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      Rainy Day at Parapara

      Rainy Day at Parapara

      What is it that unites me to the world around me?

      If I close my eyes and just quieten down and feel some emptiness , what is it that comes to mind?

      Small flowers, song of a bellbird, the whistle of the wind, call of the weka.

      It is raining today, with the patter of rain on the tin roof , it is a time for the land to drink its full. If it rains for too long, it will become drunk on the deluge and start to disgorge itself, the unpredictable chaos that is the Taniwha, ‘Kia Waka Ruaki’ will come to life and thrash its tail. I am respectful of its power over me. On a number of occasions I have had lucky escapes from its clutches.

      Back into the stillness, a little quieter and simpler. I notice the cherry blossom , my thoughts drift to the pururi flowers scattered on the branches. Drops of rain spilling from the pink and yellow petals.

      I wonder why is it that I only make flowers? I gave in many years ago, and as much as I try and break out, it still holds me. It comes so easy to mind and I sit comfortable with it in my hand.

      I wish I could think of a bigger picture, get to grips with some emotional turmoil, political activism, some real world issue. Break some philosophical ground with new design. These are all parts of my makeup and feature strongly in my thoughts, drive my feelings.

      Still in this quieter moment, it is the flowers of the bush, the chirping of the excited cicada’s in summer, the buzz of the industrious honey bees, the slow walk of the new stick insects, the tuneful squawk of the small bellbird that drift on by.

      Probably I have lived too long in the wilds, on the edge of this forest. Tane keeps trying to reclaim me and draw me back into the wild realm. But I cannot survive in its realness. The forest will win when I have little strength left to resist.

      My small house on the edge of the forest will harbour me till then, and I will sit and think of drops of rain spilling from the pink and yellow pururi flowers on this rainy day at Parapara.   

      16th September 2016

      Jewellery NZ | Rainy day at Parapara | Redmanuka

      A Weka on the track

      There was a dead Weka on the track yesterday. I didn't spot it at first but I did notice the flies buzzing about.

      For so many years my backyard has been a little sleepy hollow. The people movements being outnumbered by the wild pigs and other wildlife, some opossum, rats, plenty of bird life.

      This has changed recently. Firstly a couple of likely locals spent a year patiently building a mountain bike track down the manuka scrub hillside, to provide another route for their sunday bike rides. Then local  legendary anarchist, dick nichols retired from his longtime Milnethorpe revegetation project and moved up the end of the Parapara valley. Dick lives for the bush, he finds a piece of mind in wandering the hills on various projects and in the process cuts with his slasher, tracks which meander through the bush. You would be amazed at the seemingly effortless way at which his slasher will cut through two inches of native wood. He places the offcuts to the sides, cuts wee steps where needed and slowly, methodically builds tracks. He has no expectation of others using the tracks , it's all about here and now with Dick. He became interested in my backyard, which is the northern edge of the Kahurangi National park, as part of his fascination with the early colonial industrial developments on Mt Rinopai here at Parapara

      They were an intrepid bunch, the early colonialists  in the district. They burnt the hillsides of Mt Rinopai, and using basic machinery,horses and a heap of hand power, digging  watercourses, build tracks, tunnel into the hillsides, in their quest to find minerals to assist in building the new colonial outpost. At first gold, then iron ore. This all ended in the 1930’s and the wilderness reclaimed its territory. All the hand dug watercourses , the stacked rows of boulders along the creeks, the tunnels with names carved into the inner walls, were reclaimed by the forest. The weta inhabit the tunnels, Moreport guard the entrances, Manuka covers the land, the reeds takeover the dams. A few scraps of cut totara posts, a block of old concrete, some sheets of iron, lie in the bush. So Dick has taken it on as a project to open up the old tracks. As part of this Dick set about re-establishing the Washbourne dam and so I now have a large body of water on my back boundary.  

      So back to the weka on the track. When I first arrived, twenty eight years ago, the weka were still plentiful but already in decline from a decade earlier . Then suddenly they just disappeared and for over a decade maybe even two the weka were not seen in our neighbourhood. It was not just here. All around the top of the South Island and further afield the numbers of these birds rapidly declined. Eventually it was determined that it was a virus which had swept through the population and so it remained for most of two decades. Slowly they have returned in recent years. First I sighted a pair about seven years ago over in the deep bush and they have moved closer and closer as their numbers increased. The nights are again filled with the searching calls of the males. My vege garden is ravaged if not protected. They love freshly dug soil, so I have learnt to dig and leave the soil for a few days then to plant, or they will come at night and pull all the plants out of the ground. They really are a pain to live with. But I love the Weka. Last week I saw a weka roadkill. Another sign that the numbers are again getting back to pre epidemic amounts. So a dead  weka on the track is probably a dog . With all the increased walking traffic due to Dicks tracks, martins mountain bike tracks, it is inevitable that dogs will come along.  Dick reckons that dogs can't catch weka. I doubt that opinion, I've seen it , but the Weka are good at escaping. No one probably really cares, but I do. We have dogs and it could be ours , but we were away with our dogs when this happened and we have trained the dogs to not chase the weka , but how do you know? I love the weka, their wild eyes, beautiful brown patterned feathers, their status as a bird of the forest of Tane! What can I do? Erect a sign to say ' beware weka crossing !' , dogs must wear muzzles? I don't know. It is the national park and dogs are not allowed without a permit ! We have dogs and we walk most days In the kahurangi national park. I do not know the answers but info feel a tinge of sadness. I continue to set my line of rat and stoat traps and this line has now lengthened due to the new tracks. I plan to plant Kahikatea around the area of the Lake and look to add to the large numbers of young Rimu and Miro which are evident in the hills.

      So things are changing in my backyard and it will be interesting to see what these changes bring. Hopefully access to the bush encourages more people to value conservation of our national asset which is the Kahurangi National Park. Hopefully a pair of Blue Ducks may come and visit the new lake.