Today I saw my dream home.
My whānau and I want to buy a piece of land and build on it. My mother, her partner, my Simon and Sam all together on a big plot, divided by some trees or a fence but with shared resources. Especially for raising tamariki and as many kararehe as practical.
Straight up, I want to acknowledge the level of privilege I have to even consider this a possibility. This is the opportunity of a lifetime, and one that isn’t available to many. I am humbled beyond words by this.
I also feel really whakamā about us being a Pākehā whānau buying what is effectively stolen land. While this whole country is stolen land, and any section we bought – apartment or farm – would be privileged to us through the violence of colonisation, it seems more obvious in rural land.
I want to be respectful and aware of the tāhuhu kōrero of any home I own. But wilder land we can tend and live off, that hasn’t been changed a million times in the last hundred years, has more of a reverence and presence to it (for me, anyway). I can’t really explain it, but buying land feels more significant than buying a high-rise apartment.
I am talking to as many people as I can about their thoughts on the ethics of buying on colonised land when the goal should be to move towards decolonisation. The themes of the advice have been about learning the history of the land and respecting that. “The land wants to be loved” said one person. And we certainly will.
I really hate the popular viewpoint of property as just an asset for a wealth portfolio. Buying places you don’t like only so you can sell it on in a few years makes heaps of sense financially, but hurts my heart a little bit. I get attached to places. I want, if possible, to grow into somewhere and have it grow with me as means become available.
I am the weirdo that would happily live in a caravan on my plain piece of land just to start putting roots down. Planting fruit trees, saving up for something more. Getting a kurī and imagining rooms with bookshelves.
With that in mind, today my whānau and I went out to Makara to view a property. It’s half an hour from town, max. On the land, there’s a lovely house already there (so no caravan, whew) with plenty of room to build another. And oh my God, this land. This land is my dream.
There’s gardens, a small wetlands with pūkeko, a stream with eel and a beautiful fallen tree.
As we walked around the paddocks we met heaps of kararehe who were SO stoked to see us.
While I was leaning over a fence saying “don’t you have the most beautiful eyelashes?” to a white miniature horse with hair game I could only pray for, Simon yelled “Coley come and see this!” from the next paddock. I ran over to see him in a field with two alpacas and a pūkeko. I actually started to cry at how gorgeous this place is. Not even sorry.
Then we found two kunekune who followed us everywhere for the rest of the visit, and nudged us if we weren’t patting them enough. One of them got so into an ear scratch I was giving her, she flopped onto her side like a dog. And an alpaca ran over to join.
So now the next step is for us to try and make this work financially between us all. We’ll be doing everything we can and having a good read of paperwork over the weekend. Send us your good vibes please, I will keep you updated!