My great grandmother, who is wearing traditional Maori dress. The cloak she is wearing is made from the feathers of the NZ native woodpigeon. The design on the headband denotes the subtribe she comes from - Tauhurangi a subtribe of Te Arawa, who were a very warlike lot!
My grandparents. My grandfather, although Australian, is pictured here in the NZ Army WWI uniform. He was living in NZ when WWI broke out and enlisted in that country.
I was very close to my grandmother and although she died when I was 15 years old, I still have very vivid memories of her and miss her very much.
Mum and Harold. Funnily enough, longevity runs in our family and my grandmother was fairly young when she died, aged only 59. Now Mum is coming up 87 and apart from a few glitches with her heart and gallbladder, is still relatively well.
These are my "bones" as the Maori say. Of course, way back before the white man made his appearance in New Zealand, the Maori were cannibals. Not that they ate all the body. They ate the head of their enemies, almost as a mark of respect for their bravery. The winners felt that they would take on some of that bravery if they dined on their enemies' heads. To this day, the head is sacred to the Maori and if you are dining and someone from behind you passes food over your head to either put on the table or pass to someone else, that food is "tapu" (taboo). It's a big no-no.
Anyway, my grandmother used to tell me when I was young that the best part of the pakeha (white man) to eat was the heel. When I asked her how she knew, she just laughed, so I've always had my suspicions about my grandmother!
I never knew my grandfather as he was killed when Mum (who was the eldest) was seven. But apparently he was very artistic, being a painter, a writer, a dancer and a singer. Mum says that he has passed his gifts down through the family, because they come out in various forms. Two of my brothers are very musical, as is one of my granddaughters. One of my daughters is very creative, we all seem to be able to express ourselves in words and two of my granddaughters as well as a couple of my cousins are wonderful artists.
So anyway, there you have it - a meeting with some of my ancestors, even though all bar Mum are long gone from this world.
As a Prelude .....
6 years ago