You get a native tree when you take New Zealand citizenship. Greg got an enthusiastic Pittisporum. I got a brooding, slow-growing Black Pine.
But the real citizenship rite of passage happened back at my language school. The Kiwi staff decked me out in a floppy hat, a Swanddri shirt and gumboots and pushed me in to teach my class of twelve Korean, Japanese and Chinese students who would do anything if it was set to karaoke. So, in five different languages, armed with kiwi tucker and L&P’s, we belted out:
“WE DON’T KNOW HOW LUCKY WE ARE!”
Recommended Listening: We don’t know how lucky we are
Assignment 4: Go get yourself a Canterbury Draught!
Standing in the oldest, coldest, darkest bach we’d ever holidayed in, I slipped through the cracks in time and touched Canterbury history.
I could hear the woman who had lived in this south-facing abode berating her husband at night: “Get me some wallpaper to cheer this place up!” she wailed.
So he did. Five different patterns. One for each room. Which could explain how she ended up with a bedroom papered in a Beardsley print of partly dressed nymphets.
Sloppy word choice will get you every time!
Recommended reading: Baches & Cribs
Assignment 3: What’s your Canterbury bach horror/love story?
On my first day in New Zealand, ten years ago, I joined the library – so beginning my personal Cantabrian history.
My very first book was A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth – all 1349 pages of it. But I soon tried some Kiwi authors – Lloyd Jones, Fiona Kidman, Shonagh Koea, Joe Bennett. However my favourite is Laurence Fearnley (not Cantabrian, but I swear every book mentions Christchurch – if only in passing!).
Christchurch libraries saved my sorry immigrant life. And people do read name badges. I know I did. Irene did my membership. Thank you Irene.
Recommended Reading: Anything by Laurence Fearnley.
Assignment 2: Name your favourite Canterbury author.