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KAULA THE KIWI

BY BRETT HOWES

Project Kiwi based in Kuaotunu, a small settlement just north of Whitianga, takes kiwi eggs from the nest and transports them to a hatchery in Rotorua. When the chicks weigh a kilo, they are returned to the bush. This gives them a much better survival rate and as a result, the population of Brown Kiwi in the area has increased significantly.

There are many facets to achieving this goal, including wonderful volunteers who trap the eternal queues of predators and transport the precious cargo between Kuaotunu and Rotorua. Being nocturnal, the night is a busy time for Kiwis and sitting up at night recording their calls is one way to assess their population numbers. A full understanding of Project Kiwi can be found in their wonderful book by the same name, written by Sue Hoffart and photography by Jake Morgan.

 

From this environment I created Kaula the Kiwi and wrote the poem of her birth. Hatching in Rotorua, not in the bush, would understandably lead to an identity crisis but once returned to the bush, all becomes well.

Once Kaula grew enough to venture out, she embarked on a trip to find her iwi meeting a number of friends on the way. The places she visits are real. These characters were destined to start at Te Rerenga School on the same day and share the many adventures in the book. The school is also real and Teacher Anna is a tribute to Anna Yates, a former principal of Te Rerenga School who tragically passed away.

 

I used the characters to view the human world from their bird perspective and at the same time blended them with human traits. It was a lot of fun and led to many ningnonging moments. Apparently, ningnonging isn’t a real word but try imagining the pandemonium of 20 juvenile NZ native birds together in a class. Not pretty. Ningnonging seems politer plus the fine print on my poetic license says this is permitted.

 

The stories follow a tenuous thread but surprise with frequent tangential diversions. Some are from real events whilst others are pure fiction, blending into the book with new adventures on every page.  A  narrative of each story is found in the appendix. (See below.) Suffice to say they are happy, sad, funny, thought provoking, tongue in cheek, educational and just plain ningnonging. The birds aren’t shy. They tackle bigotry, racism, social media bullying, blindness, sex, killing whales, nuclear bombs, bureaucrats, relationships, religion and much more. Their many adventures take them many places, local and abroad, future and past and they even entertain a visitor from another world. Such is the busy life at Te Rerenga School.

 

Many people have contributed to Kaula the Kiwi in a variety of ways and I would like to thank them all for their witting or unwitting contributions.  Ian Handricks, a friend of forty years, synced the entire project bringing it into a publishable format. He also helped with the songs I wrote including Passchendaele, featured in Trev the Crow and Trev’s Song, Lonely Jake and Lovelight, referred to in Off to Lukes and Fun Day respectively.

 

Emma Gustafson is the key illustrator and her unprompted visual interpretations of the stories were a real treat. The detail of her work is astounding and most of her work can be reproduced as large prints. My two children, Jessica and Blake also provided many pictures and some of the stories were inspired from their existing art. Mary Kedzlie, the Principal of Te Rerenga School, took a few poems into a class room and asked the students to illustrate the stories. Their interpretations are priceless and I thank them for their efforts.

Appendix (including some art not used in the book)

 

1 Title Page Art Jessica Howes

 

2 Kaula the Kiwi

 

Kaula the Kiwi was created from Project Kiwi in Waitaia, Kuaotunu. Kiwi eggs are removed from the parents and taken to a hatchery in Rotorua. The young birds are returned when they grow to a kilo in weight which vastly improves their survival.  Listening at night to the Kiwi calls is one piece of the Kilo Kiwi target and so Kaula the Kiwi was created. Kiwis don't have an egg tooth to aid hatching and when they finally arrive (which can take up to three days) they are covered in slime. The cause of Kaula's identity crisis at birth?

Art: Jessica Howes

 

3 Kaula the Kiwi visits her Iwi

 

The trip to Thames is Kaula's first adventure. The places she visits are real, so are the bird’s traits. Written during the 2020 Covid19 shut down, it introduces some of the characters and highlighted what Covid19 made abundantly clear, we are all one family. The country pulled together and prevented a considerable loss of life. May this spirit live beyond a virus.

Art: Blake Howes

 

4 First Day

 

Kaula finally gets to school with her new friends. Fantails are perpetually busy. Kakapos are the masters of camouflage. Weka's borrow shiny things. Takahe were deemed extinct twice. Kea’s are considered one of the world’s most intelligent birds. Many children think school is a one-off event.  This is the first mention of the teacher Anna Swan. It's a tribute to Anna Yates, the much-loved Principal of Te Rerenga School, who sadly passed away in August 2020. I trust her caring personality and love of nature can live on through these stories.

Art: Blake Howes

 

5 Noah the Moa

 

Noah is the story’s only extinct bird and clearly because of his size, different. The poem introduces Te Rerenga Primary School. In life, attitude is everything. Although ponderous, Noah has a good attitude, the key element to a happy life. His peer’s acceptance of his differences and their ongoing encouragement, gives him the confidence and environment to succeed.

 

Art: Blake Howes

 

6 Jim

 

Jim, a blue penguin, was found walking in circles on Kuaotunu Beach. He was taken to Kuaotunu Bird Rescue where Annemieke Kregting and Dr Sue Grieg ascertained Jim was blind. I was asked to have a look at Jim's eyes. His pupils were dilated and unresponsive, his retinas unscathed. This was most likely a sign of some systemic trauma manifesting itself visually. Visually impaired people are aware of their condition, they don't want sympathy, just understanding, acceptance and inclusion. Blindness isn't contagious.

Art: Jessica Howes

7 Cheerily Christmas

 

Weka's are known for their charismatic personalities, often attracted to human activity. They are opportunists and known for collecting human things. Christmas is labelled as a time for giving. Spending time with friends and family is the greatest gift of all and shouldn't be confined to Christmas. It's the gift we remember and cherish the most.

Art: Jessica Howes

 

8 WPO

 

If viruses could talk, they'd be saying. “Humoggs have created the perfect vectors for our global spread. Their appalling behaviour and denial have played right into our agenda.” The Covid19 pandemic clearly showed how immersed and vulnerable we are to nature.

Art: Blake Howes

 

9 Bug Bar

 

Normal germ conversations. What else would they talk about? Can we learn from this and be prepared for an aerial spread virus with a 50% plus kill rate? Eventually, such a beast will evolve. Ebola Virus just needs wings.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

10 Germoggs

 

Naturally, I was contemplating animal species who've caught viruses from us. Its probable humans have unknowingly decimated other species in the past. We all swim the same micro pool and zoonosis is a two-way affair.

Art: Sophie Martin

 

11 Ardley Any Andy

 

Alcohol in excess is neither clever nor funny. It's both a demeaning

and addictive drug. Peer pressure is bullying, plain and simple. The

pressure to drink alcohol is intense and is applauded by the suppliers.

As a species, we are a long way from sensible drinking habits.

Accident and Emergency Clinics, Ambulance, Fire and Police services

would agree. They deal with the direct consequences and the

long-term tragedy of alcohol. Prohibition clearly demonstrated

the extent of addiction.

Art: Emma Gustafson / Blake Howes

 

12 Life

 

It's all there; the answer to “The Question.” Male nurse cells, mitosis, ejaculation and sperm penetrating the Zona pellucida enveloping the female oocyte. Raunchy.

Art: Jessica Howes

 

13 Dating

 

When four Marlin strike at once you think, this is exciting. A second later, pandemonium ensues. Lines are crossed as the boat resounds with numerous colourful expletives. Two seconds later, the cockpit is strewn with broken gear, four bust offs and the angler silent, deep in a WTF moment. Multiple dating is different?

Art: Blake Howes

 

14 The Great Cubes of Egypt

 

For parents who despair at their teenager’s behaviour, you’re not alone. I've often thought the workers putting the last pointy bit on the Great Pyramids were probably talking about the hopelessness of the younger generation today. (2500 BC). Nothing changes. You may derive some small comfort from its not you and definitely not new. A friend, who had 6 teenagers in her house, told me, the book of teenagers should simply read, “Don’t sweat the little things. The End”. Enjoy the teenage secret language.

Art: Blake Howes

 

15 Drew Down

 

Don’t sweat the little things doesn’t just apply to teenagers.

Drew Peacock’s attitude highlights unnecessary clutter in

one’s life. Stress is a health hazard and best not needlessly

provoked. The poem is all in the name.

Art: Emma Gustafson

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15 Kaula Drew Down PIC 2.jpg

16 Poko Pekapeka


New Zealand native bats don't receive much recognition yet they are under threat. One species probably extinct. They carry many viruses but if left alone, cannot pass them on to humans. Incredible as it may seem, they don't desire to eat our raw flesh so it’s the Humoggs who need to tidy up their habits. Their echolocation is so refined, they can detect very thin wire in the dark. Remarkable animals. We don't, unfortunately, have echolocation and hearing loss is commonly gradual and unnoticed. It pays to have one’s hearing checked.

Art: Blake Howes

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17 Limpy Zee Gull

 

During a storm, a seagull turned up on our deck in Opito Bay. She was in bad shape. Tatty feathers, emaciated and an injured knee. Limping. I spent hours caring for her and not only did her health improve, I gained her trust. She is a regular visitor and will often just come and sit beside me on the deck. Amy complains “That wretched bird pooping on the deck,” but I've caught her preparing special fish snacks and slyly hand feeding them to her great friend Limpy.

Art: Blake Howes

 

18 Limpy and Caleb's First Day at School

 

Caleb first appears in Limpy Zee Gull. He was fascinated by Limpy but simultaneously discovered Gingernut Dunker's in Hot Chocolate and his interest in Limpy waned. Forgivable, he was only four. Originally, Caleb and Limpy were to start school together, walk in on Kakapo Joe's camouflage tutorial and find the characters one by one. The surprise was finding someone none of the others had met. Joe was to turn up days later. As they climbed up on Noah's bum, someone farted. At this point, the story line wavered.

Art: Blake Howes

 

19 Farts is Funny

I'm sure all of us have wondered who was the first person to laugh at a fart. Prior to the momentous first chortle, farts weren't funny. In fact, they were probably very mundane. This pioneering comedic genius has, however, left a gem of hilarity for which we are eternally grateful. (Except a prudish few). The bibliography supporting the validity of their paper was noticeably thin but sometimes fact and fiction blur.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

20 Gravity

 

As far as we know, gravity is the most fundamental force in the universe, yet no one knows how it works. We observe its affects and most people just walk around sticking to the planet, taking it for granted. The visible mass only accounts for a small portion of it. It's what we cannot see, the dark matter, which remains a frontier of discovery.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

21 Owl with a Vowel.

 

The letter O does lend itself to some wonderful words such as Baboon and Oboe. Ruru Juls was ideal to convey the story. Juls was relieved it wasn't her character who disrupted Kakapo Joe's camouflage class. Or was it?

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

22 Foot Prints on Our Hearts

 

Pat Doak was a wonderful friend and Whitianga based community Policeman. He knew everyone in town, helped when and wherever he could. Nothing was a problem. He was loved by all, young and old. Our friend Policeman Pat did indeed leave foot prints on our hearts. We miss you.

Art; Ian Handricks

   

23 Two Tuatara's

 

Humans have rich cultural diversity and let's face it, the world would be pretty bland without it. The problem is the eternal merry go round of one group enforcing their views on another. We have one life boat, planet Earth. Treat it well.

Art: Jessica Howes

 

24 Field Trip

 

Every class needs a field trip. The Black Jack Road is gnarly enough to

make anyone throw up a good feed of Red Worms of Note. There are

almost 200 steps up to an old Pa sight on the south end of Opito Bay.

From there the view of the Mercury Islands and the dance of nature

is stunning. Cannot guarantee you'll see a foiling whale but you will

feel immersed in nature. The photo to the right is the original photo

for Emma Gustafson’s art.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

25 Mr Mole

 

This was written on day two of the first Covid19 shut down. Picturing eating all our supplies in a couple of days, then discovering I was not only feeling sick, but also too fat to fit through the door. Supplemented with a chorus of “I told you so,” conjured a less than pretty image. Such is the consequence of poor diet.

Art: Beau Marshall

 

26 Kaula's Homework

 

Imagine the endless pranks one could play using a time machine. I think after Stonehenge and Easter Island Statues I would build a cube in Ancient Egypt and blame it on a teenager.

Art: Blake Howes

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27 Rats in your Hat

 

Personally trashing people on social media, from the safety of a computer, is a despicable, cowardly act. We used to call it slander and was prosecutable in court. It's disgraceful enough amongst adults but in teenagers it can be mentally and physically devastating. Abuse face to face is dreadful enough without it being megaphoned to hundreds of gullible others. Teenage years are trying at be they don't need these low life rats in their hats. Consequences would be a valuable topic to teach.

Art: Jessica Howes

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28 Iva

 

Always thought Thrush was an interesting name for a bird. I guess it's better than a cute little Herpes or chirpy Chlamydia fluttering in the garden. Thrush is still a bit raw. (Pun intended). Now, after years of wondering, we finally know how the common Thrush acquired its name.

 

Art: Blake Howes

29 The Cave

 

A story I created many years ago for my children. Each night I'd read from a book and embellish the story to add some extra interest. They thought I was reading and didn't question how so many stories came from the same pages. My license was unlimited. My reincarnation as a bacterium in a septic tank was a favourite. The pig who could only burp backwards (See Vet Wa), a dragon with Tinea in his dorsal fins, the Vandrils (see Vandrils) and Phinius the fish who was scared of water were popular.  Alas, I was caught out by Jessica when she started learning to read. Fortunately, they still wanted Dab's (another story) original adventures. They'd listen until nodding off, sweaty heads firmly stuck to my chest.

Art: Jessica Howes

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30 Trev the Crow

 

Dedicated to a very talented musician who produced and helped me write a number of songs, including Lonely Jake (see Off to Luke’s), My Angel, Lovelight (Fun Day), Lovelight Requiem and Passchendaele. His ability to pull a spark out of my head and produce wonderful music is astounding. 

Art: Blake Howes

 

31 Trev’s Song

 

These are the lyrics to the song Passchendaele. Ian Handricks, who helped with layout and design for this book, also helped with the production of Passchendaele. It's the story of a lad shipping off from New Zealand to fight for Mother England, totally naive to the future horrors. The Third Battle of Ypres or The Battle of Passchendaele, remains New Zealand’s darkest day. Can be viewed on You Tube Passchendaele an Anzac tribute. The song is a salute to all who've served. Thank you for you service.

Art: Jessica Howes

  

32 Peter Palin Peebles

 

Wrote this for my children years ago. It arose from one of the afore mentioned soggy heads tales. Used the letter P to convey the transparency and shallowness of people who think themselves cool. A futile pretense.

Art: Blake Howes

 

33 Humpy Humpback

 

On the hard, the Americas Cup boat Te Rehutai reminded me of a Humpback Whale. Naturally this sparked the idea of a foiling whale and who better to explore this concept than Anna's Te Rerenga crew. It was obviously a good time to introduce Kotuku Dalts. Standing on the Pa at Opito Bay (see The Field Trip), you're able to picture the course of Humpy and the Crew. Korapuki, Red Mercury, Ohinau and the Old Man Islands are all there.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

34 Kaula's Cunning Plan

 

Learning comes to us in many forms and fortunately never stops. Teaching children something and watching them traversing off, on not so real tangents, is hilarious. Talking before thinking. Maturing is vice versa. (Theoretically). One can only imagine Anna just rolling her eyes and letting the ning-nonging flow.

Art: Blake Howes 

35 The Catlins

 

The Catlins. What a stunning place. Watching four metre swells crashing onto Slope Point. Explosions of white water, birds tirelessly soaring creating winged winds. Seals, ignoring the Humoggs whilst basking in the sun and having happy pinniped (seal) thoughts. A nice calm Autumn Day in the Catlins. The locals just lovely. Nothing a problem. Great stay in Niagara Ridge Retreat and thanks to the two farmers who pulled our car out of a ditch!

Art: Blake Howes

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36 Kauri the Tree

 

On the western side of the Tapu/Coroglen Road, lives a big square Kauri tree. This was mentioned in Kaula the Kiwi visits her iwi. Racism is a foreign concept to the animal kingdom, hence Kaula's confusion and the need to consult a wise old tree for answers. Packs of Hyena's will attack each other if their paths cross but these are purely territorial disputes. Territory is critical to survival. Perhaps we were like this once but hating another race isn’t critical to one’s survival today. It’s ignorance perpetuated through generations. No wonder our Te Rerenga crew are perplexed.

 

Art: Blake Howes

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37 Devils Back

 

Mt Yasur, Tanna Islands active volcano, is an impressive sight. Part of Vanuatu, the bubbling magma explodes upwards, sending smoke and ash high into the air.  As I walked up a rickety shaking track, whilst serenaded by the roar within, I turned to Amy and said “We are walking on the Devils Back.” “Indeed,” she replied.

Art: Blake Howes

38 The Marksman

 

What else can I say. If I was a bird, this would be my favourite hobby.

Art: Jessica Howes

 

39 PPL

 

Bumbledom definition:  Officious and pompous behaviour by minor officials.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

40 Quelea

 

Quelea are possibly the most populous bird species on Earth. A single flock can contain 30 million plus individuals. This “locust bird” plague was created in Africa by the indirect and complicated result of human exploitation of marginal land for stock and of large-scale grain cultivation. They weren’t a problem until humans arrived.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

41 Humoggs

 

A bird perspective of human environmental impact. The actual NASA photo of Earth, taken from Saturn, puts our relevance into greater perspective and the imperative need to care for our little dot. Humans impact all life forms.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

42 Pet Day

 

If birds had pets, what would they be? Bit tricky since most birds would be inclined to eat anything small enough to be their pet. The Te Rerenga birds aren't, however, most birds. Hence their array of fine pets. Noah's pet is a particularly visual experience. 

Art: Blake Howes

 

43 Bill

 

Bill is the most devoted, kind and needy dog I've had the pleasure to know. He only wants to be loved and included. He is a loyal, devoted trusting spirit. Shame Bills traits aren't as contagious as Covid19.

Art: Jessica Howes

 

44 Agnes

 

Agnes is dedicated to Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu or Mother Teresa. Blephrons are eye lids. She opened many blephrons. What a path she walked. A truly amazing person.

Art: Ian Handricks 

       

45 Magic Door

 

Very difficult to imagine life behind the iron curtain, especially being a defeated nation. Frank and Carola grew up in such a regime. East Germany. The Stasi (Secret Police) terrorised its citizens to such a degree, family members were informing on each other. Frank was drafted into military service and was forced to guard the Berlin Wall. They were told their role was to keep the enemy out and shoot any deserters trying to leave. No one ever tried to break into East Germany and fortunately for Frank, no one tried to escape whilst he was on duty. If he didn't shoot the escapee, he himself would've been shot. Only men with families patrolled the wall. If they defected, their loved ones would be tortured and killed. Imagine such work place incentive schemes here. Frank wrote his initials on the watch tower wall the day he left. FF. He risked two years in jail, which he was unlikely to survive. When the Berlin Wall fell a photographer, Matthias Kupfernagel, published a book of photos and one, by chance, captured Franks initials. In the words of the late John Clarke, “We don't know how we lucky we are!”

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

46 Courage

 

Frank and Carola decided to leave for NZ after seeing a brochure of Cooks Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula. They took their Plumbing and Dental Surgical Nursing skills and stepped through the Magic Door into New Zealand. Their story is truly inspiring and I'm grateful for the enrichment they've brought to my life.

Art: Top to Bottom, Cieara Colmer-Pijfers. Isabella Comer, Sophia Adshead.

 

47 Off to Luke’s

 

Luke’s Kitchen is located at the beginning of Black Jack Road in Kuaotunu. It’s a very casual restaurant, adorned with retired surf boards and overseen by a black owl and wire legged flamingo. There is a bicycle in a tree but the menu is fortunately vastly different from the poem. It’s a great place to relax, have a good feed and exaggeratingly expound the days fishing. Highly recommended.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

48 Gone Fission

 

Detonating nuclear bombs on Mururoa Atoll wasn't popular in New Zealand. French assurance it was perfectly safe begged the question, 'If it was so safe, why not let their bombs off in France?' Agents sinking the Rainbow Warrior and killing Fernando Pereira was nothing short of state sponsored terrorism. Pinning medals on the criminals, abhorrent. On the lighter side, writing the poem using primary level English, was interesting. The editing deliberately made it a little verbose and clumsy. Is this de-editing or un-editing? Dedicated to Fernando Pereira (10 May 1950-10 July 1985)

Art: Ian Handricks

 

49 Kaula Goes Fishing

 

The excitement of pulling up a long line through a child's eyes, is something to behold. Often, I've struggled to see what's on the line because of little heads in the way. Cries of “It's a fish, it's a fish.” echo from the stern, as each flash of colour appears. I'm thinking “What did you expect, a Brooklyn Taxi?” All you need is a feed. Respect the ocean because it can bite us way harder than we can bite it. Time spent with your kids is immeasurable and you'll never get it back.

Art: Blake Howes

 

50 Scuba Kaula

 

Scuba diving is a great adventure. The marine world is busy and its fun hovering motionless watching the busy comings and goings of nature. 

Art: Emma Gustafson

51 Niue

 

Diving around Niue is unique. Virtually everything in the poem is true. We were lucky enough to have a male Humpback poke his head into the cavern below the chimney. The whale song was incredible. Loud, very loud. Sea Snakes lay their eggs in Bubble Cave because it’s not open to the land above. The external swells pressurise and de-pressurise the air causing it to alternately mist and clear. I’ve had the privilege of being crapped on by the spinner dolphins more than once. So lucky. Thank you, Annie and Ian Gray for many wonderful memories.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

52 Let Us Be

 

Once you've swum with whales, you can’t imagine anyone wanting to kill them. Big, beautiful, majestic, gentle, intelligent and family orientated. There's no need to kill whales. If we all stopped buying Japanese cars, the slaughter would end instantly.

Art: Jessica Howes

 

53 The Thing

 

Interesting how such different perspectives are mined from the same source, hence the need for pre-accusatory dialogue to avoid flawed conflict. Big sentence but the meaning is clear. Thinking awareness and observation before jumping to conclusion. (See Kauri the Tree)

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

54 Kaula's Worm Song

 

Just a little Ning Nong Song for the younger readers. Fun matching the lyrics to known tunes. Try 'I'm a little teapot'

Art: Blake Howes

 

55 Songbird

 

Eva Marie Cassidy was an amazing singer who died at the tender age of 33. If there ever was an angel on Earth, it was Eva. She sang many songs including Somewhere over the Rainbow (Harold Arlin and Yip Hargerg), What a Wonderful World (Bob Thiele and George David Weiss) and Songbird (Christine McVie), all paraphrased in the poem. Her covers of these, and many more, are astounding and well worth a You tube visit. Kaula's Worm Song isn't quite in the same league but it still brings a smile.

Art: Jessica Howes

 

56 Vet Wa

 

Driving the 309 Road from Whitianga to Coromandel, you won’t find a turtled Mr B Acon but you’ll likely meet some pigs beside the road. Jessica, who contributed a lot of the art, is also a veterinarian. Yes, a pig really did eat her sunglasses. Thuwuzzing; had to throw it in. A tribute to David van Zwanenberg. A veterinarian colleague of Jessica and Volunteer Fireman, who gave his life to support the Muriwai community during cyclone Gabrielle.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

57 The Duck

 

A quacking Weka would raise an eyebrow. Regular checks at the Doctor are well advised. The old ‘Stitch in time saves nine’ are wise words. Managed to include thuwuzzing again. Great MRI crew.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

58 Xena

 

The Da Vinci Robotic System allows a surgeon to operate using instruments he or she guides via a console. Xena is the nickname of the operating robot used by Michael Mackey, located on Auckland’s North Shore. Thank you, Michael and your team. Managed to slip in a line from Queen. 

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

59 Frog in a Cup

 

Wrote this from Jessica’s picture. I often wondered what the frog was doing in the cup. Now we know. Thought before action; always a good idea.

Art: Jessica Howes

60 U

 

Fun with the much-underrated letter U. Hope use enjoyed it.

 

Art: Ian Handricks

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61 Eureka Moment

 

Everything affects everything; Buddha. Without balance, chaos ensues. Tolerance brings balance and is, indeed, a wise path.

 

Art: Jessica Howes

 

62 Under a Zimbabwe Sun.

 

A class trip to Africa. Why not. Gary is an Optometrist and game guide in Zimbabwe, Red Worms of Note used to sell worms for fishing and Mana Pools is a reserve by the Zambezi River. The animals are real, the blood red sun spectacular and the river eternal. I only wish I could recreate, the wonderful smell of Africa. Thank you, Gary and Sharon Layard, for sharing your amazing country.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

63 Boris Begott

 

Fun with the letter B but a serious message. Using red bum’s vs blue bums exemplifies how puerile and delusional bigotry is.

Art: Blake Howes

 

64 Zambezi Roulette

 

Every time animals drink at the river’s edge, they're playing Zambezi Roulette. A crocodile is invisible until it’s too late. The speed of the strike is astounding, especially coming from a deceivingly ponderous animal. To crocodiles you are food. They are never your friend. Beware playing Zambezi Roulette.

Art: Blake Howes

65 Ally Font

 

Animal rescue places are run by very exceptional, caring people. If a tenant can be returned to the wild, the cycle is complete. An orphaned baby elephant is incredibly cute and, unlike a crocodile, can be your friend. When growing up together in these shelters, they all get along. Perhaps Kauri the Tree is wise after all.

Art: Blake Howes

 

66 Mirror

 

Sometimes it pays to think, 'What's behind my reflection?' Thinking awareness of how you and others fit into the complexities of our planet, plus your mutual responsibilities toward each other, are a good start to exploring behind the mirror.

Art: Jessica Howes

 

67 Donkey Dave

 

The world owes me a living? It doesn't and life's not a dress rehearsal. Donkey Dave needs to embrace all the good, not dwell in the negative. Forge strength from adversity. Most of all, smile.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

68 Bird in a Bath

 

The Parapara tree produces sticky seeds, attracting insects which are caught on the pods. Attracted by the insect’s, birds become ensnared with its sticky goo which often prevents flying. Consequently, they starve to death or fall prey to predators. The photo is a Ruru or Morepork being reconditioned from a Parapara event at Kuaotunu Bird Rescue. The name Kell Owl is a salute to the wonderful Superman comics. (Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster)

Art: Jessica Howes.

 

69 Memory

 

The joy of aging.

 

70 Noah's Story

 

Dame Whina Cooper was a very special lady. I spent many hours listening to her regale wonderful gems from her past. I am better for her wisdom. Arohanui Whina.

Art: Ian Handricks

 

71 Biology

 

Sugar from water and carbon dioxide. Sunlight providing the engine. All life forms ultimately dependent on the sun. Photosynthesis, natures dawn.

Art: Ian Handricks

 

72 DNA

 

This is dedicated to Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, two biochemists and Nobel laureates, who made the startling discovery of repeating markers (CRISPR’s) in DNA. The amino acid sequences in between these CRISPR’s can be accurately reprogrammed using RNA codes on a CAS 9 protein. This finally gives us the ability to eliminate some inherited disease. Sounds complicated but it makes a seeming impossible task, possible. There are 3 billion base pairs in human DNA. It would take over 90 years, 24/7, to count these. This tool overcomes the daunting numbers and brings former science fiction into the reality. I simplified the original version of this poem and left out the following stanzas 

 

Is there a righteous high ground treating Sickle Cell or Huntingdon's disease?

Just don't draw an ethical line in my back yard, if you please.

 

Remember by modifying my DNA, the attribute won’t be passed on,

Start editing sperm or eggs and the trait will never be gone.

 

It’s future use, as stated in the poem, is up to us.

(CRISPR - Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) 

 

73 Swamp Foxes

 

No Coromandel tale would be complete without mention of the mighty Swamp Foxes. Paragons of New Zealand's finest. To the uninitiated, rugby union is a random, exciting shambles and even more so if you were a bird. A good day out for all.

Art: Isabella Comer

 

74 Eye Fulla

 

A trip to Mercury Bay Optometrist, in Whitianga, is an action packed and fulfilling experience. Maybe a slight exaggeration but is does pay to have one’s eye’s checked if you value vision. You are indeed, down to your last pair of eyes.

Art: Blake Howes

 

75 Trouble Bubble

 

A Kaula the Kiwi version of a Who Dunnit. The Lost Spring, located it Whitianga, is a truly enchanted place and well worth a visit. Also, a tribute to Paul Simon from his Graceland Album.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

76 Esi Onu

 

Sailing a Hobie Cat on Aitutaki Lagoon is a very mellowing experience. Being quiet, the turtles or onu swim unconcerned beside the boat. Ted and Stevie were wonderful hosts, as was Esi and all the staff at the Aitutaki Pacific Resort. Watching the whales breach, eating too much and generally parking off with the wonderful people of Aitutaki. To quote the poem “It doesn’t get better than this.”

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

77 Taniwha

 

Based on a true event at Kuratau by Lake Taupo. Instead of a Kingfish, a shag was trying to swallow a large trout. Its tail looked like a jaw.  The morning mist acted as a lens which magnified the initial shadowy image. Mystery solved. Pity, a Taupo Taniwha would be a great boost for the local economy.

Art: Emma Gustafson

78 The Inspector

 

A salute to bureaucracy. Many talk, few do.

Art: Blake Howes

 

79 Kakapo Joe's Camo

 

Kakapos are the masters of camouflage and their only defence is to freeze and blend into their surroundings. They were successful until the introduction of cats, stoats, ferrets and rats etc. Some very dedicated people have saved the Kakapo from annihilation but they are still teetering on the extinction abyss.

Art: Luca Varga

 

80 Amy

 

Living in California, Amy grew up with floods and fires. Swept down in one of these floods was a little dog, barely alive. She rescued him and because of his distinct colouration, was named Pepper.

Art; Emma Gustafson

 

81 Hoff

 

Korapuki, part of the Mercury Islands, was forged in fire. There’s a tunnel through which you can drive a small boat into the crater lake. Viewed from above, the explosive forces are evident. A precious native flora and fauna reserve means no landing. Unfortunately, no mega sloths.

Art: Jessica Howes

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82 Xavier James McNulty

 

One of the soggy head stories. Sowed the seed for Zambezi Roulette.

Art: Jessica Howes

 

83 Vandrils

 

One of the soggy head stories. The Ra Monster appeared in the story to discourage lying but earlier chased three brothers, Tom, George and Ben Bostock around their home in Hawkes Bay. Versatile little critter.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

84 Kiwis can Fly

 

Based on a true event at Sandy Mount on the Otago Peninsula. For those who were concerned, the sheep was OK. Slipped in a line from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s, Free Bird. (Allen Collins and Ronnie van Zant,) One of my personal favourites.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

85 Rats in the Night

 

Tormenting animals in any form is abhorrent but unfortunately individuals and groups of humans still applaud, and even encourage, such behaviour today.

86 Quail Morning

 

This poem is dedicated to the unsung heroes in our community, the mighty Kuaotunu Volunteer Fire Brigade, located just down the road from Te Rerenga School. Plus, the other tireless volunteers throughout the country including fire, ambulance, coastguard, surf life savers, search and rescue and many more. All of similar ilk. They do because they can and they care. We’d be buggered without them. Thanks to all of you.

Art: Emma Gustafson

87 Fun Day

 

School Fair and Sports Day for birds. Plausible. A weta face climb wouldn’t be for the feint hearted. Bellbird Philly (aka L A Thompson) singing Lovelight, can be sourced on You Tube.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

88 Zed at Last

Thought I'd cheer Zed up a bit since it's always last.

Art: Sophia Adshead

 

89 Schools Out

 

Last day of school and the end of the adventures of Kaula the Kiwi. If you've cracked a few smiles and maybe learnt a little, it was all worth it.

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

90 Class Photo

Art: Emma Gustafson

 

91 Kaula and the America's Cup

 

A bonus short story adapted from Humpy Humpback. There was so much more to the poem. Beginning in the classroom, Kaula's camp mother nature is the instigator and continues all the way to Humpy's back and the catalyst to foiling.

 

Art: Blake Howes

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