Guest post — Psalms from Aotearoa / New Zealand from Thomas Newton

Thomas Nelson Director of Religious Studies Mā te Atua me te wāhi ngaro tātou e tiaki e manaaki Villa Maria College Christchurch has re-written psalms to come alive in Canterbury, New Zealand, using a combination of European and Māori imagery. They are a remarkable gift. He based them on a form I used in a blog post six years ago! here

Psalm 121 — Port Hills, Canterbury

I will lift up my eyes to the Port Hills
and give thanks for God’s help.
God’s help is as deep as our broken fault lines,
and warm as the nor’west wind.
God does not let us stumble
because God’s path is straight
as Oxford’s Tram Road.

God does not slumber
in the dark shadows of kahikatea,
nor sleep in the hidden homes
of kiwi or weta.

God is the keeper …
for the wobbly newborn chick
of the torea, and the
harakeke of the tui and korimako,
and God is our kaitiaki.

God gives easterly breeze in the drought of noon.
Moonlight for clear starlit nights
when Matariki watches over
the laughter of close friends,
when we take ourselves too seriously.

God is the carver of braided river and Kā Tiritiri o te Moana,
of coast and cliff … and this is sure –
our faces
are carved on the hills of God’s love
and remembered
in our small time and forevermore.

Psalm 148 – Canterbury Plains

Praise God, ko whio whio,
monogamous in the rapid waters
of the upper Rakaia.
Pause and praise,
you birds of the alpine reaches,
kea, mātuitui,
kārearea…
Praise the God of faithfulness and far flung places.

Praise God, whistle of the TranzAlpine,
threading mountains like a needle,
flying across the foothills
like a Hoeroa,
along the braided Waimakariri,
lonely as Maui-Tikitiki-o-Taranga longing for Hina.

Praise God, ruts left by motorised utilities,
sentinels of agricultural hardship,
mechanised beasts of burden.
Praise God with your memories
of wandering cattle and man,
and praise God, you livestock trucks,
the behemoths of State Highway 77,
blowing kirikiri of roadside dust,
of dry Canterbury summers.

Praise God, Te Hau Kai Tangata —
blowing with nothing to stop you
but tawhairauriki,
soil-gripping, twisted dark branches,
with Gethsemane in your heart.
Praise God, wind across Kā Pākihi Whakatekateka a Waitaha,
pushing through ti kouka,
and the ghost of Hinepaaka,
the plains ancient and lonely mātai,
An ancient Ngāi Tahu trail — now home to sheep and cow,
Romney, Angus, Hereford.

Let all in this restless land —
river, rail, road, ruts,
both the wanderers and the grazers —
all you moving ones,
Praise God,
in this place of wind … and wings.

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4 Responses to Guest post — Psalms from Aotearoa / New Zealand from Thomas Newton

  1. aah… a wonderful prayer to take with me today thank you, my dear Maren

  2. Maren says:

    I am so glad — what an extraordinary re-visioning.

  3. Rosalie Sugrue says:

    Ka Pai!

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