Vaughan Rapatahana

I discovered Vaughan Rapatahana through a challenge I did on

Vaughan was born in New Zealand in 1953. I find it quite fascinating that his PHD was in ‘Existential Literary Criticism’. That sounds fascinating! Much of his poetry is written on the topic of Maori repression. He has been published in both English and Maori, and not only poetry but also prose and academic writings.

who knows about the murders at Rangiaowhia?

not the majority in this country nowadays.

who remembers the burned children?

not the majority in this district.

who believes the word of the survivors?

only a minority outside that town.



~ From Rangiaowhia, 1864 by Vaughan Rapatahana


To be honest, I’m not familiar with the events in Rangiaowhia. But this poem hits me quite hard. Not because it speaks of those who have forgotten the tragedy of which he speaks, when I am one of those, but because it carries a strong emotional tone, and there have been enough tragedies recently that I can certainly imagine the horror. It puts things into perspective, doesn’t it? In 100 years, who will remember the Christchurch mosque shootings? Who will remember others who have passed away in horrific tragedies? It’s quite sad, don’t you think?

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