Winter Months

The Book Fair The once a year second hand book fair held at the Founders park is always interesting. Maybe it is more in anticipation as one never knows what you might find.  I usually head straight for the UK book tables to see if there are any books on ole England, especially of Cumberland history and such. Also of interest is British nature writings, not lists of their native animals but their feelings of the natural world and the open spaces in those early days. Here we have protests about land and colonisation but what they have been through is nothing compared to my ancestors. Many invasions, destruction, rape, slavery and pillage by foreigners, almost continual scrapping with other nearby clans, tribes, and kingdoms, not to mention famines and plagues! Every treaty or agreements broken. My native language gone. This is all well into the past and now is the present. It is good to know certainly but, maybe strangely by today’s ‘standards’, I have or feel no animosity to this past.  

On Rabbit Is looking over Rough Is with Mt Arthur in the distance.

Richmond Hills Walk Shirl & I lead our 50+ walking group for a month and our first walk was out in the Richmond Hills. We all met at the start of the Jimmy Lee Track, past the bird hide, over Cypress Road then turned off the main track into the Upper Jimmy Lee. This section is through all good native bush but the track is almost a route with some parts a little difficult for some. Upward to the Matai Ridge, a spot which is quite special. A large matai stands sentinel near the base of the ridge and I guess most of its offspring cover the ridge as smaller specimens. In fifty or sixty years time these younger matais will transform the ridge similar to walking through a cathedral of columns.  We had morning tea upon the on top of the ridge. After we continued on to Fowler Road and then went into the Top Jimmy Lee, through some pines to the top ridge and along to the fire lookout for lunch. A weka came along looking for a free food handout. It was quite tame or perhaps aggressive in this endeavour as one had to be careful with any food in the hand. It readily took any offered food from ones hand. 

Any lunch for me, says the weka.

A Rabbit Island Walk  The next Tuesday we walked around about half of the Western end of Rabbit Island. At first a short walk along the seaside beach, back onto the cycle trail, through some pines along one of the traplines then along the cycle trail again to the ferry landing for morning tea. After we followed the shoreline of the estuary between Rough Island, cutting back through the pines again to the cycle trail and back to the cars and in time to meet up with some older members of the group for a BBQ lunch and to sit in the warm winter’s sun for a couple of hours eating and talking. 

Looking along the Mot Sandspit and the ‘huts’ built from driftwood.

Motueka Town and Reserves Walk  After parking our cars in Motueka, we walked through Thorp Bush, Goodman Recreation Park to have morning tea by the Goodman Ponds. Then it was across the road to walk around the Moutere Inlet. The first part has been reclaimed from a dumping ground of sawdust from a local mill and is now an area covered with mostly native trees and plants. The walk continues around the edge of the inlet and we were lucky to spot a couple of Royal Spoonbill’s feeding in the shallows along with a White Faced Heron. And then there was a very wary White Heron or Kotuku a little further. We then walked along the inlet of the Motueka Sandspit, passing the wreck of the Janie Seddon.

Once so strong—

Now so weak—

Not on song—

Rust does seek—

Who sailed on —

The Janie Seddon– 

Gone and forgotten —

Now she”s rotten —

Sailing day”s aside—

Never to ride– 

Time and tide– 

Tries to hide… 

                   ~ by Ken Taylor

The wreck of the HMNZS Janie Seddon.

The tide was out, we were able to cross over onto the spit for lunch. Nearby some children had built ‘huts’ with driftwood. It made me thinking that the kids of Mot could do better than the government in sorting out the housing Kiwibuild effort? At least they have built something! 

Passing By: We have a road being ‘redone’. It’s hardly 1km long and it was to take about  a year to complete. Then there was a time extension and then another, and…? Karla and I biked past a couple of times. Some machines moved about, the odd truck went by, lots of those orange cones from one end to the other. The odd one had legs and some with legs  even moved a bit. Sometimes there were statues dressed with orange vests, holding clipboards or maybe a shovel in various positions too.  But now they say it’s finished. Maybe one day all those orange cones will go? Even the ones with legs underneath?

Will’s Gully Efforts: Friend Kevin and I spent some time putting in more steps here and there along the track where we thought it necessary and planting our home grown renga renga and dianella undercover plants. In the past stock had eaten out the undergrowth plants so we are trying to bring the normal back again. Hopefully these undercover plants will help with erosion and bring back more insects and such for the birdlife too. On one planting excursion I came across a undesirable’s drug pipe thing which I took to the local police. In the early days, about 20 years ago, while clearing the weeds I came across netting material, containers and stuff that were no doubt the remains of a small drug plot.  I find it very strange that people get into this sort of thing when we have all the open spaces of National Parks and mountains nearby in which one can all the ‘highs’ of fresh air one needs. One way or another. We spent a total of 36 hours over six days working up the gully for the month of June and all the plants on hand have been planted. 

June rainfall was 44.5mm (with the monthly average of 154mm)

Natures art work on Rabbit Island?

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