Saying goodbye to a person whom you have known all the years of your life is sad. Someone who, like me, commenced his schooling at our native primary school here in Waimarama. Hemi was one of the older school. Unfortunately, the impressive arch they carved for the school bridge is no longer with us but many of the large and smaller totems are still to be seen around the school grounds today. The ‘older boys’ were admired and looked up to. They were the best at the haka and rugby and running and …, all sorts of things. Hemi is remembered as a kind and considerate senior; something he would take with him to his work in the courthouse and at the marae where he looked after our visitors so well.
A tongue in cheek quote from his funeral….
‘Hemi was the only member of our rugby club who entered the court through the front door and exited that same door at the end of each working day’.
Earlier in the month, I attended the funeral of my cousin Phillipa at Omahu Marae. Church services for my cousin were conducted by the Ratana Church and supported by the Ratana Band. This created a wave of nostalgia that took me back to those same school days. Memories of the ‘band’ bringing my cousin’s father home to Waimarama. What an occasion that was. We were entranced at the pumping brass band, the shiny buttoned red jackets and the veiled women. It was more than a funeral march; it was a parade – a celebration of life.
We have no idea of life’s measure and neither should we. A lifetime preparing to die is wasted. My cousin’s measure was seventy-eight years and as I looked upon her face for the last time I realised that despite all the tears and sadness it was indeed a life well lived.
No reira, haere, haere, haere atu ra e nga Rangatira.
Another ‘farewell’ that occurred recently may not have had the same meaning but for me, it was a ‘parting’ nevertheless. My brother and his wife returned to the South Island to live.
My brother and I are the youngest of our family. We have taken different paths’ but our lives have always crossed and touched and collided at times.
For the last fifteen years, I have enjoyed his company here in Waimarama but I do understand their desire to be closer to their family and grandchildren in Christchurch.
I listened to the tributes paid to them at their farewell. Family and friends shared their recollections. Treasured moments and lots of laughter. One thing that I can say about this ‘parting’ that I could not say before is: ‘it ain’t over yet’.
I will be keeping an eagle eye on those ‘grabaseat’ flights to Christchurch.
My brother Glenn stayed with me for two nights before departing to the South Island at 3 am in the morning.
He told me that I was not to bother getting up at that time as he didn’t want to ‘see me blubbing all over the place’
I do want to say that he is the ‘teina’ and that I am the ‘tuakana’. Did I listen to him? Certainly not.
No reira, taku teina me to hoa Rangatira. Kia pai ta korua haere ki Otautahi, ta korua noho ki reira hoki. Haere atu ra.