My family is really rather small, only about 10 people who are close enough to give Christmas presents to. Seven on the other hand, has an enormous family: a mother, nine siblings, numerous sisters- and brothers-in-law, and at least 25 nieces and nephews, I have no idea how many aunties, uncles, and cousins, never mind all the people who stretch out laterally and have the status of nanas, aunties, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and so on. So you may imagine what his familial obligations are in New Zealand, not to mention the fact that he hasn’t been back in 12 years.
It’s a little like one of those fairy tales in which the princess is supposed to separate a mountain of barley from a mountain of wheat in the course of a single night. But I have to say that Seven certainly gave it his all. As soon as we reached the Bay of Islands, he left the rest of us and shot off to see his mother — who turned out not to be home (this was before we’d gotten the telephone working). Still, there were all these other people to catch up with: his cousin Rata, his sister Grace, Auntie Luana, her son Bronson, Milton, Fred, Auntie Mae, etc., etc.
Here’s a picture of Seven’s cousin Rata, whom I was really sorry not to have seen, as we spent a bit of time together in Australia back in the day.
The reason I never managed to catch up with Rata is that when Seven went back with the kids the next day, I was curled up in front of the gas fire with a case of food poisoning. After our first wonderful meal in New Zealand, we had a second, pretty ordinary one at a place in Paihia that looked like it should have been ok but wasn’t. I’m thinking it was probably the shrimp, but in any case I was, fortunately, the only one who got really sick.
I was especially glad that it was just me because I really wanted the boys to see where Seven had grown up; and of course, everyone there wanted to get a look at them. Here are some pictures of a few of the things they saw:
The landscape on the drive out there:
Bronson, one of their cousins:
the view from Bronson’s mother’s house:
And an extremely beautiful and interesting beach on the opposite side of the peninsula with these great basalt (?) columns and even a cave!
Here is what Abraham was doing while the other two were clambering up and down the rocks:
and here are a few of his pix:
Hey, you Kiwis, remember this plant???