The great New Zealand novella undoubtedly has cancer of the eyes. Crazy cells which once lay on the surface of its plot and style, have replicated and oozed deep within the structure and form of its characters, setting and theme. Daring to look up from its navel and gaze outwards, surveying You in preference to Itself, with scant regard for its own well being, the novella's existence is defined by a sickness.
These malignant words are created vicariously from the patterns and rhythms of the broadcast noise of this young South Pacific country. Aotearoa New Zealand. A country whose history is by some measures barely cut free of its umbilical cord, and by others rich in the passage of time and the passage of navigation across the vast oceans surrounding its shores. These words are woven from the fabric of the land, from the tapestry of its people. It is they who write this. The words of the great New Zealand novella, despite its cancer, live on through your interpretation of their meaning. You save this from death. While it lies here, still and unseeing, having peered into the musty corners of the countryside and cities, under the beds and in the underpants drawers of bankers and farmers and florists and building consent officers, you are its life support. You in your recliners, on your decks and patios with their steel and glass balustrades overlooking Pauanui's canals; you on your bed, with you feet in slippers, the cat curled up next to you as you take the weight off and rest for an hour in the afternoons becuase you've earned it with a life of working for the man and paying taxes. You in your regular place on the bus, glad for an excuse not to look up and acknowledge the sad humanity that travels with you to air conditioned (if you're lucky) offices where you dutifully make money for someone else while you take home just enough to survive and sometimes less. You in your shearer's hut in the Southland high country, the southwesterly clawing at the corrugated iron, your back aching, your mind wandering to Friday night when you'll lean on the bar and engage with people for a precious few hours. This story is yours. You read it and it is shaped to fit your world. We're all in this together. The great New Zealand novella cannot survive without the input and influence of those who absorb its words and distill them into new meanings. The cancer has spread from the eyes of this novella and seeps dreadfully into the yous and wes.