When I was a kid James K Baxter had established the commune up the Whanganui River at Hiruharama/Jerusalem. One of my friend’s brother was a regular visitor to the community, less for the spiritual aspects of Maori communal life and more for the ready availability of herbs. We all thought the commune and the associated lifestyle was very radical and somewhat frightening. Today, it would probably go unnoticed.
Good paraoa is less likely to go unnoticed. Paraoa is a bread unleavened by commercial yeasts; rather it uses wild yeasts captured and cultured with mashed potato. There are probably thousands of ‘the very best in the world, much better than your scungy bread’ recipes, but the recipes at maori-in-oz.com are probably not a bad place to start creating YOUR ‘best in the world’ bread. It seems laborious – and initially it is, but like so many things it gets easier and better with time. And time is of the essence – hand-made bread is an expression of patience and understanding. Comes as no surprise then that the Maori Jesus might smell of paraoa – and mussels – the loaves and fishes of Aotearoa.
Baxter’s concrete poem is found, apparently floating in the pool, on the northeastern side of Te Papa.