Matagouri

I was walking The Dog this morning and went past a patch of pretty darn prickly Matagouri bush we have a little way up the hill, and then I thought: I remember when I first came to New Zealand reading various hiking stories and authors saying how in order to get somewhere they had to fight their way through Matagouri. Matagouri!

But I had no idea what Matagouri was. Some sort of a bush plant, I guessed.

For people that have grown up in New Zealand and are familiar with the concept, it's probably easy: someone says, "And he fell into Matagouri!" and everyone goes, "Ouch. How did he get out?!" But to me, without a dramatic description of what it actually means - to fight through Matagouri and how ripped the clothes and, heck, the skin end up - these stories were a little low on excitement and high on what-other-stuff-is-there-to-read-please.

And it reminded me to think about who the text goes to and what's their background, because if I describe seeing a cattle track through our Matagouri and thinking, bet it's wide enough for me and The Dog, and then thinking, sh*t, I'm wearing shorts, it was a bad, bad idea - the reader is gonna do the same thing as I did back then: go, "Huh?" and turn the page to see if I finish talking about Matagouri anytime soon or not.

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