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Express Article
About FTM Aotearoa
What's Happening in Wellington
Contact Details
Some Pics
Tiwhanawhana Trust 2007
Until we meet again

Where did I come from?


Ko Te Arawa toku waka
Mai Maketu ki Tongariro
Ko Te Arawa toku iwi
Ko Peri Te Wao toku ingoa
No reira, tena koutou katoa

My canoe is Te Arawa
My mountain extends from Maketu to Tongariro
My tribe is Te Arawa
My name is Peri Te Wao
Greetings to you all

On 20th November, 1963, I was born at Tauranga hospital. My whanau (family) lived in Te Puke at the time. When I was three years old, my mum died and I went to stay with my grandmother for a short while on a farm in Te Puke with extended whanau (family).

After a while, I was whangai'd (given to family to live with them), to my dad's eldest brother; where I grew up (from about three years), in Rotorua. I was an only child, and spent much of my time with my whangai grandmother, especially when I grew older and my parents brought the house next door to my whangai grandmother; in a whanau settlement down Galvins Road, Owhata, Hinemoa Point.

I went to primary school at Rotokawa (opposite the Rotorua Airport); attended Mokoia Intermediate (when it first opened), and then to Lakes High. From about 14 years, I spent much of my school holidays working in the forestry (the expected job for local kids especially when your parents worked in the forestry as well). There I enjoyed the outdoors, driving tractors and machinery, and the usual labour). My favourite pass time was playing tennis and helping my grandmother in the garden.

When I was smaller, another favourite pass time was when we would visit my whanau in Te Puke and especially Koro (grand uncle) John McCauley because he had a massive old house with acres and acres of paddock that was littered with old car bodies. To me, it was my favourite playground and while my parents would visit Koro John, I was test driving all the oldsmobiles and giving them a good going over. I am surprised I am not a mechanic you know - but I guess my dad (who was a mechanic by hobby and a bushman by day), thought that perhaps I just wouldn't cut it as a mechanic. Or perhaps he thought that little girls shouldn't really be playing in old car wrecks and making car noises pretending to be driving through peak traffic. Although them old vintage cars were destined for the grave yard; they were very much my most favourite toys when I was growing up. I remember his place like it was just yesterday. The only downside to this visit was that I was shit scared of my Koro John because he was unable to walk and because I was too young to understand why he was so different! Heck - if only I knew just how similar we really were, in a funny sort of way!

Another favourite place, (while growing up) was visiting my Uncle George's place in Holden's Bay where he lived at Te Amorangi Museum. Dad and I would visit there alot. Actually, if we weren't visiting whanau in Te Puke, we were visiting uncle George (when he was home). I absolutely loved Te Amorangi Museum. Again, it was a huge residence with huge park-like grounds filled with relics, animals and amazing plants and trees everywhere. I'd run around like a crazy kid hyped up on chocolate, chasing his pet deer (Cindy was her name) and the peacocks and guinea fowls. I'm sure they would all head for the hills when they saw me coming. I used to look forward to visiting at certain times because I would help feed the hundreds of wild ducks and fowls as well as Cindy (if she let me). And the plum trees - were especially fun to gather the fruit so that mum could make us jam. Bizarre it may sound, certain parts of the house would scare me like you wouldn't believe. But there was one part of the house that I would sit for ages contently mesmorised by the sounds and the mechanical bits n pieces. That was the corridor that stored heaps of cuckoo clocks and typewriters! I loved this space. It was as if it was 'my' space. I'd place my little fingers on the ivory keys and memorise the letters and tinker with the keys, trying to stamp a letter on my other fingers; while listening to 'time passing by'. I got to know each cuckoo clock and its authentic sound. To this day I have, (and always have had), an interest and fascination for words as in typesetting, desktop publishing and I spend much of my spare time volunteering my time towards this type of work.

Another good memory I can recollect was when (before my mum died) dad would take me to the rubbish tip and I would think it was the neatest place to be. I would scavenge and play among the rubbish and have so much fun that I would get all excited! To this day - I still have a fascination for 'rubbish'. No matter what, I can never resist a laden rubbish skip especially from building sites. I would much rather buy second hand clothes and shoes any day, and I would get more excited about finding a piece of wood (that I really don't need), as opposed to buying something new in a shop.

One more favourite place was with my whangai grandmother. I guess it took a while to settle in to my new family, but I still remember her taking me on my very first holiday to Auckland to see her other daughter and (mokopuna) grandchildren. Living and spending time with her was the best thing that ever happened to me. Truly!

I'll stop there. I wanted to give you all the good bits about my upbringing and the good memories that I have held on to for dear life, even when things were not so good!

So there you have it. For those people who know me well - will so smile about all these quirky yet cute things about Peri. Why? because I am still a kid at heart when it comes to animals, outdoors, rubbish skips, old vehicles, gardening and stuff like that.

Thanks for letting me introduce myself firstly by starting with where I came from.

Kia ora (Be Well!)