Tuesday Poem-Arohanui Horomaka (a homage to Bank’s Peninsula)

BANKS PENINSULA. How did a piece of land with such a passionate history get such a name?  And how did that name stick?  The above picture from International Space Station’s Dutch astronaut Andre Kiepers, (12th April), makes amends for Captain Cook’s unintended insult to this place the Maori call Horomaka.  ‘Not an island at all Captain Cook sir …and would you still  name it for Joseph Banks’ birthday?’
Horomaka’s transformation  from a number of volcanic cones to a place of bountiful harvests and long harbours have made it a special place to all who know and appreciate her.  Thankyou to Andre and ESA/NASA for showing her to the world in true form.


As one recalls a lover’s first touch


so do I  remember

your detail.

The seaspray rough at Birdlings

and the lone gull that drifts

above Onawe.


It is these parts of you


that craft my need

to know you more

and love you.

To understand your fiery youth

and how you surrendered

fingers spread.


And those who entered in


named you for your shared affinity

Rapanui the canoe’s sternpost

Horomaka speed of the waka

Te Pataka  storehouse

of Te Rakaihautu.


And only one ignored

your invitation

sailed past                                                                                                                               

at distance unaware

except to mark you plainly

Banks Island

named for someone

other than yourself. 


That’s  the English for you


intimacy left

for dark nights

and Frenchmen. 

Arohanui tau aroha

loved one

Many are the pathways to your heart.



(c) Helen Mckinlay. This poem was first published in Splash, the fourth anthology of Airing Cupboard Women’s Poets, Christchurch 2009.

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