Tuesday, January 18, 2011

small town nz

until recently, i actually thought that we kiwis had made up the word 'kiwiana'. then i was looking around on e-bay and discovered close to a billion 'americana' stores and i came across the term 'australiana'. not a native term after all. according to the oxford dictionary it means 'denoting things associated with a person, place, or field of interest'. as in americana, victoriana, and yes, kiwiana.
new zealand is a new country, as far as countries go.  our iconography is quite new as well, mid-20th century items mostly, according to wikipedia. tonight though, as i write this blog, i have a particular image in mind. small town new zealand. from my own country-bumpkin perspective.
my ma's family are from a region in the mid-west north island called the king country. in particular, a tiny, and i do mean TINY, town called ohura.  it used to be a pumping town, until the local coal mines shut due to political and environmental pressure. now it is part of forgotten highway 43.
mark and i went back there for christmas just gone. my great aunt hazel is an 81 year old wonder and will have my head for telling you her age. what a woman!! she runs the local church, rides around town on a push-bike, bakes up a storm and recently won a Queens Service Award for her work in the community. she was the chaplain at the ohura prison for many years, until that too shut down five years ago.  she is phenomenal. i hadn't been back to ohura since mark and i've been together and i wanted him to know where i'm from and get to know this amazing octogenarian.
thanks, auntie hazel, for a great time. love you.
so i hope you enjoy these photos - this town is an extreme example of small town nz. about 200 people. maximum. it is very very peaceful. and incredibly kiwiana.

a sight for sore eyes after hours of driving
i kid you not. be prepared.

only 10 minutes before ohura, this is the main street of matiere  - where my grandad was born.

finally. ohura.  main street - side one.

and - side two.  my whole life i have managed to miss out on getting into it, and i still daydream about the treasures i will dig out of it!
home sweet home. this is the home hazel has lived in since she was married. while we settle in at auntie hazels...
she heads off on her bike. she even wears her helmet so the local kids learn its important!
i took mark for a walk through these stunning pastures to the local cemetery where all my maternal ancestors are buried.
and this is the view that my grandparents (etc) have from their final resting place. 'how's the serenity'.
ohura's version of the inorganic rubbish collection?
hazels stunning church where my gran played the organ for a million years and where i have spent many a hilarious midnight-mass event, including this christmas gone. the bells are rung to wake up all residents at midnight.
and finally after hazels outrageous midnight mass, back home to her place for amazing afghan biscuits, baked in the original coal range.  we stayed up into the wee earlies drinking tea and icing them. how kiwiana is this christmas biscuit?

i hope you enjoyed this little tour through my own forgotten small town. tomorrow i'm taking american blogging legend, marian schembari, to kingsland and grey lynn in the hunt for kiwiana. i plan to get some good fodder for the next post. until then, kia kaha!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

for the love of kiwiana

merry christmas!! and since i am SO freaking behind in blogging, really truly, happy 2011. i hope you and yours had a safe and happy holiday period.

i've been thinking about my lack of blogging and realised that its become exaggerated since i stopped my 'making a major success out of my small business' theme. i need a new theme. i'm a projects and guidelines kind of Sheila. i need a regular shove of motivation. and i need something to write about. don't you love how self-aware i am? please tell me i am not the only one who struggles with being self-motivated.

that's what i love about the new year actually. i really like resolutions! my big resolution for the past couple years has been to wear heels more often, and it worked. i do wear them 'more often'.

anyway, new years resolution no. 483 (or thereabouts): create new blog theme.
new years resolution no. 484: post new blog weekly.

for the record, one is supposed to blog about something they are passionate about and know a bit about. other than being passionately anti-red-light-runners and the lotteries commission, i'm obsessed with kiwiana and spreading the aroha. that means love, and is pronounced with a rolled 'r' just by the way. yup, i'm a natural at this.

so...i pledge to write a weekly email about kiwiana. in search of kiwiana. all things kiwiana. wish me luck! p.s. i know its freaking late, but here is a wee taste of kiwiana christmas - cinema styles!