Saturday, August 14, 2004


I was pondering about connections individuals have to the various pieces of land we call home. Don Brash reckoned it was the lump he got in his throat when he landed back in NZ after an OS tour but I'm not so sure. There are so many other things that can effect your emotional state on a long flight - the length and class of travel, the degree of pre-travel stress, the effects of sleep deprivation, cramped seating, strained bladders and the number and strength of complimentary emotional stimulants consumed all play their part. On the occasion I remember, coming back to NZ after a three-year absence, I definitely didn't get a lump in my throat when the plane touched down. It was when some bastard slipped that schmaltzy number "Welcome Home" into the Muzak stream that I lost it. Fortunately other passengers don't look backwards when they're queueing to get off aircraft and I had plenty of time to compose myself before actually deplaning. But these are ties to an abstraction not to a specific place. We identify ourselves as New Zealanders because that is part of who we are rather than because that is where we live, and we retain that allegiance wherever we may travel.

Those of us who are relatively recent (second-generation) Kiwis may retain connections to distant places - I remember visiting my grandparents ancestral home in Ireland and the attachment I felt to that place at the time. Maybe it was an illusion, perhaps I would be none the wiser had I been shown a completely different place, but it felt real.

And then there's the place (or places) where we grew up. The old home where our attachment is built on childhood memories. My parents spent most of my childhood in Fiji so, for me, this attachment lies in yet another corner of the globe.

These attachments to foreign places may bring a degree of affinity to their respective countries. I am proud of my Irish heritage and retain a vaguely exasperated affection for Fiji but this in no way lessens my commitment to New Zealand. They are linkages of another kind.

Those who live or grow up in the place that has been their ancestral home for many generations may develop a deeper attachment to that place as the depth of ancestral connection is reinforced by personal childhood memories. These people are "indigenous" to that place and have a powerful special realtonship to it. But that special connection is to a specific place not to an entire nation. If they get a lump in their throat it is not at an international airport but at the first glimpse of the vale, isle, glen, hill, lake, river, mountain or beach that they call home. That attachment is a thing quite separate from nationality or citizenship, nor does it depend on ownership.

It is also not, of itself, a racial concept (although, in practice, few non-Maori could claim "indigeneity" to any part of NZ). I wonder if some form of legal recognition of this attachment might provide a way forward in our current "racial crisis". More later.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice site!
[url=]My homepage[/url] | [url=]Cool site[/url]

29 September 2006 at 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great work!
My homepage | Please visit

29 September 2006 at 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done! |

29 September 2006 at 4:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home