I'm Pania Morrison. Parsons (my boss) has put my name forward as a possible character in a new book and instructed me to write a little about myself. I guess it’s a bit like an interview but I’m not at all sure I’m suited for the task. Parsons has a habit of assigning tedious jobs my way. He calls me his girl Friday but sometimes I feel he treats me like a dogsbody. I object to being taken for granted. The author need not assume that I’ll be happy to play the romantic interest role either. That’s the second thing I detest - being set up, blind dates, that sort of thing. I can look after my own love-life. I’m not unattractive. I’m not overweight. My teeth are even, I have perfect vision, dark brown mid-length hair with auburn lights and I have a sense of humour. I’m quite tall but you have to be to qualify for the Police Force. Of course that can put some men off but I like to be able to look a person in the eye and anyway I feel good about my height.
Well Parsons wanted me to cover a few things so here goes.
I’ll start with my name. I’m not sure if the author is a local. Foreigners sometimes think I’m called Tanya and so Mr or Ms Author if you haven’t heard the legend of Pania I suggest you get onto Wikipedia and check it out. In fact I’ll make it easy just click here. Now you'll have guessed that I’m part Māori and, given my surname, part English. You’re mostly right but I also have a bit of Scandinavian, German and Irish to add to the mix. You won’t be interested in my iwi or hapū connections but they’re important to me so I’ll just tell you that I am descended from Kahungunu and my ancestors settled on the East Coast north of Napier. I have four older brothers, all married with kids but I’m still single. I’d like to have kids of my own one day but I need to meet the right man first and that’s yet to happen. At the moment I’m saving hard. I have a plan to buy a house in a few years time and so I’m watching my pennies. When I’ve saved enough I intend to do a course on home ownership and finance and after that probably a course on home maintenance. I like keeping busy and learning new stuff. I’ve done quite a few night school courses. When I bought my blue VW Beetle I learnt all about basic car maintenance. I can change tires, check the oil and water and know when to call in the experts. It was fun and I met a heap of interesting people.
I’m part of the Diplomatic Protection Squad and my rank is Detective Inspector. Before I joined the Police Force it was my dream to play for the Silver Ferns. Eventually after repeated tendon injury I had to face facts. I’d never represent my country. I was a bit lost then. What to do with my life? I never thought that I’d become a police officer or that I’d enjoy my work so much. Sport was the perfect preparation for my career and I can still play netball socially. I think it’s important to get involved in your community so in my spare time I help coach a primary school netball team.
A while ago at night school I completed ‘Introduction to Maori Language’. That gave me heaps of confidence and I was amazed at how much of the language I already knew, thanks to my koro (that’s my mum’s father). That course inspired me to start researching my Whakapapa. That’s important for us Māori, that’s when I discovered that I’m descended from Kahungunu. I'm really proud of my heritage and knowing about my iwi and hapu makes me appreciate it even more. I have stacks of cousins and my favourites are Mira and Cheryl. They’re like sisters to me. Growing up in a family of men wasn’t always easy, even though I was a real tomboy and as good at kicking a ball as any boy at school. I used to look forward to our holidays at the marae when all the whānau came up. We had such great times, Mira, Cheryl and me.
At this point in my life I would describe myself as happy. I enjoy meeting visitors and I've met some very important men and women. Sometimes its seems so improbable, me shaking hands with Mr President or HRH, that I have to pinch myself. I'm achieving my goals and I have a wide circle of family and friends to support me in what I do. What more does anyone need to be content? I wouldn’t want to live in any other country although sometimes when I meet those VIPs and get to know them a little I wonder what it’s like in their homelands.
Maybe one day I’ll go on an OE.