Me at age 8
A piano was an important cultural symbol in colonial New Zealand (like in many other countries). Families would go to extreme and expensive lengths to place pianos in their parlours. The piano was a link to the old country, and it was also the family's entertainment centre. Many Maori (indigenous New Zealanders) had a piano on the marae.
Even before I knew very much about New Zealand, the award-winning film, “The Piano”, captured my imagination. “The Piano” was released in 1993. Directed by New Zealand’s Jane Campion (“Bright Star”), it stars Holly Hunter and a young Kiwi, Anna Paquin ("True Blood"). "The Piano" is about a mute pianist, Ada, who is sent to an arranged marriage in 1850s New Zealand.
"The Piano" is visually stunning. It is a moving and melodramatic story about a woman's search for identity in patriarchal society. Some critics complain that Campion's depiction of colonial New Zealand is not accurate. (Some views of the landscape and the Maori are fabricated.)
But when I am in the bush, it is Campion's colonial New Zealand that I imagine. "The Piano" has been a sustaining influence on me.
Orongorongo Valley, New Zealand