Topic: Gate Pa by Peter E. C. Dashwood

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Gate Pa by Peter E. C. Dashwood was one of six finalists in the Battle of Gate Pā Poetry Competition (2014). The poem was read aloud at the Prize Giving and Awards Evening held at Elizabeth Café & Larder at 5.30pm on Thursday 6 March 2014.

Gate Pa

they come
we wait
Rawiri shouts defiance from the earthworks
they have unleashed the thunder
but he is unafraid
in the drizzle
as the light fades
the trap is sprung
they are broken
we move out through the night
creatures of the swamp
passing the 68th
like phantom shadows in the dark
*          *          *
Mitre 10 Mega
and a bowling green
cover the places where we fought
a little church is on the Big Redoubt
houses for our mokopuna, Kiwi kids,
built in the gully and the recovered swamp
the new New Zealanders do their shopping
unaware of us below
we fought the good fight
brown and white
and now we rest
it should be so
*          *          *
honour and courage; human virtues
must be remembered through the years
a nation is built on understanding
respect, hard work, and blood and tears
so spare a thought for Henare and Rawiri
and George and Arthur from across the sea
at Pukehinahina they fiercely fought
and made a place for you and me

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Gate Pa by Peter E. C. Dashwood