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PANZA celebrates this year’s National Poetry Day, 26 August 2016, with verses by a Samoan-New Zealand poet Sefulu Ioane, a Hamilton teacher of the 1970s.

Sefulu interestingly goes by the same surname as the well-known Auckland rugby brothers Reiko and Akira, two All Blacks Sevens players at this year’s Olympics in Rio.

It’s not known, however, whether there is a family connection between the three men.

Sefulu’s poem is a remarkable tribute to a deceased former Labour Prime Minister Norman Kirk (1923-1974), and breaks through the boundaries of politics, race and culture with poignancy and ease.

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Prime Minister Norman Kirk. Macfarlane, Ian : Negatives of Graham Bagnall and Norman Kirk. Ref: 35mm-00277-b-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22910147

Perhaps one of the books missing in New Zealand’s poetry history is a reliable anthology of well rendered portraits of, and tributes to, politicians and including poems by poet-politicians themselves.

In the 19th century and early 20th century such poet-politicians/statesmen were the norm in New Zealand, e.g. Alfred Domett and William Pember Reeves.

Nowadays they are not so common but current Labour Opposition leader Andrew Little has delivered a poem in the House republished in Tony Chad’s poetry magazine Valley Micropress.

More standard are political lampoons, protests and satirical attacks on politicians and their particular policies and taxes affecting the everyday life of Kiwis.

Former Prime Minister David Lange’s first wife Naomi published poetry (Itineraries, 1990), and Lange’s education aide Harvey McQueen wrote the sequence Beehive. More recently former Labour MP Bill Sutton has written and published poetry. His second book Billy Button: A Life was published this year by the HB Poetry Press.

Ioane’s poem is a memorable portrait in contrast to the usual political satires that have become well-known via newspapers.

The poem appeared in Norman Simms’ edition of the small magazine Cave, which he took over from the late Trevor Reeves, of Caveman Press. Cave became The New Quarterly Cave then Pacific Quarterly Moana then Rimu and later Cross Current.

TRIBUTE TO NORMAN KIRK

Poem adapted from the Original Samoan by Sefulu Ioane

I

They’ve lowered the balloon at Mururoa
Its airy splendor withers in quiet dissipation.
Nuclear fury now wallows underground;
Formidable wild boar of our age,
Tameless snorting sends tremors
To the dark confusion of the subterranean world.
In the brief hours of sunshine
The fisherman lays his net.

II

Once more, the star-fish are free
Dancing to the tango of sensuous rhythm,
In tune with the music of the night:
Tumultuous revelry in that twinkling paradise.
The Octopus is wise and a sitting majesty
Master of ancient ceremonies;
Its ritual, so clever
Was nearly forgotten.

III

Upon the reef, our mother, the sea smiles;
Her snowy hair befits her age.
Carefree children, gathering shell-fish;
Their hearts are gay, like their ancestors of yester-years.
Tomorrow is another day
But are now singing in the moonlight
And Trade winds bring showers
Of Clean, sparkling water.

IV

They say the Big Man with the beating heart
And his friends, brought the balloon down.
Fearlessly that note resounded across the Sea,
Summoning warriors to the defence of Peace.
Was it madness or mere adventure,
Buzzing of the bee that the elephant should care?
Must the Sandpiper cry all day
Till its voice is heard?
I think not, but time will tell.

V

Yachtsman shared the sea with their Maori brother,
Faithful sisters, Waikato and Otago,
Obedient but gay at the altar.
The willing sailor whistles his tunes
Oblivious of unseen danger.
His country before him: the politician and the scientist,
Task masters of this century
Eagerly looking at Freedom’s eyes.

Sefulu Ioane, an associate editor of Cave; teaches biology at a Hamilton school.

(From Cave No. 7, c 1975)

[Sefulu Isaia Ioane wrote the Foreword to fellow poet Talosaga Tolovae’s 1980s book The Shadows Within and Other Poems, published by Rimu and held in the Archive.

Ioane also authored the teaching aid Handbook for Teachers of Pacific Island Children, 1977, 1978, 1982]

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Alongside the coffin of the late Prime Minister Norman Kirk at Parliament House, Wellington. Evening post (Newspaper. 1865-2002) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: 1/4-021782-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22870322

Recently, the Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa featured in Jacket2, USA, in a series of commentaries by Vaughan Rapatahana on the small press and poetry scene in New Zealand.

“One such example of sterling input is the invaluable Poetry Archive of New Zealand. As Mark Pirie points out to us, ‘I co-organise the Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa  (with Dr Michael O’Leary and Dr Niel Wright, the founders) collecting poets back to the nineteenth century. There are more good poets than people realize reading mainstream historical anthologies of New Zealand poetry. I have realized this fairly recently after wasted years of looking at and learning from selective, academic anthologies ever since I was a student. Since 2010, I have edited the quarterly Poetry Archive newsletter Poetry Notes. This has featured many forgotten historical New Zealand poets and presented highly original research by myself, Rowan Gibbs, Niel Wright, and Michael O’Leary. The National Library of New Zealand online research tools like Papers Past have been vital to this rediscovery of early New Zealand poetry too. Poets like Robert J Pope, Ivy Gibbs, and A. Stanley Sherratt have had their work republished.’ It needs to be made clear that these three guys receive no emolument for their earnest endeavours and do rely on donations of both funds and poetry texts to proliferate their resource, ‘so very good historical and contemporary poets don’t get missed.’ Stalwarts all, indeed.”

Article: Slam, slam … & thank you Mams by Vaughan Rapatahana, in Jacket2 Commentaries, USA, 2015 (https://jacket2.org/commentary/slam-slam-thank-you-mams).

The 25th issue of the newsletter from Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa is available now for download as a pdf.

Inside Autumn 2016, volume 7, issue 1: Michael Duffett on New Zealand in 1979; poetry by Eileen Van Trigt; in memoriam: Ruth Gilbert 1917-2016; Ruth Gilbert’s The Luthier by Niel Wright; Rachel Bush 1941-2016; comment on James K Baxter’s Complete Prose; Canterbury quakes anthology; donate to PANZA through PayPal; recently received donations; about the Poetry Archive.

The Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa (PANZA) now has over 5,000 titles.

Thanks to all those who have donated to the Archive over the past year.

The Poetry Archive of New Zealand catalogue has now been significantly updated to reflect new acquisitions March-May 2016.

The Archive began in February 2010 with around 3,000 titles and has grown substantially in the past year. PANZA would particularly like to thank Auckland poet, editor and novelist Alistair Paterson, Wellington poet/publisher Mark Pirie, Wellington publisher Roger Steele, Cecilia Johnson and the late New Zealand anthologist, poet and memoirist Harvey McQueen for their sizeable contributions to the fast-growing collection.

A full list of donations is listed in each issue of Poetry Notes, the PANZA newsletter.

PANZA acknowledges the death on 11 April 2016 of one of New Zealand poetry’s major poets, Ruth Gilbert (real name Florence Ruth Mackay).

Ruth Gilbert was awarded the distinction of receiving the ONZM (New Zealand Order of Merit) for “services to poetry” in 2002.

Gilbert was well-known in her writing life and was widely anthologised in major New Zealand anthologies.

She was educated at Hamilton High School and graduated at the Otago School of Physiotherapy in 1938.

Chief among her works is The Luthier sequence first published by Reed in 1966, a remarkable work detailing the musical appreciation in her family between the poet and her father, a maker of violins. The sequence shared the Jessie Mackay Memorial Prize for 1968 with James K Baxter. Three times Gilbert won the award.

Her other works such as her Lazarus sequence from Lazarus and Other Poems (1949) were widely acclaimed in New Zealand poetry circles. She also wrote poetry on her experiences in New York and Western Samoa.

Gilbert’s poetry dates from 1938 and as recently as 2009, 71 years later, was still being featured in PANZA member Mark Pirie’s journal broadsheet, issue no. 4, with a cover drawing of Ruth in Western Samoa by Dr Michael O’Leary (featured below). O’Leary has written vividly of her in his doctoral thesis on New Zealand women’s writing 1945-70.

As a poet, Ruth stayed true to her lyrical and musical impulse for rhyme despite Modernist trends in New Zealand poetry since the 1960s, and was an early feminist poet.

Gilbert published a number of volumes, including her Selected Poems, 1941-1998 from Niel Wright’s Original Books in 2008. Wright did much to publicise and keep in print Gilbert’s work in the past two decades.

Among the positions she held are: President of PEN (the Writers’ Union); President of the New Zealand Women Writer’s Society; and a member of the New Zealand Literary Fund Committee.

Gilbert was 99 at the time of her death.

PANZA extends their deepest sympathy to her family and friends at this time.

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Ruth Gilbert in Samoa by Michael O’Leary, 2009

The 24th issue of the newsletter from Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa is available now for download as a pdf.

Inside Summer 2016, volume 6, issue 4: Niel Wright on W H Oliver (1925-2015); classic New Zealand poetry by E Mary Gurney (1900-1938); poetry by Hugh Isdale; comment on Robert John Palmer Bakewell (1857-1942); NZ Truth poem; research request; donate to PANZA through PayPal; recently received donations; about the Poetry Archive.

esawxmassurprise2015cov

In the spirit of the Beatles who put out a Christmas record for their fans, Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, the Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa (PANZA) and HeadworX offer to you, our friends and clients, this small token for your enjoyment.

Poems on the railway, Auckland, cricket, netball, excerpts from Niel Wright’s Poetic Fish Hooks, and a prose piece by B. E. Turner from the recently published ESAW anthology Of Paekakariki edited by Sylvia Bagnall.

Contributors: Michael O’Leary, B. E. Turner, F. W. Nielsen Wright, and Mark Pirie.

Download and view the free pdf of this book (file size 527KB):

http://www.markpirie.com/books/esaw-christmas-surprise-2015

The Poetry Archive of NZ Aotearoa (PANZA) now has over 5,000 titles.

Thanks to all those who have donated to the Archive over the past year.

The Poetry Archive of New Zealand catalogue has now been significantly updated to reflect new acquisitions September-November.

The Archive began in February 2010 with around 3,000 titles and has grown substantially in the past year. PANZA would particularly like to thank Auckland poet, editor and novelist Alistair Paterson, Wellington poet/publisher Mark Pirie, Wellington publisher Roger Steele, Cecilia Johnson and the late New Zealand anthologist, poet and memoirist Harvey McQueen for their sizeable contributions to the fast-growing collection.

A full list of donations is listed in each issue of Poetry Notes, the PANZA newsletter.

The 23rd issue of the newsletter from Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa is available now for download as a pdf.

Inside  Spring 2015, volume 6, issue 3: An interview with Patricia Prime; A history of JAAM literary magazine; National Poetry Day Poem: Carlaw Park by Francis Cloke; poetry by MaryJane Thomson; further comment on Geoffrey Pollett (1908-1937); further comment on John O’Connor (1949-2015); Paekakariki arts walk; C K Stead appointed NZ Poet Laureate; new publications by PANZA members: Lonely Earth by MaryJane Thomson; 12 Netball Poems by Mark Pirie; Livin’ ina Aucklan’ CD by Earl of Seacliff’s Lonely Hearts Club Band [Michael O’Leary and others]; Poetic Fish Hooks by Niel Wright; donate to PANZA through PayPal; recently received donations; about the Poetry Archive.

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PANZA celebrates National Poetry Day, 28 August 2015, with a classic New Zealand poem on the famous rugby league ground Carlaw Park by Francis Cloke (1860-1941).

PANZA Archivist, sports fan and researcher Mark Pirie writes:

Carlaw Park was for many years during the amateur era the home of Auckland and New Zealand Rugby League.

Named after founder James Carlaw, a senior figure in a prominent League family, Carlaw Park matches date from 1921 until 2002, when the park was eventually condemned. Mount Smart Stadium became League’s new home.

City v Newton was the park’s first match. In those days, Rugby League was in hot competition with Rugby post-World War One. The Auckland Rugby Union changed their playing rules during the 1920s for fast running rugby and imposed bans on players who switched codes in an effort to stave off the competition from League. However, the All Black Invincibles tour of 1924-25 enhanced Rugby’s reputation as it continued to dominate against the League code and other winter sports like association football and hockey.

Auckland League legend Karl Ifwersen switched codes and became an All Black in 1921. Later, in the 1930s, All Black greats George Nepia and Bert Cooke switched codes and graced Carlaw Park.

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Rugby league players during a test match between New Zealand and Australia, which was played on 14 August 1937 in Auckland. George Nepia is stopping a back, on the far right. Possibly taken by an Evening Post staff photographer. Making New Zealand: Negatives and prints from the Making New Zealand Centennial collection. Ref: PAColl-3060-007. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22906498

Francis Cloke’s poem, ‘Carlaw Park’, has genuine qualities to it. A rare poem on the League code in New Zealand, it strikes home as it paints a delicate portrait of a rugged sport, and is unafraid to espouse the sport as a form of athletic art.

The poem first appeared in differing form as ‘Ode to Carlaw Park’ by “F. C., Parnell”, in the Rugby League News, 16 May 1925 (according to the 100 years, Auckland rugby league history, 2009).

Carlaw Park

There’s a neat little park in Parnell
Of its picturesque beauties I’d tell:
Overlooked by the trees
As they wave in the breeze
On whose branches the singing birds dwell.

For protection, its walls are built high
Just to hide from the view of the spy
Who never seems willing
To part with his shilling
For what others are anxious to buy.

It’s a beautiful place to behold,
Nicely sheltered from winds that are cold,
This model of freeland
The gem of New Zealand,
And its value’s not measured in gold.

High up on its long terraces grand
There a great many thousands can stand,
Where they all get a view
And a thrill through and through,
As the boys play the game at command.

There’s an artistic fence all round
Which encircles the main playing ground,
Where our active athletes
There perform their great feats
Of endurance that all doth astound.

It’s a bit of this world made anew,
And a place of enjoyment for you;
Will give, when completed,
Both standing and seated,
A full thirty-five thousand clear view.

Rugby League is the game they play,
Rugby League is the game come to stay,
Where the public of sport
By the thousand resort,
Get full measure for all that they pay.

When the game to its final has come,
And the critic has used froth and foam,
Just outside the front gate
There the tram-cars await
To take players and spectators home.

FRANCIS CLOKE

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Rugby match, New Zealand versus Great Britain, Carlaw Park, Auckland. Whites Aviation Ltd :Photographs. Ref: WA-46976-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/30653

Cloke’s only collection (privately printed), Songs of New Zealand and Various Verses (Auckland, NZ: Dawson Printing), appeared in three editions: 1924, 1925, 1931. A regional Auckland poet, Cloke wrote popular verses on various Kiwi themes: sport (cricket, rugby, league, yachting, etc.), the landscape, towns and bays, and celebrations of church, political, historical and military figures, including aviator Jean Batten. He was a contemporary of other New Zealand poets like the recently republished Robert J Pope (1865-1949).

Some details on Cloke’s life are traceable. Cloke was born in the December quarter 1860, Launceston, Cornwall, UK. His father died when he was very young leaving his mother to raise the family alone. At age 9, Cloke began working in the coalmines in Yorkshire. In 1886, Cloke married Elizabeth Ross (1866-1935) and had a family with her. Francis, of the Parnell Methodist Church, worked as a labourer for Railways. They lived at 12 York Street, Parnell, Auckland, close to Carlaw Park. Francis was involved with coal mining at Kawakawa on arrival in New Zealand.

Cloke was the father of six children: John, Francis, William, Arthur and two girls: “Mrs F W Johnson (Kamo)” and “Mrs F W Kirby”. John Cloke (1894-1916), a Railways engineer, was killed in action at the Somme, France, World War One, aged 22 years. The three other sons were all involved in Auckland sport, and further research shows a family connection to the League code.

His son W E (Billy) Cloke, a warehouseman, was an Auckland Rugby League selector (1939-40-41), who selected George Nepia 1939 for Auckland, and earlier (as a player) had been a back (five-eighth, wing or centre) for Auckland’s Newton Rangers (a club that in 1912 and 1927 won the Fox Memorial club competition). Cloke was selected for the Kiwis in 1919 after a trial match. This was a tour of NSW and Queensland, and Cloke was included as a reserve back in the Fourth Test v Australia but didn’t play). An Auckland rep, Cloke played at centre in a famous win over Great Britain in 1920. Karl Ifwerson was his teammate. Cloke was then included as an emergency for the Kiwis v Great Britain but didn’t play. Billy also played cricket for Railways and was involved in yachting.

Another son Francis George Cloke, a railways worker, was a yachtsman, regularly mentioned in Auckland newspapers in Sanders Cup contests (a winner in 1922 crewing with Desert Gold and in 1929 crewing as owner of Avalon). Proud father Francis wrote a poem ‘Desert Gold’ celebrating his son’s achievement.

His final son Arthur Cloke, a caterer, was an opening batsman, an Auckland cricketer, for R.V. Cricket Club. Arthur played League like his brother Billy for Newton Rangers.

PANZA recognises Francis Cloke as a poet of interest during the Edwardian and Georgian eras. He doesn’t appear in any New Zealand poetry anthology that PANZA is aware of.

Article © Mark Pirie 2015

Works consulted:

Auckland Star newspaper
New Zealand Herald newspaper
Auckland, 100 Years of Rugby League, 1909-2009, by John Coffey and Bernie Wood (Wellington: Huia Publishers; Auckland: Auckland Rugby League, 2009).
An Illustrated History: Centenary 1910-2010: 100 years of New Zealand Rugby League (Auckland: New Zealand Rugby League, 2010).

Websites/Databases used:
Free UK birth records
Birth, Deaths and Marriages, New Zealand
Archway – Archives New Zealand
PapersPast, National Library of New Zealand
Alexander Turnbull Library online collections, Wellington, New Zealand

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