My nana is Patricia Charlotte Broughton, nee Hancy, of Ngāi Tupoto in Te Rarawa. She was born in Motu Karaka in Hokianga in 1926. She grew up there, apart from attending St Joseph’s Māori Girls’ College in Hawke’s Bay. She was a native speaker of Te Reo, a staunch Catholic, a mother to seven tamariki, grandmother to nine mokopuna, and great-grandmother to 23, so far. Nan married my papa, Boyd Alex Broughton of Te Hikutu in Ngāpuhi. I had less time with papa as we lost him when I was 9, but I remember him as a beautiful, gentle, and kind, loving man, whom my nana loved deeply. My nan and papa were part of the Māori migration to urban centres in the 1950s . They left their tūrangawaewae in Motu Karaka and brought their young tamariki eventually to live in Ōtara in Auckland.
I was 14 years old when my nan passed away, so that was a long time ago, but the fact that I can almost never talk about her publicly without crying is testament to the impact she still has on my life. From the start, my nana was warm, overly doting, and exemplified our whakataukī “He taonga te mokopuna”. My beautiful older cousin Jean is the oldest mokopuna, but we did not find out about her until I was 6 years old, and we have been grateful for her ever since. But I, in effect, was the first person to make my nan an actual nan, and I was born on her and my papa’s 25th, silver wedding anniversary. I have been told I was a fantastic anniversary present.
My nan, to me, felt physically and spiritually like a soft, squishy, gentle, and caring nana. From a young age, I got a sense of us, her mokopuna, being the absolute centre of her universe. What I did not know of until later was her stubborn commitment to justice. I must have been about 12 or 13 when my nana took me to her work one day. She ran the lunch cafe at a large firm in Ōtara . Extra help was needed on this particular day, and the boss had asked my nan if she knew of anyone. Nan’s boss agreed that I could come in and help them out for the day. I remember helping my nana prepare kai for the workers, wash dishes, serve customers, and clean the kitchen. It was a good day of mahi. At the end of the day, my nana’s boss refused to pay me. He tried to worm his way out of the agreement, saying that I had come in for “work experience”. I will never forget my nan’s face as she glared at her boss in the eye. She sent me away to wait in the hall while she sat opposite her boss, trying to sort it, but even from a distance I could feel her staring the unfairness down. Here was my soft, squishy, gentle-voiced, lovable nana, whom I had never seen face conflict in my life, putting up a relentless fight for her wronged granddaughter—for me. I cannot actually remember what became of that heated debate, but what I can remember is how nan made me feel.
To this day, my whole being recalls her fierce determination to right a wrong, her courage to not let the power imbalance dominate her, her commitment to ensure that those most vulnerable had someone sticking up for them, and her gumption to hold her line no matter what. If I could bring a tiny bit of my nana’s mana to my work, then I will know that I have succeeded. My name is Marama Davidson, and I come from a long line of stubbornness.
From all accounts Marama is a lot like her nana.