WHEN I WAS a child I had two dolls in a box. Each night I placed the dolls on the floor of the box and covered them with a sheet of black paper. Sometimes the dolls required reassurance. I told them that the day was finished in their country, that it was no longer time for speaking and that all of the world was asleep.
I meet these two New Zealanders. They are brainy and handsome; they live in an old workers’ cottage on the edge of Melbourne. There is a pāua shell ashtray. There are postcards of Colin McCahon. Kia ora, they murmur, when they pick up the telephone. I’m there one day when a relative arrives off the plane from Wellington. An old cardboard suitcase is snapped open; cake from a teashop on Lambton Quay, jars of bubbled honey, custard powder in an orange packet. The soft comforts of home… I score a slim volume of Geoff Cochrane. It’s 2001 and this is how it begins.
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