Kia ora tātou, I am Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Māmoe through my mother, Rei Kanuia Tutaki, née Taipana and Ngāti Kahungunu through my father, Tipene Matua Tutaki. Sadly now both deceased. I have always enjoyed summing up my reflections and observations of life in poems. This started in primary school when one of my teachers praised my first efforts in class.

I have recently been attending monthly open-mic nights organised by Catalyst in Christchurch. Two of my poems have been published in Leaving the Red Zone, this year. I have applied to the Hagley Creative Writers Course for 2017, only 20 people a year are accepted, so fingers crossed.

This poem has been accepted by Poetry NZ and will be in their publication, Poetry NZ Yearbook 4, due out in March 2017.

By Raina Kingsley

When we are born
our tīpuna smile
slap each other on the back
that one looks like you
…and you

their faces soften
they goo and gaa
with their wrinkled
crinkled eyes nearly closed
delighted beyond all delight

but when we leave our whānau
to be in the world
on our own
cut adrift
off to school

they hold their breath
whisper karakia
will this one make it?

3 o’clock we come home
for the first time alone
initiated and stunned
“my skin’s made of poo!”

our tīpuna cry
oh no, here we go again.
Nā Raina Kingsley.