Friday, September 24, 2010

Journal Prompt #1

Where were you born?
What was it like at that time?

I was born in Auckland, New Zealand, in February of 1975 to Angela and Peter Olding. My Mum went into labour with me while she was doing her secretarial duties, taking the minutes, at a meeting at the Central Soccer Club where my Dida was the club president. Mum's initial thoughts were that she had eaten something that had disagreed with her, but nope, it was just me! She was in active labor from 8pm until 5am the next morning. I was born at The Mater Hospital, which at the time was run by Nuns, I weighed in at a whopping 9lbs 2oz, I was born at around 5am. I was born on my due date, which Mum think is quite significant because I've hated being late ever since! When I was born I had LOTS of black hair, when the nuns at the hospital brought me to my Mum to be nursed they had tied ribbons in my hair. I'm pretty certain Emma got her dark hair from me. My mum delivered me practically drug-free, just a little laughing gas was all that was offered to her. This alone makes my mum a hero to me, not only was I a BIG baby, but I was a forceps delivery to boot. I was named Evette Suzanne. The spelling of my name was a compromise; Mum wanted Eve and Dad wanted Yvette, and I got Evette! Fairly good compromise I think. I've only ever had one issue with it which was my first day of school when a girl named Yvette told me repeatedly that I spelt my name wrong, to which I responded by punching her in the face. I was given my middle name Suzanne after my cousin who was a twin, she passed away not long after she was born. I feel honoured to share her name. I went home from the hospital to my Dida's house where we lived him and my Uncle Ivan for about 8-9 months. My Dad, at that time, was a boat builder and after having the use of a boat he had built for only a single summer, he and Mum decided to use the boat as a down-payment on a brand new flat in Mangere Bridge. My Mum stopped working doing admin work in New Market, Auckland for The Motor Corporation after I was born to be a stay-at-home mum to me. I am Mum and Dad's first born as well as the first grandchild on Mum's side of the family. It is funny that our Emma is in the same situation, first child and first grandchild. I am the oldest of three children, my siblings are Stephen and Samantha.
Auckland City around the time of my birth was the "bustling metropolis" in a country with just over 3 million citizens. It was, and still remains the largest city in New Zealand. One of the great things about being a Kiwi born in the 1970's was the influence of the Environmental groups. One item of importance in the year 1975 was the development of The Maruia Declaration, which called for protection of New Zealands native forests. The declaration attracted more than 340,000 signatures by the time it was presented to Parliament in 1977.
The year before I was born the well known environmental group "Greenpeace Aotearoa New Zealand" was formed. Greenpeace Aotearoa New Zealand still, to this day, campaigns against nuclear weapons and nuclear power, deforestation, the release of genetically engineered organisms into the natural environment, climate change, and toxins. It uses non-violent tactics, and direct action to draw attention to what it considers to be significant threats to the environment within and around New Zealand shores, and then lobbies for solutions. Greenpeace Aotearoa New Zealand gained a lot of attention in the 1970s and 1980s with its fight against nuclear testing in French Polynesia, and because of the French bombing of the Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour in 1985. Their ongoing campaign against whaling has had the full support of New Zealand's government since the 1980s.

So, around the time of my birth New Zealand was a country with internal struggles which was trying to find and define itself. Now, I believe, we are a country of people who are vastly aware of the demands we place on our environment, and we strive to preserve the natural beauty of our home land so we can enjoy it's beauty and unique nature for generations to come. I am now, and will forever be, a kiwi and a citizen of my beautiful homeland of New Zealand.