*The place I’m starting out from in writing this blog is the place I am now – Karaveer, my parents’ home on five hectares in rural Northland.
‘Kara’ after the locality where they live, 10 kilometres west of Whangarei. ‘Veer’ – from Dutch, my father’s language. It means a spring (as in a water source or fountain), also a ferry, or a jumping off point to a new direction - like the English word ‘veer’.
The Māori word ‘kara’ is a transliteration of ‘colour’, and is used as the word for ‘flag’. It’s apt then that I start from this place – running up my colours, and taking my writing life in a new direction.
This is also the place I spent my last year of high school, and first year in full-time work, before going to university. I return to Karaveer almost every year, round Christmas/New Year, now with own family of three girls. It still remains a ‘home’.
*It occurred to me while sailing recently between New Zealand’s two main islands – ‘North’ and ‘South’ – that they’re pretty bland names. Sure, they’re practical, and at least you know where you are; but they don’t do much for the imagination. On 4 December, approaching Tory Channel, I wrote:
– a name that signifies the meaning and value of the island to Māori. The waters of the pounamu, or greenstone. It is a far more colourful name – in any language.It is not the ‘South Island’. That is too boring and straightforward a name.It is ‘Te Wai Pounamu’.
*Similarly, the waterway near where I live was first named Te Awa Kairangi – the river of great value – by the Ngāi Tara, the first inhabitants of the river valley. The English name for it – the Hutt River - derives from someone who never set foot here: one of the directors of the New Zealand Company that ‘organised’ (so they say) European settlement here.