We were all ashamed of our mother. Our mother always did things to shame us. Like putting red darns in our clothes, and cutting up old swimming togs and making two - girl’s togs from the top half for my sister, and boy’s togs from the bottom half for my brother.

Peti and Raana both cried when my Mum made them take the togs to school. Peti sat down on the road by our gate and yelled out she wasn’t going to school. She wasn’t going swimming.

I didn’t blame my sister because the togs were thirty-eight chest and Peti was only ten. But Mum knew how to get her up off the road. She yelled loudly, ‘Get up off that road, my girl.

There’s nothing wrong with these togs. I didn’t have any togs when I was a kid and I had to swim in my nothings. Get up off your backside and get to school.’

Mum’s got a loud voice and she knew how to shame us. We all dragged Peti up off the road before our mates came along and heard Mum. We pushed Peti into the school bus so Mum wouldn’t come yelling up the drive.

Off she’d go on a Wednesday, and once out on the road she’d start tooting the horn. This didn’t sound like a horn at all but more like a flock of ducks coming in for a feed.

The reason for the horn was also to let all her mates and relations along the way know she was coming. And as she passed each one’s house, if they wanted anything they’d have to run out and call it out loud.

Mum couldn’t stop because of not having any brakes. ‘E kiri,’ each would call. ‘Mauria mai he riwar,’ if they wanted spuds; ‘Mauria mai he paraoa,’ if they wanted bread.

‘Mauria mai he tarau, penei te kaita,’ hand spread to show the size of the pants they wanted Mum to get. She would call out to each one and wave to them to show she’d understood.

And when she neared the store she’d switch the motor off, run into the kerbing and pull on the handbrake.

I don’t know how she remembered all the things she had to buy - I only know that by the time she’d finished, every space in that car was filled and it was a squeeze for her to get into the driver’s seat.