We went to Greytown for a bit. There are a lot of churches in small towns. I went into this one and there were a bunch of elderly ladies having cups of teas and sandwiches. I suppose that their dads may have known some of the fellows on the memorial down the road. The Greytown war memorial is an ornamental gate with a list of names on each post. There is a sentence about the glory of God, and at the bottom this line: “May we be worthy of their sacrifice”. It often seems to me that war memorials were designed by the people back home who didn’t go to war. If the ones who came back had built the memorials I wonder if they would have mentioned God so often.
This marae is quietly down a back road off a back road and was once a place of great moment. I had taught my students about the kotahitanga movement, and I felt a surge of history coming to life as I guiltily snuck around the edges taking some photos. There was no one there of course. At least colonial buildings on the main street set the right tone for Trelisse Cooper and fabulous antique stores, funny old maraes are so awkward to incorporate into wine and olive tasting tours. On the main street of Greytown, and in all the shops I went into I realise now I didn’t see any Maori. Which is probably why I noticed that all three guys doing the rounds on the Greytown rubbish truck were. I’m so pleased not to live in a segregated society.
Eleanor wanted to know why we had dragged her to the middle of a field in the scorching sun to look at a bunch of concrete posts. After being badgered with a series of why questions I embarked on a brief attempt at explaining a henge, until I eventually agreed with her: what is the point of building a concrete henge? Across the road, on the other hand, was an incredibly cool, ruined farmhouse. Perhaps when the original owners realised that there view towards the ranges was about to be interrupted by a few tonnes of concrete in the shape of a henge they torched their house, and moved deeper into the countryside.
I think the highlight of the trip for Eleanor may have been discovering that the TV had Kidzone. Whilst watching a show about a bumble bee the bee said “remember, we’re all special”, to which Eleanor responded: “We’re not all special you silly bee”.
I was quite proud of her.