Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Manuel Jose Enigma - the ancestor of thousands of Ngati Porou...

All we really know about this important ancestor is expressed in the poem 'The Manuel José Enigma' written by Hal Hovell of Te Araroa in 1981. Manuel Jose the ancestor of thousands of Ngati Porou.

The Manuel José Enigma

You came to live on foreign shores a Castilian man alone,

Landed at Port Awanui, at Taumata made your home

You gave away a whaling life, at trading tried your hand,

A solitary Spaniard, in a raw, unbroken land.

Manuel José, where did you come from? What did you leave behind?

Were the seas you travelled troubled, the times hard or kind?

What lies hidden in your past, forgotten with passing time?

Shame or bloody glory, pain or violent crime?

What made you leave your native shores to sail the southern seas?

Perhaps love unrequited, or some bold adventurous creed?

Now in the 1980s your descendents live far and wide

In this land that you adopted, under the Southern skies.

Though they descend from five wives, the family ties are strong

And the Spanish blood you gave them provides the common bond.

You remain their enigma, the Paniora with no past.

At Awanui, the last living link, an olive tree stands fast.

They have gathered in your memory, and raised a cross on high,

On the hill at Taumata within sight and sound of tide.

How many times did you stand there, and view that lonely scene?

Was there regret and sorrow for what you'd left across those seas?

Whatever thoughts filled your mind as you stood there alone,

We, your surviving family, are glad you made it home.

And we will stand here filled with pride and dignity as long

As the Paniora Blood remains to keep the family strong.

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