On this mother’s day

I wrote my poem below after I read an article about a māmā whale, grieving the death of her calf, in her own way.

Tai te Kahurangi

Wahine tangi haehae, he ngaru moana, e kore e mātaki

As I read the words

she was a mother, who happened to be an orca

I know, I am a mother too, who happens to be a human.

On this Mother’s Day, I know loss and love, pain and heartbeat or the silence of where one should be.

She swam with her calf for 17 days through the Salish Sea over a distance of 1000 miles.

How far did we come?

Four months of living on an ocean, feeling the sway of waters – back and forth.

Requiring more of me than my busy wanted to occupy.

Through nose and nudge, she loved, held and journeyed with her calf.

As I held you my pepī, Tai te Kahurangi, crouched down, I held your home, your land, our whakapapa.

A warm gift of weighted presence.

Taking the moment in as my eyes meet you for the first time.
A delicate entanglement of love and land.

I have just begun my journey across the sea. I will nose-nudge you along with me for 1000 miles.

I will cry an ocean of tears for your return to me.

I want to show you to the world in all your beauty.

Push you above the deep waters to the surface where we can breathe together.

I know you will never leave me – māmā blessing.

Wahine tangi haehae, he ngaru moana, e kore e mātaki

Passage from the poem


Published by Tākuta Teah

Indigenous woman, partner, māmā, sister, daughter, aunty, artist, story catcher/teller, researcher, evaluator and academic. I draw on these identities to express, connect and articulate kotahitanga, mana motuhake and aroha.

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