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Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 4, September 1965

OHINEMURI

Written by the late EDWIN EDWARDS (Sen)

Mother of the mist, Ohinemuri,

The mist that spreads when birds begin to sing.

What have you seen, old river, in your coursing?

What lingering echoes in your gorges ring.

 

I see, long centuries ago, a silent river,

Trickling from lonely hills into the seas to weep;

Murmuring of times still older when Atua

Ravished your mother mountains from the deep.

 

I see the WAKA of the HAWAAIKI,

Manned with the grim-faced warriors who came then;

I hear their ringing Ake! Ake! Ake!

When you Ohinemuri, gave yourself to men.

 

Then comes a stranger splashing on your bosom;

A white sail flutters to you from the sea,

The conqueror Cook, that rugged ancient skipper,

Now ours, Ohinemuri, sayeth he.

 

Cometh the offspring of that bronzed skipper,

With tools of iron, steel their arms, and bold

Their hearts. Look you Ohinemuri,

Come they to wrest your sternly hidden gold.

 

Aye, ye old ranges, where the moa wanders,

Out from your stony heart these men shall tear

The stubborn ore to which the whole world panders -

The cursed-blessed metal that ye bear.

 

But better, where yon fallen, tree and creeper

Deep in dank bush lies sodden with the rain,

Shall sometime rise the singing of the reaper,

Binding the graceful sheaves of golden grain.

 

Aye many men shall live upon your borders

(As such a life 'tis given to men to live),

Your gold, your fruits, your waters shall sustain them,

Shall give them everything that earth may give.

 

Fair fate, Ohinemuri, mines, and lands, and waters,

Manned by these sons of pioneers of old,

May to the end your sturdy sons and daughters

Prove you a stream of life and love and gold.