“The True Dawn” is the story of a life seen through the eyes of faith and told in reflective poetry and rhyme. It is also a small history of the Hokianga with a variety of photographs and detailed description. Sr Isabelle SM has been writing reflections like these for most of her life, and whatever our interest, there will be something in this book that speaks evocatively to the reader.

Joy Cowley


This unique full colour book can be purchased for only NZ$25 from the Boatshed Café or “Outpost” in Rawene, or directly from the author.

Cheques ($26 including postage) should be made out to

Marist Sisters C. W. A/C 01.

Order from Sister Isabelle, Waitaruke, RD2 Kaeo 4079 or from

Sister Lorraine, Marist Sisters, Kitenui Ave, Mt Albert, Auckland 1025

Cheque with order, please.



Sister Isabelle SM (Barbara Jean Harding)


“It smells of fish,” the inspector said. His nose held in the air.

“Why shouldn’t it?” young Jim declared. “It ain’t a herbal fair!

“It is a fishing launch,” he said. “It smells alright to me.”

Inspector went official way with mullet for his tea.


The “Omakura” was our launch. It was my father’s pride.

He’d built it up by his own hand when it was burned to tide.

Its vital parts connected with wire, string and such.

To start was temperamental. It needed master’s touch.


I mind the time our patient Dad was gently cranking handle

Half an hour was spent and still a spark he could not wangle.....

The Omakura

Te Hokianga, The Returning,

Full the chorus of your birds

Lifted to the new day’s dawning;

Joyous praise, not needing words.


I remember when a child

How I climbed to yonder hill

Across the harbour from Rawene,

Your beauty my heart would thrill....

At Rawene, Hokianga