Friday, February 3, 2012

I Love Home

I love living in New Zealand. I love being a Kiwi.
As we approach Waitangi Day and remember some of our history, I am reminded again of just how much I love this place. So many reasons, so many.

I love that I live in a country that allows me as a woman to work and study. Even in our grandparent’s generation women were frequently not permitted to do either once they were married. I am so grateful to be allowed the freedom to choose for myself, to have a family, but without having to sacrifice the other dreams God has placed in my heart. I love that I can earn.

I am grateful that I can vote. Many women fought long and hard for this right. And I’m so proud to be in the first nation to allow women’s suffrage.

Kate Sheppard on our $10 note for her work in women's suffrage.  Image from Google Images.
I love living somewhere that feels safe. Such low gun-related violence. The ability to get on with one’s neighbours.

I love that we are all so different, yet all choose to call this land home.

I love our Maori heritage. I’m not Maori, not even a teeny tiny bit. But I’m still proud to speak a smidgeon of te reo Maori and be teaching it to my son. New Zealand is the only nation on earth in which Maori is spoken. I think that’s pretty special. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made to becoming a more bi-cultural nation, to addressing some of the past wrongs, and moving forward together. We have such a long way to go, but I’m proud of the start.

I just love our national anthem. I was singing it over and over at work today, like a prayer asking for God’s favour on our land and our people. Beautiful. The words and the melody are both amazing. I think we should sing it more often. I wish we would. In Australia, they sing their national anthem before every sports event…even small regional ones. Felt a bit silly to start with, but then I really started liking how patriotic it is. This small reminder of who you are and where you are from. I love our national anthem.
NZ official flag and Maori flag on left, unofficial ones on right - from Google Images
I love our beaches. Clean, windswept, hardly ever warm! And empty. Oh, so empty. None of these wall-to-wall bodies for us Kiwis. Nope, we feel crowded if there’s someone within ten metres of our beach towel.

I love our plants. Understated. Yet sophisticated. Amazing details when you look closely. I love our birds. There’s a morepork somewhere in our neighbourhood. Every so often you hear it in the evening, with its haunting call. Then there are the tui who visit with the seasons, coming for the flax nectar down on the boardwalk.

I love the smell of the bush. And I so love that I can walk here without fear of snakes, spiders, or other nasties. Yup, New Zealand really is an amazing place to call home.

I love our culture. That we honestly think we can fix anything with a bit of number eight wire. That we do barbeques really well, and say “heaps” and “sweet as, bro.” I love calling our food “kai” and telling my baby he has a “puku nui” (big tummy!). I love that we have this amazing reputation around the world (hmm, what does our national anthem say again? “make her praises heard afar”). People love having Kiwis work for them. Our Peace Keepers are the best in the world. We excel in sporting events (especially when you consider just how small a population we have). We are generally known to be hard working, modest, friendly souls. We are also known for our generosity. I think New Zealand has held the highest personal giving per capita in the world for quite some time now.

NZ Passport - from Google Images

What more can I say? I love being a Kiwi. I love New Zealand. This is home. I’ve tried living elsewhere, but I will always love New Zealand. And I will always, always be a Kiwi.

Happy Waitangi Day, New Zealand.

God of Nations at Thy feet, In the bonds of love we meet, Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific's triple star From the shafts of strife and war, Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.
Men of every creed and race, Gather here before Thy face, Asking Thee to bless this place,
God defend our free land.
From dissension, envy, hate, And corruption guard our state, Make our country good and great,
God defend New Zealand.
Peace, not war, shall be our boast, But, should foes assail our coast, Make us then a mighty host,
God defend our free land.
Lord of battles in Thy might, Put our enemies to flight, Let our cause be just and right,
God defend New Zealand.
Let our love for Thee increase, May Thy blessings never cease, Give us plenty, give us peace,
God defend our free land.
From dishonour and from shame, Guard our country's spotless name, Crown her with immortal fame,
God defend New Zealand.
May our mountains ever be Freedom's ramparts on the sea, Make us faithful unto Thee,
God defend our free land.
Guide her in the nations' van, Preaching love and truth to man, Working out Thy glorious plan,
God defend New Zealand.
E Ihowā Atua, O ngā iwi mātou rā Āta whakarangona; Me aroha noa
Kia hua ko te pai; Kia tau tō atawhai; Manaakitia mai Aotearoa
Ōna mano tāngata Kiri whero, kiri mā, Iwi Māori, Pākehā, Rūpeke katoa,
Nei ka tono ko ngā hē Māu e whakaahu kē, Kia ora mārire Aotearoa
Tōna mana kia tū! Tōna kaha kia ū; Tōna rongo hei pakū Ki te ao katoa
Aua rawa ngā whawhai Ngā tutū e tata mai; Kia tupu nui ai Aotearoa
Waiho tona takiwā Ko te ao mārama; Kia whiti tōna rā Taiāwhio noa.
Ko te hae me te ngangau Meinga kia kore kau; Waiho i te rongo mau Aotearoa
Tōna pai me toitū Tika rawa, pono pū; Tōna noho, tāna tū; Iwi nō Ihowā.
Kaua mōna whakamā; Kia hau te ingoa; Kia tū hei tauira; Aotearoa
 Lyrics found here.
Image from Google Images


PaisleyJade said...

Beautiful beautiful beautiful!!! Loving your post and our Nation!

MaxineD said...

Yes, we live in a fabulous, blessed, country.