Back in the day, there was nothing worthwhile waiting for at 30 Macville Rd in the Mount, when the postman came calling.

It was all bills and no thrills. That was until the first few weeks of December rolled around.

This is when brightly coloured envelopes of all shapes and sizes started arriving from whanau and friends we sometimes had never seen all year - sometimes ever, and we all knew these cards with no pre-paid stamps from Government agencies made Mum happy.

The flash ones had glitter like my sister's swaps sprinkled across the envelope and we couldn't wait to find out who they were from and what part of our whakapapa (lineage) they linked us up to.


"Postman's coming, Mum, and he's stopping at our place," came the excited call from the sitting room sofa.

And then it was all on like the last runner in a game of bullrush at Omanu School to intercept him.

We would race to the letterbox and surround the whistling - and sometimes half cut -postman married to our Aunty Eunice, sifting through the bills and leaving them for Ron.

We didn't get a lot of letters most of the year, other than bills and Mormon leaflets, so Uncle Gordy's Christmas mail was always welcome good news. We couldn't wait for the next batch of cards to arrive so we could add them to the line strung across the fireplace in our sitting room.

Everyone down our road had a lounge but we had a sitting room, I guess that was because with 11 kids we only had enough room to sit and not lounge around in.

On a bumper year we would string the cards across the corner of our sitting room from the fireplace to the light switch above the Christmas tree, and they acted as presents that we never got, with their gold and silver fairy dust sprinkled across the images of angels and rosy-cheeked Santas - much like the cheeks of Uncle Half Cut, who had delivered them that morning.

This last week I have been back down memory lane, doing the same without the juice on board, hand-delivering Christmas cards to those who have made a difference to the lives of the lost and the lonely who we look after.

Families and whanau who will only have a minor merry Christmas, some more a nightmare before Christmas than a night before.

There are a lot of like-minded community kingpins who I would have liked to hand deliver a message of thanks the old school way but couldn't get to them all, so I will take the liberty of doing so in this column. Kindred souls with an attitude of gratitude who totally get the boomerang of giving and dare to make a difference in the lives of the have-nots.

Please accept these 800 words as your tautoko, your acknowledgement of thanks.

In our game, the giving all get to know each other and today we will gather at Gate Pa at St George's Whare Karakia (Church) to celebrate the spirit of giving with the 40 families and 100 or so kids who we look after in 10 homes and 11 motel rooms across Tauranga.

This is our time to say thanks to each other and share the magic of the fourth annual Santa Carrus Christmas picnic, for what was once the brokenhearted homeless.

Sadly, there are takers who cannot see past their own pockets, and more and more I see new arrivals here in the Bay that has plenty, looking for every opportunity to garner their own personal gains and give bugger all back to the communities who gave them the kickstart in the first place.

The reindeer in this room is the borderline greed that is a way of life back in their countries of origin and the mana of a man called Jesus, or the act of whanaungatanga and tohatoha – looking after and sharing with others, is as foreign to them as the arrival stamps in their passports.

Perhaps the wise words of a great American president with a full head of his own hair could be printed across a one of collector's item Christmas card for all new arrivals:
"Ask not what your new country can do for you – ask what you can do for your new country".

For my two bobs' worth of giving a little, the world is as it is purely because of greed, where too many have too much.

Christmas is a great time to right this wrong and it could start by the simple act of taking time to send a personal Christmas card - handwritten, licked and stamped without a single like tagged across it - to someone who deserves it.

Hopefully, you will receive it via a wiggly wobbling postie on a push bike.