Take Another Look

You rise early and watch the rumours climb
Above the dark Takaka Hills – There’d been a meeting

& the young balheads outvoted the old & we had another year!
The party was at the Roots Bar!

I had my doubts, but you knew it was all small-town cowshit
Because you know about dispossession, & balheads

& lawyers, & votes, & the slow twisting of rules – 
& how balheads turn from the ways of Aroha & Justice

Into paths of accumulation & accumulation
& accumulation – So why should they treat a tribe 

Of hippy tourists & freedom campers any different?
& I watch you spit in the rich carpark clay

& press fresh Reilly Street mud into my squinting eyes
Saying – take another look brother – take another look   


‘Reilly Street:’ the location of the Freedom Camper Car Park and the River Tribe. ‘The Roots Bar:’ a local bar and eatery, near the carpark.

‘Rumours:’ on the day before the carpark was due to be closed there were rumours that a Tasman District Council (TDC) meeting had decided to allow the carpark to stay open for another year. The rumours were false.


The Maori Jesus knows ‘about dispossession & balheads & the slow twisting of rules’ because his tribal lands have been confiscated by balhead rule-twisters. The Teacher is one with all who experience injustice and violence. ‘He knows balheads ignore the ways of Aroha & Justice as they carry out their nefarious money-making schemes. My understanding of the ways balheads twist rules and break treaties expands.

I live out an ancient story. In the Gospel of John, the Teacher spits into clay & rubs it in the eyes of a man born blind. ‘Sight’ is gradually restored. It’s a story of spiritual and psychological awakening. It becomes my story. I awaken to the presence of balheads in the Tasman area and beyond. I see how they ‘twist rules and turn from the ways of Justice & Aroha into paths of ‘accumulation and accumutation.’

I watch them plunder the natural world and call their exploitation “economic growth”. The Teacher calls it the betrayal of the land, the waters and the people.

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