It was only a matter of weeks ago when I learned of the possibility of the Changeover being filmed here, and here we are today.
When Miranda said that the city itself was a pivotal character I wanted us to be associated in any way that we could.
As you will see we have had a few challenges recently but we wanted to ensure that you knew that our welcome was heartfelt.
We pride ourselves on being a great host city. When we hosted the Commonwealth Games many years ago, the athletes dubbed them the Friendly Games.
I knew Margaret Mahy and I can assure you that her character was as captivating as are her words on the page. She was a glorious woman, full of colour and joy. Her ability to connect across generations was amazing.
She would be over the moon that The Changeover was being filmed in her hometown.
You will see from the Margaret Mahy Playground that her name lives on in the city – not only in our libraries and bookstores.
I confess that I haven’t read the Changeover - yet. So I went looking for a quote and found this review in amongst thousands that litter the internet.
Do I still love this book now? Yes. It's scary, sensual (in a non-graphic way), smart, magical, empowering and in many other ways fabulous. Plus it's set in New Zealand, which as a kid growing up in one of the landlocked parts of the US, that seemed kind of magical in and of itself.
Anyway, I still vividly recall certain scenes, and the wonder of reading those scenes is still there for me as an adult.
Here's a quote from one of those scenes. I'm not sure if it's my favourite, but it's a good representation of the heroine, Laura Chant, and her ally, Sorry (Sorenson Carlisle) as she makes an object of power under the supervision of the witch Winter (Sorry's mother):
"Stamp, your name is to be Laura. I'm sharing my name with you. I'm putting my power into you and you must do my work. Don't listen to anyone but me." She thought for what seemed like a long time, though it was really only a single second, and in that time, oddly enough, the picture of the old, whistling kettle at home came into her mind. "You are to be my command laid on my enemy. You'll make a hole in him through which he'll drip away until he runs dry. As he drips out darkness, we'll smile together, me outside, you inside. We'll " (she found her voice rising higher and growing a little hysterical) " ... we'll crush him between our smiles." She looked up at the reflected witches and said nervously, "Is that enough?"
"Quite enough," Winter said, and behind the fine lace of her age, Laura saw a reflection of Sorry's wariness.
"Terrific!" exclaimed Sorry. "Chant, can I be on your side? I'd hate to be your enemy."
What a wonderful teaser.
In Maori you are welcomed not only once, but twice and then three times.
No reira tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutoa katoa.