Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Where You From?

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  • Rich Lock, in reply to Tom Beard,

    Do alternate realities count?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Emma Hart,

    It was Mum’s house, and if it’s not going to have Mum in it, I don’t want to see it any more.

    I know exactly what you mean. (Note to self: stop driving past old houses of now-departed relatives to see if the new people are keeping up the garden. Really, just stop).

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    "Home" becomes more specific depending how close you are to it. If I was in Andromeda, I expect I'd say "The Milky Way".

    And it avoids the embarrassing "Earth? Where's that?".

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to BenWilson,

    “Home” becomes more specific depending how close you are to it. If I was in Andromeda, I expect I’d say “The Milky Way”.

    But then every time there's a supernova way out on the Perseus arm, you're besieged by concerned Andromedans who imagine it must be right on your doorstep.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to Michael Savidge,

    NZ doesn't represent my political/philosophical bent very well

    Maybe, but it's inextricably tied to and is part of what your politics and philosophy are, don't you think?

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to James Butler,

    But then every time there's a supernova way out on the Perseus arm, you're besieged by concerned Andromedans who imagine it must be right on your doorstep.

    Cash in! Claim to be the last of your species, and the Andromedan chicks will be gagging for it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Just at the point of the kick I screamed – as loud as a 9 year old could scream – “MISS”

    And did he?

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Lisa Black,

    For me it's about landscapes, or rather, landforms and their coverings. I just don't get these amputated Wellington hills and their scrubby vegetation, and the rest of the North Island is equally alien. But put me anywhere in the South Island and I know I'm home.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2010 • 71 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Up until about, oh, six months ago, I was from Wellington. I'd cop to having spent six years in Christchurch, but "Wellington" was what I got them to put in my Fulbright blurb; it was where I'd grown up, where my family and closest friends were. It's certainly where I hope to move back to, when we finally make it back to NZ.

    And then there was an earthquake, and then there was another one, and it turned out that I'm from Christchurch, but I grew up in Wellington. It's just that no-one told me. That might not be the case if I wasn't overseas, I think, or if the quakes hadn't happened; but it turns out that half your memories of the last six years turning into rubble, when you're half-way around the world, can make you be from a place like nothing else.

    Apart from the times when I'm from London, like yesterday, when a visiting scientist told us we all needed to think hard about what we'd be doing in five years when America was bankrupt and I said "Go home" and he said "But there are riots on the streets of London, too!" and I said "...okay?"

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge, in reply to Jacqui Dunn,

    Without doubt Jacqui. But it's almost as if the historical framework I grew up hearing about (egalitarianism, female emancipation, pacificism etc) have no part in modern ANZ. It now seems a place where rich white guys stack the deck for themselves and their ilk.

    Or something :)

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 324 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    I have great envy of people whose parents still live in the "family home". )

    That can be good or bad, I often wish, my parents had sold. It probably would have helped my parents lives later down the track. Still how do you convince them when a) they were gifted the land as a wedding present and b) Dad built it.
    I'm from( for me) Auckland, although born down South, but gotta admit The States helps me identify my roots and The Uk helps me understand my Mothers entire family and understand why she married a foreigner.
    Truth, is I do like being from "this planet and everywhere it offers,can't say I get bored at all" ;)
    @ Islander

    It doesnt actually include CHCH – where I was born,

    Snap, and although I spent different times of the year going to primary school down there, I really only remember the jumpers Mama Ashton knitted, the Mustang she drove and the snow on the Cashmere Hills, which is probably because there was no snow in Auckland .
    Must admit, when the quake struck, a tinge of sadness swept over me, like it got me somehow, but I think it is the fact that NZ is so small. Oh ok, and I got family there.


    :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    An interesting conversation, indeed. I get the feeling that fuzzy notions of 'home' is something very particular to Pakeha folk; Maori would have a much clearer notion of location.

    Do you have to have minimum length of residence for a place to qualify as 'home'? I was born and brought up in Taranaki but attachments are now very few, with all whom I used to know there now dead or somewhere else. Nevertheless, I did have a small moment of connection recently when I found a little personal diary in an antique shop in Huapai (en route to Jackie's PA knees-up). It recorded the daily life of a young nanny /governess for a farming family in South Taranaki in 1924. Investigations revealed that she lived in Mokoia, a tiny burg south of Hawera; a place where I had boyhood friends.
    I have donated the diary to Pune Ariki in New Plymouth as it is a treasure to be shared.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    When overseas (not UK), it's New Zealand.

    Here, unless the person actually knows there way around the UK, it's "50k from London" unless I really want to explain exactly where my town is.

    For Aucklanders who once stopped for a pie in Dunedin, but want to be associated with a rugged Southern rugby culture, it's Otago.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Rich Lock,

    When asked where I’m from, I normally reply (in my best public school queens english) ‘Auckland’.

    My man got asked this recently, in the Mangonui Pub. One guy (completely drunk and almost hugging him) was being fed by his mate who I must say had a moko, which I thought was why nobody sat with them until we did. The conversation kinda went...
    Where you from bro?
    Peria
    Nah your not
    I am, I have a place up in Peria
    Before that then
    Auckland
    Before that then
    UK
    Sees Bro, you not from Peria.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Isaac Freeman,

    Events can also affect your sense of belonging. After the September earthquake, and especially after the re-election of Bob Parker, whom I felt had done little to deserve it, I was ready to abandon Christchurch entirely. Move to Wellington or to London (I've tried living in Auckland – it didn't take. I have many beloved friends there, but it felt like fifty Timarus.) or anywhere that felt like a proper city.

    The February earthquake, however, had the opposite effect on me. I'm from here and I don't want to leave. I even think Bob isn't so bad. Perhaps it's because so much of the city I knew has gone, it's as if I've been delivered to a new place without moving. Anything could happen, and I want to hang around at least long enough to see whether it looks better or worse than the old Christchurch.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 134 posts Report Reply

  • Isaac Freeman, in reply to Lisa Black,

    The main thing I missed in Auckland was the sense of being embedded in a bigger landscape. Christchurch's flatness means you orient yourself to the Port Hills and to the Alps, both much bigger than the volcanic cones on the Isthmus.

    I found myself cycling through the Domain every morning on my way into the city. It wasn't the quickest route, but it meant that I got to see Rangitoto on my way, and feel like I knew where I was.

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 134 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    My parents grew up in an era when the UK was still 'home' even though they, their parents and some of their grandparents were born here. I'm really boring. I've lived in the same suburb, the same street even (three different houses) almost all my life. I now live in my parents' second house half way down the street, not the modernist one on a steep section my father built in the 1950s further up the street. Their books and other stuff are all around still.

    They spent a lot of their young adult life in Christchurch, and were married in the damaged brick church in Church Lane off Papanui Road, and even though it wasn't my place, I still feel sad for their landmarks, and wonder if they (on some etheric level) know what's happened.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Tracey,

    While living in the States I'd get this question quite regularly I'd always say well I live in Portsmouth, but I'm originally from New Zealand. I figured that covered off both the bases. Usually though I think they were mostly interested in where the accent was from.

    Generally though I think most people consider themselves most 'from' where ever they have lived the longest. I'm pretty sure my mum, an American who has lived in NZ for over 35 years, would answer she is from Auckland, New Zealand. Though in saying that my husband doesn't really like to answer that he's from Auckland, though he has spent the most time here. He was born in Palmerston North and lived in Nelson and the Waikato before moving to Auckland. He supports the Waikato rugby team (hates Auckland!).

    Westside • Since Nov 2009 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings, in reply to Tom Beard,

    In some contexts, when people ask where I’m from I’ll presume that they’ve noticed my vestigial accent, so I’ll say “London” (despite having no conscious memories of my time living there).

    Often people who ask me that question expect me to say "England" despite me having spent a whole six weeks (aged 3) in that country. My third-form English teacher even assumed that the reason I could name several parts of speech was due to the Englsih education system.

    I've been trying to think when my "fromness" changed and I think it was the point where I no longer went back to Nelson for the entire summer holidays which was around my third year of Uni.

    I've found a useful indicator of how much a place I am living is Home is how I feel about using the bathroom - I knew one flat was a bad place to be when I found myself saving all my ablutionary functions for the student union building.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Isaac Freeman,

    Generally though I think most people consider themselves most 'from' where ever they have lived the longest.

    Generally, yes. But my father-in-law has lived in Australia for over 50 years out of his 70 year life, and yet still does not really consider himself an Australian. It doesn't help that his thick Prussian accent has never softened. He's not really German either, though because he is in love with a past that most Germans would rather forget. It kind of puts him in limbo. He seems most comfortable amongst other ex-pat Germans.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Tom Beard,

    An equally important question: “when are you from?”, not literally but figuratively. A lot of my friends would be from the sixties or seven

    That's an interesting one: I'm from "now" - but that "now" has very long roots*-
    from personal & family memories, to whakapapa that go back over a millenium on the English & Scots sides, and +330 years in the South, and these roots both warp & enhance "now."

    *This is a claim that yer average bristlecone pine justifiably sneers at...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Jolisa,

    Even in winter when there was ice on the inside of the windows, and you could cut the smog with a knife, I loved Chch.

    Luxury!
    Our flat in Puriri St, Riccarton, had mushrooms growing in the bathroom and was so damp that every so often huge chunks of plaster would detach from the ceiling and crash down.
    It's been replaced by a townhouse now which is probably a good thing.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 821 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    I was born and brought up in Taranaki but attachments are now very few,

    Me too, although I grew up in the Wairarapa from age 5. Going down to New Plymouth after my father's death and seeing that mountain! Such a presence! But it was the place my parents met and married in, and has a resonance with me. Few family connections now though.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • caycos, in reply to Tracey,

    Interesting - I'm from Wellington, but Waikato is my rugby team too :)

    Wellington • Since Jan 2009 • 29 posts Report Reply

  • Hannah,

    I find it a bit weird that in my dreams “home” is often the house I grew up in. Though I do remember the satisfaction of recalling a dream where ‘home’ was my current house – only after 10 years of living in it.

    I remember doing School Cert Maori, we had to do the speech to say who we were and where our ancestors are from, basically our tribal affliation. Being an Auckland pakeha, it was quite a new concept, and I found it satisfying to identify that growing up in Kelston, the Waitakere ranges was my mountain (but in Maori of course, which has sadly lapsed).

    Now as I drive around the city I get views of them, and still think, yes they are my mountains.

    I sometimes get the “are you from England” question, but think it’s a bit snobby to say “No, I just come from a line of educated teachers who knew how to speak properly” even though I think it's true.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2009 • 15 posts Report Reply

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