The kerosene lamp cast its golden glow through the kitchen as night came down to cover the old house on the edge of the bush. Sitting in their comfortable seats Hinewai and Tim looked at their Kuia as she stirred the bubbling pot on top of the coal range, and they took great delight in inhaling the delicious smells that emanated from it. Tim looked around the room that had been one of his special places for all of his short life; at the comfortable cupboards that contained all the good things that Kuia produced; the biscuits that always fitted well into his mouth, and the cakes that seemed to have been made exactly to his requirements. And then there were the pictures on the wall; of themselves with their Papa and Mama; of their Kuia on her wedding day, and others which told a pictorial history of their whanau. He looked at his special room for a time, and he looked at his very special Kuia who was now in the act of pushing the big stew pot to the side of the range where it could simmer in peace for a time, and he said with all of the wisdom of a six year old, “you know Kuia, you and this house are all a part of the same thing”. His Kuia smiled as she laid down her stirring spoon, and sat down in her comfortable seat beside the old range, “you know”, she said, “I have felt the same way myself, I have often been away from this place that I was born in, and my mother before me, but with one exception I have always known when I was coming back, and I was always happy about that, but let me tell you about the time when I went away from my house, and I didn’t know when if ever I was coming back”. Kuia took a sip from her cup of tea which had been sitting waiting for her on the side of the range, “it was when you great uncle Tim was born and I must have been about eight years old so it was a long time ago and my mother became very sick and went into the big hospital in town. My father was very upset, and the next thing I knew was that I was on the bus to Auckland to stay with my Aunty Kiri . Uncle and Aunty met me off the bus, and took me to their home and they looked after me very well, but they were both working at the university, and they had an old rather strict nanny to look after me when I came home from school, for you see I had to go to this big school not far away the house. It was probably quite a good school, but it was so big and the classes were so large. I didn’t have any friends, and the days seemed very long, and I so missed our little school in the valley, and all of the friends that I had there. My father rang quite often, and although my Aunty tried to appear cheerful to me I knew that things were not good, that my mother was very sick, and maybe, maybe I wouldn’t see her again. At night when I curled up in my bed, I missed my family, and my home so much, and it seemed to me that a part of me was missing, and I often cried myself to sleep under the blankets where no one could see me.
And so on it went for ever, or so it seemed to me, until one day I saw a real smile on my Aunties face as she talked to my father, and then out came the glorious news, my mother was well, and at home, and I was going home. The next day my Uncle took me to the bus and although I loved my Aunty and Uncle I felt a great joy inside me as the bus left the station. As time went on and I got closer to home, I seemed to get bigger and bigger, and more and more me, and the bus seemed to sing to me as the miles churned away under its wheels, Coming Home! Coming Home!