Journalist, television presenter and children’s author MIRIAMA KAMO talks to us about her difficult journey to motherhood, celebrating Matariki and why Ōtautahi will always be home.
Tell us about your journey to motherhood.
Of course, I was already a stepmother to my darling boy Sam. I’ve always been so grateful for my bonus baby and believe he made me a mum. As for biological children, I lost my first pregnancy, and it was devastating, but the next one took. That was my now 11-year-old, Te Rerehua. Having her cushioned the following four pregnancy losses, though each was painfully disappointing. My last pregnancy, by then my seventh, was very hard. We found out he was a wee boy. I so wanted another and am still wistful about it. But the arrival of my nephew Mānuka and his wee sister Keita was very healing. They, in fact, all my nieces and nephews, give me so much joy.
Tell us about your daughter and the impact she’s had on your life.
My girl is awesome. Man, she’s determined, knows her mind, is ready to argue, and always has a case. She keeps me on my toes, that’s for sure. And she’s funny! She makes me laugh, proud, frustrated, and admiring – she’s no wallflower, and I love that about her.
Was it hard balancing your career with motherhood when she was young?
Yes and no. I took her everywhere with me, even when (in fact, because) we had a nanny. I didn’t want to be apart from her, so our lovely nanny had to tag along, too. It was a very privileged position for me to be in, and I’m incredibly fortunate that I could make that happen. Having said that, the mother guilt is real.
What’s the best part about being a parent and the toughest?
Every day is filled with the best and worst moments. It’s the real, raw, uncut reality of parenthood. Nothing’s perfect, and who’d want it to be?
You were born in South Brighton, went to Aranui High School and studied at the University of Canterbury. Even though you live in Auckland now, is Ōtautahi still home for you?
Home will always be Ōtautahi. My mum lives in my favourite place in the world, just behind Banks Peninsula, and I get there as often as possible. I grew up on my Marae Rehua and Rāpaki, and I get to the latter as often as I can, especially since my Dad is in the urupā there.
Tell us about your children’s books and what Matariki means for you.
I didn’t know much about Matariki until I started writing about it. And the truth is, I’m still learning. I’m fortunate that I got to write Matariki Around the World with Professor Rangi Matamua (the godfather of Matariki) and learned a lot from him. The biggest thing is to stop, rest, eat, connect and acknowledge. Matariki is now my holiday focus, more important to me than Christmas celebrations (which I also love). So, I’ll go back to Ōtautahi to MC a massive Matariki feast called Tohunga Tumau. I’ll be back with whānau where I should be during Matariki. As I get older, ritual and connection and whānau are my focus. Matariki has become such a joyful part of my life. I hope that all New Zealanders embrace this especially Kiwi celebration.