Karitane love poem


Bernard rides ahead of me on a bicycle

dreadlocks wrapped around his head (an organic helmet)

slowly peddling along Cost Road.

A Jaguar passes Bernard

turns sharply

up a drive to a batch.


Later, I return from the ocean

walk the little path through the dunes.

Hi to the batch owner

he asks if I live here?

I do. But not here (near the water)

I live in the back.

He tells me I’m lucky,

lucky to live here.

He lives in Auckland

in another house.

I tell him he’s lucky to have a such a mansion-batch.

Jealous of each other we wave an awkward goodbye.

Puketeraki marae stands on the hill

above our conversation.


Karitane is a miss-named place. It’s ‘real’ name is Waikouaiti, meaning something like where the water narrows; it is a small settlement at the rivers mouth. A colonial misunderstanding swapped the name Waikouaiti for Karitane.

A beautiful township of 300, for most people it’s too beautiful to live in but perfect for a Sunday drive. I spent this weekend with my family in Karitane. I rode around on my bike, registering the newest houses; they are like giraffes, stretching tall to get a peek at the water.

I thought of a conversation I had at a friends home near Narewa, Fiji some years ago.

We were drunk in the afternoon. Looking out across his property, I told him his family’s plot of land was the most beautiful place I had ever seen.He turned to me, looked me full in the face, and told me he didn’t care if it was – he wanted to go New Zealand where he could work and be part of a bigger world.

He lives in Whangarei now. I live in Wellington. Sometimes we go back to our beautiful places, only to leave again.

Below are some photos taken near Narewa. The above photo is of Karitane.


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