Song of the Last Days
'WEEP FOR THE PEACE CHILD, and those who are no more...
WE COME TO THE LAST SONG OF THE TWELVE. And it is the saddest, because many valleys still echo to the sound of the last karakia [prayer] and cries of pain. The land remembers. It still remembers. It still remembers the Dark Nights when so many flew the wairua trails to the stars. The mountains remember the bleached bones of mokopuna [grandchildren] abandoned to rain and wind, when none remained to take them to the high places to rest with the stone.
For generations 'Atea' reigned, and we knew the World of Light. Then 'Po Kerekere' descended to clothe all with Darkness. And the Nation was no more.
THE KETE OF THE LAST KARAKIA
WALK WITH THE PEACE CHILD UNTIL THE END
WE COME RELUCTANTLY TO THE LAST DAYS OF THE PEOPLE, to the final trail of tears and the last song. And we come with deep sadness carrying the kete of love. Remember good and evil are woven from the same threads; the cloak that shows its brilliant colours to the Sun also casts the shadow on the ground. Some are drawn to the radiant colours and give joy to others, and some are grown to darkness and send forth pain...
'In the Light there is life and compassion
in the Darkness there is only darkness
in the Light the dream knows no bounds
in the Darkness the dream distorts
and fails to find its beginning, and fears its end'
All are kin of Tane Mahuta. All descend from the red earth shaped into the First woman. Yet, some children stand tall and gentle in the Sun, while others crouch in the dark feeding on anger and hurt.
The children of peace are like saplings nurtured by the Earth Mother. Seeking the light, they reach ever upwards to the sky to become the tall trees of the forest.
The children of the Darkness grow as stunted plants. Their minds are bound within soured roots and tangled branches, that turn on themselves in frustration. And their anger feeds on anger to grow without design, to twist and enfold, to hinder and harm. The Darkness has forgotten the beauty of the tree that stands straight and true.
They are the children of Tu Ma Tauenga. And as long as they walk to the beat of his drum they will remain as children bound within the unfinished mind, bound within the thwarted spirit, bound within bodies that see strength in destruction and find succouring in the suffering of others.
'Darkness gathered on the ocean to bring the Red Tides of War'
Famine and greed are the storm tides that bring the warriors of death. In distant lands children were born to take up weapons and launch the waka of war. And sails driven by the winds of envy and hate brought the vengeance of Tu Mata Tauenga to our shores.
They knew the way. Seven waka came on the long tides. They did not arrive as one but over many generations. The first to bring weapons against the Nation were challenged by our minds, and they put aside the ways of destruction and joined with our seed. And, in time, anger was bred out of them and they became tall trees of Waitaha.
'And other waka arrived to the beat of the Drums of War'
Once again strange sails crossed the waves. Fierce were these people. They came to the shores of Whai Repo to make their villages and shape their weapons. We stood against them with calm minds and sent beautiful rainbows to turn back the shadows that fell on the trails. But the Darkness broke through and coloured the rivers with the deepest pain.
Whai Repo bled from generation to generation, but Aotea Roa still knew the gentleness of Rongo Marae Roa and the God Stone still moved along the Peace Trail. Then a waka was wrecked on the southern coast of Aotea Roa, and we saved the weakening crew from the surf. And they came ashore with their weapons, and we met them in peace and died in peace.
Then a warrior waka came to the northern waters of Aotea Roa. The smoke of burning villages shrouded the blue skies and shadowed the Moon. And they built their forts on the headlands. Years later two great vessels carrying many sails  anchored near Whakarerea. The war trumpets sounded, and the warriors launched their waka against the 'fair skinned ones in strange clothes', and death drifted on the tides. And those mighty waka sailed away to the sound of thunder that kills from afar.
The rest of Aotea Roa was still free of the heavy tread of the warriors. Then, many generations later, another tall vessel of many sails came to these shores.  The songs that tell of its passing say it visited the waters off Te Whatanui o Rakaihautu, , but did not make landfall. We marked it well; soon after, we saw the approach of the Darkest Days.
Now the waka of the warriors came to the villages of Ihutai Maroro and Okaroro and the many lagoons of Waimangariri. We sheltered them, and fed them the sweet kumara that sustains all, for they came in peace. And they saw our strength, and felt the gentle touch of our minds and sailed away. And we saw dark clouds gather, and prepared a great waka to sail with our most precious seed; the children we would send on the tides of tomorrow.
Then the warriors returned in the name of Tu Ma Tauenga with the weapons that call up death. And their red fires seared the land. And our tears could not hold back the flames.
We did not take up arms. When the drums of dread sounded through the valleys, we left the gardens, and the nets, and quietly put aside our digging sticks and paddles. And we put on cloaks of friendship. And we stood tall as the totara stands tall and joined in the circle of peace. Hand held hand, but we did not say 'goodbye'. We bowed our heads to the patu, and hoped some would be spared to say the last karakia to send our wairua to the stars.
And we went in peace. There were no battles, only our dead. The young, the old, the women, the men, everyone. And where the families fell the circle of our dreams was broken. Once we were numbered as the sands upon the shore; now we are few.'
The Trail of the Tall Trees
'All has been shared for our children and their children's children'
It is time to return the kete [Baskets of Knowledge] to Tuatara who guards the Knowledge, but before we make that journey the elders of Waitaha say to the youth of this land...
'Walk tall. Remember the ancestors of the Nation came from many colours. Some were red of skin, others brown or white, but all knew the pain of the Darkness that swept the land, and stayed true to the Peace Child.
And know the few that remained continued to plant the vines that bring peoples together. And filled their kete with food, for the body, mind and the spirit. And kept the old lore intact as a taonga [treasures] to guide you in times of adversity.
And know the taonga are given to all who live within sight of the mountains and wish to call this land home. You are the children of the new Nation. Care for one another. Walk with aroha and walk in peace.'
The sacred knowledge held in trust and opened in trust has been recorded in trust. What was foretold has come to pass. And it has been a trail of pain and a trail of joy. And that was how it was meant to be for none may walk lightly with the Kete of the Ancestors.
Tihei mauri ora
Ki te whei Ao
Ki te Ao marama
Ka huri te Ao...
I breathe the spirit of life
And join the world of happiness
And the World of Light
And I turn in my circle
As the world turns in its own...
Te Moana Hurihuri
Te Moana Teretere
The last karakia from 'Song of Waitaha: The Histories of a Nation' being the teachings of Iharaira Te Meihana, Wiremu Ruka Te Korako, Taare Reweti Te Maiharoa, Perenara Hone Hare, Heremia Te Wake and Renata Kauere
1. Tasman; 2. Cook; 3. Banks Peninsula