(The following is a creative writing piece submitted for a year 13 English assignment)
As the wind sat silent, the stillness left our banners protruding. Swiftly, the wind picked up again, the whistling roar seeping through the thickness. This was no regular up-draft. Banners and flags visible in the distance, showing our colours in full. Perhaps one of the most formidable and distinguished, the Tinorangatiratanga standard. To some it represents trouble-makers rebelling against the state, while to others, it is a sign that there are still people who care about our very survival. ‘He toka tū moana’ like a lone rock standing in the ocean, staunch, hardened, stubborn and unflinching, sure not to compromise with the violent waves that dare smash upon it. Our presence was obvious, we did not hide, we did not whither.
Today was our day. It was a day marked by the next generation of young Māori protestors who took upon the mantle of their parents who fought valiantly so we may live. The dreams they dreamt were realised, some still to fulfil. Succeeding their works, it was up to us the products of these works, the survivors, to ensure the survival of generations to come. With pride and compatriotism, today we learnt about ourselves. Today our ‘mana tipuna’, ‘mana whenua’, ‘mana tangata’ was reaffirmed and realised. Today we learnt what it truly meant to be Māori. Today we learnt what it meant to be tangata whenua. Under a hail of pride shone a brightness scalding the shackles of historical grievance and torment, the sun had casted it raise over our national flag.
For it was the projection of the black, the white and the red gliding across the skies, the colours of the Tinorangatiratanga banner permeating the heavens, enriching those who embrace its message of unity and oneness. Bestowing its humble, yet intensive vibrations among its audiences. So vibrant in its nature. A longing to reconnect with our ancestors, who did what they did in the hope that our way of life may continue to live on. That motherly love committed to us by them, committed to those colours portrayed upon our national flag. To forfeit anything for the preservation of that flag and the people it represented. Leaders of tomorrow they said and tomorrow had come!
At the darkest depths of my abyss, the roaring fire of my rage you provoke. I charge you the crown, with the stench of this littered body, a rotting corpse still being prodded at from the safety of your cave, in the cowering walls of your Parliament house. The embodiment of a peoples freedoms, rights and liberties you rejected, oppressed and murdered. Blinded by the falsehoods of your twisting tongue, misguided by the brittle state of your moral conscience with which you choose to use reluctantly – your people are of the artificial belief that these acts are ok, that they can be justified. It was these that drove the strength of our knees to march on. They filled our hearts with the hope that from our efforts would spring forth better circumstances. We understood them and for that we were empowered.
Pushing me forward, the carcass of my freedoms, rights and liberties you neglect like compost left laying in the mud of your disgrace and your sympathy for the crimes of your actions, just as clear as that very mud that I cannot properly cleanse myself of. These things I am reminded of, with no ease I may forget, for you compel the strength of my arguments that oppose you, stiffening the untired hand that raises the Tinorangatiratanga banner. The stories of my elders shared with me and others of my generation, gracious as I am in the appreciation of my fortune to have heard these stories, of the subjugation we have faced for the past 170 or so years at the bloody hands of the crown and her barsted agencies.
Sent like crows to pick at the eyes of our great Māori leaders and prophets who foresaw the same visions our ancestors did. Fuelling the device of a generation’s determination and tenacity to make a change, to bring forth, uphold, bind, lash and animate the steadfastness of the ancient ones who saw differently. That banner we carried with pride and prestige, marking the validity of our existence. For it was Rewi Maniapoto who stood in defiance of the crown, marking the spirit of the Māori; “Ka whawhai tonu matau, ake, ake, ake!” – we will fight, forever! Therefore our actions, on that day, in this circumstance we have faced since long ago, there is still some reassurance that we are still alive, that we have continued to live on.