hogproductions - inanga Jeff Williams - Hand of God Productions

Your Bio

"The job of an artist is to always deepen the mystery."
- Francis Bacon

JEFF WILLIAMS (inanga), Artist, Writer and Web Designer

Hi, I’m a Kiwi from Greymouth on the West Coast of Aotearoa and inanga is my painting/pen name. I travelled the world as a mountaineer and travel writer (for Lonely Planet) for many years, and I started painting later in life after a chance meeting with the infamous, in New Zealand, art forger Karl Sim (aka Goldie). The Coast has been my inspiration, and many of my artistic influences and mysticism of my art and writing stem from the rugged landscape found there.

I paint extensively utilizing the Phi-spiral based on the Golden Ratio and describe in writing the spiritual connections with the land, and the motif and symbol in my work.

My credo is: I paint to capture the moment I am in - that nanosecond when light is fused into the image in front of me. Each painting starts as a swirl and then evolves into a lattice of swirls - the results astonish, regardless of method, media, size or surface. It is my tangible hand of God.

I set up Hand of God Productions to fulfill a vision of an online gallery infinite in scope as the www. In the gallery click to see paintings, writings, slideshows, even ‘Google Earth tour’ to worldwide locations depicted in my art. My online galleries receive many visitors, inquiries, comments and sales and I am now exhibiting for the first time in the land of my birth. I recently finished and have published the first part of a trilogy on Aotearoa called “Tides of Heaven: The Night Fishermen”, available on ibooks and Amazon -

ibooks: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/book/the-night-fishermen/id586042055?mt=11

amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Night-Fishermen-Aotearoa-ebook/dp/B00APSKF5M

Please enjoy - inanga

A recent review from Amazon -

"what a book! historical fact intermingled with toa tohunga magic. this is a must if you are whanau or pakeha. the realm of tu and the lives of the hirama mix and the story is epic. from raha's escape leading to the famous haka ka mate to the privations and glory of the warriors of yesteryear. I loved it and will read it again and again.
hone - Ireland"

I hope some of the PAINT and LETTERS rub off on you. i am at inangawiremu@gmail.com, Facebook - Jeff Williams, Webcam or iPhone +64-21-02252622

- 'mitakuye oyasin' (we are all one) - JEFF (inanga)

Featured Galleries

Tuscany Painting Tour

i had to clean up this gallery before i could repost it in Travel. i l ...

Updated: May 19, 2010 12:38pm

PatRik- Carvings with Soul

Wonderful carvings from Aotearoa

Updated: Apr 04, 2013 5:07pm

The Night Fishermen

AOTEAROA: TIDES OF HEAVEN: The Night Fishermen - Jeff Williams - T ...

Updated: Apr 10, 2013 4:58pm

The Battle of the Trees

Owaiouru-o-pakaka-o-karakau (Sacred Grove of the Battle of the Trees) ...

Updated: Apr 10, 2013 7:28pm



Faces of Earth

Faces of Earth In this gallery we look at our identifier, the face ...

Updated: May 18, 2010 12:00am PST

The irenicon

The irenicon - a journey in canvas. Obviously lots more to come as tim ...

Updated: Apr 10, 2013 5:45pm PST

Hopi & Waitaha

Arizona (and the three mesa of the Hopi) is one of my spiritual homes. ...

Updated: Feb 07, 2010 8:43am PST

The Night Fishermen

AOTEAROA: TIDES OF HEAVEN: The Night Fishermen - Jeff Williams - T ...

Updated: Apr 09, 2013 7:58pm PST

Sufi Magic

I am very much influenced by the writing of the Sufi saints of the Mid ...

Updated: Dec 15, 2009 10:49pm PST

Tuscany Painting Tour

i had to clean up this gallery before i could repost it in Travel. i l ...

Updated: May 18, 2010 3:38pm PST

The Battle of the Trees

Owaiouru-o-pakaka-o-karakau (Sacred Grove of the Battle of the Trees) ...

Updated: Apr 09, 2013 10:28pm PST

The Phi Swirl

Hi inanga here... i saved a site on SmugMug for future use by arts ...

Updated: May 18, 2010 12:28am PST

PatRik- Carvings with Soul

Wonderful carvings from Aotearoa

Updated: Apr 03, 2013 8:07pm PST

Aotearoa I - New Zealand

Aotearoa 1 - New Zealand My country is Aotearoa - Land of the Long Wh ...

Updated: Dec 15, 2009 4:04am PST

Sacred Spaces

Sacred Spaces - i suppose all space on earth is sacred, although we se ...

Updated: Dec 07, 2009 3:19pm PST


Seasons These four pieces were executed on the same piece of timber – ...

Updated: Aug 03, 2009 11:51pm PST

Ms P: Rainbow Series

R a i n b o w Series This all started as a bit of a dare. Ms P felt ...

Updated: Sep 10, 2009 7:01pm PST


This is a fascinating art, but beware it is addictive. In order to get ...

Updated: Dec 19, 2009 5:37pm PST

Land of Oz

Land of Oz - these pics were originally in Sacred Spaces. All the Eart ...

Updated: Nov 26, 2009 9:05pm PST

Aotearoa II - New Zealand

Another gallery of my Aotearoa (New Zealand) paintings using the Phi-s ...

Updated: Dec 13, 2009 11:19pm PST

Rooms with a View - inanga's Big OE Snapshots

Rooms with a View - all those years as a traveller - travel writing fo ...

Updated: Sep 02, 2009 5:52pm PST


I could never take a good photograph - nor can I obviously spell it - ...

Updated: Aug 18, 2010 4:59am PST

inanga - Smug Ugly

The Wizard in the Spiral - this is a collection of biographical pics, ...

Updated: Jun 02, 2010 3:43am PST

Built World

Like a lot of this gallery of my work I am busy with the sorting of im ...

Updated: Dec 05, 2009 4:23am PST

Welcome to Jville (Johnsonville). Where I live...

Thanks for the invitation to your Blues Festival community - a little ...

Updated: Dec 09, 2009 10:51am PST

Mu Torere

Here is one of the greatest games of All - (the Octopus) - feel free t ...

Updated: Sep 19, 2009 7:37am PST

Another Roadside Attraction - Arizona

i invented this game 'Treasure Island', but it's not the usual Robert ...

Updated: Dec 13, 2009 11:18pm PST


Work-in-progress for rest of site

Updated: Nov 10, 2010 2:19pm PST

Smug Serious

Mainly Anti-War Compositions

Updated: Feb 10, 2010 5:49am PST


Smug Secrets - to be revealed... in due course.

Updated: Sep 25, 2009 6:26am PST

Around the World


The Order of Battle – Te pakaka-o-karakau

(The Nation)

‘Common’ Trees – Owaiouru Plain

First Rank

Billy Carmichael *** Golden Tainui *** Wild Irishman *** Fiery Horopito

Sacred Harakeke *** Rewarewa *** Mahoe

Second Rank

Manuka & Kanuka *** Stinky Stinkwood *** Lancewood *** Maori May

Kamahi *** Weeping Matipo

Third Rank


Fourth Rank

Poisonous Tutu

Soldier Trees – Owaiouru Plain

First Rank

Rimu *** Yellow-silver

Second Rank

Yellow Pine *** Boggy

Third Rank

Miro *** Tanekaha *** Kahikatea

Royal Trees – Mangawhero Stream

First Rank

Totara *** Tane Mahuta

Second Rank

Hutukawa *** Nikau *** Pukatea *** Kowhai *** Rata

Tohunga Trees – The Junction

Makomako *** Maire Tawaki *** Puriri *** Karaka

Magic Tree I *** Magic Tree II *** Magic Tree III

In training: inanga

Plants – Potion

Karo *** Kawakawa *** Parapara *** Rohutu

Ongaonga *** Poroporo *** Piriranginui

Flowers - Potion

Celmisia *** Taurepo *** Whakou *** Koromiko *** Natuka

Buttercup *** Kotukutuku *** Hutukiwi *** Rikarika

(Pinus - spp ): Pinus radiata

God speaks:

“I saw the earth
From above
And arrayed on the battlefield
Gathering for the greatest of battles
There were many trees
Girded round their trunks
Branches and roots readied
For the greatest battle
In these islands
The trees of Aotea and Whairepo
Against the Pinus
Of foreign sands'


There was dissent
Forecast in the land
And the tohunga
Guardians of these trees
Had gathered
In disbelief that newcomers
Had planted many trees
Of one genus only
No family ties here
Just the Pinus lonely


Pines poisoned the land
As would blight
Erasing all in sight
Upon the earth
That the people of the land
Wished to share
With all who came in peace
And with good intention
And if it were such
There’d be no mention
And no need for amends
Just a brief:
‘Simply come strangers
You’re our friends’


A forbidden tree
Had been planted
In the midst
Of the centre
Of the circle
Of the sacred grove
In the centre of the circle
Of life

Peer through the mists
And it comes to a simple:
‘Who survives?’
If you get my gist!


There is a god or goddess
Of pines, war and humans
His or her name not yet revealed
Protected by an encrypted shield
His or her name
Is the very secret
To victory
In any battle of trees
Upon this tiny earth
At anytime
And upon any consequence

Day One

The branches of the trees
Waved to and fro
In the breeze
Before the tumult
Before the storm’s eye
Before this battle of the trees
Upon the Stingray’s back
From heated debate
To full attack


The wise of both sides
Pondered and said:
‘Let’s get things sorted
Before it’s too late’
‘Let’s stop the battle in its tracks,
Let’s not relax’
‘This matter can be sorted
Amongst us
This bomb can be defused
Before anyone gets bruised’


But it was too late
The trees
Bound by fate
Were now arrayed
In battle formation
The pines stood on one side
One side alone
Proud mighty Pinus,
Those of many shores
Now breakers of law
One multitude and lonely
The pines stood as many
But as a single genus only


The trees of our Nation
Stood at the field’s far extent
Stood far away
Perhaps a mile’s length
They prepared for war
Strapped to the nines
And waved their branches
At the menacing pines


Peace was threatened
And in this situation
The trees of the Nation
Were unhappy
To say ‘the least’
The trees of the Nation
Gathered in battle formation
Three ranks of seven
And one of sixteen
A total of thirty-seven
Keen field intelligence
Best not revealed
The enemy is listening
Someone could squeal
Ruapehu thundered
Tauhara murmured
Tongariro simmered
And Ngauruhoe hailed
Ash upon the plain
In full view
Of the trees
Arrayed on Owaiouru


Soon the plot unfolded
The first day of battle
The trees of this Nation
Versus a Pinus
Who much to his minus
Cried out loud?
‘This land is now ours
Not yours
And you lost it
When our cones
Invaded your shores’


The first rank forward
On Day One
Were what you would call
‘Common’ trees
Yet when these sixteen
Proud members of the Nation
Each rank behind
Of seven each
Gave them a standing ovation
The ‘common’ trees
And the odd plant beside
Were all special
And each of their kind
Deserves a special
An accounting
Before each was paroled
For their role
In the Battle of the Trees
As none of them saw
The first day through
In the first day of battle
On the plain of Owaiouru


Carmichael Williamsii
Billy Williams to his brother
The giant-flowered broom
An essential tool
For all witches
Was unfortunately
A little too big for his breeches
Pine seeds riding on east winds
Closed in upon him
And easily brought him down
Leaving him to wither
Lifeless, on the ground


Golden Tainui
Followed our Billy o’Broom
Into battle
As a healing plant naturally
He first went to attend
To his injured friend
But the distraction
Of an alighting tui
Confused poor Tainui
And soon he was slain
By embittered pines
On Owaiouru Plain


Prickly matagouri
The ‘Wild Irishman’
Late of Lewis Pass
Always a thorny customer
Had recently
Come to the attention
Of all the top brass
Toumatou tore rents
Into the bark of attacking pines
His sharp thorns
Slashed left and right
And he seemed
To win the fight
Alas, a cowardly pine
Struck him from behind
And as his heart gave in
Twenty-nine pines smothered him
With their cheeky grins


Brave horopito
‘Fiery’ or ‘Peppery’
To his mates
Was next to run-in with fate
He slew several pines
With his red-hot leaves
And fiery mind
Before being overwhelmed
By waves of death
Although bitter to the taste
Hot horopito of Hokianga Gates
Will undoubtedly be
Much missed by his mates


Sacred Harakeke
Though not, as such, a tree
Was next into battle
In full majesty
Flax’s strong leaves
Trapped hosts of pines
When the breeze slackened
She began to relax
And the pines
Overwhelmed talented flax
And knocked her dead in her tracks
Flax had fought bravely
For all to see
Even though as such
She was not strictly a tree


Battlefield now alight
Flames burning all around
And air resounds
With fearsome barrage sounds
‘Bucket-of-water’ tree
The honeysuckle
Pushed into the fight
Refusing to ignite
She was overshadowed
By an angry crowd
By thousands of lines
Of harassing pines

Fell into decline
As the sun’s
Morning rays
Signalled quarter-to-nine


Of soft wood
Though gnarled and aged
Into the battle raged
Incensed by the death
Of Rewarewa
His beautiful bride
He pushed pine after pine aside
Turned his wood into charcoal
And then gunpowder
And with the aid of a pointed piece
Of kaikomako
Was struck and exploded…
And before the second rank of pines reloaded
The first rank lay dying and wounded
Gone was Whiteywood’s spirit
Instantly blown away
But soon to be reunited
With his ancestors
At Karaka Bay


Seven trees of this nation
Pines had vanquished
Across bloody plain
There was a sense of anguish
Manuka and kanuka
The trusty tea trees
Ran on to the plain
Stopped where they heard
Wounded groaning in pain
They dispensed tea
To both ally and enemy
Until a heartless pine
Lacking real spine
Seized the chance
And stabbed them both
With a sharpened lance
The tea trees
Fell to their knees
Before bursting into flame
At a thousand degrees


Stinkwood from Moehau
On the Coromandel
Let out a smell
Even pines couldn’t handle
The advancing pines turned to flee
Upon sensing rotten eggs
The malodorous odour
Of the hupiro tree
At a crucial point however
The wind changed direction
And the pines moved in
And shattered Stinky
Into several sections
He was buried quickly
Before more pines fell sickly
Or some others
Risked smelly infections


The toothed lancewood
Ferocious in its look
With leaves like cross-cut saws
Looked every part
A veteran of forgotten wars
Against the first lines
Of the assailing pines
He took careful aim
With every intention
To injure and maim
Juvenile Lance so small
Was fatally crushed by a wall
Of pines charging pell-mell
And solid timber shell
‘Lancelot of the Wood’
Swooned and slumped
And was finished off
With a hefty thump
From a pine stump


Putaputaweta saw Lance’s plight
And strong and tough
Itched for a fight
She slew a thicket of pines
Near where ‘Lance of the Wood’ lay
And turned on others
Now entering the fray
Alack, they sensed her weakness
‘Moth-holed she is’ said one
‘Full of weta holes’ said another
‘Ours’ the pines chorused.
So near where Lancewood lay
The pines entombed ‘Maori May’


From a village distant
At the bow of Aotea
Flew into battle
Brandishing her graceful racemes
The pines, sensing a pushover
‘In your wildest dreams’
Their bravado turned to horror
And panic struck their midst
As ‘red birch’ loaded a cannon
And blew them all to bits
But when her shot was spent
The pines in reserve
Did not relent
And overcame kamahi
With evil intent


Weeping matipo
Her bark disguised with lichen
Had come from afar
From the hills of Rakiura
Cousin to toro and mapou
Paradoxically brave trees
She was very different
Always weeping
Always frightened
But as a tree of the Nation
And this blessed land
She brushed pines aside
With sweeps of her hand
When she found
Her friends upon the ground
She sought to drown her enemies
With tears
Poor matipo was soon swept away
By increasing waves of pines
And there was only
One more tree
Left in the lines
Of the ‘common’ trees


On Day One of the Battle
Many brave ‘common’ trees were dead
The tohunga of the Nation’s trees
Sensing possible defeat
‘Bring forth the tree of dread’
At about the same time
Tired pines went off to bed
Those still awake
Knowing Day One was theirs
Charged their glasses
And shouted ‘Three cheers’


The second last ‘common’ tree
To face daylight fire
Was known as ‘cabbage’
In the village of Manaia
She maybe the world’s biggest lily
Agave were told also
Though that seems silly
Ti kouka was brave
But not bright
And ‘petit choux’ sallied into the fight
With weaknesses in sight
Rampant sapper pines
A bonfire round her made
And tho’ her moist trunk
She was severely burnt
When her dry leaves blistered
‘It seems all hope has sunk’:
The watching volcanoes whispered


As the pines
Now complacent
Lay down to sleep
Into their encampment
Poisonous toot did creep
This ‘siren of trees’
Infected the water
Poisoning pines’ sap
In nauseating degrees
But in the morning
Though thousands lay dead
Thousands more
Came in their stead
And ‘tutu’ was captured
Tortured and killed
As the rising sun spilled
Over Owaiouru
At the start of hostilities
On Day Two


The first day of battle
Was won by the pines
Ranks depleted somewhat
Some gaps in their lines
That night they rallied
Were watered and fed
They tended their wounded
And buried their dead
Scattered in ones, twos and threes
Over the plain of Owaiouru
Lay sixteen ‘common’ trees,
Brave trees of the Nation
And behind them
Three more ranks
To take up their battle station

Day Two

At the dawning of Day Two
On the plains Owaiouru
The Kiwi ‘pine’ family assembled
Cleverly camouflaged
Seven in number
Of seven colours
All soldier trees
Defiant and warlike
Strong of the land
And ready to make a stand
In 190 million years
They’d seen it all before
Times of peace
Times of war
Witnesses to the future
Rememberers of the past
They had seen the passing of stars
From first to the last
And all had faced uncertainty
When as far-flung stars
They had come face to face
With marauding taniwhas


First colour into battle
Well-disguised as a red ‘pine’
The colour of blood
The earth after flood
Was Rimu of the greenstone coast
With flowers on her branches
Blue-black nuts in a red cup
Useful, beautiful and shapely
Perhaps a pine’s very lady
She may have drooped
From age to age
But many male pines
In this instance
She did beguile
With her Mona Lisa smile

Soon thickets of pines
Were poisoned or strangled
And left a trail entangled
But a smart pinus
Not of the usual sheepish lot
The future glimpsed
Then hatched a plot
He saw Rimu’s demise
And with assistance of surprise
Willed her away
Before the trees’ very eyes

And so it was
A pine crept from up from behind
And with his huge trunk
Withered and brown
Smashed hapless rimu down
Rumour has it
That you’ll now find her
Surrounded by a phalanx of gorse
Somewhere by a watercourse
Shooing away a host of honeybees
Near Opepe and Raetihi


The ‘disguised pines’
Of the land conferred
‘Next in is yellow-silver
Now rimu’s gone’
Yellow-silver raised her canopy
And as she spoke
Hard and tough
She turned to the rest
And admitted
She wasn’t as fiery or pretty
As the Nation’s pine’s family best
But now reasoned
That this was her season
And that she as any
Was equal to the test
Never cowardly
Never yellow
And now in battle
Far from mellow
Her struggle was not however
Long in duration
As a ‘Lone Pine’ sniper
Accurate as a deadly viper
Bagged her with a single shot
This proud silver-haired lady
Of the Nation
Slipped away quickly
To the place of her birth
A place of laughter and times so gay
In the company of Maori May
Peaceful days
Near the ‘Meeting of the Waters’
Far from the pines
That continued the affray


Snow fell in drifts
Upon Owaiouru Plain
Soil became mud
Covering the slain
Tens of thousands of foreign pines
And eighteen trees
Of the Nation
Had sadly
Been brought to their knees


Out of the ensuing fog
Sneaked two trees of the bog
Stealthy and silent
Non-vocal as the local frog
They knew this place
As well as one could do
Both being born
Of southern Ruapehu
Familiar with this ground
They stalked and killed
In the obscurity of the fog
They turned Pinus trees
Into Pinus logs
When the fog lifted
They were surrounded
Hounded and beat
With no chance of retreat
The bugle sounded
For these two soldiers
Driven into mud so deep
Yellow ‘pine’
For you we weep
As we do eternally
For your sidekick ‘Boggy’ pine
You are both left in peace
For the others to mourn
Buried upside down
Where you were born


Boedicia of the Podocarps
Weapons within easy reach
Screeched at the top of her voice
And leapt into the breech
This brown ‘pine’ of the land
Adorned with a plump kereru
In her leaves
Shouted defiantly:
‘I’m Miro if you please’
The pigeon did warn
‘The pines will sacrifice many this day
If you they slay’

She refused to listen
Her needles began to glisten
At the sight of pines assembling
In legionnaire battle rows
Ready to close in
Near Ruapehu’s toes
The leading centurion
Looked across to ‘brown’ pine
And, excitedly, shouted:
‘She’s mine’
With a sharpened branch
He stabbed her in the trunk
Miro staggered as if drunk
And bled her sap across the plain
The pines swelled with pride
On the very spot
Where poor Miro died


Things looked bleak
For the Nation’s soldier trees too
The disguised ‘pines’
Were now reduced to a few
So in came strong tanekaha
Of Putararu
He had waited nervously
Up all night
To stab the enemy
Left and right
Tane outflanked the pines
And created havoc
In their lines
Celery pine slew several foes
With a succession of heavy blows
But never underestimate the Pinus
Known for its persistence
And numerical superiority
Over any resistance

Pine trees that day
Literally ate celery away
So as it seemed on Day One
It was on Day Two
The pines were too many
And the Nation trees
Too few


At the appropriate time
Kahikatea or ‘White pine’
Crossed the battle line
The tallest tree of the Nation
A massive 180 feet tall
Sought out his relations
Where he’d seen them fall
His great size, alas
Caused him to sink
Into the morass
And he disappeared without a fight
Much to the pines’ delight


The tohunga trees
Sensed Day Two lost
But it was a battle
They must win
At any cost
As news of the deaths
Of Celery and White filtered through
The tree magicians wondered
‘What next to do?’

Day Three

It was decided
That on Day Three
They would summon by horn
The royal trees
To muster before morn
Hopefully prompt
Armed and resplendent
And of course
With all their attendants
To the banks of Mangawhero
Came those of blue blood
First as a trickle
Then as a flood


The pines trembled to their very core
As a forest of peace
Exploded into a theatre of war
As the trees engaged
In the fiercest of exchanges
There was parry and thrust
All checked their ranges
For an avalanche
Of shot and shell
That would create living hell
In the depths of where
No sane tree should ever go
In the gloomy dell
Of Mangawhero


Mighty mountain totara
Podocarpus totara
King of Podocarps
Charged across Rangipo plain
To take up position
At the head of the river
Where many of his kin
Had recently been slain


Likewise Lord of the Forest
Giant kauri
Tane Mahuta
Caused a commotion
When he crashed through forest
Like a storm-swept ocean
He beat an alarum drum
Knowing full well
His missiles of golden gum
Would create pandemonium
On the fringes of Karioi
Pines in their trenches
Cringed behind their defences
The fury of the two giants
Left several unhinged
Some succumbed with fear
Tap root between their legs
They rushed to the rear


North of the stream
In the grove of Tara
Last minute touches were made
To beautiful Hutukawa
The Christmas Queen
Fresh from a royal feast
Was now armed and dangerous
As any savage beast
Ever an awesome sight
Her flowering red brilliance
Would be seen
Above any fight

By the village of Iwikau
On the slope of the ‘mountain’
Slender Princess Nikau
Took a last sip
From the sacred water fountain
She well knew
That if her heart ever be eaten
She would never live to see
The invading pines beaten


Close by
Sporting the laurels of a Caesar
Stood Laurelia novae-zelandiae
A great crowd ‘pleaser’
Ever witty and keen to impress
Pukatea would be
Tough in battle


Deep in the forest
Dark and damp
Concealed near the enemy camp
Our beloved kowhai
Kept her eyes on a guard tower
And carefully
Sought to hide
Her distinctive yellow flowers


Fiery and red
Bade farewell to her host tree
And tucked up her children
Snugly in bed

When all seemed serene
In the upper reaches
Of Mangawhero Stream
Blood-red rata rose
And to the utmost
Of her fingers and toes
Let out a fearsome scream


From then
Till end of the third day
Close combat was the only way
Branch hit branch
Tree strangled tree
The law of the jungle
A rule of hate and fear
Was all the go!
In this forest nightmare
In the recesses of Mangawhero
Where no living tree should go


The river was awash with blood
An arterial flood
Suffice it to say
Not one tree
That entered the valley
Survived that day
No eyewitnesses
No war correspondents
Saw any royal tree
Perform acts
Of heroism or gallantry
But on behalf
Of all the trees
Both the Pinus
And Trees of the Nation
We reckon
They all
Deserve a decoration
The casualty list
Was out aloud read
And a sorry tale was heard
About the number of dead
And confirmed at the end of day
Seven royals were KIA


The white magicians
At Tohunga Junction
Had realised
That current magic
Served little function
For the pines had been blessed
By their goddess or lord
And seven royal trees
Had been put to the sword
The pines quite rightly
Expected a flag of truce
Having seen the Nation’s trees
Substantially reduced
The tohunga talked long into the night
About the coming fight
About the battle that must be won
Lest the Nation be lost
Victory on Owaiouru plain
Was necessary
At any cost


The magic trees
A curious-looking bunch
Were capable of real magic
When it came to the crunch
There was Wineberry
Aristotelia serrata
Ever the martyr
But a slave to the bottle
He once took a day off
To name a philosopher

Had oodles of degrees
And secret letters
From Cabbalistic monasteries

The master of the universe
In all ages of matters galactic
Was Maire tawaki
Recently of Opunake

Strange relative to an exotic clove
Syzygium maire
Was known to rove
In search of planetary alignments
And sundry other

Vitex lucens
A master of potions
Had travelled the world’s oceans
In search of the keys
To all matters of alchemy
Known for his durability
A stout guardian of any door
New Zealand oak
Was favourite of the poetic folk
And when one wished to foresee
He or she would consult
Wise old puriri tree

The fourth of the magi
Was also well travelled
And when finally unravelled
It will be clear to see
That karaka was formerly
An Inca-Mayan-Quechua tree
Known to holiday
In Hawaiki and the Hebrides
Knew all the herbs and spices
And fashioned several devices
For extracting
The secrets of plants
Kopi had even studied in France
Where he revealed
Apparently, with a deadly grin
His favourite poison

The last three tohunga
Kings we can’t mention
For ever secretive
They shun attention
They usually come and go
They once attended a divine birth
Carrying myrrh, frankincense and gold
Or so we’re told
Let’s just call them I, II and III
For simplicity
Oh perhaps you need a clue
Or two or three
In which to discover
Their identity

Magi I is in mountains found
Guarding a nest so profound
Nigh on 140 million years old
She has the ability
To transmute gold
If you slip her a bob or two
Into pounamu

Magi II was a great king
And knew almost everything
And unlike any other Nation trees
He was the last of his species
And unless another grew
There would be no more of Magi II

Magi III
Many battles has seen
And to diverse schools has been
Grand is the only way to describe
This Electra of the Scribes
Some say he often makes merry
Even seven years
With a concoction
Of his berries

Last but not least
The youngest priest
Was tiny Inanga
Student at the local whare wananga

On this occasion
He dared to speak
Amidst his wiser elders
Fearing derision
Being called weak
Or even having to dodge
A slap on the cheek

Karaka intoned:
‘Let the boy speak
He’s so meek and mild
But many times
We’ve shared
The wisdom of a child’


The other tohungas
Turned to see
Inanga waving his leaves
And calling out
‘Listen to me please’
‘We can name the god of our foe
He who drives our enemies
Remember the phrase:
‘Conquering gods their titles take
From the foes they captive make,’
With a little magic
And exact tree science
We came name their god
And stop their defiance


The wisest of the wise
Puriri rose and gestured
‘Quiet please’
He said to the others’ surprise
‘Listen to the lad
He has wisdom
Beyond his years’
And Maire tawaki quipped
‘Of which we may be glad’


Inanga continued
Without fear
As he’d learnt a secret or two
These past two years
‘There are seven specific species
Seven sacred plants
Each important
Perhaps essential
Each able to entrance
Each capable of real magic
Given half a chance

Magi trees I, II and III
Acknowledged in accord
‘By the god’s
The lad’s on to something
Good Lord’

Inanga continued his words
He’d learnt enough
He reasoned
To be allowed to be heard
So without quivering
Or other signs of emotion
He took stock
And delivered the potion
In one branch
He held seven sacred stones
In another
Seven sacred bones
And in another
Nine sacred flowers
Makomako sensed the solution
Perhaps in an hour
There’d be happy resolution
To this battle of the trees
And guaranteed salvation
For the trees of the Nation


Inanga picked up a pan
And then began:
‘Crush seven leathery leaves
Of Karo’s yellowish tomentum
Toss it in
To give this spell momentum

Then with meticulous care
Grind nine dried leaves
Of kawakawa
To give this potion
Perpetual motion

Be not afraid
When the pestle drums
‘Variegated golden heart’ only
Lest you wish
Calamity comes

With these must be added
A trusty poisoner of distinction
Lots of enemy species
Has it brought to extinction
To this potion now add rohutu
Essential to any brew
Lophomyrtus obcordata
Plump black berries only
Careful you don’t confuse
With the berries of L. bullata
In other potions
An important starter

My fellow trees
I’m sure you’ll all agree
Ramarama’s mysteries
Of moon, sun and stars
Will remain concealed
Until we pass’

Some of the tohunga trees
Stood impatient and nervous
But listened intently to the lad
Now speaking with purpose
Dracophyllum arboreum
As he was formally known
Wished the battle over quickly
So he could return home
Half fish, part dragon, part tree
He was a bit of a mystery
Maybe of Rehoku
Before that Pasquale or Tihuanaco
Not that it mattered
For the tohunga allowed
That Inanga knew his trees
So the source of his knowledge
And his college’s place
Had little bearing
In this case


Inanga stood back
Let the brew settle and said:
‘Now to give this concoction
Its true mettle
Add leaves of Urtica ferox
Poisonous stinging nettle
Beware handling the hairs
One puncture of the skin
And sanity disappears

Oh, there’s nothing better
Than ongaonga’s sting
To kill or impair
Any living thing’

‘The sixth plant in this brew
Won’t be new to you
My esteemed friends
But spare another indulgence
For which later
I’ll make amends
To the sixth plant I always add
A special floral platter
You may think it doesn’t matter
But you are wrong
The sixth plant is strong
And becomes even more powerful
By the minute
By the hours
With the added magic
Of sacred flowers


The first two flowers
Oh, I know you wondered
You perhaps thought for a moment
That I had blundered
The sixth plant is poroporo
Solanum aviculare
I am sure that on the morrow
When the gods we consult
Will consider its berries
In any result
More of this poor knight soon
And before we add him to the brew
We need to add a flower or two

Nine flowers we add
To this sixth plant
This mix is getting complex
I grant

Our first flower is a Celmisia
A mountain daisy
Those large white, alpine flowers
With silvery leaves that wave
In a gentle alpine breeze
Pretty daisies
That easily handle
Climatic changes
In all mountain ranges


Next comes
Taurepo’s bell-shaped flowers
Delicate and slender
Able to render
Added strength and power
But only if picked
At the correct hour
In various tinctures
With essential oils
We need more parts
To this potion
Before the action
Really starts


Now toss in
The prized flowers of tawari
With a couple of drops of gin
Her garlands and necklaces
Are important at all functions
Even… royal parties…
Only a selected few
Get the chance to wear
The treasures of whakou
Ivory-white kaka beak
Just a few pinches


Purple koromiko
From up in the far north
As far as flowers go
Is my choice for fourth!


And the ‘handsome Hebe’
Our natuka
Is most important
For without it
The potion lies dormant


Have you ever seen…
High on an ice-clad mountain
In afternoon sunshine
Queen of mountain meadow
Chaser-away of shadows
A mountaineer’s welcome home
The brightness in the gloam
The sign of the way up
The hillsides’ splendid buttercup
Don’t be easily taken in
For this maiden
Is no lily-livered
Addition to this cup


Into the cauldron
Now put fuchsia
Flowers and berries
Kotukutuku or konini
Favourites of the bellbird
And of I’ve heard also
The scent of
Provides secret power
Only revealed to you
And as such
Our orchid friend
Becomes the eighth addition
In this brew


I stir these essences
In a careful motion
Before adding
The last flower
Of the Nation
The penultimate part
Of this magic creation’
Has come far
From the waters’ meeting
Where the tides
Of Rehia and Rehua
Exchange sides
He comes to woo
Weeping ladies
The flower of Hades
Each escaping spirit
Passing Te Rerenga Wairua
Seizes the chance
To catch a waft
Of the forbidden scent
Of this creeper
They scramble even deeper
To reach and pluck
The flower of eternal luck
Before the last gasp
Before they plunge
Into the water’s grasp


This floral mix is now done
And poro comes back for fun
He’s next into the heady brew
And will reveal to you
Secret alkaloids
And heaven-sent extracts
From the family tree
Of Sol-an-ace-a-e
A family
Found in every land
In any forest or bay
On any given day
Poro is widely related
With chilli, paprika and cayenne
Tobacco and Cape gooseberry
It is said to have mated
Lift the tone vibrato
Here comes humble tomato
Play that music slow
For aubergine and poor pepino
Poro waltzes with Atropha belladonna
The deadliest of night’s shades
And Mandragora’s blades
Guarantee a goner
Oops, I almost forgot
Poro brings black henbane shoots
To this pot’


Mist rose
And the air became hot
The smell around fetid
‘If they are to be defeated
Their god’s name we should know
So into the pot must go
The last plant of the potion’
Inanga was excited
Almost overcome with emotion
‘We must learn their god’s name…’ said he
As the last drops were stirred
In a clockwise motion
He knew full well
That scarlet mistletoe
Would come to his aid
He assured the other tohunga
‘Don’t be afraid
If the trees of this land die
Piri-ranginui also dies
She reaches out to Sky Father
Only on living trees
Their death is hers also

Surprise, surprise
All come
Sniff the brew
And the god of the pines
Will be revealed to you’

The tohunga trees
Moved to the cauldron
Sniffed deep
And inhaled the potion
The gloom of Day Three
Vanished in a flash
And the forests were
Ablaze with a rainbow sash


The tohunga trees waited
As seven clouds formed
And unfolded
Then vanished
Revealing seven gods before them
Two women and five men
They each pronounced
What he or she could do
To reverse the fortunes
Of the battle of Owaiouru
To save the trees of the land
From obliteration
Or more importantly
To save the whole damn Nation


‘The plan is clear’
Quavered earth-shaker Ruaumoko
Too late the hero
My mud. lava and ash
Will fill Mangawhero’

‘There is no other way
We’ll destroy the pines
Unless we sweep them away
On the fourth day’
Echoed Haumietiketike

‘Back to your underground cell’
Quipped Tawhirimatea
‘My winds and rains
Floods and storms
Will swell
And Mangawhero Stream
Will become living hell’

‘All creatures of my realm
Shall rush to the helm
We’ll have total victory
Unconditional surrender
That to you I tender
My subject trees
No genus goes this far
And threatens
The forests Otanemahuta’

‘And I will unleash
My lakes, rivers and seas
I shall help bring the pines down
Them I’ll drown
I am the god of water
And at times the moa
I am Tangaroa’

The dark-side
Of Chaos then entered
The god of pines, humans and war himself
And he thundered:
‘You my brothers and sisters’
You’ve been through this before
All of you
Why is it now?
Time to take sides?
I Tumatauenga
Think you’ve gone too far
This pitiful scenario
Is as far as I’ll let you go
I lord over the pines
They’re mine
As are those that brought them
To this shore
And don’t forget
I’m in charge of war
Why side with these trees
In this pathetic fallacy
In this small instant
In this earthly malady?’

The seventh god
In fact a goddess
She of peace
Mother of the child of peace, said
Sorry it’s all over for you
I don’t intend to be mean
But it’s foreseen
That on Day Four
Of the Battle of the Trees
You will be outvoted
Six to one
But don’t worry
You won’t be demoted
You’re a god
Soon we’ll head off
As planned
To sort some other problem
In some other land
Quell another brink
What do you think?

Tumatauenga pondered
And guffawed with laughter:
‘Oh, all right
This time I give in
To you my kin
I’ll let these Nation trees win
But with one condition
The humans as before, now and after
Will continue the killing
You know I find it thrilling’


The gods nodded agreement
And said in accord:
‘The trees of the Nation
Will not be put to the sword’
And Tumatauenga smiled
Knowing full well
The human’s love for war
And he was completely sure
There’d be plenty more.


The matter decided
The goddess of peace
With consummate ease
Put the dots on the ‘i’s
And crossed the ‘t’s
Bringing a conclusion
To the battle of the trees.


When Day Four
Resumed as the gods planned
The remaining trees of the Nation
With a helping hand
Drove the pines
From the land.


Inanga now sure
The battle was over
Thanked Marama the Moon
And Ra the Sun
For putting an end
To the gun
He was now grinning
Almost having fun
And damn near delighted
When he and the others recited:
The Karakia of the Beginning

The Void
And in the depths of the Void there was a Great Sound
And in the Great Sound there was ‘Something’
And ‘Something’ made the Seas of the Dust
And the Dust was like Hine Po Kohu Rangi
And she swirled around the Heavens
And then came a Sudden Light called Te Ra
And He warmed the Heavens
And out of the Dust and the Warmth was made the Earth
And She was called Papatuanuku
And land was formed out of Chaos
And Io separated the Earth from the Other Lands
And set these Lands
On their journey through Time’

Inanga mused:
‘The gods sure have fun
With their rhymes’


For the pines
Their god was found out
For them the naming was tragic
It allowed Inanga
To do magic
But in order to
Avoid more bloodstained fields
Our goddess’s name
Remains unrevealed
Likewise will her sacred tree
Be hidden
For all eternity’


An army museum now stands
On Owaiouru Plain
A sad reminder of war’s pain
But in its halls
Nothing is mentioned
About the Battle of the Trees
Or the many of the Nation
Now buried across the plain
In front
And full view
Of proud Ruapehu
Perhaps the time
Will come again
Where myth flies
In the face of legend
And in the softest rain
We will remember
The strains of December silence
We will recall
The Plain of Owaiouru
And in the gentlest afternoon shower
Will pass by
A perfect rainbow

Then we will know
About the time in our land
When the trees of the Nation
Gathered together
Family by family
Clan by clan
And made their stand
Our beloved trees
Buried in Owaiouru
We will not forget you
A day will come
When we return
To burn sacred coals
We will celebrate
And fly you to the Three Kings
As resurrected souls


inanga completed July 2009
inanga - hogproductions