I am a girl.
I am living proof of my childhood.
I am the wild Welsh hair of my mother.
I am the goofy Māori grin of my father
trying to convince Mum he didn’t put the pig’s head in the oven.
I am all I see.
Bittersweet sensations of gooseberry-stained fingers.
The Bachelor rolling on TV as Mum rests
clutching her Welsh Lady mug filled to the brim with green tea.
14 farm dogs all depending on my Dad’s reassuring voice.
I am all I hear.
My father yelling ‘go boys go’ at the Highlanders through the TV
or ‘get in behind you asshole of a dog’.
Waves crashing at my feet.
Water squeaking in my Red Bands after my brother teaching me all I know about surfing.
I am all I taste.
Gooseberries and hāngī, my Nana’s speciality.
Uncle Eddie’s secret fry bread recipe.
The only Nan I ever knew, her apples that she peeled for me sweet and bitter, green shavings.
And my favourite dried Māori seaweed with kina.
I am all I feel.
Salty water as hundreds of whānau pile into the ocean.
My Nan’s soft old hands telling her story before mine at her old farm house perched on the beach.
All my stuffed toys on the end of my bed.
And all I remember.
Chasing chickens on pigs.
Skiing between my father’s legs to master my very first hobby.
Scales at the age of three on the piano up down, up down.
Getting my own motorbike and crashing for learning that it’s not that straightforward changing gears.
Three different dance classes plus gymnastics.
I am all I’ve been taught and learnt.
Music is like a language – listen and love it first before reading.
Cows go moo and sheep go baa.
Cruise ships are amazing.
Mowing paddocks is boring but in the end you get paid.
Mum hates when you come home after school covered with mud, also don’t feed the teacher’s dog biscuits.
I am all those things.
Awatea Smith is a student at Southland Girls’ High School.