1 | 2
in memory of FSK
The Hokianga was the furthest north we went together.
We never reached Cape Reinga, Te Rerenga Wairua
a journey that you wondered if you’d make
in spirit form – take
the local flight path, then bank left
head west for Africa and the Rift
that was your birthplace.
This summer I turned my face
to the Far North again
retraced our tracks and then
chugged across the Hokianga on the ferry
to Kohukohu, where fiddling with the radio I nearly
ditched the car in the mangroves
– the only stupidity I committed (I think) on the road
in two weeks’ driving, you’d be surprised to hear.
Oh wish you’d been there, wish you’d been there.
Come with me now from Ahipara on the trip
up the vast tombolo to its rocky fingertip.
Stand before Te Kao’s white-plastered Ratana church,
– remember how the Binney painting made such
an impact? That pair of towers
like sturdy parents with a brood house
locked between them. Glimpse the Parengarenga spit, its sand
laundered an impossible white, ghost land
floating on a glittering sea.
Walk down the hill to the beach at Te Werahi
through the sooty shade of kānuka
the cracking stridulations of cicada.
Suddenly surrounded by aromatic sweetness – is that you?
The final switchback to the Cape, up to the broad
point where State Highway One runs out of road.