E te whānau, e ōku hoa, kia ora koutou katoa.
Without a doubt, the highlight for me this month was the convincing win by the All Blacks against Argentina played here on 29 September. From the haka through to the final whistle, I sat and watched every moment rejoicing in the fact our All Blacks are the best rugby team in the world. Despite Argentina being a staunch soccer nation the support of the game was obvious by the numbers who attended, despite the high price for tickets. To be able to watch the game live was a real treat and for 80 minutes I almost felt like I was back in Aotearoa.
This month I was really fortunate to receive a visit from a friend who was here in Argentina attending a conference. So wonderful to have 2 ½ hours catching up on news from home and to be able to speak at normal pace. Not having to either slow down or repeat myself to ensure I was understood was a nice change. The gift of vegemite was much appreciated although no-one, not guards nor the women in my pavilion, could understand my delight. The Tīhei Kahungunu booklet had a few guards raising eyebrows too – they thought it was a passport, until I opened it and showed them the contents. When asked what language it was in, my response proved too challenging for them as they had not heard of the Maori language. Thank you so much, e hoa, for your kindness – your presence and the presents were gratefully received.
Six more women left this month. Two others are still waiting hoping their flights will be arranged soon – one is four months, and the other is 1 month past their release date.
September 21 is the official date for the beginning of spring here. They celebrate the onset of spring with a day’s holiday. One thing about Argentina is there is no shortage of public holidays. Just when we think the warmer weather comes, we seem to get another cold spell. I’m sure this time last year we were out of all our winter clothes and complaining of the heat. Maybe over the next few weeks the warmer weather will be here to stay.
On a sad note, my mokopuna’s paternal Great Grandmother passed away at the grand age of 93. Everyone has been fortunate to have her love and guidance for such a long time. Tēnei te tangi atu ki a koutou o te whānau pani o ‘Big Nan’.
Well, my dear whānau and friends, until next month’s update I hope you all keep well, safe and happy. As always, thanks for your letters, phone calls and messages of love and support.