Sunday 20 November 2011

A poser, puha and a pun

Honestly, this mountain is such a poser. Lurks behind cloud cover much of the time, tantalisingly giving glimpses through holes in the cloud or veils of mist and then, and only when it feels like it, ta-rah! It's a fabulous sight from any angle, but I must say the foreground of all the blooming rhododendrons at Hollard Gardens framed it beautifully. It's ages since I've been to a big garden, and this one is so lovely: heaps of rhodies and azaleas, but also great trees, long sweeps of fine lawn and masterfully natural plantings of annuals and other bright flowers in the borders. And it's free - of the people, for the people.

Our main focus today was Parihaka, a Maori settlement to the south of New Plymouth where passive resistance was born in 1881, at great cost to the local tribes but inspiring Ghandi, apparently. We had a really delicious lunch there served by Maata's children and were entertained by them too. Then we had a superficial look around the village, which is struggling to come back to life after being abandoned and burnt down in the 1960s. It's a complicated tale that we weren't able to investigate very deeply, unfortunately, as nothing is rushed on a marae and greetings and meals must take their time. But we felt welcomed and even a short visit was better than none.

We ran out of time at the end, so our cruise with Happy Chaddy was cut short - perhaps as well, since the wind was up and with it the sea - but it was fun to slide down the ramp in a real English-built lifeboat the same age as me, and bob out on a circuit round one of the nearer islands to see fur seals, sea birds, a historical location that linked with Nigel's museum, and 'NZ's last real moa'. Actually, it was a reel mower - and the fact that Chaddy went to all the trouble of rowing out to this precipitous, rocky island and dragging an old hand mower up the cliff to fix in place, all for the sake of a pun, tells you everything you need to know about the entertainment value of his cruise. I'm a fan.


the queen said...

This is four hours from you? Jealous! Kansas City is four hours from me. Corn is four hours from me. I would have to drive for a day to see a mountain, and it wouldn't be as pretty as that one. Stupid giant country.

TravelSkite said...

We may be small, but we are (ahem) perfectly formed.


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