Taemumu Richardson

Taemumu is a graduate of the New Zealand Writers’ College. She has been short-listed for a Writers’ Forum short story contest and the Flash500 flash fiction competition. She was born in Tāmaki Makau Rau/Auckland.

This story, her first publication, was written in honour of Ihumātao.

Empire Developments’ Show Home


Date: 6th February 2019

To: Show home team/family/whānau

From: Fletch/team father

Re: Empire Developments’ show home

A little proclamation: get ready to bulldoze family/whānau! Yesterday we took possession of the show home keys—now let’s put the finishing touches to the New Zealand home of the future. This latest project proves we’re moving from strength to strength. We’ve truly built a powerhouse at Empire over the years (decades for some of us stalwarts, ha ha). Construction puns totally intended!

The executive leadership team were simply blown away by our ideas wrt creating the right impression/appearance in the show home. It was plain as the nose on my face/anyone’s face in fact! We have their full support vis-à-vis forwards-facing, unconstrained by the past, yet celebrating this beautiful country we all call home. At the same time, I’m sure ELT felt they were reaping the rewards of their aggressive pursuit of diversity and inclusion within the company. We at Empire come from a proud tradition of leading the way.

So it’s:

YES to the self-sustaining garden. Eco concerns are very now and aspirational. Zero-waste cultivation, careful natural resource management. That volcanic soil is going to be great for the constitution!

YES to native plants throughout, except for perhaps a little cottage garden honouring our dual heritage. I’m thinking forget-me-nots at the facade. Ideas?

YES to livestock: chickens and a pig. These may have to be fake. I’m thinking a great big kunekune!!

YES to watersports equipment in the garage. Let’s make the most of the water on the doorstep. Ditto fishing gear. Foreshore (a shady beach umbrella)? Seabed (diving stuff)? Grab ideas from the surroundings. Which reminds me, some shell decorations in the garden—tasteful, I’m not thinking midden!

YES to that feeling of intergenerational living in the home. Parents clearly spending quality time with the kids. I’m also thinking maybe a memo on the fridge that the grandparents are coming for dinner in the weekend?

There was a bit of back-and-forth about the idea of mannequins, how best to represent the New Zealand nuclear family of the future. It might be difficult to appear suitably blended? And we definitely need to avoid a ground-zero look (unfortunate history of our Pacific neighbours etc., etc.). We’re a nuclear-free country after all, ha ha! ELT thought it best to just leave it to the imagination of the visitor. Anyone visited that village of furry-footed friends in Matamata? That’s exactly the feeling they want. It’s a family home, people, and they’ve just popped out. Where have they popped to, I hear you ask? It doesn’t matter! Maybe to the airport to welcome home the champions of the Commonwealth Games? Maybe to the Mangere town centre (ethnic takeaways anyone)? Maybe to Stonefields Historic Reserve? Not to the wastewater treatment plant, that’s for certain, ha ha! How on earth did they get consent for an airport and a sewage plant out there? The mind boggles, but I digress. Let’s remember to talk about screening (angles and options) from the house and garden to block out those eyesores. Out of sight, out of mind.

Anyway, no time to rest on our laurels, to the victor the spoils etc., etc. Survey monkey following shortly to set our next meeting. It’ll be a site visit to get a feeling for the lie of the land. I suggest an open agenda item, “Are We Forgetting Anything?” Ideas?


P.S. Still some unpleasantness at the site. Let’s not get into the politics, right? New Zealand police and some private security are there in partnership for everyone’s protection. So see you all at the show home. I want 100% participation on this one!