Well, here in New Zealand Summer has just come into full swing… BBQ’s, long sunny days, Christmas at the beach… I just discovered a Maori version of the traditional “Twelve Days of Christmas” and Gaby thought it would be a good idea to share it with you.
The Maori version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is called “A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree.” Here’s the annotated version of “A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree.” The Moari definitions are provided at the end of the song.
A Pukeko in a Ponga Tree
(Sing to the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas)
On the first day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
A pukeko in a ponga tree
On the second day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
And a pukeko in a ponga tree
On the third day of Christmas…
and so on, until…
On the twelfth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Twelve piupius swinging
Eleven haka lessons
Ten juicy fish heads
Nine sacks of pipis
Eight plants of puha
Seven eels a swimming
Six pois a twirling
Five – big – fat – pigs!
Four huhu grubs
Three flax kits
And a pukeko in a ponga tree!
Just in case your Maori is a bit rusty… These definitions come from the New Zealand Oxford Dictionary (however, the educational links are mine :-).
Pukeko = A hen-sized tail-flicking rail, Porphyrio porphyrio, with black and purple plumage and red bill, common throughout New Zealand and found as well in Australia and elsewhere (also called swamp-hen, and this is its usual name overseas.)
Ponga Tree = A New Zealand tree fern, Cyathea dealbata, having fronds with silvery white undersides (also called silver fern, silver tree fern.)
Piupiu (Piuspius in the song, but there is no “s” in Maori) = A traditional Maori skirt (think hula skirt) made of dried flax leaves attached to a waist-band. Piupiu are worn by Maori men and women for traditional ceremonies and dances.
Haka = A traditional warlike Maori posture dance accompanied by dancing.
Pipi (Pipis in the song; however, there is no “s” in Maori) = Any of several edible molluscs, especially the smooth shelled cockle Paphies australis.
Puha = A sowthistle of the genus Sonchus cooked as a vegetable, especially by Maori (also called Maori cabbage, rauriki.)
Poi (Pois in the song) = A small light ball on a long or short string (long poi, short poi) swung and twirled rythmically in Maori songs and dances.
“They shall not grow old as they that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn:
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
-The Fourth Stanza of Lawrence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen, also referred to as the Ode of Remembrance.
Anzac Day Dawn Parade held at the War Memorial on the Bridal Path Road, Heathcote Valley
Why Wear A Poppy?
by Don Crawford
“Please wear a Poppy” the Lady said
And held one forth, but I shook my head
Then I stopped and watched to see how she’d fare
Her face was old and lined with care
But beneath the scars the years had made
There remained a smile that refused to fade.
A boy came whistling down the street
Bouncing along on carefree feet
His smile was full of joy and fun
“Lady” he said, “may I have one?”
As she pinned it on I heard him say
“Why do we wear a Poppy today?”
The lady smiled in her wistful way
And answered “This is ANZAC Day
The Poppy there is a symbol for
The gallant men who died in war
And because they did, you and I are free
That’s why we wear a Poppy you see.
I had a boy about your size
With golden hair and big blue eyes
He loved to play, and jump and shout
Free as a bird he would race about
As years went on he learned and grew
And became a man, as you will too.
He was fine and strong with a boyish smile
But he seemed with us such a little while
When war broke out he went away
I still remember his face that day
When he smiled at me and said ‘Goodbye
I’ll be back soon so please don’t cry.’
But the War went on and he had to stay
All I could do was wait and pray
His letters told of the awful flight
I can see it still in my dreams at night
With tanks and guns and cruel barbed wire
And mines and bullets, and bombs and fire.
Till at last the War was won
And that’s why we wear a poppy my son”
The small boy turned as if to go
Then said “Thanks Lady, I’m glad I know”
That did sound like an awful fight
But your son, did he come alright?
A tear rolled down each faded cheek
She shook her head and didn’t speak
I slunk away, head bowed in shame
And if you were with me, you’d have done the same
For our thanks in giving, is oft delayed
Though the freedom was bought, and thousands paid.
And so you see when a poppy is worn
Let us relfect on the burden borne
By those who gave their very all
When asked to answer their country’s call
That we at home in peace may live
Then wear a poppy, remember and give.
Dedicated to those from Heathcote Valley who died in the service of their country: You are not forgotten.