Māhina Marshall

Māhina Marshall

Māhina Marshall (Waitaha, Kāti Mamoe, Kāi Tahu) works in both the heritage and publishing sectors. She has lived in Europe and the Middle East, but has now settled with her family in the Nelson region. She is currently writing her first novel.

“I see my writing as a bridge from the past, a voice to the present, or an exploration of paradigm. The poem ‘Dart Attack’ was written in response to the plight of Palestinian children, and the human rights violations in Gaza.


Dart Attack

1. Begin with Paper Plane Base Fold No.1. Make a ‘rabbit ear’ on the top right hand flap.
We are living in underground tunnels, hiding like rabbits.
I am folding paper planes; my favourite is the ‘Dart Attack’.

2. Almost there. Do the same for the other side.
The kids on the other side are at school. Playing at recess. Playing football.
They are out in the open. Laughing. I wish I was too. But schools here aren’t safe now.

3. Open out the ‘rabbit ear’ by tucking inside and folding where indicated.
I look forward to when we can go out. I can go see my friends.
If they are still there. They could be dead. Probably packed up and gone.

4. Fold top half down, then fold across to the right. Do the same for the other side.
Last month when I saw my grandmother she told me about when she was young,
how she played with Israeli friends in the streets. How they played together.

5. Fold the two sides inwards.
I’ve been thinking about my dad. He died last year. They said he was a hero.
I heard whispering the night he died. I saw him bleeding on the couch. Then he was gone.

6. Mountain fold in half.
My uncles are from the mountains. I remember visiting them once
Going up into the hills with the camels. Swimming with local boys in a reservoir.

7. Reverse fold the ‘feet’ or guns where indicated and open outwards. Cut where indicated on tail fuselage, then inverse fold to make a fin. Fold down wings and side flaps where indicated.
Then the guns and bombs came more often. We couldn’t go to school anymore or visit my uncles.
When dad died, my brother bought home some guns. He stopped laughing.

8. Throwing Suggestions. Throw hard and high, aiming for anything that dares to take you on.
My brother said he will teach me how to fight one day. But I don’t see him much anymore.
My mum has stopped crying. She says ‘May God Have Mercy’. But I don’t see Mercy here.

9. A tail can be added if necessary.
I like to build paper planes. My favourite is the ‘Dart Attack’.
I think this one needs a tail.

Source for dart instructions:
Campbell Morris, Advanced Paper Aircraft Construction Mk II: More easy to make flyable models.
(London, UK: Cornstalk Publishing, 1984).

First published takahe 87
August 2016