National Poetry Day - Poem & Song Lyric Competition
25 Aug 2020

Great crowd, great night at The Kauri Museum on Friday 21st August, for National Poetry Day and the conclusion of our poetry and song lyric competition.

Thanks to all the poets who entered and those who read at the Open Mic. MC Nick kept the evening rolling, Judges Deb and Jed explained their judging processes, the winners were announced, we listened to some great poetry and Judge Jed sang and played the guitar. We enjoyed ourselves so much, we're already looking forward to next year.

This years theme was, ‘The Ebb and Flow of the Kaipara’, referencing the harbour that is so prominent in our lives.

1st Peter Newson - The Tree of Pahi
Highly Commended Victoria de la Varis-Woodcock - Oh Says Kaipara
Highly Commended Mark Vincent - Each Tide is Unique
Highly Commended Courtney Davis - Homestead
Highly Commended Mark Vincent - Some Thoughts Which Come

Below are a few of these poems.

Oh Says the Kaipara - Victoria de la Varis-Woodcock

After all these years
a sea called Kaipara is
fond of dalliances with little fish

Still drifting
writing ombudsman letters
reputation in tatters

unfading sea, pulled from great grey sheaves of water
day and night long
I desire you
impatiently, I wait nearby
I am your ocean

Oh says Kaipara...
I hear you
you are always keening for me, restive ocean
when the world becomes quite
with all I have left
I will give chase and commingle with you

Fear not
I am Kaipara Moana




It was said to be planted in the year of eighteen sixty three, A Morton Bay fig, the most magnificent tree I ever did see. With a National Heritage Order to protect it for ever, And the Kaipara Council Covenant being so vital and clever. Its height of thirty meters was measured in the year twenty ten, The spread of the branches averaged some fifty meters then. Many roots form a buttress that twist and squirm above ground, Like some prehistoric monster that has never been found, The fine texture of bark on the roots, trunk and limbs, So smooth and bright, the grey colour of its satin like skin.


Surrounded by a beautiful lawn of grass so green, just like a Constable olde world English picture scene. On the Kaipara Harbour next to a picturesque shore, unique to New Zealand’s history and a short detour, turn off Highway twelve at Paparoa , signposted to Pahi and just past the beach shop and you’ll be able to see, across the green to this stately and magnificent species of tree, which has matured and developed by the fine climate and soil, and if trees have a heritage it should be called Royal.


Some historic happenings over the years of its eventful life, The first Albertland emigrants told of much joy and strife, And the first years were tough and food and shelter a must, No shops or provisions or regular shipping they could trust, The Maoris were noted as generous with goodwill and grace, With Kumara’s, fish and fruits and help for the settlers place. Not knowing the emigrants avid love for more and more land, Bought from the Maori by a Government Agents hand


Paid a pittance for the government by a missionary hound, The Pahi Peninsula cost them only Nine Thousand Pound, Two Hundred and forty thousand acres, how can that possibly be? Nine pence an acre, the work of God’s minions are a mystery to me. Some settlers flourished and thrived and others barely survived, Working at logging the Kauri or digging for gum to help stay alive. Captain Cook’s wild porkers and the Kaipara’s Harbour’s fine fish the fruit orchards and vegetable gardens were all they could wish.


Harvesting Kauri in days long ago, was a dangerously difficult task, Scarfing, felling , cross cutting and skidding huge logs a big ask, Milling, loading and shipping out through the harbours head. This hair razing rip tidal passage in a sail boat was something to dread. These arduous labours the only income to fund and develop their land, Build a home, buy stock and earn farm funds to help them expand, Some astute farmers built their homes with timber from the Kauri tree And one hundred and fifty years later, still a fine sight to please.


Reminiscences from nineteen twenty three by the sole charge teacher at Pahi, “A very isolated area seems to come alive at the annual Regatta spree, With steamers from Helensville and Dargaville making a grand display, And the big brass band from the flagship came ashore to play, For the crowds on the green and the shade of the Morton Bay fig There is a photo of horseless carriages, and horses, buggy’s and gigs, Parked in the shade of the branches of the sixty year Morton Bay fig. The amazing family of Puriri Point, Pook’s, so fit, athletic and strong, Mrs Pook sat under the big fig tree, her children could do no wrong, Accepting the tributes and prizes that her seventeen children had won, Taught by their father Ted Pook, as experts at boating and fishing had become. Much more information of this historical place can be found of early Pahi days, If you visit the Kauri Museum well sign posted from Paparoa on your way.

Peter Newson 23-06-17.

Homestead – Courtney Davis

Something hurts
when she bends down
to pick up
the apples that
rolled on the ground.
That rolled under the table
and close to the fridge.
She gathers them
in a dirty apron,
the two bruised ones
will go to the pigs.
The fire went cold
an hour ago.

For years it looked
like those apple trees
wouldn't grow.
And now she has
too many apples
and she is all
on her own.

Each Tide is Unique – Mark Vincent

Each tide is unique
Just like the one before
And the ones to follow
Yet you could set your clock by it
If you had a tide clock

Some thoughts which came lurking in the early morning light – Mark Vincent

Plenty of room at the Hotel Arapaoa*
You may travel far away
But it will never leave you

A fresh menu every day
Today its mud and sparkle
With mangrove green on the side
A little chopped sea for afters too

It’s just that
Some days the old gal
Looks just a bit too sad
Too much mud, not enough sparkle

*refers to Araparoa River arm of the Kaipara Harbour.