Volume 68, Number 2 · Spring 2019

Decolonization Wiki

1. Family

Unfortunately I won’t be able to make this year’s reunion
of the extended Wynyard family in the Bay of Islands. Our tupuna,
Hori Winiana, was the son of Robert Henry Wynyard and Anne Catherine
McDonnell. Wynyard commanded the Fifty-Eighth Regiment, bringing two hundred troops
from Australia during the Northern Wars and was present
at Ruapekapeka Pa when it fell. He was born at Windsor.
His mother Jane Gladwin was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Charlotte, wife
of George III. His father William was a lieutenant general. Hori, or George,
married our tupuna Iritana Pomare. Their daughter Ihipera
married Te Kauhoa Harawene (or Sullivan) whose son was Turi
Sullivan who married Raiha Shepherd and their son was Massey
who married Matekino Ngakuru and their daughter was my mother, Maryann.

Iritana Pomare’s father was Pomare II, the chief
of Ngāti Manu, who married Rangingangana, daughter
of the paramount chief of Ngāti Raukawa, Te Whatanui.
Iritana’s brother was Hare Pomare, father of Albert Victor Pomare,
godson of Queen Victoria, who joined the British navy and was lost at sea.

2. Ruapekapeka

I have visited once and seen a hilly field
from memory—hard to take the scene in
without props. There was a church service
and worshippers fled out beyond. Never
swarmed the bunkers and trenches.
Flicked between ancestor Wynyard
and our neighboring great chief Kawiti.
I do not know the buried knives. We gathered
in this hill of ash, dead bees, and pollen.
We left carvings in the earth and flowers there.

3. Treaty Training

The first communion here was in 1814. My grandmother
Matekino recited her bible in the dark with Granny Huru
and Granny Mohi. Tāwhirimātea’s tongue stretched ahead
while Tū turned his the other way. We are the champions
of the world sang Freddie Mercury at Live Aid.
I take these crumbs and eat them.
Train myself to load the dishwasher
and empty it. When my training is complete
I will be ready to learn about the Treaty.

Robert Sullivan lives in Auckland, New Zealand with Rachel Fenton and their newborn baby son, Turi. Sullivan’s Māori tribal affiliations are to Ngāpuhi in the far north, and Kāi Tahu in the far south. His PhD from the University of Auckland examines the work of five other indigenous Pacific poets. His seven collections of poetry include Captain Cook in the Underworld, Shout Ha! to the Sky, and the bestselling Star Waka. He coedited three major anthologies of Pacific and Māori poetry. Sullivan founded the creative writing program at the Manukau Institute of Technology, and is Deputy Chief Executive (Māori) there.