A Conversation with Kiwi – Me

It is Matariki, a time to remember, to celebrate, to gather together, to share stories, and to look forward to a New Year in New Zealand. Thank you, dear Rebecca Budd, for encouraging me to share my story at this time of new beginnings; at this special time when we are celebrating our first national holiday for Matariki, a uniquely New Zealand holiday.

My story is a small one, just one of the millions that make up the story of New Zealand. Rebecca, as many of you know, is a gracious and very kind host whose mission, with the help of her husband, Don, is to bring our ‘everyperson’ stories into the light of the world. I hope, dear readers and listeners, that you will enjoy my story. It is not perfectly told but that’s okay. I know you will be kind and understand that my heart is in it even when my words don’t quite match what I meant to say.

Please join in the podcast conversation at Tea Toast & Trivia. https://teatoasttrivia.com/2022/06/20/season-4-episode-26-travelling-to-new-zealand-with-mandy-henderson/

Season 4 Episode 26: Travelling to New Zealand with Mandy Henderson

In Mandy’s Garden (Photo Credit Mandy Henderson)
RETURN
I am home again.
My house seems too large, too empty.
In the silent hollow,
I fill vases with flowers.
Flowers for the kitchen window sill,
Cornflowers, lavender, nasturtiums.
Flowers for the bedroom,
Geranium, roses,
And some for the table.
The old posy ring brims full,
And in the stillness of the blooms,
There travels birdsong without,
And words within.
 Mandy Henderson (Written in Dec 2014, after a family visit in Timaru)

Tea with Mandy in her Garden (Photo Credit Mandy Henderson)

Welcome to Tea, Toast and Trivia.

Thank you for listening in.

I am your host Rebecca Budd, and I am looking forward to sharing this adventure with you.

Living in the reality of Covid-19, travel has been curtailed, internationally as well as domestically.   While travel is coming back, I have found, over the past months, that travel is possible through the alchemy of technology.

Welcome to Tea Toast & Trivia – “The Virtual Journey” which will explore new horizons through the eyes of a friend.  As Marcel Proust reminds me, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Today, I am traveling to New Zealand to meet up with my blogger friend, Mandy Henderson. New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses: the North Island and the South Island and over 700 smaller islands.

I invite you to put the kettle on and join the conversation on Tea Toast & Trivia. I have never been to New Zealand and am excited to be sharing this adventure with you.

In Mandy’s Garden (Photo Credit Mandy Henderson)

https://open.spotify.com/embed/episode/5hikVZcpHmkDi1V83NixFU?utm_source=generator

If you want to learn more about Matariki ( New Zealand’s newest public holiday) click on this link .

The ‘kiwi’ poll I mention in our conversation was organised by the fine young people who publish THE SYSCA DAILY NEWSY Their latest newsy has a lovely article on Matariki, too.

Now, as Rebecca always says, “until next time we meet, keep safe wherever your adventures take you”.

57 thoughts on “A Conversation with Kiwi – Me

  1. Steve Gingold

    That was most enjoyable, Mandy. It was great to learn more about you and how you live your life on New Zealand. What you’ve learned from living elsewhere, something I’ve not done for even one day, and how life is evolving in your homeland. I did know where New Zealand is on the map. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thanks for listening, Steve, and go you for knowing where New Zealand is on the map! However, I am not surprised that you know. 🙂 It’s a bit silly to ponder this but I do ponder from time to time what sort of a person I would be if I hadn’t travelled. I will never know the answer, of course, but I do know some of the most interesting (and kind and wonderful ) people I have met on my travels have spent all their lives in one place or one country. One such person was a dear friend ( now deceased) who lived in Valhalla, NY. I adored her and loved her wisdom and gentle guidance.

      Reply
      1. Steve Gingold

        It’s a fair ponder and, of course, I ponder just the opposite. 🙂 I simplified that a bit as I have moved a little from time to time but not internationally or even regionally. Always in Western Massachusetts since adulthood. As a child I moved a lot due to my father’s traveling salesman job, but still in close quarters. Several different schools so once I became all grown I’ve pretty much wanted to stay put. 37 years in our home with no intention of moving anytime soon. At first I was going to say if one lived in Valhalla why go anywhere else. But in better informing myself I learned that one must have died in combat so maybe not a good reason. 🙂

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          37 years in your current home sounds wonderful. I have been in my current home for 22 years now. That still seems like a small miracle to me after years of living in homes that didn’t belong to me. One of the blessings of being in one place was that I was able to have a dog, that dog being my dear Jack.

        2. Steve Gingold

          I always wanted to own a home but also have always been terrible with hanging on to money. Were it not for Mary Beth I’d likely still be renting. When she was just out of college she was a Vista (volunteers in service to America) worker who were paid subsistence wages. Most people could hardly feed themselves and pay rent on that pay but she saved. She has always been mindful of what we buy and when. I lucked out when she said “Yes”. 🙂
          I’ve also always been lucky that everywhere I have lived aside from college welcomed pets as tenants. Either as one of a group in a home or my own place.

  2. Rachel McAlpine

    Thank you, Mandy — and Rebecca too, of course. I was so happy to hear your voice and a little about your peripatetic life. Now I understand why you choose that blogger ID! And also, why feeling at home anywhere would not come naturally. I admire the way you tackled this head on… ultimately with flowers 🙂 also, you did us Kiwis proud.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oh thank you, Rachel. That is so kind of you. I didn’t feel I could be a confident guide on all things Kiwi so I tried to stay as much as possible with my own experience of what New Zealand means to me. Flowers are very much a part of my New Zealand experience and hold memories of my grandparents’ gardens, my great uncle’s small farm, my mother’s love of the roses at Mona Vale and the spring flowers in Hagley Park. And the list goes on. 🙂 My favourite flower in the garden these days is on the native clematis. It makes my heart sing when it starts to flower in spring.

      Reply
  3. shoreacres

    I’ve been putting off listening to your interview until I had a bit more time, and it was very much the delightful experience I expected. I so enjoyed your poem, as well. Knowing something of the history of the illustration at the top, it was a perfect touch: a way of illustrating the variety of ‘lives’ you’ve led, and continue to lead.

    There’s no doubt that your experience of living in such different places — and experiencing events like the earthquake — has shaped your view of the world and its people. I can’t help remembering Mark Twain’s words: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Even disagreement on particular issues becomes simple disagreement rather than a fight to the finish when a little charity is stirred in!

    Enough pondering — you’ve sent me off to work with a smile on my face.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      A wonderful quote from Mark Twain. And I am so glad I have sent you off to work with a smile on your face. Your life experiences and travel have added greatly to my view of the world, too. Being in touch with you and others on WordPress in the years after the earthquakes truly helped with my ability to make sense of my life. Enjoy your weekend.

      Reply
  4. Rebecca Budd

    My dear friend, I am honoured that you joined me on TTT. Your support and encouragement of life-affirming conversations has been a source of strength and optimism for me and for the blogging community. I felt that I had slipped through in iPad screen into your garden. I met with my mother, Frances, this afternoon and she wanted me to tell you how much she appreciated this conversation. I think that she listened several times because it brought back memories of her childhood when her aunt and uncle visited New Zealand. In fact, I think that we have family that emigrated there. I must do some exploring. You may be living next to my cousins. Who knows!!!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am so glad Frances enjoyed our conversation. Her willingness to be part of your podcast conversations was an inspiration to me. How amazing it would be if you have family here in NZ. Do find out more. One of my good friends here is from Manitoba. My dentist is also from Canada but I am not sure from which part. It’s always difficult to converse with one’s dentist!!!

      Reply
      1. Rebecca Budd

        Yes – it is indeed difficult to converse with one’s dentist. 😂 😂 😂 Do say hello to your friend from Manitoba. I spent many years in that beautiful province.

        Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, Liz. That is an honour coming from you. I was also really touched that Rebecca liked this poem so much. I have little flings with poetry every now and then. The last lot I wrote was in 2020, I think.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Hi Cindy. I have been out of circulation for awhile so it’s good to see you here. Thank you for joining our conversation. Life is certainly rich and interesting even though I don’t travel (physically) as I used to. The pleasure I used to get in travel is now replaced by such simple things as the pleasure of a leisurely morning coffee and ample time for reading and contemplation. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Mél@nie

    impressive and emotional, dearest Amanda… ❤ @"you will be kind and understand that my heart is in it even when my words don’t quite match what I meant to say." – since I met you in person 3 years ago, I do… 1000 MERCI for sharing! Thanx a bunch of oleander and lavender from our front-yard + bisous! ❤

    Reply
  6. Steve Schwartzman

    I’m amazed that New Zealand’s history hasn’t been a required subject in your schools. Over here it’s always been a part of the curriculum, but in recent decades it’s been poorly taught, or barely taught at all.

    Most (all?) names were originally descriptions—which is why I value etymology so much. Like history, it should be taught in schools. (Etymology shows that suffrage has nothing to do with suffering, for example.)

    You mentioned immersion. I’d like to see all elementary school children taught bilingually. At that age children learn to speak languages naturally, with no foreign accent.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Amazing but true. In my third year at high school I did a small unit on New Zealand history, mainly covering the early 20th century, and that was New Zealand history done. History classes, as a whole, were not core or required classes. I would love to see bilingual classes too. That may happen one day.

      Reply
    2. Mél@nie

      @”at that age, children learn to speak languages naturally, with no foreign accent.” – I do confirm for our 2 kids: they speak French with the Toulouse region accent and English with American accent! 🙂 I’ve been into both etymology and linguistics for decades; they are taught in the French high schools; funny what some people think about “suffrage” = “acte par lequel on déclare sa volonté, dans un choix, une délibération – notamment politique”… 😀

      Reply
      1. Gallivanta Post author

        Language skills and knowledge are strong in your family. It’s wonderful to see and hear. My daughter started school at an American International school; her accent is an American International school accent. It’s rather special, I think.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Not at all. My parents had a different accent from their parents. My accent was different from my parents. What did surprise me was that my daughter retained her accent while my son developed a NZ accent within about a week of starting school here.

        2. Steve Schwartzman

          Even after a life of speaking English as my native language, every now and then I’ll suddenly notice or learn something about the language that had never occurred to me before. May it continue.

        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I think the chance of etymology being taught in NZ schools is also zero. My first interest in etymology began after my daughter studied etymology at a summer school programme in the US. She was so excited about the subject that, when she came home, everything she had learned had to be told to me in great detail.

        2. Steve Schwartzman

          In French you don’t have any reason to confuse the two because the first vowel in suffrage is spelled and pronounced differently from the first vowel in souffrir. In English, in addition to the similar spellings of suffrage and suffer, there’s a plausible semantic overlap. An old sense of suffer was ‘allow,’ as when an English-language version of the New Testament quoted Jesus as saying “Suffer little children to come unto me.” Similarly, suffrage was a movement to allow women to vote.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thanks, GP. Rebecca has a wonderful knack of coaxing people to tell their stories, hence my return. Perhaps not for long though as I concentrating my energy this year on reading and walking.. Lots of quiet contemplation, too.

      Reply
        1. GP

          What a great article, Ann. Thank you so much for bringing it here! It was good to see that Eleanor made it to NZ too. She was more of a president than her husband.

  7. restlessjo

    I enjoyed listening, Mandy (though I’ve always known you as Ann). Good to put things in context. You seem to have led a fascinating life and are at peace with yourself in your chosen home. Long may it continue.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you. I think we all have fascinating lives. Yours is one of them. 🙂 I go by many names and they are each precious to me. Mandy is just one of them. Short for Amanda. Mandy is the name my parents and family used the most for me. It is the name that places me in the heart of the family.

      Reply

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