Topic: Now and Then by Emily McCarthy

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Now and Then by 16-year-old Tauranga Girls' College student Emily McCarthy was the winner of 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.

Now and Then


Tauranga. Gate Pa.
The Wednesday morning shiffle-shuffle,
Students laden with school books and other worldly perils,
Destined for Gate Pa Primary school,
Tauranga Girls’ College
Tauranga Boys College.
Later, the doctors sip their coffee
At the road side card
During lunch break, and the people who call Tauranga home
(Ko Mauao te Maunga, Ko Tauranga te Moana)
Busy themselves with grocery shopping
At Gate Pa New World,
And Fraser Cove Countdown (hold back the mad rush,
But if you collect 30 stickers you get four teaspoons for $1.99).
People walking the streets of which they know the name
But not the history.
Same setting. Different story.
Stealing over the skyline, 300 men
Of the 42rd regiment bombard Pukehinahina -
Armstrong guns and Howitzers raining shells for eight hours.
Our forbearers fighting - the Europeans commanded by Cameron,
The Maori’s protected by Pene Taka Tuaia - the former to conquer,
The latter to retain.
Gallantry, bravery, passion -
The driving forces behind each party.
The anguish and emotion of the battle running high,
Propelling not only the actions of these warriors,
But the pulsation of their hearts
And the furnace of their souls.
Heroes traversing streets yet unnamed
Making the history.
The valour and value of 1864 is paramount in our history
150 years on we would do well to remember this.

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Now and Then by Emily McCarthy