Best office day I’ll have this year!

If working on a computer means you’re in the office then for the 27th February I must have had one of the best office spaces going anywhere.

Being a Monday it started with that long dawn haul south

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Balloons at dawn over Hororata

Up in the Hakatere the weather was perfect with d’Archiac prominent away on the Main Divide

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Strolling across the grassy plain

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Hakatere basin looking into the Pott’s Valley

There were pale blue berries underfoot

Coprosma petriei

Coprosma petriei

At the head of a dry valley

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What  I thought was a pretty awesome office

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Logging into the Clearwater Kettles

But when I got to the next login point…wow

The Dell and the Gentians

Gentians around the Dell (Gentianella corymbifera?)

Which made me think of this….

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And while I waited for the techy stuff to do its thing I noticed this native bee with it’s tongue down the throat of a late flowering willowherb.  It’s so small I couldn’t see how hairy those legs are until I got the photos home, positively pilose!  Click to enlarge

There’s a heap of small native bees, all black and a range of sizes but some have coloured hairs.  This is the first one I’ve seen with white hairs and so thick, it’s like an old man.

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I had to find out why “Mrs Hairy Legs” popped straight into my head and here’s the answer, Crowded House, taking the piss on the Late Night Show in 1991, I wonder if they’d get away with that now or would they get deported?

Tim those trousers are terrible and “Do not touch certain parts of your body when on camera”

Then when  I was lunching I realised that I’d plonked down in a patch of the tiniest onion orchids

Microtis oligantha, onion orchid Hakatere

Microtis oligantha, onion orchid Hakatere

Moving on there was a patch of orange berries

Leucopogon nanum, hakatere

Leucopogon nanum, hakatere

Patotara, Leucopogon nanum, Pa = defensive structure, tara = prickles, defended with prickles

Prickly patotara, Leucopogon nanum

Prickly patotara, Leucopogon nanum

At the last stop

In the notes this is 'Deep Hole' and there are tales of ice-breaking through chest deep water to download the datalogger

In the notes this is ‘Deep Hole’ and there are tales of ice-breaking through chest deep water to download the datalogger

there was a different Gentian

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Gentianella grisebachii or so I’m told

Now the spell is broken as it’s a long walk to the carpark and as I headed that way I came across….

Huh?.FYI the little white spot hard right in the distance is the car.

Huh?.FYI the little white spot hard right in the distance below the dark green, is the car.

It wasn’t there in the morning but closer inspection reveals, it’s a possum monitoring trapline.

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It’s a strange way to set traps as any fur trapper well knows but there’s a science behind it.  By setting a given number of  traps in the prescribed manner for the prescribed number of nights then the population can be estimated and that can indicate if a control operation is warranted.

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Christchurch Revisited II

The latest Hanmer, Kaikoura, Seddon, Wellington quakes have shifted focus off Christchurch but it is still far from business as usual.

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Christchurch: a work in progress under a grey Nor-west blanket

Back near the shortest day (late June) I had another day wandering the streets of Christchurch, essentially a year on from my last visit . Some of those inner city things that had been done to liven it up had been abandoned

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A living fence is …well dead

but new buildings are on the rise and there isn’t much left to come down. It should look prosperous when it’s all done but I hope they don’t keep doing the current grey themes. Grey to match the grey of the gravel underneath and the grey of the Nor-west sky that so often hangs over the city to be relieved at days end when the sun briefly traverses that narrow strip of blue the “Nor-west Arch” painting the city and hills in golden light.

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Durham St, Christchurch: kissed by late afternoon sunlight peeking under the Nor-west arch. Roadworks continue and stone buildings on the left have protective structures built over them for the meantime

The brand new bus exchange

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Christchurch bus exchange

There are still a lot of otherwise bland surfaces exposed by the demolition of adjacent buildings that have been decorated in a range of styles

When I came across this mural by BMDISYOURFRIEND, it took a moment to work out what was going on… and it was only as I walked away, that I realised my sense of disorientation came not from the mural, but that the carpark had previously been occupied by the hotel where my parents stayed, on their return to NZ, after getting married in Australia.

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Pollarding plane trees stopped many years ago. The current trend is to pollard the buildings

London plane: a pollard no more

London plane: a pollard no more

Modern Pollard

Modern Pollard

 

There are lots of new open spaces, greyfields

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The site of the modern office building where Kirsty worked.

The former site of the modern office building where Kirsty worked.

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Durham St, Methodist Church. Opened in 1864 it was the oldest stone church in Christchurch.

and greenfields

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A whole city block temporarily turned into a park

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From Latimer Square a vista not seen in decades

and soon to be built over fields

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Pegs in ready to rip

It amazes me that so many of the early bridges came through unscathed

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You see this bridge and the next one along are at least partially brick when you take a peek under them.  That they’ve withstood modern trucks and buses is amazing enough for something 130 years old.

Then there are still plenty of buildings that haven’t fared so well and are still waiting to be reborn.  Like these old Christchurch City Council offices, brick and limestone didn’t cope so well when half the ground underneath moved toward the river.

Others are getting the grand treatment

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If 2 red brick stores get restored, there'll be 8 red brick stores waiting to accidentally fall down, 8 left hanging

If 2 red brick stores get restored, there’ll be 8 red brick stores waiting to accidentally fall

but now we can see that our reality is distorted

vista’s worthy of Mr Brown

Has the Anglican Cathedral ever been visible from the bridge on Victoria St before?

Has the Anglican Cathedral ever been visible from the bridge on Victoria St before?

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I always liked the look of this hotel but click on the photo below and take a closer look…

Earthquake repairs

Earthquake repairs

have a deco at New Regent Street’s new art deco

New Regent Street, Christchurch.

New Regent Street, Christchurch.

Rescued piano in the public dance space

Rescued piano in a public dance space, Victoria St.

I made this visit with a documentary fresh in mind “The Art of Recovery” and sought out some of the places that were shown. If it comes your way take the time to watch it, sad, funny, a commentary on resilience, lost opportunity and what happens when business interests take control of rebuilding a community. For a time, Christchurch new what it was to have a soul even though the body was

piano rescued from a bar now on Victoria St.

piano rescued from a bar now on Victoria St.

broken, it’s unclear if the soul will remain when the concrete and glass facades of commerce dominate the city streets.

Here’s the official trailer http://artofrecoveryfilm.com/

If you’re in NZ it’s available at TVNZ on

Where the foofy Crown Plaza Hotel once stood

Where the foofy Crown Plaza Hotel once stood

demand https://www.tvnz.co.nz/ondemand/the-art-of-recovery I doubt it will work from other countries but it won’t hurt to try.

Next to the Bridge of Remembrance on Cashel St, is what remains of the post earthquake shopping area ‘The Container Mall’

 

Bridge of Remembrance, Christchurch

Bridge of Remembrance, Christchurch

I stumbled across ‘185 Empty Chairs’, many of the chairs were personal possessions of those killed, donated and painted by those nearest to them.

185 Empty Chairs leads naturally to the Cardboard Cathedral

The temporary Anglican 'Cardboard' Cathedral from 185 Empty Chairs, Christchurch

The temporary Anglican ‘Cardboard’ Cathedral from 185 Empty Chairs, Christchurch

If the following seems a little weird and you don’t get the references, not to worry, for me it’s a bit of fun but I hope it works for at least some of you. Not without it’s serious note mind but I have been inspired somewhat by Rick of Massachusetts and his often witty and slick Blue Oak Blog. So there’s a nod here to some Old World and some New World workers of post and beam, summers, bays and trunnels, mortice and tenon paired with the slick and knocked into place by a beetlish commander. If I’m lucky my effort will rate a 1 on the Rick-ter scale.

To set the scene a cousin took this photo of the Cathedral the day before it fell.

Christchurch Anglican Cathedral 21st February 2011

Christchurch Anglican Cathedral 21st February 2011

At the old centre of knowledge, behind bolted doors art and atoms are soon to re-emerge into the light

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within the spaces where Lord Rutherford learnt his craft. Here he had his alpha days but his beta days came in England where he devised the art of elemental riving.

The former Canterbury University, now the Christchurch Arts Centre approaching completed restoration

The former Canterbury University, now the Christchurch Arts Centre approaching completed restoration

The house of law has been reformed

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and The Chalice catches the Light in front of God’s House

Love it or hate it. The Chalice, Cathedral Square, Christchurch, caught by late light under a Norwest Arch

Love it or hate it. The Chalice, Cathedral Square, Christchurch, caught by late light under a Norwest Arch

Fallen into dereliction

and bondage

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abandoned by the shepherd, but guarded by the flock

for now, from the wrecking ball but dung and rain will take their toll

where proud Kings balance on reeking beams

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hammered onto crumbling masonry

at the edge of the void where the bells once pealed

and the roof is now slated to do the peeling.

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The Anglican Church wants to flatten the cathedral and put up a modern architectural and engineering masterpiece, however a stalwart group the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT) want to see the cathedral rebuilt, but time is a wasting. The GCBT have a website http://restorechristchurchcathedral.co.nz/ where anyone who shares their ambition can make a donation toward the cause. Amongst other things the website displays a letter from the American Timber Framers Guild offering assistance.

In front of the mound that was the nave a stack of stones of a different order, stands

The Cairn, Cathedral Square, Christchurch

The Cairn, Cathedral Square, Christchurch

Memorial to Democracy plundered

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to rivers dried, streams fouled, wells polluted and a way of life erased

where once a patchwork of crops blanketed the dry plains beyond the city

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all is changed

for water is the new oil that greases the fields, to feed the cows to make the shit that feeds the algae that poisons the rivers that means the only safe place for children to experience flowing water is in the concrete creation of the waterpark by the Avon,

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the Avon which is only safe to look at despite the quotes of founding fathers awed by her purity not so long ago.

A river of water so pure

“A river of water, clearer than crystal indeed the  finest water I ever saw.”

The long story of how the ‘cairn’ came to be can be uncovered in “Franzi and The Great Terrain Robbery” by Sam Mahon. It’s the story of how a community came together to protect their river and having won their cause through the correct and proper channels had the water stolen from under their feet by a central government determined to turn Canterbury into a giant milk factory.

Sam’s response was to turn to his art and protest through it, the ‘cairn’ was just one of several projects and it came together mid-winter not long before the shaking started, in his words (heavily abridged) this is how it was built:

“…’This song is for the rivers’ said Ariana ‘and as it’s being sung I’d like those of you nearest the trailers to take stones and pass them to your neighbours. In this way we can create two rivers of stone flowing to the cairn behind you.’ …Ariana was still singing …but where were the two rivers of stone?….I scooped up a boulder. A woman stood with her back to me. I took her by the arm and as she turned I offered her the stone. She smiled at me, she was already cradling one in her arms. I turned to the person beside her, he had one too. Everyone had a stone. But they weren’t passing them, they were standing facing the centre of the square. And now I understood; something unscripted was taking place. The bishop was standing beside the cairn, she was sprinkling water on the stones, and she was blessing them.

When it was over, the crowd began…passing their boulders to people on steps beside the cairn. Now there came a continuous dry clattering …for a few minutes it was constant, and then suddenly it ceased. I saw Lesley* walking up with a last great boulder clutched to her stomach.

‘There’s no more room, lady,’ someone said. She glared up at him; she had come an awfully long way with her offering from the Mandamus.

‘Don’t you tell me what to do,’ she said. The stone was passed up and as it nestled in among the others the crowd applauded and the mesh lid was wired down tight.

….I walked across to the seven tonne column of river stones. It had been built in twenty minutes by three thousand people. Mothers and fathers, grandparents, young and old…each had taken a stone in their hands…Some of them bore the names of rivers; Waimakariri, Rakaia, Hurunui, Waipara, Waitaki, Haast attached at eye level was a plaque of etched steel:

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Chris appeared at my side…’Tell me…what other public art work has been crafted by nature, built by the people, explained by a dean and blessed by a bishop?’ “

*On a personal note I know Lesley, she grew up on a rugged high-country farm surrounded by high peaks feeding the Mandamus River, she has been a champion of wilderness and nature all her life and there is no way I’d be brave enough to tell her what to do.

Sam has an interesting website: gallery, sketches, paintings, videos, bronze casting …. check it out http://www.sammahon.com

Somewhere in the intervening months between my visit and now, Sam installed a new public work outside the Regional Council offices. ‘Vigil‘ is a bust of the late Cathy Sintenie who campaigned for sensible water use and clean water in South Canterbury.

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The Barker Icerink

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The Lombardy poplars around ‘The Icerink’ in the Upper Rangitata as seen from the Rawtor bridge

As I journey back and forth on the road up the Rangitata to monitor river birds, just below Ben McLeod Station and over a mile away across the river there’s a stand of Lombardy Poplars that gets pointed out as ‘The Icerink” occasionally there’s a glimmer of white buildings with dark openings.  It’s pointed out as a place to hear bittern in the swamp and as yet I haven’t had cause or opportunity to visit.  My colleagues under-rate the interest and extent of the icerinks and buildings if this article posted recently in the archaeological blog, ‘Christchurch uncovered’  is anything to go by.

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Crossing a braid of the Upper Rangitata River a few miles up from The Icerink

A word of caution though, should anyone be inspired to visit by fording the river from Turn Again Point, the Rangitata River is often cloudy and is sufficiently powerful that without local knowledge and river experience probably shouldn’t be attempted except at low flows (less than 70cumecs at the Klondyke Guage) and not after recent rain in the headwaters.  Rainfall (Mistake Flat) and riverflows can be checked on the ECAN website

A man & his dream — Christchurch uncovered

Today I’m going to tell you about what is possibly my all-time favourite archaeological site (there is another contender, but it doesn’t have any connection to Christchurch or Canterbury so is unlikely to feature here). I reckon this site has … Continue reading →

via A man & his dream — Christchurch uncovered

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I hate Mondays or Too Much Rock and Roll

No doubt you all know that our peace was once again shattered by Ruaumoko stirring in his sleep just after midnight on Monday morning 14th Nov. (nearly 15 days ago). It was that rock and roll of someone shaking you awake from deep sleep but it went on and on, everytime we thought it was about over it would start up again.  So we new it was big, bigger than the Christchurch earthquakes but a lot further away. Having checked the GNS website to learn it was near Hanmer Springs (low population, no highrise) it was back to bed in an effort to get some sleep between the aftershocks before the early Monday morning drive south.

Click on photos to enlarge them or mouse over the mosaic galleries for captions.

Hanmer Springs gets its name from the hotwater percolating from deep in the Hope Fault

Hanmer Springs gets its name from the hotwater percolating up from deep in the Hope Fault

The Hope Fault runs east to Kaikoura

Monday 14th’s earthquake started somewhere near here  on the Hope Fault whick cuts across country eastward to Kaikoura

 

Downtown Wellington: if it's not on a major fault it's on seabed raised in the 1855 Wairarapa Earthquake

Downtown Wellington: if it’s not on a major fault it’s on ex-seabed raised in the 1855 Wairarapa Earthquake, some of those high rise might be coming down soon.

Once again we (NZ) are lucky to have had a major earthquake occur in the dead of night when the roads are almost empty and no one was out walking the streets of Wellington to be sliced and diced by falling glass. It was sad that 2 people did die but it could have been so much worse. The geologists are saying the rupture was probably over a 200km length merely starting at Hanmer and then connecting across several faults to run north toward Wellington, our capital city, where one of the bigger aftershocks has caused significant damage.

The Seaward Kaikoura Range from the coast near Conway River

The Seaward Kaikoura Range, as seen here from the coast near Conway River,  is among the fastest rising land in the world

 

Of course it’s not surprising, they don’t call the current mountain building phase the Kaikoura Orogeny for nothing and if this wasn’t the fastest rising real estate in the world, there wouldn’t be picturesque mountains rising out of the sea with sperm whales lolling around at their base feeding on giant squid a convenient 1000ft dive below.

Burying a sperm whale washed up north of Kaikoura. The lower jaw, lower left, put aside for cultural uses.

Burying a sperm whale washed up north of Kaikoura. The lower jaw, lower left, put aside for cultural uses.

Same sperm whale jaw as in photo to left, the teeth are prized for carving

Same sperm whale jaw as in photo to left, the teeth are prized for carving

Rockfall has changed the face of the coast around Kaikoura and it sounds like Kaikoura and the coast in the immediate area have been given some much needed insurance against rising sea levels having been hoisted 2m into the air, with the uplift affecting at least 100km of coastline.

Tourists watch the seal pups at Kaikoura's Ohau Pt in 2015

Tourists watch the seal pups at Kaikoura’s Ohau Pt in 2015

Had it struck 12 hours later there would have been at least 100 cars  and trucks buried or pushed into the sea, and 20 or more tourists would have perished with the seal pups swimming under the waterfall at Ohau Pt (I’m being very conservative here).

NZ fur seal pups in the waterfall at Ohau Pt, Kaikoura in 2015

NZ fur seal pups in the waterfall pool at Ohau Pt, Kaikoura in 2015

With the human drama easing off, my thoughts are turning to the ecological impacts, how many seals and penguins lie under the rockfalls?

Did the Hutton’s shearwater breeding area high on the mountains survive or did the mountainside collapse taking them nearer to extinction?

Endangered Hutton's Shearwater have their nest burrows somewhere up there near the snowline

Endangered Hutton’s Shearwater have their nest burrows somewhere up there near the snowline

Just a little north did the shingle cliffs that hold the last coastal tree broom in the wild crumble or are those contenders for real life Dr. Seuss trees still standing? Disturbingly I was listening to a geologist saying it looks like the coastline has been raised by 3 – 4 metres at Waipapa Pt which is pretty close to the stronghold of coastal tree broom. In the same interview they talked about walking on a dry reef which hitherto had never been exposed by the lowest tides. Apparently tons of paua (abalone) and koura (crayfish/spiny lobster) were left stranded high and dry. Incidentally Kaikoura means ‘to eat crayfish’.

Extremely rare coastal tree broom - Carmichaelia muritai - muri (behind) tai ( the shore)

Extremely rare coastal tree broom – Carmichaelia muritai – muri (behind) tai ( the shore)

blossom of coastal tree broom - Carmichaelia muritai

blossom of coastal tree broom – Carmichaelia muritai

The precarious habitat of coastal tree broom

The precarious habitat of coastal tree broom

The whole area of South Marlborough is home to a host of endemic plants and animals many of which are now restricted to precipitous terrain, much of which seems to have fallen into the valleys below including bluff weta, black-eyed gecko and the Chalk Range cress.

Over the hill in the Clarence Reserve, how did the historic Quail Flat cob buildings fare? and in particular the monstrous bread oven made of river stones? I’m sure we would have heard if the one family that lives in here was in trouble, and perhaps for them it makes little difference as a quick trip to town meant getting in a plane or helicopter anyway, but to get their cattle out from Muzzle Station to market they have to drive them over the Seaward Kaikoura Range, a breathtaking journey for those who get the chance.

Further north than either of these, there’s been rumour of a massive slip damming the Ure River (named after it’s English counterpart) and if that’s the case what of the sawcut gorge in Isolation Creek and another host of rare and undescribed plants.

The Ure River gorge through a chopper's perspex window hence the flaring

The Ure River gorge through a chopper’s perspex window hence the flaring

In the most awesome Sawcut gorge, of Isolation Creek, Marlborough

In the most awesome Sawcut gorge, of Isolation Creek, Marlborough

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Recovery: Saving the “Rat” That Isn’t — Cool Green Science

At first glance this post on the Nature Conservancy’s blog ‘Cool Green Science’ appears to be about a hut building rodent in Florida but really it’s about CATS.  In particular the impact of the new trend of trapping, neutering and then releasing feral cats back into the wild. In New Zealand It’s a policy being pushed by the Royal NZ Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RNZSPCA).  While I thought the logic was flawed this article is about science that demonstrates that IT IS flawed, resulting in higher impacts on native wildlife.  Besides that there is the oddity of any SPCA promoting the lives of feral cats as worthy when to live the cats must hunt other animals and they are not particular about how they do it.  Even frogs and geckos SCREAM.  Follow the link in the title or below to read the full article.

Extinction of the endangered Key Largo woodrat seemed likely as recently as 2012. But thanks to years of work by two dedicated volunteers and recent enlightened management by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this subspecies of Florida woodrat is making a dramatic comeback. The worst of its problems was and is free-ranging domestic cats.…

via Recovery: Saving the “Rat” That Isn’t — Cool Green Science

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Gruff?

What does a forested valley

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Brook Valley, Nelson. Photo: Alison Balance radionz

have in common with thisRIMG3511 Continue reading

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The Overflow

If you were being asked to take part in a word association test and you were given “The Overflow”

how would you respond?

Chances are, a Kiwi would respond like an Australian, for many of us share in that heritage of the Bush Ballad, particularly those of Banjo Paterson and our schooling would bring us straight to…”Clancy of The Overflow”. Anyhow that was my mental response when I made enquiries about the junkshop in Mayfield and was told it’s ‘The Overflow’.

Clancy of the Overflow (link)

Continue reading

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The Road to O Tu Wharekai Part II

Back in September last year I did a post “On the way to O Tu Wharekai” it was hasty, photos weren’t so good and I fully expected to quickly find out what was meant by O Tu Wharekai and let you know.  Well it only took 7 months to get to the bottom of, and then I did literally, crutch deep in stinking mud and slimy water (sorry no photos, much too busy extricating self).

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Hakatere huts – Ashburton Gorge

Now I had an idea that O Tu Wharekai had something to do with food – the wharekai on a marae is the dining hall, but I couldn’t see the fit for Tu.  Capitalised ‘Tu’ is usually an abbreviation for Tu Matauenga the god of war and just plain ‘tu’ is to stand or often to ‘take a stand’ or a fighting stance.  It finally became clear recently when I got to stay a few nights at the Hakatere huts and had the leisure to read the information panels there (no pub, no telly, no phone, no cell cover, definitely no internet). Continue reading

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From the Uttermost ends of the Earth

Tomorrow, 25 April 2016, marks 100 years since the first ANZAC commemoration, 101 years since the brief, bloody and ultimately futile war for control of the Dardanelles was kicked off by British and Australian Troops landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula.  The slaughter at Gallipoli led to the erection of memorials of some sort or another throughout the land.

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Woodbury War Memorial, South Canterbury, NZ

The New Zealanders would land in the 2nd wave behind the Australians, collectively, ANZACs.  Perhaps the greatest feat of the campaign came when the Turkish troops looked out on the Aegean Sea at dawn on the 20th of December, 1915 to find the flotilla of ships that had been there for the past 8 months gone, 40,000 troops had been evacuated without the Turks having an inkling, even though they could look into almost every position. Continue reading

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Mountain Men and Mariners

A month ago I went West again through the parched hills of North Canterbury, to Westport for a 92nd Birthday. Fiercely independent my father had recently been forced into care.  If he was single and had his way, he’d be out in the mountains still, content in a tin shack (or so he says).  He gave up being a Mountain Man, trapping fur and prospecting in the mountains to chase a dark haired vision and then provide for a family but the passion for wilderness remains, long car journeys are out, so what to do after the celebrations?

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Hanmer Springs in a dry February

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A sign of relief, a skiff of rain at the Boyle in the Lewis Pass

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Can you smell it? Rain sizzling on hot tar

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They say ‘the camera doesn’t lie’ but I swear I couldn’t see the white line. Nearly out of the Buller Gorge, tropical rain defeating the wipers on full speed.

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Happy 92nd! Mississipi mudcake with a smattering of whanau at “J’s” Cafe in Westport.

 

With nieces and nephew from near and far we had coffee and cake at “J’s” Cafe in Westport. Jay had tried calling it “Middle Break”, a reference to the Middle Brake on the Denniston Incline but being a local, everyone kept calling it Jay’s.  This little video will give you an idea of what the Denniston Incline is all about. And this one an idea of what it is like now

The weather was atrocious so later we tried the North Tip Head for a taste of the wild side and weren’t disappointed.

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Buller River, North Tip Head

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Deja vu: for a moment it feels like being on the fore-deck of a Cook Strait Ferry

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The Tasman Sea has a well earned reputation.

 

It was my father who taught me how to read the sea, to see the pattern of the sets and always keep an eye out for the rogue wave.

Such a wave, is one of my earliest memories from further up the coast at Karamea, one minute my sister and I were playing in driftwood tossed high on the beach by a long forgotten storm, next thing we knew we were rolling around in amongst it and soaked.  Bruised and scraped from head to foot we forgot about that when we realised our parents were no longer on the beach in front of us.  Apparently the wave had popped out of no-where and swept along the beach so they’d had to run along the beach not up it, to escape.

I’d forgotten about the lost Mariners memorial to which has been added in recent years plaques in memory of those lost at sea from this little town.  Click on an image to enlarge it.

There was a time when drowning was known as the ‘National Death’ and the western river and harbour bars have taken more than their share, a moments inattention or just bad luck and it’s all over, as with the Craig Ewan on the Grey in 1993. In this newsclip tragedy-on-greymouth-bar

Still they don’t always end in tragedy as in the wreck of the scow Fairburn in 1936:

“….upon departing Westport for Little Wanganui to load timber for Wellington the master, Captain Thomas C. Sawyers, found the seas on the Buller River Bar too rough, and decided to return to Port; but she was caught by the seas and driven on to the North Tip-Head of the Bar. She struck the wall with such force that she made water fast, and her crew of six just managed to get to shore before she sank.”

And these fishing boats entering the Grey River just down the coast

With the appropriate fast food on hand we returned to the Shingle Beach for the peak of the high tide.

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Half a mile up the river is the ‘Shingle Beach’, supposed to be a safe place for swimming but with the taint of sewage on the air, it’s scenic but I’ll pass on the dip.

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