Michaela | New Plymouth, Taranaki

“So I grew up in Nelson and I left when I went to university at 20, and I’ve travelled a lot. I spent 15 years in London, travelling and looking at Europe, and thought that London was my home.

I thought I was going to stay there forever and then I had a child, and came back to New Zealand and raised him, and I’ve never really lived anywhere for the past 20 years. I’ve lived all over New Zealand, and I chase festivals. Then about three or four summers ago, I ended up in New Plymouth, and I’d never been to New Plymouth in my life and I got a fantastic job working on WOMAD Festival and I now consider that my home. I had never even been there, and drove in from Pātea, looking onto Taranaki Maunga, and thought, this is it, I’ve finally found home after 30 years of travelling all over the world, and I’ve never been there before. I knew that’s where I had to be. So much so, I even got the mountain tattooed on my arm. So, that’s my story.

So I spent some time travelling in New Zealand while I was at university, and when I came back from the UK, I was working in Auckland for seven years in the television industry, and then I came back to Nelson thinking that this was going to be my home. I raised my child here for a few years and I work in the festival industry, so I work in music and arts festivals. So I’ve been in Nelson for six months this time, and my job has been completed Covided. So, we’re all over the country looking for work, now, all of us. I’ve been here for six months. I did the Nelson Arts festival. I did Bay Dreams here and now I’m heading north with nowhere to go. I’ve got one little festival to go to in the Hawke’s Bay which I’m working at next week, and after that, I don’t know. So, probably back to Taranaki.

The world is in such flux, isn’t it? It’s hard to run a world music festival if you can’t bring the artists over, but I know there are plans in place, and they haven’t completely given up on it. So, we just have to wait. It’s a waiting game, yeah.

I think if you’d asked me that question six months ago, I would have said, no I don’t think it’s important. I think you can be in lots of different places and make them your home if you’re willing to connect to a community and be part of a community then that can be your home. But after doing six months here, I realise that I’m not connected to this place anymore, and I don’t mean that in a nasty way, because I’ve got really good friends and family here, but I do just feel like coming back here thinking it was my home, and realising the emotion around what makes my home, which is in Taranaki, is really important, and it’s where you feel connected. Tūrangawaewae.”

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