Tino rangatiratanga – a letter from an old friend in NZ

This is a beautifully written letter on so many levels. But it resonates particularly deeply with me as I am also a New Zealander and a Scot. My vast majority of my family were born in that country and live there. I was born in Scotland but emigrated to NZ when I was 8 following my father’s death. My mother needed the help of her family, especially her parents, in those difficult years. I lost a father but I gained two grandparents who I became very, very close to and I don’t regret these events for an instant. I also gained a whole tribe of a family – 19 cousins, 10 aunts & uncles – whom I remain close to to this day.

I returned to Scotland aged 16 with my mother (now a naturalised Scot and ardent Yes supporter) and sister (slightly less ardent, but still Yes) because this land is home in a way my other home in NZ never was and never will be. NZ is the home of my family, but Scotland is my home and, while I have considered many times leaving it for other shores, I really don’t want to. Or to have to.

My 8 years in NZ really helped me form my sense of Scottishness in a way I suspect I would never have done had I remained here throughout my childhood. I was labelled as ‘other’ and quickly learned to hide my accent but I never forgot where I came from. The NZ flag was not my own; the Saltire – not the Union Flag – always was. History lessons told the story of the Maori and the European settlers (how I empathised with the Maori) but my mother taught me about my people’s history and my people’s culture. But I also completely missed being taught that I was somehow a second class citizen of the UK nor was I taught the wonders of the British Empire. I am a Scot and a post-colonial Kiwi and I have never viewed the British Empire as anything other than an exploitative regime of oppression (without denying the Scots part in oppressing many others through the Empire). I missed out completely on being taught the standard fare of British & Scottish history as taught in Scottish schools and so when I came back home I found I completely lack the baggage that many Scots of my generation carry with them (though to be fair, I have some NZ baggage in its place).

The self confidence I have gained from growing up in a country that was unapologetically independent and had no weight of lost imperial history behind it is only now apparent to me in this independence campaign. I am quite happy with the idea of living in a country with a small population and relatively small economy which does not get to ‘punch above its weight’ internationally (and doubly proud to have lived in a nation that banned all nuclear weapons, even if that meant annoying the USA). I know from personal experience that this is no barrier to having a good life. Not a perfect life, but definitely a good one and I can’t wait to see future generations of Scots growing up with that sense of confidence that being independent brings.

Wee Ginger Dug

A guest post by Tina McCafferty

I am wondering how you are? How the days are and where you find yourself? I was very glad that my mum and sister could come to the Andy’s funeral and represent my family and myself. They know how much I love you and how I loved Andy and how at home I always was with you both. It was so great that Kirsten could be there too. As she said after 20 years is too long and she is looking forward to a walk on the beach with you and the dug. The words around Andy’s funeral are consistently ‘sad but beautiful’. He was a beautiful man in every way. I am very glad that I came home when I did a few months ago and got to say goodbye.

On reading the blog I am so deeply touched by the honest and…

View original post 1,283 more words

Advertisements

About Hugh Wallace

Soldier, sailor, policeman, engineer, scientist, democrat, socialist, environmentalist, advocate of Scottish Independence
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s