21.10.95. Fraser's Town Hill dispatch: "You seem more happy and settled, now that you are working. Thanks for the brochures. I spent a long time puzzling out the Maori experience. The brochure should be summarized and not so long winded. Unity seems important in NZ. The other brochures are informative and I have a good idea of the positioning of your surrounding countryside. Christchurch Arts Centre must take a full day to get through. I envy you - better than Town Hill Hospital.
Gardening is therapeutic for Kiwis and so I think for me. *NB* Working maybe [sic] in Dbn's Madeline Manor, address ... Moving to this address may take time and ill try and phone you when I move. [Over the years, one of Fraser's theme songs was to escape from Town Hill madhouse. Town Hill called it 'absconding,' and often punished Fraser by gaoling him in closed wards and a forensic security block for months.]
Like you ill work 25 to 30 hours a week. But not with heavy equipment like tractor, fork lift and loader. [I was labouring in the tree section of a Port Hills nursery].
Anymore [sic] earthquakes and tremors? I think move to North Island. Being on a fault on the continental plates is not good. You are not paid to take risks. Ozone layer as well makes S. Island a beautiful but dangerous place.
You must be pleased about your long awaited furniture. [Our SA containerized belongings had recently arrived on the Osaka Maru at Lyttelton]. Do some skying [sic] in the S. Alps. Working all the time is not funny. Does it really get minus 6 degrees at the coast? [No.] Its lucky English is an international language with only accent problems in NZ. It must have taken time to figure out A's and i's mixed up. Give yourself a break from teaching till early 1996. Study the curriculum.
I think Kiwis have been made a fool of by other South Africans. The Kiwis are cautious with immigrants. [Referring to Auckland's costly housing market, stimulated by immigrants]. Private schools won't be suitable for your education and training. Apply to get a teaching post in N. or S. Island. It's worth a try. [I made hundreds of unsuccessful NZ primary school teacher applications].
Does Jake do Arithmetic and maths in standard 3? Luke must enjoy the afternoon session in kindergarten. The Alpine parrots (only in the world) are unique birds. Post a brochure on them please.
SA democracy has become a success. Television programmes make it clear that the situation is hopeful and lucrative. The 1999 election will be able to tell the SA public that democracy wins all the time."
Fraser's undated Town Hill, O ward, Christmas 1995 dispatch: "You seem to have fitted into being a horticulturalist [sic?] superbly. Its another credit to you. Being deaf does not effect [sic] your nursery irrigation. You being a tractor driver, as well, makes it easy. Having nice co-workers helps you work better. Forget the teacher training lectures. Its a waste of money & time. [True]. Stick to gardening and wine making. Send me a bottle and do the 1 year course (post grad). [I planned to do a viticulture course at Lincoln University in 1996]. I think you and your family are settled in your home. Do a correspondence course with Lincoln University and dont move out yet.
Kiwis have a lot of trees brought in from other countries. Are they pleased? Or have they got used to it. [I planned to invest in a NZ Pinus radiata block]. I think, forget the job interviews and do gardening. Flying is costly. [I'd recently flown to Auckland to a Jewish school job interview]. How did the English queen and the Maori get on? [The queen had recently visited NZ]. Sorry to hear that you are 3/4% deaf. [sic.] I think do your forestry horticulture and study for 3 years part time by correspondence. Physical fitness would lead to mental alertness and awareness. Do some wine making & horticulture. Study for two years. Contacts, opportunities and job ideas will come in time. Don't rush it. Your correspondence application will be accepted. I studied with UNISA with a std. 9 pass. All the best for the new year to you and your family."
Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.