Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

ANZAC: Jacinda Ardern reads poem by Cook Islander Alistair Te Ariki Campbell

Photo / https://www.westminster-abbey.org/abbey-news/jacinda-ardern-podcast

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has recorded a poem for Westminster Abbey’s new podcast series.

Ms Ardern read ‘Gallipoli Peninsula’ by Alistair Te Ariki Campbell (1925-2009) as part of the Abbey’s Anzac Day commemorations over the weekend.

Rarotonga-born Alistair Te Ariki Campbell (ONZM) was a leading New Zealand poet, novelist and playwright of Cook Islands and European descent.

His mother, Teu (nee Bosini), was a Cook Islander from Tongareva (Penrhyn). His father, Jock Campbell, was an island trader from Dunedin who served in the Gallipoli campaign in World War I.

The podcasts, which are approximately 15 minutes long, have readings, a short sermon, music from the Abbey Choir, prayers and a blessing.

Ardern made her recordings last week in her office, observing social distancing with digital files sent to the Abbey for editing.

Listen to ‘Gallipoli Peninsula’ below (reading starts at 2:23).

Gallipoli Peninsula by Alistair Te Ariki Campbell

It was magical when flowers
appeared on the upper reaches –
not that we saw much of the upper reaches.
But when we did,
we were reminded of home
when spring clothed the hills with flowers.
The dead lying among them
seemed to be asleep.
I can never forget the early mornings,
before the killings started up,
when the sea was like a mirror
under little wisps of cloud
breathing on its surface, so dazzling
it hurt the eye.
and the ships, so many of them,
they darkened the sea.
But the evenings too were magical,
with such hues in the sky
over Macedonia,
so many colours, gold bars,
green, red, and yellow.
We noticed these things,
when the firing stopped and we had respite.
It was good to feel,
during such moments,
that we were human beings once more,
delighting in little things,
in just being human.

[Gallipoli and Other Poems (Wai-te-ata Press, 1999)]



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