The house itself was built on split levels of land. Half of the length of thehouse, was built on short foundations: this area housed the small bedroom at the end of the hall, the bathrom, the loo, the back ante room which came off the back door leading to the garage, the galley kitchen and the dining room. The other half was built over a deep concrete-walled basement and included the Master bedroom with ranch-sliders and small deck, the guest room, laundry, back hallway to the other backdoor, ( the long walk-way/ramp), and the lounge with a wide deck. It was a lite-green timber-planked house, with a dark green tiled roof and it was situated across the road from the other 2 houses in Mckenzie Bay!.
There were trees, a white Brugsmansia ( Datura), three orange-flowered Erythrina-caffra, nick-named ‘the flame tree of the mid-north,’ tall poplars, a red Kaka-beak tree, a grove of bamboo and a rickety-old bridge in the middle of the grove. Although the front of the house was exposed to the road and the ocean, the house was hedged by really tall hills on the other three sides.
We had been living in the house for 2 weeks when we were informed of the history of the house, and the land which it stood on. Across the road from our house, and right on the seashore of the bay, was an artists residence. He had lived in the bay for many years and he had painted pictures of the changes in the bay over the years. It was he who told us that the house which we were living in, was actually built on the original foundations of the home that Alex McKenzie had built for his family in the late 1830s, when they had first come to NZ – before colonisation had begun.
So, not only did we have the name, we also had the exact right house in the
exact right spot. Whoa!! eh!!!???
And, it gets weirder. (Nicolas’ word, not mine,) Another month or so went by then one day the wife of the landlord came around just to talk and get to know us. (Generally, a very friendly bunch, in the mid-north.) So we were chatting, and I happened to mention my dads’ name, when she stopped and gaped at me. It was as though she’d seen a ghost.I asked what was wrong – and she told me that, years ago, – just after the war, (WWII,) her dad had owned a farm in Okaihau, a man with my dads name had worked for him. I said, well – my dad Was the only man in the world with that name, so it must have been him. I spoke to my Mum andshe said, that it Had been dad! I had been one of their 5 children at that time.
So we had established links with the past, from Davids’ side, and we had established links with the not too distant past, with this place from my side. Connection to the land – and the people! This seems to be the whole point of coming to live in the Bay: though it was so far from town, quite a way from our friends and after 5 months we had no transport to carry us in & out to town!
We were waiting! We didn’t know what we were waiting for, but we knew/hoped that we’d recognise it when we saw it.
TBC – Emmi