Yellow Brick Road by Witi Ihimaera
Follow the yellow brick road,
Follow, follow, follow follow,
Follow the yellow brick road ...
We're almost there! Almost at Wellington, the Emerald City! Me and Dad and Mum and Roha, we been travelling for two days now in our car which Dad bought from Mr Wallace last week. No dents and honk honk goes the horn. Dad, he said I could have a drive of it myself when we left Waituhi but then it conked out on the Whareratas and that made him change his mind. - I told you we wouldn't get to Wellington in this, Mum said to him while he was fixing it up. - We'll get there.
- But I want to get there in one piece! Mum answered. - Throw some of your junk out then, Dad told her.
Our car sure is loaded down all right. Mum's stuff is in the boot, some belongings are tied under the canvas on the roof and there's even some squeezed in here with us. Boy. But you won't conk out now, ay car? There's just one hill to go and we'll be there. So up we go, up the hill, slowly but surely. And who cares if cars bank up behind us! They can beep all they like. We got as much right to be on this road as they got. Road, road, yellow brick road, yellow with the headlights sweeping across it. Just like in that book Miss Wright, my teacher, gave me before we left Waituhi. A neat book. About the straw man, the tin man, the cowardly lion and the Emerald City and ... we're almost there! I bounce up and down on the seat. I can't wait to see all the sparkling green towers glittering in the dark ahead of us. - Matiu, you just sit still! Mum growls. What's gotten into you, ay?
- Sorry, Mum.
Poor Mum. She's very tired and still unhappy about leaving Waituhi, our whanau, our family. Her eyes are still red with the crying when all the people had waved goodbye to us like little flags fluttering far away. At least she hasn't cried as often as Roha has for Hone though! Roha and Hone, they went round together and once I saw them having a pash. Eeee! I grin at my big sister. Never mind, Roha. Plenty other boys down.inWellington and you can pash up large with them when we get there, ay. - What you grinning for, Smarty? Roha snaps.
- I'm allowed to grin if I want to, aren't I? I ask, suddenly hurt. - All right, all right, you don't have to scream.
I make a funny face at her. It would teach her a good lesson if even the pakehas didn't want to pash with her! Lots of pakehas in Wellington. Not like in Waituhi. Makes me scared to think about it. - Dad, will the pakehas like us in Wellington? Dad?
He doesn't answer me because he is driving carefully. He has to lean forward to see the road in front of him. It has started to rain. Wish I was older and knew how to drive better. Then I could give him a rest at the wheel. I press against him and he puts an arm round me. His face looks tired, just like it looked when we were walking to a garage yesterday after our car ran out of petrol. There we were, miles from anywhere, walking along the road while car after car sped past us without stopping. Some of them blared loudly at us. Others made a lot of dust come over us. And always as they passed the faces would be looking back and staring at us. I felt puzzled. - Why don't they stop, Dad?
He had shrugged his shoulders.
- We're in a different country now, son.
I began to hate those faces. I wanted to throw stones at them all. But things will be different when we get to Wellington, won't the? And we will be happy, won't we? Course we will. You just wait and see, Dad. We'll make lots of money and be rich as anything because Wellington is where the money is. And you have to go where the money is, ay Dad. No use staying in Waituhi and being poor all the time, ay. I lean back in the seat and burrow under the blanket. It is getting cold and there is a draught...
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