|At the launch. Photo by David Frost, MTG Hawke's Bay.|
I'm doing a reading in Auckland, at the Whare Wananga, Auckland Central Library, Lorne Street this coming
Tuesday evening (22 July 2014) at 6pm. Everyone welcome.
I'll be reading from one part of the book that looks at going to Hiona, Volkner's church in Opotiki and my impressions. (I'll be accompanying the talk with photographs, some of which are in the book, some of which aren't.
I'll also look at the trial of Kereopa Te Rau in Napier 1871, when Kereopa Te Rau defied his lawyer and took to the floor to try and explain his journey. It was a calculated risk.
As always when I do a talk I write across the top of the paper BREATHE.
I have to remember to keep taking breaths consciously. Otherwise my fear of public speaking overwhelms me and unconsciously I start taking short panicky breaths. It tends to be self fulfilling, as when in this state, I end up with no control of my voice and I can sound both frightened and whiney. Awful.
Hence my memo to myself. The most obvious thing in the world. Breathe.
And I have to remember what it was like for Kereopa Te Rau to speak to a room largely full of Pakeha, when he knew his life was hanging on a very slender thread. He spoke te reo and it seems a shame to me none of the journalists talked of the timbre of his voice.
At certain times this short man (5'3" - 9 stone) had been extraordinarily charismatic and had held large numbers of people in his thrall.
But finally when it mattered most - on trial for his life - he could not 'read' the audience he was talking to and his words have a strange muted vagueness to them, as if he were trying to lay a pattern very imprecisely over another pattern that he could not read - British justice, I suppose you would call it.
What Colenso called, aptly, 'a shadowy phantom' thing.