Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Where You From?

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  • Jackie Clark,

    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 find the opposite. I have always viewed Christchurch’s flatness as discomfiting, if not downright discombulating. Driving a car round the city a few months ago, I found it extremely hard to orient myself. I am so used to looking for Maungawhau (Mt Eden) or other volcanic cones on the very rare occasion I don’t know where I’m going. One of the reasons I find South Auckland also disorienting for finding my way around mapless – the only hills are the Bombay ones way off in the distance, and the only cone is Mangere. And if they aren’t visible, and I don’t know where I’m going? Not good. Oh, and East Auckland I find extremely difficult. At least on the North Shore, I know roughly to head for the sea to find the road that meanders round the Bays.
    So yes, I am parochial beyond belief it seems!

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Two things.

    When I lived in Auckland, the fact that I was originally from Hamilton was seldom brought up. No one asked me where I was from, and I never had conversations about what it was like having moved to Auckland.

    But when I moved to Wellington, I got "Where are you from?" all the time. And my 11 years in Auckland wasn't enough to count, so people kept asking me about the Waikato rugby team and treating me like I'd lived in Hamilton for 33 years, bypassing Auckland entirely. It's been a really odd side effect of moving to Wellington.

    Secondly, when I was in Tokyo, the day after the earthquake, a Facebook acquaintance asked me when I was "coming home". I thought about what home was and realised I didn't feel like I was away from home. I was right where I wanted to be, and that's how I define home.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    Go Jackie!
    As you said, your turangawaewae is Auckland…
    Mine is the South, and I find I can orient myself easily where-ever I am, South.
    Lived for a year or so in Wellington, and never stopped feeling like an alien, and have never lived anywhere else in the North (and, indeed, have rarely visited
    other places, North…or, indeed lived overseas for anytime over 2 months...))

    It’s not so much “home is where the heart is” as
    home is where you know where you are & you are at ease (and have not only family history but also “dead in the ground” and knowledge of most things around, whether they be bush, birds, fungi or sea-sound.)

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

  • Jackie Clark,

    It’s not so much “home is where the heart is” as
    home is where you know where you are & you are at ease (and have not only family history but also “dead in the ground” and knowledge of most things around, whether they be bush, birds, fungi or sea-sound.)

    I like that definition, Islander. And I also liked what Robyn said about being right where where you want to be. So important, in fact for one's overall heath, I suspect it is the most important thing to be.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to Hannah,

    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.

    My pet hate is mumbled Niewzildspeak. So, good on you! Good on your parents!

    I got asked once if I was a teacher, which rather amused me. Why? Because "you speak so nicely". Had to laugh at that. I sat in on a lesson in an Esol class once, where they were doing "ing" words. According to the teacher, they were "doeen een words: goeen, beeen, ringeen, laugheen." Me, I was nearly cryeen.

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

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    I was right where I wanted to be, and that’s how I define home.

    Home on Mother Earth.

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

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Jacqui Dunn,

    New parents at work often ask if I'm from "here" - here being NZ. And most of them are amazed I drive "all the way" from Mt Eden to Mangere every day - all, at most, 20 mins drive away!

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Anonymous Author,

    I don't know where I'm from, where I'm at or where I'm going for that matter.

    Home, is where I want to be/But I guess I'm already there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2010 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Jacqui Dunn,

    Yeah, me too - but it's a bloody specific part of Papatuanuku!

    Re accents: I get accused of being an academic (gasp!) or coming from the UK (only distantly my dears - )because normally I speak quite clearly. But hey! I can speak N/Zild with the best of us, and have been, many times, asked by audiences I have read to please slow down!

    That is a classic ANZ thing: compared to most other native speakers of English, we speak quite fast.

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

  • recordari,

    My answer to the question has always been 'Opotiki', even though I left when I was 6. Much of the younger years were in Whakatane, then Auckland, Wellington, Japan, and now Auckland again for the last 20 years. I still can't find the resonance or internal will to say 'I'm from Auckland'. It's not that I don't like it here, as otherwise we'd live somewhere else, but as has been mentioned up thread, my spiritual home still seems to be elsewhere, and mostly on the East Cape where my grandparents are resting in the Urupa on a cliff top above the pacific.

    (and have not only family history but also “dead in the ground” and knowledge of most things around, whether they be bush, birds, fungi or sea-sound.)

    That says it better than I could.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Islander,

    compared to most other native speakers of English, we speak quite fast.

    cos there's still so much to do, eh

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Sacha,

    Annnd, so, so much to say!

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

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    Oh God. Hall students. As someone who was a "natrualised" Dunedite before starting at Otago University, it seemed Hall students moved in packs in first year, completely oblivious to those not in the same Hall. That seemed to change in second year, mind.

    Anyway, on a more serious note, this is an interesting question. I mean, I've lived in several places in New Zealand:

    Auckland (1984-88)- still have lots of relatives up there, visit at least once or twice a year
    Wellington ( late 1988-94)- very fond of the place, lots of my friends have moved there
    Dunedin (late 1994-2007)- my formative years and experiences, lots of friends still there, very attached to the place, probably still closely identify with it.
    Christchurch (2008)- obviously with my job I've been up there quite a bit, but the year at Journalism School was my favourite academic year ever, and I've become quite drawn to it. My parents have lived there for five years now.
    Timaru (2009- present)- well, it's where I work and I like my job a lot.

    So, where am I from? I'm going to cop out and say New Zealand, but even now, the place that feels most like "home" is Dunedin. I suspect that will change the more I move, and the longer I live away from it, but it has got into me- must be the cold, or perhaps its oddly relaxed intensity. Maybe I'll go back there when I'm older.

    And Emma, if you want to know what's the goss in Timaru, this was the only game in town last night. It was actually really entertaining reporting on it.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 449 posts Report Reply

  • Lea Barker,

    Sorry this is a bit off the theme, but if any of you were living in Chch in the 70s, do you remember the name of the landlord who owned scores of rundown houses that he split into flats and rented out to students? His last name is synonymous with a particular shade of puke green paint, which he bought in bulk from a paint factory that closed down. The interior of his flats were always painted in Xxxxxx green.

    Oakland, CA • Since Nov 2006 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    And Emma, if you want to know what's the goss in Timaru, this was the only game in town last night.

    Mnnnrgh. You've heard me on Hubbard after a few wines. Just imagine I said that again, with a few notes about blatant fucking pandering added in.

    Wellington ( late 1988-94)- very fond of the place, lots of my friends have moved there

    That is one of the reasons I'm so fond of Wellington. A startling number of my uni friends live there now. I've been thinking Megan and I should simply merge our friend collections. It's about that time, surely.

    One thing about the earthquake, I think it's made us a lot more conscious of our built environments. I mean, I knew I was attached to the Provincial Council Chambers. I was less aware of how much I loved the Lanes, or the Dux, or Knox Church.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    @ cayco. I have more loyalty for Waikato than I do to the Chiefs. Went to the Blues game Saturday, which wasn’t great due to bloody rain and a bloody pedantic ref.

    One notable house I lived in during my years in Christchurch was on the sweeping bend of Carlton Mill Road, which acquired some fame for the ever-changing graffitti on our garage door. The wittier ones often appeared on the front page of The Press.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Littlewood,

    the goss in Timaru, this was the only game in town last night

    The Greens compare the government's patient concern for the welfare of Hubbard's investors (despite chances to stop underwriting them) with the short shrift delivered to those whose livelihoods have been disrupted in Christchurch.

    So unthinking Government support continues, despite several opportunities to review it, to largely wealthy investors in SCF who were stung by bad commercial decisions by their company’s Chief Executive that had been flagged, and the Government had known about, for many months.

    But the Government support for businesses and workers affected by an unforeseen natural disaster gets promptly turned off, leaving business owners facing bankruptcy and workers unemployed.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    Am I the only 4th generation Aucklander here ? :-)

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings, in reply to Hannah,

    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.

    I'm amused that I have picked up some Englishness from my parents but I don't believe the way I speak is inherently better than anyone else no matter how broad and kiwi their accent. I actually think it is very sad how much many kiwis denigrate our local ways of talking. Once we get past the cringe New Zealand English is fascinating and deeply cool.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    5th

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    5th generation, here, Glenn

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    I have more loyalty for Waikato than I do to the Chiefs. Went to the Blues game Saturday, which wasn’t great due to bloody rain and a bloody pedantic ref.

    Strangely I mostly support the Hurricanes. Only lived in Wellington for a year, but find myself more in tune with their team than Auckland.

    Whoops, better not get all rugby on it, someone might hear.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason, in reply to Jacqui Dunn,

    And did he?

    Spoken like a true cantabrian.....

    Can you imagine me remembering that with being bollocked from all directions??? I don't know but I DO remember Canterbury lost....

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to Isabel Hitchings,

    Once we get past the cringe New Zealand English is fascinating and deeply cool.

    Yes, if you can understand it. Not sure if you were referring in your post to what I said, Isabel, but it saddens me more to have to ask people to repeat themselves, sometimes embarrassingly many times because, even though English is my first language, I am at a loss making any sense of what they’ve said at all.

    It is interesting to listen to archival material – the New Zealand accent of say, Keith Holyoake, which was modulated, clear and probably more “standard English” than many native English. Listening to a variety of interviewees – many of them public servants, professionals, academics and the like – you hear pronounced “good” vowels (the sort we were encouraged to use when I was at school, back in the dim-darks), and slower speech.

    Getting back to Emma’s post, though, and consequent posts from others, it struck home that the old term for university when I was (cough!) younger has been supplanted by a term I’d heard only from Australians. It was always “varsity”. Even the football team was “Varsity”. Can’t figure out when it changed, but it certainly has.
    Edit:
    @recordari

    Whoops, better not get all rugby on it, someone might hear.

    Didn't hear. Must have been osmosis!

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

  • Islander, in reply to Jacqui Dunn,

    Late 1990s in CHCH Jacqui – in the earlier golden age (as some anti-BB people would have us understand), it was always ‘Varsity.’

    Then The Aussies started to predominate- so we got "Uneee"...

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

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