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From Our Bay of Ensigns & Other 'Race' Relations by Bernard Gadd

the way of our wars, Omarunui, 1866

the prophet Barnabas
rode out of the bush
with maybe eighty men
a few women and a ten
year old boy

the whanau of the village fled
his fervency of tupara
the atua provided amply
their whare and store pits
and settlers' ewes

'Hauhau Newberry'
deserter
send word of the advance
of Colonel Whitmore
two hundred Ngati Kahungungu
(one rangatira newly
past his own chanting
to the niu yards)

and the two hundred farmers
and townsmen for whom
muskets could be found

Barnabas preached againstv the white flag or earth banks
he died with twenty of his faithful
a few ran. the rest were prisoners

the land in the hills
of the godly community
was confiscated most
passing to Ngati Kahungungu
the prisoners were shipped in exile
to Wharekauri where Te Kooti
lit their souls afresh
some militia officers died later
in the morehu chase
two kupapa chiefs were elected MPs
and Whitmore parades yet
in sabre and braid

no one's learned why
Barnabas came

objectors, 1918

Waikato iwi conscription resisters
slept on prison boards
and ate plain bread
or broke stones

Archie Baxter
in a bolted cabin
was shipped to Étaples
bound with knotted rope
to a board out in whatever weather
for hours a day
then sent to the front and beaten
till a doctor saved him
from the firing squad
by signing him off as insane

but then Archie
was a poor man
who questioned
entirely authority

©Bernard Gadd























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