The heavens lifted up their gates and opened all their sluices,
When I went forth to wander with an Olive and two Lucies;
Rain-laden westerlies blew fierce and roared among the treeses.
A lot they cared, those Amazons, those little Herculeses!
For these were heroines of fame, not skilled in arts cosmetic,
Not fussy about hygiene or fads dietetic,
While other girls devote their days to tennis, tea and scandal,
They brave the pigs and cattle round the steeps of Coromandel.
They've couched upon the cold, cold ground, and in the forest bedded,
In the frost and fog and sleet and snow, in places drear and dreaded;
And as for frills and furbelows, I'm sure had not got any,
But instead are deeply read in ólogies and botany
Although beneath their little belts a dreadful aching void is,
They trouble not if they can find Corokia buddleioides.
From their glib tongues the awesome names come trooping with decorum.
Marattia, Blechnum, Agathis, Panax and Pittosporum.
They are not ignorant of Scott, Dickens and of Thackeray,
But better versed in many ways across the wild Waitakere;
Perhaps they are not exactly strong in Gibbon, Burke and Johnson,
But know the way anywhere from Henderson or Swanson.
They scurry down the slippery slopes, their scanty “duds” defiling
They trip, they slip, they slide, they fall, and always come up smiling;
Regardless of abrasions dire, contusions, cuts and rigours,
When they see a hill before them they fly at it like tigers.
To ragged, ink-black cliffs we came with thunder at their bases.
Where leaping breakers cream and crash in foam against their faces.
We looked on leagues of leaden sea that fleet white horses fly on.
The Gap, The Nun, The Blowhole, the beaches and the Lion.
Three days we tramped the lonesome hills by wicked ways and miry,
The little reeked of mud and slush, their spirits are so fiery;
What comrades these for gloomy days, with boisterous gales, and rainy,
So brisk, so bright, so brave, so strong, so cheery, and so brainy.
Excerpt from TRAMPING GIRLS OF AUCKLAND
Waitakere Ranges Protection Society Inc, Newsletter, Issue 146, P. 5, August 2010
http://www.waitakereranges.org.nz/pdf/latestnewspdfs/146%20Aug%202010%20Newsletter.pdf (accessed 14 August, 2016)
The excerpt from the poem "Tramping Girls of Auckland", by Professor Wall of Canterbury University, was first published in the Auckland Star on 1 November 1930.