Kai: (n. – Maori) Food
Iwi: (n. – Maori) Tribe
Before I left the states I spent 6 wonderful weeks with my brother-in-law, Joe, and niece, Annie (while everyone else was either working or extremely pregnant, or both). We scoped out playgrounds in two states and thought we had found the best playground ever. Well, I hate to break it to you Joe, but Montville ain’t got nothin’ on Kai Iwi beach (appropriately named since our little food tribe descended on the beach with a picnic dinner feast last night).
Kai Iwi playground is nestled in a cove where a small creek meets the ocean. You can cross a bridge to the playground, or can access it by climbing over a huge pile of driftwood (more like drift trees) from the beach. While we were there about a dozen school kids, enjoying the first day of a two-week vacation, were building a fort and bonfire. Like many kiwi kids they were barefoot and unsupervised. No plastic parts here, the playground has been constructed all from driftwood (and bits of metal). It boasts a pirate ship with a two-story slide and a zip line that flies out over the creek (a definite no-no in US parks). There were swings, some kind of crazy tee-pee merry-go-round, and heaps of other attractions, but clearly the “flying fox” was our favorite.
Even without the playground Kai Iwi is an amazing spot. Nothing beats hanging out barefoot in the sand. I realized over the past few weeks how lucky I was when I moved to Genesee Valley, Salt Lake City, and Proctor to have an amazing group of instant friends. Some people draw energy from themselves, from alone-time. Some people build their energy off of others. I am definitely the latter and it is nice to be part of an iwi again.
Loo: (n.) toilet
Here in the southern hemisphere today is the spring equinox. The Celtic planting calender next to our loo tells me that Alban Eiler is a time where light and dark are in balance, a time for celebrating beginnings and praising the goddess of dawn, wisdom, and enlightenment.
That seems fitting given the fact that we officially sold our farm in New Hampshire this week. We’ve been contemplating the Buddhist notion that all suffering is caused by attachment and are balancing the loss we feel for the farm with the excitement of the new friends and connections we are building in New Zealand. Last night our friends at the Environment Center threw an equinox party with a speaker about transition towns, heaps of food, and music-making.
Those of you in the northern hemisphere are also celebrating an equinox today. Alban Elued, the autumn equinox, is also a time of balance between light and dark. It is a time of feeling fulfillment and completion, closing the cycle of seasons, and also a time of preparation for the winter. Hmmm… preparation for winter… I think we moved at the perfect time.
Oh and look who figured out how to work the camera just in time to snap some pictures of the festivities last night. Good on ya Nelson!
New Zealand finds new ways to surprise us every day. Let’s take a sojourn to our local supermarket.
Succulent Lamb and Mint potato chips?
Even Subway is in on the act.
Just who did ask for that Subway? I may be bold enough to brave Sylvia’s green juice, but I haven’t been brave enough yet to tackle the mint sensation sweeping this small nation. There are some things about New Zealand that I just don’t get.
Heaps: (adj.) a lot
We read an article in the paper the other day announcing proudly that while New Zealand has been the butt of jokes for years because of its 40:1 sheep:human population, that population has in fact halved and now there are only 20 times as many sheep per people in New Zealand. The fact that this was a headline in a national paper, may be self-defeating.
We had heard that in New Zealand there were more sheep than people, but after seeing factory farms in the US that fact didn’t seem too surprising. Undoubtedly if they can fit tens of thousands of cattle into a square mile, then it shouldn’t be hard to surpass a population of four million people spread out over two islands. But here in New Zealand factory farming, feed lots, and corn-fed cattle is unheard of. “What do you mean you can’t find grass-fed meat where you live? What else would cows eat?” asks our friend Lisa. Not surprisingly, “spray-free” fruits and veggies are also much easier to find here. The things we take for granted in the states. When did “conventional” foods become the ones that require the most sprays, shipping, processing, and corn?
Here are a few photos of our six hour bus ride from Hamilton to Wanganui, where we will be house-sitting for 9 weeks. We rode almost the entire length of the north island and passed endless miles of fields with sheep and cattle grazing. No doubt, millions of sheep and cattle grazing happily, and not one feed lot.