ADHD addled manic depressive nut with osteoarthritis of the hips goes off in Wellington central

Two weeks ago, a snazzy looking corporate attired tart; a dragon lady of about thirty something, booted her car into a park I was reversing into and blocked me from backing in.

I should have left and driven on but I got out of my car and glared at her. She glared at me and kept tooting her horn. She wanted me to move forward so she could take the park.

I went back to my car and sat without moving. All indignant and haughty.

Her tooting got faster and seemed to get louder. A parking officer came along and told me to move on. I wouldn’t move. She said she would write out a ticket. I moved on. After finding a park two city blocks away, I got out of the car, didn’t feed the meter and began the long limp to my destination. By now I was very anxious and I burst into tears; tragic and all, hee hee…hee. It really was just “one of those things”; a bit of bad luck.

Anyway, I limped all the way to the place that I was going to park in, right outside my destination.

Dragon lady was there, with the parking officer, they didn’t look at me but I could hear them laughing. I became paranoid. I was in physical pain and my mind was racing. Unfortunately, I imagined that the two creeps were gossiping about me. I felt particularly slighted by the fact that the parking officer was joining in on the conversation. Then I started. I began hurling the worst abuse at both of them including the ‘c’ word. Yes, that one, along with F this and F that and S that – and so on. I am not sure of the order. I do remember tears gushing as I was hurling. I saw them move away with heads down, not saying anything. I convinced myself that they were mocking me. Two weeks on, I still don’t know whether that was the case.

I’ve turned out a few similar outbursts over the years. These are destructive and awkward and they can be frightening for all concerned. I expect my episodes might be both terrifying and amusing to some people. Maybe, eventually, even sad to some folks as well. Anyway, for a few seconds I kind of lost consciousness until the end of the loopy rant, which is when I immediately felt grief and indignity.

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Political correctness

Political correctness frightens me.

It represents an impoverishment of thought.

I don’t want ignorant people speaking or acting on my behalf.

I’m Maori, I know who I am and what matters – but I’m not ashamed of my English heritage, the “white side of my family” or the so-called ‘Pakeha’ education I’ve received; nothing beats a good quality, traditional university education.

And I take my education seriously.

I will never take half arsed, vaguely presented views about assumed Pakeha racism and Colonisation seriously at all.

You want to have a serious talk with me about beliefs like racism and e.g. processes of Colonisation in a civil way with me face to face? No problem – let’s go and have a cuppa tea and a chat.

In any case, life is short, I could drop dead any day now – and so could you.

I’d prefer it if we ended up being friends who disagree than foes or worse, enemies, who didn’t even try to understand each another.

Playing with ourselves at Ward 21 – the Manawaroa Maori mental health unit

Manawaroa mental health unit in the mid-1980s, Palmerston North Hospital

14 year old Shaun is arriving for the first time at the mental health unit with his mother, step-father and his sisters and brothers. Shaun doesn’t know why he is there. He didn’t know that it was a mental health unit that he and his family were visiting. His mother will only say that they are all there for a family meeting; step father remains silent. The meeting room is situated within a recently built prefab. There are plastic chairs for the family to sit on and a large lounge chair for the psychiatrist, Mason Durie; who also happens to be a distant relative of Shaun’s Grandmother, Te Mahinganui. One by one Dr Durie asks each member of the family a number of questions and eventually each is allowed to leave the room; except Shaun. Shaun is left on his own with Dr Durie. He immediately senses a set up. Across from Shaun and Dr Durie is a mirror the size of an entire wall.

Dr Durie asks Shaun whether he plays with himself or not and, if he did; what was it that he thought of as he did it.

Dr D: “Do you play with yourself…your penis…do you masturbate?”

S: “Yes”

Dr D: “Do you think of girls or do you think of boys while you masturbate?”

S: “I think of girls”

Shaun becomes confused and anxious as he doesn’t want Dr Durie – or anyone else – to know that he is attracted to boys. After a number of exchanges Shaun becomes sure that he has duped Dr Durie but unfortunately for him he didn’t anticipate some follow up questions that would confirm for Dr Durie that Shaun might be homosexual.

At the end of the session, Shaun leaves the room passing the large mirror on his way out. As he leaves he notices the door next door to the room is wide open and people in white coats are standing up to leave. It is a small theatre containing about 12-15 people in white coats with clipboards. They could see into the room where Shaun was being interviewed next door. Shaun immediately figures out that the group were watching the interview and taking notes. He begins to cry and almost drops to the floor. His mum takes his arm, holds him up in time and goes to comfort him. Shaun pulls away angry, tearful and confused.

A week later, Shaun attends a meeting with his school guidance counselor who informs him that he has to attend twenty weekly therapy sessions with a counselor (psychologist) every Wednesday at 1 pm at Manawaroa, Palmerston North with lunch (in the car on the way) and transport included. Shaun is happy to hear that he will be taking a half day off school once a week and gets to work trying to figure out how he will be able to fool the Manawaroa mental health counselor into thinking that he’s a normal boy!

Nicknames and Names

Nicknames 

I’ve had a range of nicknames over the years including ‘mini-windows’ and ‘four-eyes’. I have worn prescription specs from age 5 and it was common to tease children who wore glasses back in the day. The above nicknames were – and still are – ridiculous and inoffensive; and they never bothered me as a child. Other silly nicknames included ‘bus arse’ – because I had a fat bum; which I understand is visually (sexually?) appealing in some circles nowadays. In the 1980s as a teen, my step father used to frequently remind me that I had “…an arse the size of the back end of the Aratika”, and then he’d stare straight into my eyes and say “don’t you?” The Aratika was a Cook Strait New Zealand Rail ferry that sailed daily between Wellington and Picton, stepdad was a mechanic on the Aratika and on the other ferry, a freight ship, the Arahunga.

Names

My surname pre-2005 was ‘Wakelin’ (my birth dad’s surname). I took my mum’s maiden name, ‘Paurini’ legally in 2006.

I love my ‘legal’ surname because of its history and because I’ve since learned about my wider whakapapa. However, many members of my whanau and hapu are unhappy that I took my mum’s maiden name. This is because of our tradition which could be seen as ‘sexist’ but I would caution against that view because it’s out of context. In order to know what that means, come to our marae (or most marae) and spend a few days. I’ll write more about the politics of equality and our iwi some other time.

Anyway, the way we go is as follows: the males of the family line are still considered the chiefs of all whanau, hapu and iwi. As far as I am aware this applies in both of my Maori tribes. While I am male, I am born of a female from a chiefly line.

Mum is a direct descendent of Tukino Te Heuheu IV (koro’s birth name is Horonuku, he was the Tuwharetoa Chief in the mid-late 1800s). She is the great granddaughter of his oldest child, Papakore Takarea; who also happens to be female. My birth father is white (or ‘Pakeha’, a descendent of English ancestry) but even though Dad was not a ‘blood’ relative on mum’s side it is tradition for boys to follow the male in all cases. As mum’s son; ‘blood’ related to my iwi, hapu and whanau my role is feminised in a way in that I am expected to follow in her footsteps; that is, men (and their male children) are the chiefs, women (and their children, male or female) are the spiritual leaders; the tohunga, counselors, guides including being considered the ‘power behind the throne’; or chief adviser to the chief. When I changed my surname legally from Wakelin to Paurini, I interrupted the tradition. Some family members close to me haven’t spoken with me in thirteen years.  I’m still not sure what to do about that. I know that I am lonelier than I have ever been.

Reference

Oliver. S., ‘Te Heuheu Tukino IV, Horonuku’, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, first published in 1993, updated June, 2018. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/2t19/te-heuheu-tukino-iv-horonuku (accessed 14 August 2018)

Smash Mouth Sister

Convent School

When I was 10 years old I was punched in the face by Sister Mercy, a nun at St Joseph’s Convent School in Picton. I had been talking to Rosemary and Maria, and Sister Mercy (yes, we used to make fun of her married name behind her back; “have mercy, Sister Mercy…”) stared directly at me, glared, pointed her index finger straight at me and summoned me saying nothing. I went to the front of the class and faced her. She turned me to face the front of the class, stood behind me, holding onto both my shoulders and shouted very loudly and plainly, “you were talking in class”. I was a nervous boy and I looked down at my feet.  She turned me around to face her, still in front of the class she lifted my chin with her left hand and clenched her right first and punched me hard in the right side of my face – on my right cheek. I immediately burst into tears and became dazed; she immediately apologized, grabbed my face, pushed my face into her chest and put her arms around me, stroking my head and wiping my tears with her hands. She held onto me for what seemed like several minutes during which time I only recognized her and me in a classroom of about twenty other children.  The memory of that violence and coercion remains with me. The juxtaposition of the abrupt assault alongside the abrupt and loving embrace fascinates me to this day.