Lessons of the past imbued in poetry
Doug Brooks has been driving around with a recording of a 1942 poem by Allen Curnow on repeat on the stereo in his car.
The drama teacher and actor can recite passages of Landfall in Unknown Seas from memory.
Brooks, 32, will read the poem as part of a concert to mark the 370th commemoration of Dutch explorer and navigator Abel Tasman's 1642 visit to Golden Bay.
Cultures in Concert is at the Nelson School of Music this Sunday and Brooks will read the three-verse piece between movements of music played by a chamber orchestra.
He says the first verse is about preparing for a voyage, setting out and competition between imperial powers.
Landfall in Unknown Seas goes on to talk about encountering New Zealand and "the sailor" – Abel Tasman – returning home.
Brooks went to Abel Tasman National Park a few months ago and imagined two cultures coming together for the first time.
"I sat and read it out and looked across the sea. It was quite a bone-chilling experience," he says.
"I think it's important to remember our origins. If we don't learn from examples in history, then the old adage is we're doomed to repeat them."
Cultures in Concert will open with a Douglas Lilburn piano sonata played by French pianist Claire Rouault, followed by a bouquet of traditional kapa haka and music by the Koata Whanau.
A chamber orchestra led by first violinist Margaret Jackson will then present Landfall in Unknown Seas.
The music by Lilburn is interspersed with Curnow's narrative poem, written for the tercentennial commemoration of Tasman's visit to New Zealand.
- Cultures in Concert is 2pm Sunday at the Nelson School of Music.
- © Fairfax NZ News