As I gaze up from the computer screen, a sparrow catches my eye. It hops close to one of our windows in a search for bugs in the hedge that grows right against the glass. The hedge grows so close, Robert has to perform a contortionist-like lean, with long clippers as an extension of his arm, in order to trim it. It’s a real Edward Scissorhand’s move.
The sparrow is the closer view, dragging me from our far view of trees, valleys, rooftops and Kapukataumahaka (Mount Cargill) in the distance. The huge communications tower /mast this hill is forced to bear, right in the middle of its ‘puku’ (stomach), forms an Eiffel Tower-shaped line against the haze of distance.
I am posting below an account of myths about this set of hills we look out at every clear day (when the occasional sea fog hasn’t rolled in). The account comes from information Tahuna Intermediate School has posted about a drama they performed pertaining to these myths of Kapukataumahaka. Click here for the link to this piece, complete with its handsome visual borders
‘As part of our learning during Marae Week we created a drama to explain how a local landmark Kapukataumahaka (Mt Cargill) was formed.
Each class learnt what the name Kapukataumahaka means. Kapuka is broadleaf, taumahaka is a kind of snare using water and nooses. The kapuka plant has berries that attract Kereru (woodpigeons) and when they get thirsty they would look for water and get caught in the snares that had been set. The hunting grounds were owned by Poho (Opoho).
There are two traditions in particular that explain the human like features on the top of Mt Cargill. The first is about three young women travelling home to Otakou and they had to spend the night sleeping on the mountain. While they were sleeping they were turned into the 3 main peaks around Mt Cargill.
The second talks about an old Tohunga or wise man who climbed the hill and lay down to sleep when he became transformed into the image of the sleeping Maori that many people comment on even today. It is believed that he is lying on his back, feet pointing towards the west and his head to (Butter’s Peak) in the east. The summit of Mt Cargill is said to be his stomach’.
Patrice Connor — Oct 29, 2015
Once you know the story, the outline of the sleeping wise man with the large puku (stomach) can be clearly seen – although his feet pointing towards the west cannot be seen in my photo. What a pity to have that communications tower dug right into the pit of his tummy.
an abstract in concrete
Look at you two, you are not concrete at all, really, not weighed down never to ever
fly free, for against all reason
what it is we respond to
in you, is what you re-present;
an abstract of air and light and sky-things, light and free.
Kay McKenzie Cooke