world in such places as the North Sea, the West Indies, North America and the Mediterranean. By 1827, now a commander and in his mid thirties, he married a Scotswoman, Eliza Elliot in Nassau and had a daughter with her.

In 1834 he was posted to the frigate Rattlesnake in the East Indies and ended up in New South Wales a few years later. A new colony was being set up there at the time and Hobson was involved in such projects as laying out the street structure of Melbourne. A call for protection from British citizen James Busby of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand saw Hobson and his ship arrive there in 1836. Later in 1838 when the crown saw fit to appoint someone to New Zealand “invested with the character and powers of British Consul” they called upon Hobson for the job. He was charged with the task of setting up a treaty or accord that would see the natives of that land cede sovereignty of all or part of their lands to the British Empire.

In August 1839 Hobson sailed from England with his wife and family on board the HMS Druid. Arriving in the Bay of Islands in 1840, and with the assistance of Busby and some other British subjects, he arranged for the northern Maori chiefs to meet him at Waitangi for the purpose of negotiating a treaty. The discussions began early in February when Hobson explained the terms of the treaty. The next day, after further argument and explanation, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed by the Maori leaders. To this day there is controversy over the document and some differences exist between the Maori and English versions.

Hobson himself was sworn in as the new colony’s first Governor in 1841. He died in Auckland in 1842, aged 50, from a stroke and is buried in the Symonds Street cemetery.