Whenever I’m home I am fundamentally different from the way I am in my other home in Brisbane. I feel it as soon as I get off the plane and walk through the tomokanga (carved gateway) at the international terminal. Dammit, that thing makes me cry a little every single time. If I go through Customs and the agent happens to say “welcome home” (which they do, most of the time) then dammit if I don’t cry just a little more.
Being with our family and friends accounts for much of the feeling of home – that goes without saying – but it’s also, very strongly, the landscape. The differences have become quite stark. New Zealand is green and damp in a way that Australia isn’t. Australia has its own stunning natural beauty, but it’s drier here, the vegetation is more sparse and the green is simply a different kind of green.
The light is different too. Queensland is blue skies and sun and vibrant, tropical colours. In New Zealand the light is softer, the colours more muted and earthy. I wore black all the time when I lived in New Zealand but here in Brisbane, I wear dresses in every colour of the rainbow. Even my hair is dyed a brighter shade of red.
Whenever I’m home I have to drink up the landscapes, bottle the smell of the night, and try to capture something essential to take away. These photos are of green and gold, the colours of New Zealand in autumn. The landscape photos were taken within metres of my parents home in the Far North. I grew up with these views every single day, but to be honest, I had to leave in order to see them for what they are. The other photos were taken in my sister’s leafy suburban garden in Auckland on a rainy Saturday afternoon – the kind of afternoon you get sick of after months of winter dampness, which we instead experienced nostalgically.
Of course, green and gold are also the national colours of Australia, so the title of this post has a double meaning: I love the life that I’ve built here, but New Zealand still holds my heart with a tight, tight squeeze.