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The Māori call her a kōtuku; 
That oh-so-rare and outstanding woman
Rising among us
At the moment of our most desperate need
With the gift of faithfulness
To her uncompromising
& sometimes unpopular vision 

& can it be, that the sacred waters of
Te Waikoropupū Springs become
Their own rare and outstanding kōtuku
As they rise to bear witness to the beauty
& power of primordial Aotearoa
That we, in our blindness
& ongoing avarice
Daily nail
To the cross
We call progress

& on behalf of
The Save Our Springs Campaign
I ask the select committee
To retain ‘Spiritual Characteristics’
As one of the outstanding characteristics
Of Water Conservation Orders

Because simply put, outstanding
Means outstanding…
& on misty nights sometimes alights
As an ever-so-rare kōtuku;
A spiritual messenger,
Appearing among us
As both witness and judge
In these, our most desperate days
Where storms rage
& time runs short


‘Kōtuku:’ to the Māori people, the kōtuku (white heron or egret) is ‘the rare one;’ and ‘spiritual messenger’ who accompanies the dead back to their origins in Hawaiki.

This poem was presented to the select committee of the Natural and Inbuilt Planning Bill on the 6th of March 2023. It is proposed ‘spiritual characteristics’ be removed as one of the outstanding characteristics of Water Conservation Orders.


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