Ngā whakaaro o tenei ra
Ko te wahi i whanau mai ai au
Enjoying a day in the place I was born – Mount Maunganui. Even though it is so much bigger and busier now. In many ways uncomfortably changed. It is still my home – birthplace. I feel at peace when in or on the sea here. Ko Mauao, Toku Maunga, Ko Tauranga, Toku Moana.
Just one day in my life – What a funny sad yet happy day. I was tired and ready to fall into a pile of hay. Lots of bad news every way, friends house burnt to the ground. Others sick or dying too young. My offers made for support and love, waiting and waiting to hear what I can do.
I knew I had to do something to break out of my shocked and sad lethargy. Braving the traffic, a close call nearly being sideswiped by a truck in a rush on Totara St. After calming my nerves, stopping for a loaf of sourdough and a naughty croissant; can’t think of a better way to calm the rattled nerves than a mouth full of tasty flaky buttery yum. Te whakamarie i te kai
Onto the beach, hunting for a park, thinking to myself “I know why I don’t come down here too often”. Big camper vans parked wonky, across the white lines, wing mirrors so big they take out another park. Boom boxes booming horrible repetitive crap. I must be getting old!
In the end, it was worth it, driving around the block several times. Eventually finding a park where I used to go with my girls when they were young. Parked close to the double trunk palm we climbed many moons ago
Wiggling my unglamorous body into a swimsuit, hiding under a rashie, with a boogie board ( My kid’s old board over 20 years old) fins in hand. It’s scary to think, how quickly years have passed since I last did this!
The waves were great, just big enough for me. I zoomed along catching a clean face, leaving the floating surfers in my wake. After two or three fun runs the lithe young guys were lifting their thumbs and smiling as I zoomed by. Don’t underestimate this old lady, there is plenty of life left in her yet. The memories of many years swimming and surf life-saving bubble to the surface. Feeling my quads and butt muscle coming to life as I kick to catch the wave.
After the rush of the surf, I climbed the rocks East of Moturiki, reminiscing memories flooding back.
When Mum was alive and the girls were little, we rescued an injured Gannet, put it in a box and drove home with it in the back of her little red Honda. It was quite lively bunting the towel we had on top, the girls were squealing and getting a bit scared, so I had to stop and hold it while mum drove the rest of the way home.
We put it in the back shed with water and a blanket to snuggle into until the man from ARC came to pick it up. He was quite flabbergasted that we were game enough to take it home. “They can give you a nasty peck!” he said.
Funny how revisiting these places, climbing the rock brings the memories flooding back.
ko nga maharatanga e hoki ana
Robbie Banks ( McTainsh Ormsby) ARTbop is privileged to be able to share creative writer Robbie Banks’ personal story: “I was born in Tauranga the second youngest of eight children. My mother was of Maori descent, a Te tae marama, (light coloured wahine) and in later years a respected Kuia (female Elder). My father was an adventurous man of New Zealand and Scottish heritage. As a tamaiti I did not know much of my family history on either side as all my grandparents had died by the time I was born and my parents were just “damn busy”, e ora ana, bringing up a large family.
I knew very little of my Tangata Whenua. I learnt to be resourceful from a young age. Living within a few steps of Tauranga Moana I grew up with a strong affinity to the sea and bush. My favourite activities as a tamaiti were catching fish and rowing my dinghy.
I grew up as a Pakeha with freckles, red hair and a sense of shyness. Underneath my tom-boyish ways I had an unexplainable affinity with the sea. A sense of innate spirituality – Wairua. Now as a 52-year-old woman, I am just finding my true grounding, my sense of Turangawaewae in this modern and often, in my opinion, mad world we now live in. Te Aroha me te Whakaute Love and Respect Robbie Banks”
Note: The featured image at the head of the article is of Tuhua (Mayor Island) an island of significant history off the Bay of Plenty coast. A New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) wildlife refuge since 1953. Visits to the island which is privately owned and administered by the Tuhua Trust Board may be able to be arranged. https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/bay-of-plenty/places/tuhua-mayor-island/
You may be interested in a visual image essay about Whakamarama, a rural district North-West of Tauranga City in the Western Bay of Plenty.
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