All My Friends Are Dying
...Maybe it was that single moment in the Army Recruiting Office in Auckland that made all of the difference?

I remember that day so well -
He (the Recruiting Officer), called me a "Bloody Idiot"
so I stormed across Queen Street and instead
joined the Navy. A life on the Ocean Wave spent chasing
Japanese fishing boats from North Cape to the Bluff.

While you Ehore, gullible and brave,
followed the traditions of your whanau in the 28th (Maori) Battalion.
Took the "Queen's Shilling" and spent 12 months in the
Mud, Blood and Chemical Crud that was Vietnam.

They poisoned you there my friend.
You know it! I know it! and "They" know it!
and yet, smartly dressed politicians in tailored suits
still continue with that great New Zealand lie.

"There was NO spraying in Phuc Toy Province"

All my Vietnam friends are dying.
I've buried 17 so far this year; and it's only March!
They did not lay down their lives
in the jungle and paddy fields of Vietnam.
But rather gave over to the insidious,
creeping tumors and diabetes of that
(dare I say the word in mixed company).


It's almost as unacceptable as screaming:


©Mike Subritzky

Maori words:
Ehore ~ My Friend
Whanau ~ Extended Family

(Mike Subritzky was the first New Zealand Gunner to join the RNZA after the return of 161 Battery from Vietnam)