Before I ever laid a foot in Aotearoa (New Zealand) I received the gift of a pounamu (greenstone) necklace, beautifully carved in the eternity symbol, from my boyfriend who had left England to take up a job in Aotearoa.
The year was 1996 and I had planned to join him in February 1997, on a one year working holiday visa, six months after he’d left. In the six months we were apart I read all I could about the country I was travelling to, including literature by NZ authors. I was drawn to the country in a way that was perhaps destined.
When I finally arrived, flying into Auckland, I felt a connection. The following flight, from Auckland to Wellington, cemented that connection. I felt bound to the land, to the endless green in a sea of blue. Connected to the volcanoes rising in magnificence below me, coated in snow.
Before I was even reunited with my boyfriend (and now husband) I knew that my heart was taken by the land of the long white cloud. The greenstone had transferred the power of the land to my body. I would always love it – no matter where destiny took me.
As we prepare to leave New Zealand, on 7 August, for a new adventure living in Santa Barbara, California, I feel a comfort that this piece of New Zealand, which I wear around my neck, will travel with me. This poem is about love and the greenstone that keeps my heart connected to New Zealand.