This is the story of my mother's life. Born on the floor as her mother lay bleeding to death in a rural New Zealand farm house. It follows her survival through loss, love, and family. Destructive marriages, living abroad, coping with cultural shock, and being a foster parent.
It has been a painful journey for me that i am still traveling. It originally started out as a script for a possible movie but i changed my mind and decided it needed to be read as a book first.
The book is still in production....
Excerpt from Chapter 1 of "A Woman's Lot: a mother's tale":
October 9th, 1940 Hokianga New Zealand
In the Opo Pub of Opononi it was lively. Men and women of the community gathered in great number to drink, dance, socialize, and sometimes fight. It was the only thing to do here, especially with the storm brewing outside. Many, were from the other side of the bay, Rangi Point, Rawene, or Miti Miti; where there was no electricity, and could only reach here by boat or horseback since there were no roads.
Most of the patrons were Maori, the rest pakeha (white). All drank together like one big family. Perhaps one of the only times that all were equal. One patron was Haki Matiu, a handsome man, though short in stature. He was half-blood Irish and Maori. Could drink better than most, and was mean and short tempered. He was singing along with the band that night, a country ballad The Green, Green, Grass of Home. A beer in one hand and a Maori girl on the other. A cigarette dangled from his full lips.
“Ah, piss!” he spat looking from the clock.
“What is it, Haki?” the girl asked smiling.
“Late!” he swallowed the last of his glass hard, “Late as!”
“Back to the wife then?” she said disappointed.
He crushed out his cigarette and laid a sloppy kiss on her lips. She pulled him closer and the kiss went deeper.
“Hey, Wolley?” he hollered over to the bar keep, “Put it on my credit, aye?”
“Right, Jack!” Wolley hollered back, “Know where you live, brothah!”
And off he went. Stumbling across the road to the beach where his rowboat sat. The waves were capped with white. He looked to his left and could see the inlet where the Tasman Sea crashed hard against the rocks. The sky above rumbled lightly and flashed with distant lightning. He pushed his boat out and paddled across Hokianga Harbour to his home in Rangi Point, still singing about the green, green grass of home.
She was angry. She knew who Haki was with, had been on a number of nights. While she sat at home, pregnant with one, and raising two others. Up keeping their home, on land her father had given them. 21 years young and a man who was out getting pissed up with some other. She was fuming. Pakihau, the oldest, had come out of the bedroom once for water and she snapped at him to get back into bed. Guilt bit at her for that but her rage was drowning it.
Haki’s violence was unmatched when he was drunk, but it did not matter to her. She wasn't going to stand for it any longer. No man was going to intimidate her, he was going to own up for what he was doing. It was no secret to everyone around, and Nono TeRore Matui wasn’t going to back down.
Haki came in, still whistling The Green Green Grass of Home. It annoyed her even more.
“What you lookin’ at, woman?” he wouldn’t look her in the eyes as he took his gumboots off at the door.
“Don’t play games with me, Haki Matui!” she started, “Tell me where you been?”
“Off at Opo, where the feck you think?” he snarled.
“With who?” she got up to his face.
“Ne’ mind that, woman. Put on a feed fer me, willya?”
Put on a feed for you?
“Put yer own feckin’ feed on, Haki, or have your Opo whore do it for ya, aye?”
His guilt fueled his temper and it began to rise in his guts.
“Don’t you start on this again, Nono!” he warned, “I’ll have no more of yer attitude tonight then!”
“I’ll not have you feckin’ some brown whore and then comin’ into my bed! I’ll tell you that much, Haki!”
His right fist, fast and quick like the lightning that struck outside, connected with the bridge of her nose. She cried out and fell back.
“You make me do this, woman!” he went after her.
“You stay the feck away from me, Haki, you stay the FECK a-!”
Her words cut off when Haki lifted her up by her hair and he smacked her open-handed in the face and then threw her again.
“Don’t you tell me what the feck I can and cannot do in my own home, girl!”
He marched over to her spilled body. She grasped her stomach to protect the baby inside of her. He lifted his foot and planted it into her sides. He pulled her hair again to his face. It stunk of sour beer, whiskey and cigarettes.
“Now, git yer arse up off the floor and make me sumthin to eat!” he shoved her down again.
She laid there sobbing. Something inside of her felt...wrong.
“The baby!” she cried.
“I’m going to my dad’s, you calm down a bit!” and Haki was gone.
A terrible cramp twisted inside her. There was blood above and blood below. She couldn’t get up, and was beginning to panic.
“It’s coming!” she whispered frantically, “Oh, dear God, it’s coming!” "
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