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Thursday 09 October 2008

"We're climbing our own mountains now"

Posted in: True Stories
By Deb Faith - 15th January 2008

Sir Edmund Hillary
In the days following Sir Edmund Hillary's death, Takataapui TV director Deb Faith finds deep and strong emotions surfacing.

My Mum told me on Sunday that she found out she was pregnant with me the same day that Sir Edmund Hillary reached the summit of Everest.

And that her and my father went round to my Auntie's and Uncle's to celebrate and they drank whiskey.

Should say at this point that my Mum never thought she'd be able to have children with my father: he was much older than her and there were problems. They'd considered adoption, even signed papers.

So from a very early age I knew I was special – didn't think it was anything to do with my Mum…or Dad for that matter. Let alone Edmund Hillary.

Always thought it was because I was a fairy, dropped by mistake on Earth and having to make the best of a bad deal.

Still wonder about that.

See my Mum told me that fairies were real, yes and goblins too. Obviously I believed her. She gave me books to read with pictures that proved it.

In the books there were heroes that looked like Edmund Hillary.

I used to think he was really neat – even when I found out he'd been a boring bee-keeper.

Then I became a hippy and thought that it was all crap and that Sherpa Tenzing should have had the accolades… and that accolades were crap too.

But me being a fairy, it was all pretty fundamental. Okay, so you boring old bee-keeper people get to the top of the highest mountain in the world – with or without the help of an indigenous person who knows the mountain like a mother and goes unsung - a Queen gets crowned on the other side of the planet… and I get ready to get born into a new world.

Well this fairy child is getting old now.

And it's time to mark heroes.

Sir Ed, I lament your passing. I lament the end of a time when white men from New Zealand did heroic things in an understated way.

But I also celebrate the end of a time when white men from New Zealand did things in an overstated way. Things like bashing and killing queers and getting away with it. Things like thinking that the world was theirs for the taking. Mountains too.

Your time has gone now. This is a new country, filled with people with new dreams. And the mountains are not in Nepal, they're here.

Oh did I mention that I'm queer? Lesbian. Yes, still a fairy child – still looking for heroes and heroines.

Our mountains are to do with making our fairy children safe. And in the spirit of Edmund Hillary, building schools, legislation, allowing us to be all that we can be.

At last, us fairies have a foot in the door. And we're climbing our own mountains now.

Deb Faith - 15th January 2008