Poem: Kia Kaha

Stand strong
Kia kaha
Know your worth and believe
Fight and strive for your dreams and goals
You never have to stand or fight alone
Your whanau stand with you
Ae, tātou tātou e
Supporting you
Stand strong

Form: Rictameter

I was inspired by a Writing.com activity to have a play with some Maori words in my poems. It’s not the first time I’ve done so, but I’m not sure I’ve done them justice in this one. The idea behind this one has been playing on my mind for a while though. Kia kaha is an encouragement – to stand up for what you believe, to work hard to make your goals and dreams a reality, to not let challenges and obstacles overwhelm you… And yet, the Maori people are huge believers in supporting one another. A person is never alone in Maori society, they are always part of an extended whanau (family) and that whanau is part of the larger iwi (people of the tribe, community or land).

Kia kaha (pronounced kee ah kaa ha) and whanau (pronounced far no) are words in common use over here, and readily understood by all. The line ‘Ae, tātou tātou e’ is a little trickier. It says ‘Yes, all of us, all of us’. The line ‘Tātou tātou e’ comes from a popular Maori folksong that most NZ children learn at primary school age. It didn’t have quite the right number of syllables for me, so I added the Maori word for yes (which I admittedly had to google) to the front.

I’m not really sure how I feel about this poem. Suspect I’ll continue to play with it for a while. Might try another form, or maybe do some free verse, and see where it goes.

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