A Home Away From Home
He Kainga Atu
E noho ana a Hinerau i roto i tona kihini, e unu ti ana, e kai hikareti ana. Ngenge atu tona ahua. Katahi ano nga tamariki ka riro atu ki te kura, ko te ata hoki tenei o te Mane.
E putu mai ana nga taputapu paru i runga i te tepu, ka huri hoki ona whakaaro ki nga kakahu paru e takoto mai ana i te whare horoikakahu. Me tona whare hoki—aue te paru ano! Ka pau tonu tenei ra i te whakatikatika whare. Ka whakaaro ia, ‘Koenei te mate o te nui rawa o te tangata i te whare.’
E noho tonu ana ia, ka huaki te tatau. Ko Miha e tu mai ana, kei te miri tonu i te moe ki waho o ona whatu. Katahi ano a Miha ka matiki, kua ki mai, ‘He aha te taima?’
‘E hoa, kua riro noa atu to pahi. E kore koutou e tae ki te mahi i tenei ata. I haere mai au ki te whakaoho i a koutou, engari pai rawa te moe. Kore rawa koutou e oreore.’
‘Tino kino te mahi pati nei. Kare koe e taringi wai ki runga i a matau.’
‘Kare tonu koutou e oho i te wai. Hei aha maku te whakamaku moenga.’
Ka tu a Hinerau ki te mahi kai. Engari no tona haerenga atu ki te ‘fridge’ he paunu pata noa iho i reira, me te toenga miti o ta ratau kai o te po. Kua pau katoa nga heki, nga totiti, me te pekena.
Ahakoa, ka timata ia ki te pira riki ki roto i te parai, ka mea atu he hinu me nga toenga kai. Hihi mai ana nga kai i runga i te to, ka puta mai ko Whai raua ko Peta. Haere atu ana enei ki te tepu.
‘Ka mutu tonu nga kai mo ta koutou parakuihi. Kia haere rawa au ki nga toa, katahi ano tatau ka whiwhi kai.’
‘Kei te pai tena. Ka rawe tenei.’ Ko Whai e korero ana.
‘Mehemea kare koe i whangai i o hoa haurangi kua whiwhi heki tatau mo ta tatau parakuihi.’ Ko Peta e korero ana.
Ka ki atu a Hinerau, ‘Hei aha. E kai.’
Ahakoa to ratau moeroa, e katakata ana a Whai raua ko Peta, e whakatoi atu ana ki a hinerau was sitting over a cup of tea and a cigarette in her kitchen. She looked very tired.
It was a Monday morning and the children had just scampered off to school. Hinerau looked unhappily at the pile of dirty dishes on the table and shuddered at the thought of all those dirty clothes in the laundry which would have to be washed. As for her house—oh dear—she was going to have to work all day to put it right again.
‘This comes from having too many people in the house,’ she thought.
She was still sitting at the table when the door opened. Miha stood there rubbing the sleep from his eyes, having just rolled out of bed.
‘What's the time?' he asked anxiously.
‘Your bus went long ago mate,’ replied Hinerau. ‘Not one of you will get to work this morning. I tried to wake you earlier but couldn’t get a peep out of you.'
‘It's this jolly party business. Why didn't you pour some water over us?'
‘A fat lot of use that would have been. I would have only wet the beds.’
Hinerau stood up to prepare some breakfast. There was only a pound of butter in the refrigerator and some leftovers from the meal of the night before, so she sliced an onion into the frying pan, added the leftovers and a little dripping and set the pan on the stove.
Almost as soon as the food began hissing on the stove, Whai and Peta appeared and moved straight over to the table.
‘I’m afraid this is all there is for your breakfast, boys,' said Hinerau. ‘There won’t be anything else until I go to the shops.'
‘That's okay, this is good,' said Whai.
‘If you hadn’t fed all those drunken cobbers of yours yesterday,' said Peta, ‘there would have been some eggs for breakfast.’
‘They were your cobbers too!’ argued Whai.
‘Never mind, eat,’ said Hinerau.
raua, ki a Hinerau hoki. Ko Miha anake e maharahara ana.
Kei te haere te taima ki te iwa karaka, ka patai atu a Hinerau, ‘Ka pehea ta koutou mahi? Akuni koutou ka panaia.’
Ka nohopuku nga tama nei. Ko Peta ka ki, ‘Hei aha, kua ngenge noa iho au i tera mahi. E haere ana au ki te rapu mahi atu.’
‘Me au. Pehea koe e Miha?’ Ko Whai e korero ana.
‘Aua, kare au e mohio me pehea. I haere mai au ki Poneke ki te mahi moni, kare hoki he mahi i te kainga. Engari e rua nga tau inaianei e mahi ana i konei engari kare tonu aku moni.’
‘Ha ha, me pehea koe ka whiwhi moni? He pai rawa nga “sheilas” ki a koe.'
Ka whakaoti atu a Peta, ‘Me te hoko pia. Ha ha.’
Ka ruru te mahuna o Miha. ‘Pai ke atu taku hoki ki te kainga, ki te awhina i taku koroua. Kare he painga ki konei.’
‘E hoa. Maroke rawa te kainga inaianei. Pai ke atu a konei. Kore rawa au mo te hoki.’
‘Ka pehea ta tatau mahi?’
‘Hei aha. Ka nui nga mahi atu.’
Ka ki atu a Whai, ‘Ae, ka nui nga mahi i te “wharf”.'
‘E hoa he mahi taumaha rawa tena. Ka whati to tuara.’ Ko Peta e korero ana.
Ka ki atu a Whai, ‘Kare, kei reira a Henare e mahi ana. I ki a ia, kia uaua mai, ka noho ratau kia mutu rawa te marangai.’
‘Kati me haere tatau ki reira.’
Ka ki atu a Miha, ‘E haere korua; kare au mo te haere, e noho ana au ki konei.'
‘Mahi atu. Haere mai e Whai, me haere taua.’
Kare tonu e roa kua puta atu nga tokorua nei, kua haere atu ki te hopu i te pahi.
Kua timata a Hinerau ki te horoi i nga taputapu. E noho tonu ana a Miha. Nawai ra, ka ki ia, ‘He aha o whakaaro e Hine, me pehea au?’
Kare a Hinerau e korero. E pai ana ki a ia ona whanaunga, engari ko Miha te tino tangata. Na tona tuakana tenei. Ko Whai raua ko Peta he whangai na tona tungane. He taitama pai ratau katoa, he tino hoa ki tana tane, he pai ki a raua tamariki. Engari kua ngenge noa iho ia ki o ratau mahi porangi. E toru nga Hatarei inaianei kua hoki mai ratau ko o ratau hoa me ta ratau kaho pia. He unu pia, he waiata te mahi, po atu, po mai, a, tae noa ki te Ratapu. Kare raua ko tana tane e pirangi korero atu, no te mea kei te pirangi raua ma ratau tonu ratau e whakatikatika.
Although they had slept in and missed their bus to work, Whai and Peta were in high spirits, teasing each other and Hinerau. Only Miha seemed concerned.
It was approaching nine o'clock when Hinerau asked, ‘What are you going to do about your jobs? You’ll probably get the sack.'
The boys said nothing for a while, then Peta said, ‘What the heck, I’m sick of that job anyway. I think I'll go and find something else.'
‘Yeah, me too,’ said Whai. ‘What about you Miha?’
‘I don’t know,' replied Miha. ‘I came to Wellington to work because there was no work at home, and I thought I was going to make a lot of money, but heck I’ve been here two years now and I still have no money.'
‘Ha ha, how can you expect to have any money. You like the sheilas too much,’ teased Peta.
‘And the beer,’ added Whai laughing.
But Miha shook his head and said, ‘Maybe I should go home to give the old man a hand. I’m not much good here.'
‘Gwan man. It's pretty dead at home now. It's great here. I'll not go back home for anything,' said Peta.
‘But what about our jobs?’ emphasised Miha.
‘What about it,’ said Peta. ‘There's lot's of other jobs.'
‘There are plenty of jobs at the wharf,’ added Whai.
‘Those jobs are too heavy,’ said Peta. ‘You will break your back there.’
‘No fear,’ argued Whai. ‘Henare works there, and he reckons that they sit down and do nothing when it just drizzles, and don’t start to work again until the rain stops.'
‘Eh, well okay then, let's go there,' said Peta.
‘You two can go there,’ said Miha. ‘I’m staying here.'
‘Please yourself,’ said Peta. ‘Come on Whai, let's go.'
Shortly afterwards they disappeared down the road to catch a bus into town.
Hinerau had started to wash the dishes, but Miha continued to sit where he was, wondering what he should do. Presently he asked, ‘What do you reckon. Hine? What do you think I should do?’
Hinerau did not reply immediately. She was fond of the boys, but Miha was her favourite. He seemed to be more responsible.
Ma Miha pea e whakatika? Ka ki atu ia ki a Miha, ‘E Miha, ehara koe i te tangata ngoikore. Pai tonu tahau mahi, tahau noho. No te taenga mai o Peta raua ko Whai, katahi ano koe ka porangi haere. Kei a koe tonu te tikanga.
‘He aha to tino pirangi? Ma te hoki ki te kainga ka aha? Kei konei nga mahi, kei konei te moni, engari kei a koe te tikanga.’
Kua riro atu i a Miha te tauera, e whakamaroke taputapu ana. Kare raua e korero ano. Ka mutu nga taputapu, ka haere atu a Hinerau ki te horoi kakahu. Ka noho ano a Miha. Nawai ra, kua tu atu ia ki te whakapaipai whare, e tari ana ki waho nga pounamu pia, e whakatika ana i nga moenga. Haere ana te pakete wai me te parahe, e horoi mai ana i te kihini.
E whakawhata ana a Hinerau i nga kakahu, kua karanga mai a Miha, ‘Haere mai ki te kai ti.’
No te haerenga atu o Hinerau ki ro whare, tumeke ana ia, katahi ano a Miha ka mahi penei. Ka ki atu ia, ‘Aue, e Miha! Kei a koe hoki. Katahi ano ka penei rawa te pai o taku whare. Katahi ano au ka noho ki te kai ti ehara naku i mahi.’
Kei te ahua whakama a Miha engari kei te rekareka a ia, e kata ana.
‘E tika ana kia pukuriri noa atu koe ki a matau. Koenei anake te mahi e oti ana i konei, he kai, he moe, he porangi haere. Kare koe e kohete i a matau. Ko nga tokorua kua haere atu nei, maku o raua whero e kiki atu.’
Kare a Hinerau e korero, ka kata mai noa iho.
No taua ahiahi ka haere atu a Miha ki tetahi ‘billiard room’ i Poneke. I reira a Peta raua ko Whai. Ka karanga mai a Peta, ‘Hei Miha! Haere mai ki te purei. Kei te patua au.’
‘Naku tenei miti.’ Ko Whai e korero ana.
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than the others. He was her sister's son, while Whai and Peta were the foster children of her brother. They were all likeable boys—good company for her husband, and they were always spoiling her youngsters. But she was getting very tired of the nonsense that went on. For several weekends now, they had come home with all their friends and a large keg of beer. The drinking and singing had gone on right through the night and into Sunday. She and Heta her husband had not wanted to say anything, hoping that the boys would come to their senses sooner or later and would straighten themselves out.
Perhaps Miha was ready to do something about it? He was awaiting her opinion now, so without stopping her work she said, ‘You’re not a waster, Miha. You were doing very well until your cousins arrived. It was only then that you went to the pack a bit. But it's up to you, you know.
‘What do you really want to do? What will going back home do? There are good well paid jobs here. The rest is up to you.’
Miha had taken up the tea towel and was drying the dishes. No more was said, and when the dishes were done Hinerau went off to wash the clothes, leaving Miha to himself.
He sat and pondered again for a while, then went about cleaning and tidying the house. He even fetched a bucket of water and the scrubbing brush and scrubbed the kitchen.
By the time that Hinerau had hung the washing out, he had finished everything and had made a cup of tea.
‘Come and have a cup of tea,’ he called to Hinerau.
Hinerau was more than surprised, for it was the first time that Miha had done anything like this. She was very pleased and said, ‘Gee Miha, you’re a champion. The place has never looked like this before, and it's the first time anyone has made me a cup of tea in my own house.'
Miha seemed a little embarrassed, but he was pleased too.
‘You should have been really mad with us,’ he said. ‘All we’ve ever done here is eat. sleep, and act the goat. Why haven't you growled at us? As for those wasters who've just gone, I'll kick their pants for them.'
Hinerau just smiled and said nothing.
That afternoon Miha found Whai and Peta where he knew they would be—the billiard room. On seeing him Peta called out, ‘Hey Miha, come and play. This bloke is thrasbing me.’
‘Haere mai, kia karia ano ko koe.’
Ka rere atu a Miha ki te tiki kiu mana. Ka timata ratau ki te purei ‘snooker’. Nawai ra, kua ki atu ia, ‘Pohehe au e haere ana korua ki te rapu mahi i te “wharf”.'
‘Mo apopo ka haere maua.’
‘Kati hei aha. He mahi tonu ta korua.’
‘Na wai i ki.’
‘I haere au ki te korero ki to tatau pahi. He tangata pai tera. Kahore tatau i panaia.’
‘Nel Nahau pea i rupahu atu i te mate pea tatau, he aha ranei?’
‘Naku i korero atu to tatau raruraru, te mea e kaha rawa te haurangi.’
‘E hoa, kare te Pakeha e pirangi ki te haurangi.’
‘Pena ano taku whakaaro. Engari he rereke tenei tangata. I kata ke a ia, kua ki mai, katahi ano tetahi o ana kaimahi ka korero tika ki a ia. Na reira pea, na te mea ranei he hunga kaha tatau ki te mahi.’
Ka kata ratau, no te mea he pai tonu ki a ratau ta ratau mahi, e kore e tino pirangi ki te haere ano ki tetahi atu. Kua mama nga whakaaro inaianei, ka hoki ano ratau ki ta ratau ‘snooker’. Kare he painga o Miha raua ko Peta. Tangetange ana i a Whai.
Ka ki a Peta, ‘Kei te mate kai au. E Miha mahau tatau e haute, me haere tatau ki te kai, ki te papara-kauta ranei.’
Kua whakahoki atu a Miha, ‘Kare au mo te hoko kai ma korua, e hoko kai ana au mo te kainga. Na tatau hoki me o tatau hoa haurangi i kai nga kai. Na reira e tika ana ma tatau e whakaki nga kapata.’
‘Kua pau ke ra a maua moni!’
‘Hei aha. Maku e hoko inaianei, ma korua e whakahoki mai ta korua taha moni ki a au. Haere mai, kai kati nga toa.’
Kua pouri haere inaianei. Katahi ano te hunga nei ka makere atu i te pahi e haere atu ana ki te kainga. Kiki tonu o ratau ringa i te taonga.
‘E Whai, kia pai to haere, kia makere i a koe nga heki na.’
‘Turituri e ta. Pehea koe. Kei te tautau haere ke o totiti, Akuni ka riro i te kuri na.’
Kei te kata ano ratau. Ka whakahua a Peta, ‘Mohio korua, he hunga tino koretake tatau. Katahi ano tatau ka whakaaro mo Hinerau raua ko Heta. Te pai o nga tokorua nei ki a tatau. Kaua koe e wareware, e Whai, ki te hoatu he moni mo to noho.’
‘Me koe hoki e ta.’
‘Me mutu hoki te tango kaho pia.’
‘I’m making mincemeat of him,' grinned Whai. ‘Come on, let me thrash you too.’
Miha reached for a cue and they lined up the balls for a game of snooker. They concentrated on the game for a while, then Miha said casually, ‘I though you blokes were going to get a job at the wharf.’
‘Tomorrow will do,’ said Peta.
‘Well forget about it,’ said Miha, ‘you’ve still got your old jobs.'
‘Who said?’ Peta and Whai were surprised.
‘I went to see the boss. He's a pretty good bloke. Anyway he didn't sack us.'
‘You don’t say. Did you lie that we were sick or something?'
‘No,’ laughed Miha, ‘I told him we had been on a binge.’
‘Gwan, but the Pakeha doesn’t put up with a pack of drunks.'
‘That's what I thought. But this bloke is different. He laughed when I told him why we didn't turn up, and said it was the first time one of his employees had told him the truth. Maybe that's why, or maybe it's because we're all such hard workers.'
They laughed and felt pleased, for each one of them enjoyed their work and did not really want to change. Feeling very relieved, they returned to their game. Miha and Peta had no hope against Whai's skill. He thrashed them both thoroughly.
‘Gee I’m hungry,' said Peta as they walked out on to the street. ‘You shout, Miha. What about a feed or a few beers?’
‘I’m not buying you wasters anything. I'm going to buy some food for the house. We and our mates ate everything in the house, so it's only right that we should fill the cupboards again.'
‘But we’ve got no money,' complained Whai.
‘So what,’ exclaimed Miha, ‘I’ll buy the stuff. You can pay me your share of the expenses later. Let's hurry before the shops close.'
It was almost dark when the three climbed off the bus and walked on home. They walked awkwardly, loaded down with all the parcels they were carrying.
‘Hey Whai, take it easy,’ said Peta. ‘You might drop those eggs and break them.’
‘Shut up man. What about yourself. Your sausages are hanging out. That dog might have a go at them.’
They laughed and felt the closeness of easy companionship.
‘Ae. Engari pea he “flagon” mo etahi po.'
‘Ka pai tena ki a Heta.’
‘Ka pai ano hoki ki a tatau. Hei whakamaku i nga korokoro.’
E kata tonu ana ratau kua tae atu ki te kainga.
Puare mai ana te tatau, puta mai ana te katakata o nga tamariki, me te kakara puha, titi, me te paraoa rewena.
Ka mohio ano ratau ki te painga o te kainga Maori.
A Christchurch hotel has been fined £5 for refusing to supply liquor to a Maori woman because of her race. This is the first such conviction under legislation passed two years ago.
The Arnett family of the Bluff have three sons pursuing successful careers as overseas journalists, John, the oldest, works for the Vancouver Sun, Peter is a foreign correspondent in Saigon for American Associated Press, and David is with Reuter in Fleet Street. One issue of the Vancouver Sun recently had frontpage stories by both John and Peter Arnett.
‘You know what?’ said Peta. ‘We’re a pack of real no-hopers. It's the first time that we have given Hinerau and Heta a thought, and they've been pretty good to us. Don't you forget to give them something for your board, Whai!'
‘That goes for you too.’
‘And I reckon we should cut out those kegs.’
‘Yeah, but a flagon will go well some nights.’
‘Heta will like that.’
‘So will we. Something to wet the whistle.’
They were still laughing when they reached home.
And when the door opened they were met with the sound of children laughing, and the tickling mouth-watering smell of mutton-birds, puha, and freshly baked bread.
They felt again the warmth of the Maori home.
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