the orange street lamps shine in past the pale wooden slatted blinds and the mustard curtains.
it is never dark in a city.
here the stars can be counted on one hand or two in rare moments and yet in that very same sky seen from our forest millions of ancestor fires twinkle and burn.
I am lying in my mothers bed, though strictly speaking it was the parental bed but as mum got sicker dad moved to the other room and left her here under a rimu headboard with matching rimu bedside tables and a rimu tallboy in the corner.
beautiful wood, beautiful tall towering tree ,not allowed to be felled anymore .
I suspect this bedroom furniture has been made from the heartwood of the rimu . how cool is that to dream within the heartwood of something that grows to 50 metres straight up and lives 800 -900 years.
in white man speak they call it the red pine. It loves to live in a rainforest though it has learnt to adapt a little in the years since my ancestors hopped off the boat here.
I scrawl thru the world of my mother,
finding her recipe books and errant scraps of paper with notes to remind her of something important.. measurements.. or appointments..
no use to anybody now are they???
five years dead.
Dad and I went to her grave the other day,
a bleak grey day.
We bought some flowers along the way from a dairy (that’s milk bar to you ) in Killarney rd.
they had colour and I lit a yellow candle that ro had given me for my birthday.
behind the plaque in the row of plaques is a fence of persimmons espaliered and fruiting .
I talked away to Mum as I still do .
Dad cried, he misses her .
We hugged and went on our way.
to lunch with a cousin of Dads , Aunty Miriam, daughter of Will and Elsie Parks .
Will was twin to Andrew Parks and they both married sisters . Elsie and Nancy and their sister Mavis was Dads mum. there was one other sister Nola and she married a Will too. Will Millgate.
The Park boys were Irish as was Dads Father Sam and they all knew each other in Ireland.
Dad for some reason spent more time with all his aunties and uncles then his parents so is very close to his cousins.
Miriam at 79 lives in an old fashioned house in Cambridge with a piano and doillies on every surface, framed black an white photographs of my elders posing properly for the camera, no lounging no casual no smiling.
the talk is about who has died, who is ill and the whereabouts of all family members.
it is a big thing this family business and I feel quite out of touch.
white man speak has changed since I grew up here.
For instance I was born in Whangarei say like this ” wong a ray ” but now I learn that I was really born in ” fang a ray ‘. spelt the same .
today I discovered that my mothers sisters family that have lived at Te Puke for ever really live at Pongakawa.
never ever heard of it.
most of my family have not adapted to this correct way of things, this shift in dialect and attitude that honours the indigenous peoples of this land.
it is still Taupo say towel po to them rather than toe po.
you might not get it because I still have a bit of a kiwi slant on sounds.
Javier will grow up knowing how to say it right because once again it is compulsory at primary level and optional at high school.
in my mums day maori language was taught at school but not so when I went thru, though mum learnt the anglicized version .
the Treaty of Waitangi which really did the tribes out of everything except hunting and fishing rights has nonetheless been the vehicle of change that is resulting in vast tracts of country being returned along with compensation of millions of dollars.
I am seeing many moko faces on both men and women which I only used to see in the history books when I was a kid.
Ta moko is like tattoo but was traditionally chiseled into the face ie. grooves that were then filled with ink .
ta moko on the face tells a story of their ancestral lineage their place in the world and their knowledge . It can accompany the ritual of passage into adulthood and is seen as a very sacred act declaring integrity and honour of being .
In the early years of colonialisation moko heads were cut off and shipped to museums and collectors all over the world.
In recent years they have been returned.
culture by culture the ancestors are being brought home and laid to rest …given due respect .
so change can happen..
in time that respect can grow to serve the rimu the kauri the totara the kahikatea or on the big island the kauri the red gum the pinkwood the cedar.
Kei te aroha au ki a koe
the faerie embassy is my home space,a beautiful mudbrick castle in a richly diverse forest. which means I am very passionate about wallabies and pythons and mist spiders and twisted angophoras and the sound of the wind and the feel of the rain . we are an ark ,an island of light, a beacon of common sense in a crazy out of control consumption mad world.we have a composting toilet for goddess sake.