Opinion: East Coast farmer and bush poet Graeme Williams is back with his final poem for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for the year. Williams has been a favourite with The Country's listeners in 2021, making it to the top 10 most popular interviews of the year three times.
Dear Aunty Jacinda,
Three letters to you I've sent.
I'm yet to receive a reply,
So not sure just where they went.
I gather you're coming to Gisborne,
Indeed to tie the knot.
Word is on the street is that Clarky boy,
He must have lost the plot.
A wedding is a wedding
And I wish you all the best.
Other things I wish to raise
And I say them not in jest.
Concerns I have a-plenty
And Jamie says I'm one ahead of you
In the top 10 yearly interviews,
That all his punters listen to.
Not sure if that's a compliment,
But I'll take it just in case.
But I reckon I've got a reasonable grasp,
Of what's happening around the place.
People are unhappy,
Saying enough, it is enough.
I know it's nearly Christmas,
But we're not all turkeys you can stuff.
I've lived all 60 of my years,
As a resident of the Coast.
Clark, I'm sure will back me up to say,
A place that's better than most.
Every single resident here,
I guarantee, is living the dream.
Epitomised by Ngāti Pourou East Coast,
Hosea Gear and his team.
We really are one people here,
Despite the differences plain to see.
Honkys are the minority,
Sammy Parkes plus two, or three.
It doesn't even register,
Not an iota of any fuss.
It's the way we've always lived,
You should model the country on us.
Unity and mutual respect,
Is what a partnership's all about.
The Coast is living proof it works,
Of that, I have no doubt.
Creating problems where they're not,
Will destroy what's been achieved.
"Them and us" is prehistoric,
Narrow-minded and ill-conceived.
History must be history,
Even when it's far from nice.
Lessons must be learned from it,
It's not for us to pay the price.
Every sector knows the rules,
They were laid out from the start.
Every sector contributes something,
That makes us stand apart.
But ultimately we're all the same,
And must be treated together as such.
You'd be extremely wise to learn from this,
No one's asking much.
We've all made many mistakes,
Creating discontent and strife.
Mistakes are part of learning,
A fundamental part of life.
Throwing money at a problem,
Without accountability and vision,
Is not the maths of multiplication,
It's the maths of vast division.
So, I suggest that whilst you're in our town,
Where you're coming to be wed,
You take a serious listen
From what the majority has been said.
Marriage is uniting,
For a journey spent together.
The parties require that mutual respect,
If unity is forever.
And whilst we're on the wedding,
I need to address the honeymoon.
The Coast is where you should spend it,
As it will be really buggered soon.
Thanks to carbon farming,
You'll destroy life on the Coast.
I've lived up here all my life,
I understand it more than most.
Huiarua and Matanui,
Have significance to us all.
Iconic parcels of heritage,
To the East Coast one and all.
Every single family,
Has contributed and reaped reward.
Losing these stations to carbon farming,
Is something the country can't afford.
Listen to Graeme Williams recite his poem on The Country below:
Listen to the people,
Unanimous on the ground.
Not a single, solitary individual,
In support, there can be found.
A dozen families on these stations,
With roots throughout the Coast.
Twelve homes for Christ's sake,
Is more than Megan Woods can boast.
Mokamoka and Waiau,
We have no problem with the trees.
Huiarua for carbon,
Shutting the school down if you please.
Where the hell's the sense in this?
As you prepare your wedding vows,
A mandate for your future,
Best you spare a thought for ours.
I'd happily drive your bridal car,
And guide you around the Coast.
And show you real New Zealand,
The envy I suggest of most.
Life, we've got it sorted here,
On a limb out on our own.
Best you allow the status quo,
And leave us well alone.
This feeling is unanimous,
It's imperative you take heed.
Carbon farming will destroy our region,
It's b*llsh*t based on greed.
United like our rugby team.
Ka pai the mighty Blues.
The recipe, we've got it right,
We're even winners when we lose.
My Christmas wish is reflection,
And I heard it in a song.
Humble pie is marvellous stuff,
Never too late to right a wrong.
Sir Apirana Ngata,
Undoubtedly East Coast's greatest son.
Unity is paramount,
Together we are one.