In last weeks blog I introduced the story of the Wairau Affray.
I also promised to dramatize this wonderful piece of history.
While working on the dramatization, I soon realised that this piece could actually function quite well as a play.
So, here’s the first cut of the first couple of scenes.
Please bare in mind that I have not written a play for close on 35 years, and also that this is the very first, very very first cut. So it’s a work in progress – a work which will require a hang of a lot more hard work and polishing.
The title is of course a working title – and is more likely to end up related to the struggle of the Maori adopting and integrating within a white mans world.
Other Acts and Scenes will dramatize interactions between, William Wakefield and his daughter Emily; William Wakefield’s interaction with Governor Fitzroy and William Spain. It should be fun!
So please let me know what you think and whether you would like me to continue to post more of this work.
It is important to note I recognise Te Rauparaha as the composer of the Ka Mate haka, and that the emotional and intelligent ownership of this sits with Ngati Toa.
Some stories just need to be told
It’s a cool and crisp June Day. Sun shining with a gentle breeze blowing. 90 Maori warriors, wives and children stand on a bank overlooking a small stream. Swamp and hills fill the backdrop.
Te Rangihaeta: They are here, about 60 of them according to our scouts. All armed, some with muskets and bayonets, others with swords and pistols. Let’s take them out now. It will be a fine victory Uncle.
Te Rauparaha: Let them come and come in peace. We have nothing to fear from these men, look at them, they are farmers, sailors and shop keepers, they are neither soldiers nor warriors. No, let them come and let us see what they have to say. You are brave Rangi, you are strong, I know too that you are ambitious, but you have nothing to prove to me or the English, they already fear you. But you are too impetuous, reckless even. Let us wait, patience is a virtue. But also let us be prudent, tell your wife Rongo to take the other wahine and tamariki behind our lines. Move them to safety.
Te Rangihaeta: Uncle, Rongo is brave, she is strong and feisty, she would put many of our warriors to shame in battle. Let her stay, the men look up to her, she inspires them. She will do you and do me proud in any fight. To be honest Uncle, I love and trust her beyond life itself, let her stay!
Te Rauparaha: I know what you mean Rangi, and it is true her bravery is only matched by her beauty. I actually fear her wrath more than the English, you are indeed a very lucky man. The love and pride in your eyes shines bright Rangi, but we need her to take care of the other wahine and tamariki if something should go wrong. Give the order.
Te Rangihaeta: Rongo, Uncle wishes you to take the Wahine and Tamariki to safety, go now.
Rongo: Husband, I will do as you order, but my preference is to stay and join the fight. I am as capable as any man. But as always you prefer to argue with me rather than my father. Do not forget Rangi, that it is not my father who keeps you warm at night.
Te Rangihaeta: Enough Woman, you embarrass me and yourself. Go now.
Te Rauparaha: You are a lucky man indeed Rangi, although it appears you are in for a few lonely nights. Prepare the men for the challenge.
Te Rangihaeta: Warriors, let us issue the challenge – Ka Mate, and lets us do it with power and passion so that the pakeha’s white eyes turn yellow and their bowels and bladders weaken and leak.
Te Rauparaha: Te Rangihaeta: and all the warriors:
Kikiki kakaka kau ana!
Kei waniwania taku tara
Kei tarawahia, kei te rua i te kerokero!
He pounga rahui te uira ka rarapa;
Ketekete kau ana to peru koi riri
Mau au e koro e – Hi! Ha!
Ka wehi au a ka matakana,
Ko wai te tangata kia rere ure?
Tirohanga ngā rua rerarera
Ngā rua kuri kakamu i raro! Aha ha!
Ka Mate! Ka Mate!
Ka Ora! Ka Ora!
Ka Mate! Ka Mate!
Ka Ora! Ka Ora!
Tēnei te tangata
Pūhuruhuru nāna nei i tiki mai
Whakawhiti te rā!
Upane, ka Upane
Upane, ka Upane
Whiti te ra!
Te Rauparaha: Now, let us see how they respond to the challenge, here comes Whiti. Whiti what do the English want?
Whiti: Chief, the Englishman Arthur Wakefield, he says he wants to parley – he wishes to talk.
Te Rauparaha: Whiti, tell him he can cross the stream in safety with 5 other men, he must leave the rest on the other side. Go.
Amongst the assembled British four men stand-alone talking underneath a Titoki Tree:
Augustus Thompson: Captain, don’t get me wrong, Arthur Wakefield is a good man, and a gallant soldier, but I fear that unlike his brother William, he has some admiration for these savages. I fear that he see’s diplomacy as a solution. He does not seem to accept that sometimes a demonstration of power and might is necessary. Lop off a few head’s and they’ll soon be brought into line.
Captain England, Crown prosecutor: Thompson don’t be a fool, if we resort to violence then we will be no better than the Old Sarpent Te Rauparaha himself. Let’s play this by the letter of the law. If we do as you suggest, as Police Magistrate and Native Protector you will be remiss in your duties on two counts. I have met Te Rauparaha on a number of occasions, he is as smart as he is fierce.
Frederick Tuckett: The Captain is right, these people are not savages, while they may have confiscated our surveying equipment and burnt down our lodgings, they treated us which respect and did us no harm. I do not believe fighting will achieve anything. Richardson your report in the Examiner was a hideous piece of exaggeration and folly. Stirring up the men and frightening the women and children does nothing to improve relations with the natives.
Richardson: As editor of the Examiner, I have a duty to report and comment on anything I consider to be of public interest, Maori’s running around stealing equipment, burning down surveyor’s huts and then kidnapping them before releasing them, is in my opinion in the public interest. Especially when the man responsible was the Napoleon of the South – old Te Rauparaha.
Augustus Thompson: The man is a menace, he must be stopped, William Wakefield thinks he’s just a big bully roaming around, causing trouble wherever he goes. Let’s put an end to this thug. Anyway he comes the Maori loving Wakefield now. Hello, Arthur what did the Savages say?
Arthur Wakefield: He is happy to talk, I am to take 5 people with me and cross the river. You three will come with me, but not you Richardson, there is no place for a newspaper man at this meeting. Especially one who likes to stir up the settlers. Captain and Frederick can you please come with me, as you have both met Te Rauparaha I want to learn more about him, so we can negotiate and conflab in good faith. Good day Thompson, Good day Richardson.
Wakefield, the Captain and Tuckett exit stage left.
Augustus Thompson: That man’s a fool. I think we need to take things into our control. Richardson, as you will still be on this bank. When you see me raise these handcuffs, and waive them in front of Te Rauparaha’s nose, I want you to tell the men to present their arms, fix their bayonets and cross the river, You understand? I want a real show of force.
Richardson: I understand.