'You can never go home again...

by tosca on Sunday, January 9, 2011

...but the truth is you can never leave home, so it's all right.'
~ Maya Angelou

It's Tuesday and, ordinarily, this would be a 'My family & other animals' post where I relate some terribly funny (albeit embarassing) story about my insane whanau, but that's not the case for this one. Instead, it's a semi-heartfelt one. I know! I'm shocked, too :) This year, 2011, is a year of homecoming for me. And quite unintentional, too. Sometimes stuff happens when it happens for a damn good reason that is always beyond my understanding.

I'm Maori and I can say, hand on heart, that one of the most confusing questions you can ask me is, "Where are you from?" Figuring out where 'home' is can be...challenging. One of the best, and worst, parts of being Maori is that I am from where my parents' fathers are from - Nuhaka in the Hawkes Bay area and Waimanoni in the far north. It also means that I'm from where my parents' mothers are from - Nelson in the South Island and Hicks Bay on the East Coast. It means that I am also from where their parents are from and their parents before them and so on and so forth. Or back, as the case may be? IYou can see now how it can get kinda confusing when I refer to home. Home is also where I was born - Wellington, and where I live now - Auckland. Whenever non-Maori say to me, "Where are you from?" I'm never quite sure how to respond and get flustered and spend ages trying to figure out which answer is appropriate or relevant or wanted o_O

This time around, though, I know. In late February my dad and I are taking a trip home to Nuhaka for the first time in years. A couple of my first-cousins are wanting to plan a family reunion and I volunteered (with a bit of pressure from dad) my assistance. Cousin Tania thought it would be a great idea to have our first planning meeting in Nuhaka, where our grandfather, George Nepia Waerea, was from. Dad's decided he's coming with me (omg - hours cooped up in my two-door with his crappy music - HALP) so this is our first return journey home in years. I'm kinda looking forward to it. Bad music aside eek.

This weekend just gone one of my aunts on my mother's side updated her Facebook status with a message about how much she missed her younger brother, Mossie. It reminded me that when the parental unit were down for Christmas mum had brought a whole bunch of old photos with her. Some of them were pics of a summer holiday in Hicks Bay dated 1979. I was four years old and, in one of them, was with Mossie. I felt a pang of nostalgia and realised that the last time I saw him was roughly 10 years ago at my great grandmother's funeral and by then he was married with children. So many years had passed since I'd left Wellington permanently and we didn't know each other anymore. I didn't make an effort to catch up with him then so news of his death was a huge surprise. A sad one. This Christmas I'll be going home to the East Coast for Mossie's unveiling. Decidedly a sad event but also, I think, a chance to catch up with family before too many years pass me by again before it's too late.

I'm looking at my calendar and wondering how I can maybe fit in a visit to the far north and to the South Island. I may not be the same person I was when I was there last, but I am going home. And maybe taking some of the 'now home' back with me. Maybe...


Great post Tosca. I spend time wondering about my "wheres" too, so thanks (kind of :)) for the reminder. I hope you have a fantastic time on the roadtrip with your dad (you could always just take your music - be it iPhone, iPod, whatever - which has only YOUR music on it, so it's likely to be less offensive to both of you no matter what he picks...).

Take care you. :)

by kimode on January 12, 2011 at 12:47 AM. #

Hi de hi, and thanks for dropping by :) A friend of mine, years ago, asked me where I was from. When it was painfully obvious I wasn't sure how to answer the query (I kept stuttering) he said to me, 'Why do you find it so hard? Is it because you're Maori?' Lightbulb moment for me because I realised then that yes, that was it exactly.

As long as I don't have to listen to Dad's Christmas music it could be a good trip LOL I've decided that I'm going to cadge a lift back in his car when he heads back to Taipa and spend a week there doing nothing but look at the lake. And maybe eat chocolate LOL Then I will be 2/4 through my homecoming trip by the end of Feb :)

by catatonia on January 13, 2011 at 5:35 PM. #

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