Vaughan Rapatahana

Vaughan Rapatahana commutes between Hong Kong, Philippines and Aotearoa New Zealand. He is widely published across several genre in both his main languages, te reo Māori and English. He is a poet, with collections published in Hong Kong; Macau; Philippines; USA; England; France; India and New Zealand.

Every day for me is a poem. Some are better than others. Some should be forgotten.



mō ōtautahi

[for Christchurch]

me kāore tētahi ki te mate i roto i te ara taua
kāore tētahi

                                                                   no one needs to die in such a way
no one.

I saw two swans regal glide
down the still lake
this afternoon.

they travel miraculous
one                                                well ahead                                     the other
b o t h                s e r e n e.

our dog a source of his own amusement
off on another parabola.

everyone should –
at least once –
inhale such harmony,
peace epitomized in epiphany.

me kāore tētahi kia whakamatea i roto i te ara taua
me kāore tētahi ki te whakamatea
kāore tētahi

                                                                   no one needs to kill in such a way
                                                                   no one needs to kill
no one.







last bus from apia, october 2018


‘talofa lava’ she said,
with a grin
that trashed all of the others.

she shunted aside the kit
where the clothes
ate into the taro,
while with her feet
she banished the carton of drinks
deep under the seat in front,
till only a memory remained.

the music was marley
burrowing my eardrums
like drills in delirium,
and I smiled ‘talofa’,
as I perched my sunburn
beside her ample lavalava
on the staunch wooden pew.

the bus chugged on,
first  d r a  w i n g,
then dropping more passengers
the further we divorced the capital
‘malo’ & ‘malo’ & ‘malo’
on infinite replay
as the sunshine stoked higher
& bob became bop.

‘fa’afetai,’ she beamed
as I contorted myself
to liberate her
and her truckload of trinkets,
to haul herself habile through
those still standing
& to drop four tala
into the driver’s  o u t s t r e  t c h
p a l m.

‘fa’afetai,’ I distributed
when it was my turn
to funambulate through to the front,
tala in grasp;
& to jest with
the spring-heeled
who helped me debark
near the resort hotel
its exorbitant extravagance
they’d never heed.

fa’afetai a’u uo,
fa’afetai indeed.




[talofa lava – hello to you

malo – hi

fa’afetai – thank you

a’u uo – my friends

 – Samoan]