On Monday I travelled on to Paihia. I am staying at a campsite very close to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Here, in 1840, many Maoro tribes and the English Crown signed the Waitangi Treaty, often disrespected and much discussed. I visited the Treaty Grounds yesterday, a good place to try to understand more about how the treaty came about and what both parties were hoping to get out of the treaty. The grounds are very well kept, nature is being regenerated, and near the treaty house, the then home of James Busby who kind of worked as a mediator between Maori and English, a Maori meeting house has been built. There a cultural performance is shown as part of the program that comes with the entry ticket. I thorougly enjoyed the Maori performance with song and dance and handling of sticks and spears.
A Maori man gave us a tour of the grounds. One highlight is a war canoe that was built using the old building methods, for the 100 year celebration in 1940. The building project had been the vision of a Maori elder and it is said that it helped Maori to strengthen their connection to their culture around waka (canoe) building. I found the whole experience of being there very peaceful.
The weather has been marvellous the last three days, warm with only blue skies. I love my new tent, have been sleeping very well and when I went out during my first night here for a moment I saw a shooting star right over my tent. Since then I find it much easier to connect to other travellers.
I met some of the Te Araroa hikers, I had already seen in the camping park in Ahipara and we had some interesting chats. It seems to be a nice community with many different approaches apparently. Some take it easy and rest a lot in between, others try to do the whole trail as fast as possible.
I am settling with my approach to go for day walks. And anyway I had to find out again that really nobody cares how you travel, everybody seems to have their way. Just old insecurities coming up, as I wrote to a friend, my patterns coming up in travel disguise 😉
I am also becoming more confident in joining others at the table after cooking in the camping kitchen. I can feel the nourishment in sitting in a group and chatting. Many young people, mostly Germans are here for 6-12 months on a work and travel visa. Finding a job for a few months seems to be easy. Otherwise lots of campervans on the camp grounds.
Now Nov 24
Yesterday I hiked to the nearby Haruru Falls, often on boardwalks through the dense bush and through mangrove forests. The mangroves like the swamps as do many other of the local pine trees. However in many places people have dried out the swamps to have land for dairy or other farming and thus trees die. But the Department of Conservation seems to do a lot to regenerate nature. Also new habitat for kiwi are created. I saw one today, or if not a kiwi, a very similar kind of bird.
Back in the 18th and 19th century when the first European came here they discovered the Kauri tree and must have taken lots of it for ship and house and furniture building. Interesting and intense to feel into that situation, people finding a new piece of land and taking from it what they need. And there must have been also some trading, and Maori received what they needed at the time in exchange for the Kauri logs.
My practice changes with the surroundings. As the weather calmed down, also my practice seems to be softer. I can feel the connection between heaven and earth in my heart, my walking becomes meditative. I am mostly happy and yesterday it occurred to me that by doing this I am fulfilling (at least) one of the missions we have as humans and I felt enough as I was there and then. And as I am feeling my heart in this way, I also never feel alone. Which does not keep me from wanting to connect.
When I meet people and we start talking I seem to be mostly listening, one woman told me how she hopes to be ready for a more community engaged work after her Te Araroa experience and a woman I asked for the way today told me about her husband of 19 years having left her very recently. I take those stories in and make them part of my practice. The space between heaven and earth can hold everything.
And I know I could feel more if I let myself. As I felt too overwhelmed in the beginning I started to drink green tea again. I had stopped drinking any black or green teas a few weeks ago but that just leaves me too open and vulnerable for our current world affairs. With a cup of tea I can reduce the amount I feel. Well, that is my type of addiction. Step by step I am intending to let myself feel more again …
Ok, sitting in the lounge of the camping park, loading my tablet, it is getting late. I ll see if the internet is strong enough to upload my blogpost. Photos might be a problem, if you want to see more photos please check my facebook page.
And I hear that some of you do not receive the email notifications when a new post is up. Any comments of those who do and how to succeed are welcome!