Monday, November 8, 2010

Michael O’Leary’s Māori cricket poem

Earlier I wrote an article on Māori cricket in New Zealand. In addition to that article I’d like to share with you a cricket poem written in Māori. There can’t be many cricket poems in Māori (if any) so Michael’s O'Leary's poem is innovative and highly original.
It’s from O’Leary’s 1987 cricket novel Out of It (ESAW: Auckland). New Zealand is playing Out of It in a One-Day match on Eden Park, Auckland, 1980s. The poem is a monologue by the Out of It captain and hero of the match, the famous chief Te Rauparaha. (Titokuwaru, a Māori warrior who became a legend for his guerrilla resistance in the Land Wars of the 1860s, also gets a mention in the novel, however, he didn’t make the Out of It starting XI on the day.) It’s fiction so I guess these two didn’t play cricket but it would be nice to think that they had picked up cricket bats. Te Rauparaha features as a dashing, attacking batsman in Michael’s novel. I presume Titokuwaru would be similarly aggressive as a batsman.
Here’s the poem in Māori, a monologue lament after Te Rauparaha is finally dismissed for a blistering 50, including a number of sixes hit off Sir Richard Hadlee:

Te Rauparaha’s Lament as an Opening Batsman

Kei te anake au
Kei te mokemoke au
Kore rawa hui atu mokemoke
                                    me kia au puritia koe
Taua kia haere ra muringa he haerenga
                                    e hoki ki whare kirikiti
Anei taku momoe mongamonga
                                    i aro i te mana ma kaupapa
Kei ahau he poke
                                    i roto i taku manawa a wairua
Kei te anake au, no reira
Kei te mokemoke au
Kore rawa hui atu mokemoke
Kei te whakama ahau
                                    me kia au puritia koe
                                    e taku taonga porangi, e!
                                                Aue, aue, awatu ...

When I asked Michael for a translation, he kindly sent me the following English version:

Te Rauparaha’s Lament as an Opening Batsman

I am lonely
I am alone
Never more lonely
than when I held you
On the long journey
back to the Pavilion
Again my dreams shatter
with the illusion of reality
There is a hole, a sadness
in my heart and spirit
I am lonely, what is more         
I am alone
Never more lonely
Never more ashamed
than when I held you
my crazy treasure cricket bat
how lamentable …

Thanks Michael.
See also my related blog posts: ‘Māori cricket in New Zealand’ and ‘Michael O’Leary’s cricket novel to be reprinted’.

English and Māori versions of 'Te Rauparaha's Lament as an Opening Batsman' © Michael O'Leary

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