Matty | Richmond, Nelson

“My family is my home, basically. I travelled around lots. I was in the Navy and growing up as well, we moved around a lot, and I think it’s really important now I’ve got children that they have a base.

I’m Niuean, I’m not mana whenua or anything so I don’t feel I’m connected to a maunga or an awa. I’m definitely a child of the Pacific but my home is my family, and generally I try to build a whanaunga around that. Friends and family and building communities. Just finding out about this is through my, my whanaunga. My family, different groups you choose to be involved in and surrounded by and I’m very grateful. I think we’ve got people that love us.

Family and friends is my home. Maybe one day I will identify with a place. So, my old man was on the power board and we moved around heaps. We were in Havelock down the road for a little bit. Never anywhere for long, and then I joined the Navy. I was there for 20 years. So, again very nomadic. Then we left Auckland and we lived in Wellington. Rocco was born in Wellington. His whenua is buried there. His brother was born in Auckland. His whenua is buried on Mt Vic maunga out there as well. So, anyway then we went to Wellington for a bit and I taught English. We taught English in Thailand. A little bit in Brisbane, and then the kids were getting older. Rocco hadn’t had one birthday in the same place, every birthday was in a different country. So, I recognised a pattern, and how it made me feel, and Nelson is a nice place. It’s not the brownest place in Aotearoa but we’ve got some lovely people, and it’s a great place to bring up kids. It’s very important that they have a base and some roots and have a place that they can always call home. So that’s my intention.

I do think it’s important, and it’s nice to have those memories, and somewhere to feel safe. It doesn’t matter how old you are, it would be nice to have somewhere to feel safe to come back to and recharge. I’ve got a few places like that, but I think it’s really important just being nomadic. My family is my home, but I’d like to change that and really feel a connection with Whakatū because Rocco, what’s your awa? Mahitahi. So I do think it’s very important, especially for my children, because I know how it affected me, and I don’t want that for my kids. I’m still very happy. I’m lucky-as. It’s a beautiful place in Nelson, and the people are nice.”

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