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He Aitua - Hone Tuwhare: 'No Ordinary Icon'

He Aitua - Hone Tuwhare

'No Ordinary Icon'

Hone Harawira, MP for Te Tai Tokerau

Thursday 17 January 2008

The Maori Party today lamented the loss of Icon Poet, Hone Tuwhare, of Ngapuhi-nui-tonu.

“Hone Tuwhare was a great artist, and a great philosopher whose real talent was his simplicity,” said Hone Harawira, Maori Party MP for the Tai Tokerau.

“You just have to look at his poetry, to see his love of people, and his deep sadness at the impacts of man on the world,” said Harawira.

“Like his majestic anti-nuclear poem, ‘No Ordinary Sun’ which he wrote back in 1964. It was so good that it was reversioned as an action song, and performed all over the country twenty years later, as a warning to us all …

“Tree - let your arms fall; don’t raise them to the bright cloud
Soon, they will lack toughness
For this is no mere axe to blunt or fire to smother you
Your sap won’t rise again to the pull of the moon
Your ears bend to the winds talk or stir to the trickle of rain
Your branches won’t be wreathed with the delightful flight of birds
Or shield lovers from the bright sun
Tree - let your arms fall; don’t raise them to the bright cloud
For this is no ordinary sun
No ordinary sun
And your end is written at last …”

“He could say what people really felt in their bones,”said Harawira.

“He wrote the first book of poetry by a Maori author in English – and it was so good that it has been reprinted ten times over the past thirty years".

“His poetry is so cool that it inspired heaps of other artists – like Ralph Hotere, Mahinarangi Tocker, Don McGlashan and Hinemoa Baker,” said Harawira. “Even the Auckland Dorian Choir sang some of his stuff".

“Actually,” said Harawira,” I’ve even used his poetry in my speeches in the House".

“Hone was given many accolades over the years from all over the world - he was the Te Mata poet laureate (1999); he got honorary doctorates from Auckland University and Otago University, and was one of the ten Icon artists announced in 2003”.

“And as a son of the north, it’s nice to know that he’ll be coming home to Kaikohe to rest among his tupuna".

"Hone Tuwhare will be missed by many, but his words will live on in our hearts and minds forever".


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