by Louisa Carroll

We all know the important role of tupuna (grandparents) in Maori culture and society. They are seen as exemplars. It got me to think about the reduced role of grandparents in Pakeha society compared to 100 years ago. 

I then happened upon the idea of carrying out a one-off sociological study of the role of grandparent as seen through the eyes of an 11 year old. Phoebe’s comments were set out in a birthday card. (Her Grandpa is a keen cook and has given her a series of cooking lessons as emerges from Phoebe’s  writing.) She wrote:

Dear Grandpa, Happy Birthday! 

You are so important in my life.  In fact you are one of the most important and influential people in my whole life. 

You taught me to be myself, fight for what I believe in, be smart, an amazing speaker and listener, be strategic, caring, funny, give a strong ‘hang five’.

Most of all you taught me to be an amazing chef and give unconditional love! Lots of love and hugs from you granddaughter and sous chef!

So, dear readers, I leave you to draw any appropriate inferences.