The Little Gods Abandoned the Land of New Zealand

The Little Gods Abandoned the Land of New Zealand

When Joe asks the old man why this home of the little gods, the soul of the entire country, appears bleak, rather than fertile, the kaumatua answers:

"It despaired of us, remember. It is asleep. . . maybe its very sleep keeps the living things away, except for flies, who come to the sleeping and the dead alike. Aue! the one thing I regret about dying is that, secretly, in the marrow of my heart, I have always wanted to see what happens when it wakes up." He sighs. "Maybe we have gone too far down other paths for the old alliance to be reformed, and this will remain a land where the spirit has withdrawn. Where the spirit is still with the land, but no longer active. No longer loving the land." He laughs harshly. "I can't imagine it loving the mess the Pakeha have made, can you?"

Joe thought of the forests burned and cut down; the gouges and scars that dams and roadworks and development schemes had made; the peculiar barren paddocks where alien animals, one kind of crop, grazed imported grasses; the erosion, the overfertilisation, the pollution....

''No, it wouldn't like this at all. We might have started some of the havoc, but we would never have carried it so far. I don't think."He adds thoughtfully, after a pause of seconds, "I can't see that". . . The whole order of the world would have to change, all of humanity, and I
don't see that happening, not now, not ever."

'"Eternity is a long time," says the kaumatua comfortably. Everything changes, even that which supposes itself to be unalterable. All we can do is look after the precious matters which are our heritage, and wait, and hope" (Keri Hulme, The Bone People, NY, Penguin, 1986, 371).

Main Overview New Zealand Once Were Warriors