Hato Pāora College — knitting away my doubts

This time a year ago, I started knitting a blanket for my son in preparation for his departure to Hato Pāora, a Catholic Māori boys’ boarding school in Feilding.

I’d never so much as knitted a scarf in my life, but somehow I got it into my head that he needed to take with him a taonga that I’d made with my own hands. I’m not a carver or a weaver, so a simple garter-stitch blanket seemed positively breezy by comparison to a pounamu necklace or finely tailored feather cloak.

The beauty of naivety is that you don’t realise the error of your ways until it’s too late. There were 26 balls of wool and they weren’t cheap. The first ball took me three weeks to knit.

A friend helpfully pointed out that, at the rate I was going, I’d have it done by the time he was ready to graduate. That only strengthened my resolve. As the long, hot days of summer approached, I began to knit in earnest.

Looking back, I can see it was a way of preparing myself. I needed something to do with my hands while my head came to terms with a decision I never thought I’d make: to let my boy go at the age of just 13.

Every time I felt something close to certainty, the doubts immediately started to chip away at my conscience. What if he hates it, misses us too much, gets injured playing rugby, doesn’t make friends, becomes a religious fanatic? I was equally troubled by the opposite scenarios.

What if he fits in too well, doesn’t miss us at all, becomes obsessed with rugby and never wants to come home, or rebels against the church and gets kicked out? Continue reading

  • Nadine Millar writes for E-Tangata, a Maori and Pasifika Sunday magazine.


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