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Becoming a Harbour

Some of you may have noticed that I recently changed my last name. Many people have asked me about it, so I thought I would fill you all in on the story!

I have many stories about myself, some of them I love, and some cause me pain. One of the stories Ive held since childhood is of being ‘between’. My parents separated when I was a year old and I grew up ‘between’ families. One of these families immigrated to New Zealand from the US when I was seven, so I grew up ‘between’ nations. I regularly found myself in the middle of conflict, mediating between people not only to create resolution for them, but in fact to find a sense of my own truth in their resolution. I never had just one best friend in school but two, always involved in a challenging triangle which served to reinforce my story. My hyphenated name itself, felt like a ‘between’ name. At some point I realized that this story was no longer one I wanted to hold onto, and made a decision to change it.

When I realized I wanted to change my last name, I didn’t fully understand how all of these strands connected. Its only been after choosing the name Harbour for myself, that I’ve had the exciting experience of discovering how perfect the symbolism is for me. A harbour is a safe place to come and rest, shelter during a storm. Safe yet not stagnant, harbours support the coming and going of fresh energy, ideas and perspectives. Choosing this name for myself is not a denial of my past. I still cherish my connection with my Goldstein lineage, my Hawes lineage, and all the others whose names have dropped out through marriage convention and immigration practices.

I am choosing a strong and powerful frame for my present. A symbol to remind me every time I see or hear my name, the new story that I am choosing for myself. Words hold power and I have chosen to use that power to reinforce this new story. I am a harbour, a place of rest and safety for others to share their stories. I hold the differing perspectives of others without judgement. I am a harbour for myself, my own place of belonging, embracing the flow of new energy and new ideas.

Thanks to my sister Mo Omeh for the beautiful image. Visit to see more of her work.

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