Harold | Māngere, Auckland

“Home is Māngere. I’m about two kilometres away from where I do my first part of my work, my job is digital technology upskilling in the local community. I’ve been a teacher for 25 years, and when I retired, and left the Te Wananga o Aotearoa, they said, come over here and work for the library on a voluntary basis.

So, I ended up working in the library, and that’s now starting to expand its scope to go to Ōtara, and I specialise in elderly people. So, as long as they’ve got grey hair, you qualify for working with me. Oh, and wrinkles. Wrinkles are really good.

I come from Wairoa, from a little place called Iwiroa just north of Wairoa by 12 kilometres. So, I would call that my ancestral home. My partner is Chinese, so then I’ve got to consider the different way that we now have homes in today’s society. But then there’s a third home, which for me, is my digital home, and that is probably more where I would call home as such, a place that we belong to, a place that we have a sense of belonging to, where we can talk to friends, communicate with people all over the world, and you don’t feel as alone maybe, as you do if you were just in your house and you didn’t have any form of way of communicating with the rest of the world. So, for me, a digital home, a virtual world is my home.

In a virtual world, though you can have electronic space that you might cover with land, you know, of course, you’re a virtual being. You can’t be buried on that land, that virtual world, although I suppose if you burn people in smoke, and throw them into the sea, they don’t need land as a place to belong to. So, I think the word home is an interesting word, because it’s been redefined, hasn’t it. It’s not a piece of land or a whānau that we have. Maybe it’s a group of people that we belong to. So, I think that, for me, I think the definition is changing quite a bit.”

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