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  • Shelley Dunn

Te wāhi tika / The right place

Written by Shelley Dunn

Illustrated by Piyaa



​Māori

English

​Mō te hia nei tau i puritia e au ōku kaumātua ki te kāpata i raro i te arapiki.

For a number of years I kept my grandparents in the cupboard under the stairs.

​Ā, me pono aku kōrero, i roto kē rāua i te karāti mō tētahi wā, engari i kī taku tāne he weriweri rawa tana hokinga mai ki te kāinga.

​Well, to be honest, they were in the garage for a while but my husband said it was too creepy coming home.

​Kāore ia i paitia e rāua. Kāore i tau i tana whakatūnga i tōna waka, tana kī.

They didn’t like him. It wasn’t welcoming when he parked his car, he said.

Nā tōku whaea kē i homai ki ahau. Te hia homai ōna. I pēnei au kāore ia i tino pai mai ki a au.

Actually my aunt gave them to me which was a big surprise for me. I always thought she didn’t like me much.

​I te rā i mea mai ia i pīrangi ia ki te kite i ahau, i pōhēhē ahau i taka ahau ki te hē. Heoi anō, i hari atu ia i ahau ki tōna rūma moe, ā, i tīkina rāua i te wāhi i noho ai rāua i tōna whata kākahu. I mahana, i maroke ake tēnā i tōku kāpata i raro i te arapiki.

​On the day that she told me she wanted to see me I thought I’d done something wrong. But she took me into her bedroom and got them out of her wardrobe where she kept them. It was warmer and drier than my cupboard under the stairs.

‘Nāu rāua ināianei,’ tana kī. ‘Manaakitia rāua.’

‘They’re yours now,’ she said. ‘Take good care of them.

​I mōhio ahau kāore ahau i rite.

I knew I wasn’t up to the job.


Mō te hia nei tau i puritia e au ōku kaumātua ki te kāpata i raro i te arapiki.


For a number of years I kept my grandparents in the cupboard under the stairs.


I tuku ahau i a rāua ki taku tungāne.

I offered them to my brother.

I kī ia he matawhawhati rawa tōna tūāhua noho, me te aha, e kore e taea e ia ōna kaumātua te manaaki.

He said his living situation was fluid and that he couldn’t take grandparents as well.

I tuku ahau i a rāua ki taku teina.

I offered them to my little sister.

I hari ia i a rāua mō tētahi wā, kātahi ia ka hūnuku whare. I kī ia kāore i pai ki a rāua te whare hou. I rite tonu tā rāua hūnuku mai i tētahi rūma ki tētahi. I manawarau rāua.

She took them for a while and then she moved house. She said they didn’t like the new house. They kept moving from room to room. They were uncomfortable.

I āki ahau i taku teina muringa ki te hari i a rāua.

I forced my littlest sister to take them.

I tētahi pō, i te kuhu ia i ōna kākahu mō tētahi pāti, ā, i pērā rawa tō rāua kōmingomingo, peke rawa mai ana i te pakitara.

​She was getting dressed for a party one night and they got so agitated they jumped right off the wall.

I whakahoki mai ia i a rāua ki ahau i te mea kāore ahau e tino raweke kākahu.

She gave them back to me because I don’t dress up that much.

Kāore ahau i mōhio tahi ki ōku kaumātua, engari i hirahira rāua i tōku whānau me tōku iwi.

I never actually knew my grandparents but they were legendary in my family and my tribe.

Hirahira ake nei tō rāua mana! I pērā rawa te hirahira, i roto hoki taua mana i ō rāua whakaahua.

They had great mana—so much so that even their photographic images possessed it.

Nā tō mātou whakatipuranga, kāore mātou i tumeke ki tā ngā whakaahua whakapuakanga riri, kirikiriā rānei, ki tō rāua paheketanga noa i te pakitara, ki tō rāua nekenga korotaha rānei, mehemea i hiahia rāua.

From the way that we were brought up, none of us were surprised that the photos could express disapproval or anger, or that they could slip right off the wall or slide sideways if they wanted to.


I āki ahau i taku teina muringa ki te hari i a rāua.


I forced my littlest sister to take them.


​Heoi anō taku, he rapa i tētahi wāhi e harikoa ai rāua.

​I just needed to find them a place where they were happy.

​​E hia nei tau ahau e whakaaroaro ana.

​I thought about it for years.

He nui ngā ture a te Māori mō te wāhi tika hei whakairi i ngā whakaahua hunga mate.

​When you’re Maori there are so many rules about where you can put photos of dead people.

Me ngākau whakaute koe. Kāore i te pai kia noho pātata ki te kai. E ai ki ētahi, me mātua anga rātou ki tētahi ahunga.

You have to be respectful. They can’t be around food. Some people say they can only face certain directions.

Nā te korenga ōku i tino mōhio, i whakawhirinaki ahau ki tā te ngākau i pai ai. Korekore ana.

As I wasn’t very knowledgeable myself, I relied on what felt right. And nothing did.

Taihoa ā, ka mahara au, nā te tau o tā rāua noho i te whata kākahu o taku whaea, ka pai noa iho rāua i tōku.

Eventually I thought that since they’d been fine in my aunt’s wardrobe they would be fine in mine.

Ka tīkina rāua e au, ā, ka whakapaipaitia me te aroha. I āta whakatakotoria rāua me ērā atu o ōku mea tongarerewa;

I picked them up and dusted them off lovingly. I placed them carefully with my other precious things;

he paraikete, he taonga whakarākei, me ētahi atu whakaahua he puiaki rawa ki te whakairi ki te aho o Aotearoa.

a blanket, some jewellery, some other photos that were too precious to hang in the bright New Zealand light.

Kei reira rāua ināianei. Kāore anō rāua kia haku. Ā, ia whakatuwheratanga i tōku whata kākahu, ka rongo ahau i te mahana, ānō nei e tauawhitia ana ahau.

And there they are now. They haven’t complained. And every time I open my wardrobe I feel a warm sensation as if somebody is giving me a hug.


Te Wāhi Tika / The Right Place


Author Shelley Dunn


Illustrator

Piyaa


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