How to Make a Captain Cook Cupcake with Pink Frosting


This poem was written in response to the statue of Captain Cook that was covered in pink paint in protest of the date of Australia Day.

How to Make a Captain Cook Cupcake with Pink Frosting


Take one replica statue of Captain Cook
Aged 104 years
Displayed in a public place
If you’re Koori,
Know Australia Day
As Invasion Day
As Genocide Day

Be a map
Marking the massacres
Uncharted rivers of blood[1]
Be silenced
Be blackbirded
Be herded in shooting parties
Be shot
Be left to rot in reserves
Be absent so your land can be mined
Have your bones lined up
In foreign museum cases for Scientific Enquiry
Be fired in your belly
Have your waters diverted
Your gods converted
Your babies stolen
Your lines broken

Be almost wiped out

Be multiple, complex and autonomous
Then be labelled homogenous

Be poor
Die more
And before any other people
Be silenced

No more
Be creative
Be a maker
Take a pink can of frosting
Be the baker


[1] Prof Lyndal Ryan (University of Newcastle) charted 150 unrecorded massacres (defined as killing of defenceless people, numbering between 6-60 people or more people) on the West Coast of Australia.  Only 6 appear in early records. The project has just begun.


Selina Tusitala Marsh

Author: Selina Tusitala Marsh

As the current New Zealand Poet Laureate (2017-19), and former Commonwealth Poet (2016), Selina takes New Zealand and Pacific poetry onto an international stage, building bridges between diverse communities both locally and globally. The impact of her work was recognised in the 2019 New Year’s Honour List when she was appointed as an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit for services to poetry, literature and the Pacific community.

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