Jumping Ship (Montana Estates Essay Series)

Author(s): Glenn Colquhoun

New Zealand

'It took six years to sign the Treaty of Waitangi with Aunty Rongo. It was not an august occasion. I do not remember a fuss. The signing took place at Aunty Rongo's whare, a small grey fibrolite bach that sits on the beach at Te Tii like an empty peach tin with the wrapper faded. I live there now. The piles lean as if drunk. There are a variety of flax bushes outside that those who know tell me are excellent for weaving. They seem slightly sad to me, as if they are waiting for her to return. I know how they feel. Mangroves have grown in the channel dug to drain the land which is swampy. Out back there are some fruit trees and a deserted long- drop that looks as if it grew there. There used to be the rusting body of an early-model Zephyr that Aunty Rongo crashed into a tree at 60 and then decided never to drive again. The lawn was trimmed neatly around it. For years it was a storeroom. It is gone now in the name of progress. It felt like a good idea at the time, but I miss it. The hole in the lawn where it was accuses me when I hang out the washing with the best collection of old wooden pegs I have ever known. If this is not enough, out front the sea paces back and forth all day. At times it is mud, an old man in his shed pottering around with interesting tools. At other times it is as full and ripe as our skin the first time we kissed. It feels at those points like nothing will ever decay again and that all sin is covered and forgotten and washed away. Aunty Rongo was not my Aunty. It has always seemed silly to call her anything else. No one ever did. I am Pakeha. She was Maori. It would be wrong to say she was my doorway into her particular world. She was its soft, wide-open arms.' - Glen Colquhoun


Product Information

General Fields

  • : 9780958251426
  • : Four Winds Press
  • : Four Winds Press
  • : January 2004
  • : 150x105mm
  • : New Zealand
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : very good
  • : 61
  • : Glenn Colquhoun
  • : Paperback