The wind is picking up

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

the Wairarapa.

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.”[1]


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,[2]

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[3]

warn them of the changing climate

to come,  

as they were slashed and burned to death?

[1] Thanks to Lynne, Penelope and Sarah for these words

[2] Native New Zealand wood pigeon

[3] Native New Zealand broadleaf tree

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.