family tree by Miriama Gemmell

By Wasafiri Editor on April 27, 2020 in Poetry

1.1.1 cousin wants the whakapapa

1.1.2 cousin played reps back in the day

1.1.3 cousin bringing the leftovers

1.2.1 cousin baby four on the way


1.2.2 cousin going up to the tangi

1.2.3 cousin three jobs pretty busy

1.2.4 cousin another month of curfew

1.2.5 cousin moving back to brizzie


1.3.1 cousin trying to learn the reo

1.4.1 cousin raffle for the touch trip

1.4.2 cousin still got the korowai

1.4.3 cousin always had a lip


1.5.1 cousin taking auntie to the hui

1.5.2 cousin always wanting more

1.6.1 cousin pretty into church

1.6.2 cousin had a job but that was before


1.6.3 cousin plays the rakuraku

1.6.4 cousin going for a dive

1.6.5 cousin is a real smart cookie

1.6.6 cousin wants a prince to arrive


1.7.1 cousin tryna straighten out

1.8.1 cousin makes a mean fry

1.8.2 cousin too shame to do your song

1.8.3 cousin got a DUI


1.8.4 cousin had another miscarriage

1.8.5 cousin separated now

1.8.6 cousin wants to work the land

1.9.1 cousin just doesn’t know how


1.9.2 cousin getting out of hospital

1.9.3 cousin bringing extra mince

1.9.4 cousin knows who broke in

1.9.5 cousin not been quite right since


1.10.1 cousin is the spit of nan

1.10.2 cousin kinda got the blues

1.10.3 cousin owes a bit of money

1.11.1 cousin tidied up the shoes


1.11.2 cousin sussing a working bee

1.11.3 cousin is a skinny miss

1.12.1 cousin being a bloody nuisance

1.12.2 cousin come give us a kiss


This poem was first published in Landfall.

Miriama is a Māori poet from Ngāti Pāhauwera and Ngāti Rakaipaaka. Her poetry has been published in Awa Wahine, Landfall, Sweet Mammalian, and other places. Miriama is gathering kindling and street chalk for the comedy duet of motherhood and decolonisation. She is a teacher and mother of two, to James Rewi (6) and Hana Tirohia (3), and lives in Te-Whanganui-a-Tara. 

You can enter the 2020 Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize here.