It has been a long time since I last posted and the main reason for this is that I haven’t had much to write about. Let’s face it, when you’re unemployed there’s not a lot that happens.
I did spend time up in Kaikohe where I did house and dog sitting. Tragically, one of the dogs died a couple of weeks after I left due to kidney failure. The dog was very old so his death was not totally unexpected.
Living in a small town for just over a month reminded me of how different life can be in a small town. The notion of the quiet countryside and a nice place where bad things don’t happen is just romanticised crap. Small towns are as noisy as cities but in different ways. Cattle trucks, hens crowing, dogs barking, cows mooing, dogs barking… You get the idea. It’s different noise rather being less noisy.
Also, it’s hard to cover things up in a small town. Everybody knows everybody else’s business and when things go wrong it is much harder to keep it hidden, which can be both good and bad.
It’s also cool to be able to walk from one end of town to the other in about fifteen minutes. You have all the shops you will need within walking distance. On the other hand the shops don’t have the same range of goods and services that you would expect from the same shops in a large town or city.
You won’t be that deprived in a small town but don’t expect all the whistles and bells either. Ultimately, however, it’s not what the town has that makes or breaks it but the people in it.
I was somewhat surprised to find that while the white people were very friendly the Maori were not. It felt awkward to be in that situation as I have come from an area where Maori and whites have a fairly good relationship so race doesn’t really enter the equation. Up in Kaikohe that was not the case. It’s a shame because I think that if the two groups worked together they could make a huge difference that would benefit everyone.
The Maori culture in Kaikohe is very strong. They’re very proud of their very diverse range of movers and shakers who have made a huge impact on both Maori and New Zealand history from Hone Heke the flag chopper to Dame Whina Te Cooper who led the 1975 Maori Land March to Wellington. There were other leaders including military, civil, tribal and political leaders. For such a small town its contribution to our nation’s history cannot be under-estimated and neither can the contribution of the Maori people over the decades.
I just wish the people were more aware of who those people who decorate the murals dotted around the town were and how they contributed to this country.
I loved being in Kaikohe and fell in love with the people but it was good to come back home. I got homesick within a few weeks. At the end of the day I prefer an urban environment. The noise of aircraft flying overhead, traffic on nearby roads, the waves crashing upon the nearby beach… this is what I am used to and they are to me what the barking of farm dogs, bleating of goats and sheep, mooing of cows etc are to rural people.
Small towns are different, not better or worse.