I will tell you. Gunpowder had won that little war in my own home too. Korako was dead, the canoes sawn in half, our houses burned. All a fight over kumara, my mother said, though she knew more. Eight days later a hundred Toa washed onto the beaches from the battle aboard the Sophia, their bodies caught in brothy corners of the harbour, snagged on trees, bloated in that strange manner of men who perished in the sea. Knees bent, legs and arms spread, their trunks plump with water and gases, bullet wounds and gashes marring the perfect black spirals on their warrior hides. We did not fish those tapu waters for a year. It was a thin year.
Since the day the bodies washed up, I have wanted the murderer Kelly’s fingers in a bag about my neck and thought that I would find him working the seas of New Holland. And here I was, helping the white man kill the black man.