No your Grandmother kept it a secret for my whole life, which was, frustrating to say the least. Strange isn’t it? Here we are with a whole section of our history blocked off because of some mythic shame supposed to have been levelled against us.

Yes, your Great-Great Grandfather was part Maori. Apparently, when the first ancestor came out to New Zealand he married a Maori woman and they had a boatload of children, and one of those children, or maybe their son, married a white girl in the Taranaki, and you know what they’re like down there…

Well, I was astounded when she confessed it to us, it just explained so much! And I was angry that a section of my own past had been hidden from me because of such petty racism.

Yes, racism. I grew up on the North Shore, and one of the things you don’t do is admit you’re part Maori. Up until maybe the 80s pretty much everything Maori was a shame and to be looked down upon, which is just outrageous. Even now some of the family chooses to turn their backs on this.

But like I say, it explains a whole part of the family history I never really ‘got’, especially the “dark blood” stuff.

Yes, “dark blood”. When I was young members of the family might refer to another member as having “the dark blood” if they were particularly mischievous. So for example their was one cousin of mine, and she was always referred to this way. She was… high bloodied you know? Highly energetic, fun, and definitely did not fit easily into a conservative Catholic family out of the Taranaki… So what you get is all these purse-lipped old Aunties referring to her as ‘the one with the dark blood’ in hushed tones, like she had AIDS or something!!

So right there you have this track of racism running through the family, all directed at this poor girl who wasn’t actually doing anything wrong, and so like me, didn’t really feel she fit in to the family!

AND! It turned out she was secretly adopted!! Italian!! Unbelievable…