With Suzanne attending CDU, I had free time for the first in a long time. I never was and still a great housekeeper and there is only so much knitting and sewing a girl can do. I needed something else.
Reading the Listener one day, I read about the Correspondence School. I decided to take some courses. They were free and it would mean I could finish my education.
I went to four primary, two intermediate and four secondary schools. Each time, I was a new kid, the odd ball and by the time I got to Heretaunga College in Upper Hutt for my fifth form year, I had lost all interest in learning. The only thing that kept me at school was being in the school production of White Horse Inn. I loved being on stage and I loved singing, it was a perfect combination.
The year earlier I had played third violin for Pirates of Penzance at Horowhenua College in Levin. I didn’t really play, I was to busy watching the production. The head boy played lead and he was a hunk. Way out of my league but good eye candy.
As soon as the production finished, I left school and went to work at MacKenzie’s. I remember my maths teacher Mr Wermeyer was really upset with me. He felt I had far to much intelligence to quit school. He was one of the few teachers I had who really encouraged me.
I enrolled in the Correspondence School and took French, English German, geography and bookkeeping. I really enjoyed it,
English introduced me to NZ literature. I read everything by a NZ author I could find in the library. It is where I found Ronald Hugh Morrieson. I devoured his books. He wrote about Taranaki, and though the towns he wrote about were fiction, they were obviously were based on the area.. I had lived in Hawera so it was even more real. Witi Ihimaera was also a favourite. This was long before these authors books were made into movies.
There were very few Maori authors back then, I was fascinated by the rich culture. I had had a lot of Maori friends and there was Ben of course but we never discussed cultural issues. There were no school Marae visits back then and no Maori language taught in schools. NZ history was told purely from a pakeha perspective. The NZ land march had only been a couple of years earlier. It was just the beginning of the Tino Rangatiratanga movement and ,The fight to save the language was in it’s infancy. Most pakeha including me were totally unaware of the issues or implications of Treaty of Waitangi. All we knew was a treaty was signed and we got a day off work.
I really enjoyed the study, the teachers were great. One even included little presents for Suzanne with my school work. It was an out let I really needed.
One day, however it did give me a lesson, one I never forgot.
© Barbara Hart 2014