|I stand strong, nigh invincible,
intrinsic to this land,
but I have seen too many whānau fall;
I know that safety is an illusion.
My mokopuna have nestled round my base,
sheltered beneath my branches,
and stood shoulder to shoulder with me,
but few remain now.
I have outlived them all.
Kererū and tūī alight momentarily,
for a rest in their search for food,
and pīwakawaka flit and greet my visitors,
At night, this forest echoes with ruru's calls,
while hidden in damp detritus, kiwi, quieter,
pays his humble respects.
All Tāne's sons and daughters
entertain with their songs, acrobatic flights,
and social dramas played out as I watch.
I am old now, creaking with age,
and my roots ache with time's passage
and innumerable visitors,
but when Tāwhirimātea sends his storms
to rage from heaven above,
my need to protect is visceral and undeniable,
as strong as it was a thousand years ago.
This is my forest.
I am their father.
I am Tāne Mahuta.
Author's Note ▼