Saturday, August 14, 2010

A sense of not quite belonging

I have been getting a bit homesick this week and it has all been down to one particular song that they keep playing on the radio. The lead singer has a distinctive English accent. Its the accent that I was surrounded with for the first 20 years of my life and the song is very Brit pop-ish. It just reminds me of sitting on the pebble beach in my home town and eating fish and chips late at night. We used to sit and watch the storms roll over from France. It also reminds me of getting the train from Charing Cross Station and the smell of coffee and bored sweaty commuters on their way home from another boring day in the office. It has been making me nostalgic for afternoons in country pubs nursing a glass of diet coke for hours on end. Listening to the Eagles repeatedly on the Juke Box and watching the children run riot in the pub garden. So generally just missing English stuff this week.

Its not that I want to go home, I love it here! I have just been feeling like I don't quite fit in. I have been working with a lot of people who every now and then will swap between English and Maori. Obviously my knowledge of Maori is non existent and so this has left me out of the loop somewhat. Everyone is very nice and friendly but it is obvious in so many ways that I have only been in New Zealand for 18 months and so I don't understand the traditions and language of quite a large percentage of the population. It feels like its going to be a very steep learning curve.

My eldest daughter can actually sing in Maori and is being taught all about the history and traditions of the original settlers of these Islands. Her Kiwi accent also means that she will always be automatically accepted as a New Zealander. My (apparently quite posh) English accent is unlikely to ever go away so I will always be identified as a non Kiwi.

We visited Te Papa again yesterday and ended up in the section about immigrations to New Zealand. How people in the Nineteenth century were brave enough to get on a ship to the New World knowing that they would probably never see home or their family again is unbelievably brave. New Zealand is a country that has been populated in relatively recent history by a series of immigrations. Firstly the Maori about 1000 years ago and then far more recently with European settlers. So I guess I could count myself as being amongst the newest wave of immigration. So essentially I am not that different to everyone else in New Zealand. I just happen to have arrived only a relatively short time ago!


  1. It's funny how the smallest things can bring the biggest waves of home sickness. I have to admit I do not have any nostalgia for the sweaty commuters but do from time time miss the history - the sense of old world. Oh and cheese from Oxford market!

    Hope this moment passes soon and you're back kia ora ing with the best of them!

  2. Naff song I prefer Snow Patrol!!If we can learn French you can learn Maori.

  3. Hi there, this is a lovely blog, we'd love to have you over at, email me on if you're keen!