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A SALUTE TO THE MAORI WARRIOR

From the halls of kauri and punga you came,
greenstone meres with sunlight aflame,
black mokoed your faces, a chilling sight,
kilted, bronzed, and ready to fight,
a gallant well-led band,
on Maui's sands.

There you stood in faultless ranks
and the heart of many a midshipman sank
as haka chant rose high and keen,
the sun-flame on your thighs asheen
sneering at musket mouth and cannon shot,
a gallant, graceful band,
on Maui's sands.

Patus flashing high and red in battle's lust
and felling men with taiaha's thrust,
as for your land and mana fought -
Pakeha lines well pierced and taut,
a gallant, chanting band,
on Maui's sands.

And stamping feet and raging fleet
as headlong charged the cannon's heat,
laughed at shell and shot and sky
with bloodied heads and shattered thighs,
a gallant, totara band,
on Maui's sands.

And history's golden thread saw too
your mana strong and straight and true,
your courage still on Casino's hill
relentless charged with haka's chill
where many a German raised his hand
saluting huia feathered, gallant bands,
on distant sands.

And later to the padis went,
aroha's cry and sad lament;
where too was seen in history's eye
the patus flashing hard and high,
and Pakehas too knelt and cried -
for the gallant, matchless bands
lying still on Asian sands.

John A. Moller
Whiskey Two Company RNZIR

 

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