Kurungabaa says goodbye

surf check

Kurungabaa: A journal of literature, history and ideas from the sea is closing up. It is time for the pelican to fly away. The print journal hasn’t been active for quite awhile and it’s time to wrap up this weblog. So many people have been involved over the years that the thank you goes out far and wide. A lot of people put hearts, $, sweat and frowns into Kurungabaa: designers, writers, photographers, inspirers, friends, family, illustrators, subscribers, fans, donators, readers, tormentors, commenters, and supporters. Without you all none of this would have come to fruition. However, there have been no advertisers. We have remained true to our initial aim of simply and honestly pursuing and sharing a curiosity about and passion for oceans, seas and coastlines. Albeit, it wasn’t the smartest ‘business’ move, but we weren’t about that. We were perhaps naive, but it was a beautiful ride while it lasted. Surfing underscored much of Kurungabaa, but there was so much more. A lot went on over the years. The pelican swooped this way and that. We were all spellbound in some way or another and at some time or another. Our hope is that some ripples – however minor – went out and people got to feel them. Special thanks goes to the editors past and present (in no particular order): Alex Leonard, Simon d’Orsogna, Rebecca Olive, Dina El Dessouky, Taylor Miller, Oliver Nicholson, Thomas Williams, Noah Sabich, Kim Satchell, Pete Bowes, Shé Hawke, Stuart Nettle, and Kåre Martens. We’ll be leaving the website in place for awhile to act as an archive of what glided about as what is and will always be affectionately known by a group of us as ‘the ‘baa’.

Pelicans by Gino Salerno on Vimeo

We leave you with the Song of Whanake [as told by Elsdon Best (1856-1931)].

This is a tale of a certain canoe, called Te Rau-o-Te-Kaho, which drifted away to the ocean during a great storm in the days of old. On the awakening of a certain old man in the early morn, he went to look at his canoe at the mooring place, but on his arrival, behold! it was gone. His eyes stared wildly and his heart leaped up within him. Then this old man climbed to the top of a certain high hill named – 128 Whitireia. And he raised his voice and lamented as he went. On arriving at the summit he looked out upon the great ocean. Gazing intently across the waters, far away where the sky hangs down, he beheld his canoe disappearing in the distance, and flashing in the foam of the billows. Then arose his sacred song to lure his canoe back to him.

O, I of little thought, O thoughtless me,
For Te Rau-o-Te-Kaho lying there below.
‘Twas I who brought they hither,
As a guardian for myself,
And to adorn my landing place.
O, thou churlish one, never to reveal
Thou wert about to glide away.
My heart leapt within me
As I ascended Whitireia, (1)
Where rest the beams of sun and moon.
I extended my hands to the ocean,
Which stretches from far Hawaiki
And surrounds Aotea.
On beholding you glistening far away,
By incantations I rebuke the earth and heavens,
And by the progeny of Tangaroa (2)
Are you guided to land.
From the spaces of heaven and earth,
The voices of Uru and Ngangana (3)
Are heard on high.
I charm the way o’er which may canoe passes;
Caught and borne onwards by Tu, (4)
Tu moving swiftly above the recovered treasure,
Above the many resting places
Above the distant sun-path
That floats high in the heavens.
I extend my hands
To the space-dwelling bird legion,
To the Great Bird of Tane.
Draw it towards me!
Draw it to my side!
Gone is my anxiety
I touch it, I hold it, I have it.
Behold! his canoe was recovered. Thy work! O Prayer, that returned his canoe to him form the Great Ocean of Kiwa. (5)
Notes
1. Whitireia – the Maori name of Mount Cooper, at Porirua Heads. Also, Whitireia – the path of the sun and moon in the heavens.
2. Tangaroa – the Maori Neptune.
3. Uru and Ngangana – two very ancient deified ancestors known throughout
Polynesia.
4. Tu – one of the principal gods of the Maori pantheon, the God of War.
5. Te Mona-nui-a-Kiwa – the Great Ocean of Kiwa – a name for the Pacific Ocean, much used in poetry

ps. There’s a new publication that’s out and about that is worth having a look at. It is run by people with enthusiasms similar to those who embraced Kurungabaa: Great Ocean Quarterly: Arts, Ideas and the Sea. Check them out here.

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