Although our daughter Miriam definitely has Polynesian blood, going back to the Bounty Mutiny, she does not have Maori blood. However, when she emailed Emily and Sarah the other day, she said she hoped they were enjoying their time with the "WHANAU." This Maori word expresses a concept for which there is really no good English equivalent. Basically it is used for "extended family", but in the very broadest sense, meaning anyone to whom you have slightest blood and family connection. The implication is that these are the people with whom you feel a connection, have a common ancestry and heritage, and who will support you and stand beside you when it matters, whether it be a time of celebration, crisis, or mourning.
The girls are indeed enjoying "the whanau" from both Bernie's and my side of the family, and even the third cousins, as well as the cousins-by-marriage, are getting on famously!
Em opens presents, with Teddy, Anna, Amy and Sarah looking on.
Everyone was there to help Em celebrate her 11th birthday the other night. It was a beautiful still, warm evening - warm enough for Sienna to discard her pretty party dress!
Although we had decided to keep it simple, with "Do-it-yourself" Hamburgers, the meal turned out to be a real feast.
John donned his chef hat as usual, and cooked the patties, bacon, eggs, and fish cakes on the barbecue, while Dave lent a hand with the chips in the deep fryer. There were loads of lovely side dishes and sweet treats, and we finished off with the delicious Cookies'n'Cream birthday cake, accompanied by Jelly Tip Ice Cream!
And the little ones ran around in the dark, finally collapsing in front of the television, but not wanting to close their eyes in case they missed some of the fun!
Even the animals enjoyed the company, the pats and all the tid-bits.
Bronte, who is a real animal lover, gives Roany a hug.
But in the end, it was all too much for Digby.