The wind is picking up
in the Wairarapa.
I can feel it
on my White skin.
I watch it blow
hard against the tea trees
freighting fallen leaves
across the dusty floodplains.
The drought is drying
I can feel the sun burning
my White skin.
My eyes water as I gaze at
the brown hills,
the trickling streams,
the stagnant green-sludge pools.
The heavy rain
is flooding the Wairarapa.
it drowns the saplings
muddies the water
cracks the earth
erodes the mountain sides,
and drenches my White skin.
Some of the women I talked to say “it’s hard yacker”.
Others say “it upsets me” or
“it teaches you resilience”;
“that’s Mother Nature.”
Of course, our White-skinned stories and affects, forget;
When the winds could not break the trees,
When the sun could not bake the ground
When the waterways were full and deep -
Then the First Peoples feasted on big eels and fat Kererū,
walking according to the seasons,
before the forest was demolished.
I wonder when the White men arrived with
axe and fire
did the towering tawa
warn them of the changing climate
as they were slashed and burned to death?
Rebecca is a PhD candidate at Victoria University of Wellington. Her interests lie in Aotearoa land issues & settler colonial relationships. She also uses Haraway's naturecultures and creative writing to explore the more-than-human world.