As told to Elisabeth Easther

My grandmother was from the Chathams. She left when she was about 28 and returned when she was 58. Although my mum had been brought up in Auckland, when she visited her mother out here, she came back to [mainland] New Zealand and said we should move here. There were four of us kids, and we set off in a Kombi van with just $100. I was 6 at the time. Growing up, it was very back to basics — no electricity, no plumbing; but there were lots of good times. I had a huge