Homeless Ngākau

Image credit: Ataria Sharman

Image credit: Ataria Sharman

I’ve never had a home,

A real one you know,

In here, my ngākau.

I grew up outside of my rohe,

Iwi, hapū, whānau,

A product of colonisation,

Urbanisation, standardisation.

I learnt tīkanga through education,

Waiata, reo, kapahaka,

Taken from the traditions of the tangata whenua.

We visited their marae on school trips,

The only taste of Māoritanga I would know.

And I was jealous of the ones,

Who stood staunch in their tūrangawaewae,

Unmoving.

Not like me,

A piece of seaweed,

In a turbulent sea.

So, I travelled 12 hours to my people,

I gave an auntie a hug.

My shoulders in her fingertips,

She looked me in the eyes,

And I read “welcome home,”

From her wrinkled lips.

I went home that night and cried,

A feeling of warmth in my heart.

I’ve never had a home before,

But what she gave me,

It’s a start.