A letter to a friend, Awanuiarangi Black, who passed away November 30, 2016.
Kia ora Awa,
It has been a long, short year since you have been gone. When I count life in summers, as I do now, I feel more than ever the need to have a go even if does mean failure. To have a go and make the world a better place before I catch up with you "just over there", an endearing term you gave to the other side of life here on Earth.
Some things are changing and others, well they are still same old same old down here on Planet Earth, bro, and nothing changes when nothing changes.
Our two favourite hoha (annoying) sayings are still being said far too often and "to be honest", at the "end of the day" it will always be night time.
I mean, why be honest when you are trying to make a point? Does that make the rest of one's korero is kaka (bull)?
Hard case when you hear Dinosaur Don say we have words and sayings in Maori that are too hard to understand. How about the sign when you are driving along the road saying "roadworks".
Hello! I know that because I am driving on it, eh bro?
Yes, I am still a bit of a tin of cocoa with my te reo bro, but I will always try to pronounce what I say correctly and understand the meaning of what I say.
This is paramount for me, as I believe it should be for all of us having a go at speaking our beautiful language.
Remember how we used to cringe at councillors getting up and doing a mihi in Maori with absolutely no understanding of what they were saying or coming even close to pronouncing it correctly? To tell you the truth, why bother until you can say it correctly and know what it is you are trying to say, eh bro?
Sorry I could not be with the whanau who gathered last Thursday to remember you.
As you will already know, I was down in Poneke pushing for more homes for the homeless and, at 11 minutes past 11, exactly a year to the minute when we lost you, we got the green light we were looking for from Wellington.
So much to say in 800 words.
Others have been saying way too much, especially the two porangi (crazy) buggers with porangi haircuts.
One is shooting his wahanui (big mouth) off and the other is shooting off bigger badass rockets. Both of them getting closer to the tipping point where someone or something is going to have to shut them up.
One person who is not - but should be going quietly off into God's waiting room - is another Donald and his girlfriend. To be honest, they should find another cause to hang their political potae on if they want to be relevant at the next election.
As for the one just gone, it was a frock'n roll election, bro, with Winnie wearing the political pants and Jacinderella the golden slippers.
Time will tell how long before the codes clash given we have wild Willie shooting from the lip on one side and Sheriff Shane Jones on the other. So far, so good, and there is a positive change in the Aotearoa air.
Your environmental warriors inside and outside of council are still trying to save our whenua and our moana and, sadly, the lure of cash is still too tempting for many of our whanau, who are pouring on more poison than ever.
Remember those crazy, late-night korero we would have about running for council so we could make a change from the inside at the decision-making table?
Still, there is cause for celebration. As it will be a record year for the kiwifruit industry, it will be a record year for applying more agrichemicals than ever, and it is good for Maori according to our kaitiaki (guardians).
I guess from where you are Awa, in the heavenly grandstands sitting with Papatuanuku, our earthly guardian, and watching what we are doing to our waterways, our whenua and our aquifers, it must be sad seeing how we are treating each other and the lands our ancestors fought for.
The saying "when our whenua and our moana are healthy so too will our people be" comes to mind. If only I could pronounce this whakatauki (proverb) in Maori.
To be honest, it is all about the currency we measure success. Is it money or mana?
The irony of it all is we worry about those two crazy buggers with bad hair pressing buttons to end our existence when we are pushing them in our own backyard, eh bro.
Oh well, at the end of the day, it will still be night time eh Awa?
Po marire e hoa. Good night my mate.