New Zealand – Pure and Simple

Blimey!  Soon I will be making a sacred circle around the South Island in a campervan with my pal, Thelma.

The itinerary has changed so much since January.  The words I got then were Catlins, Fiordland, southern lights, Christchurch.  Then it went all Fiordlandy, Lake Ohau, Christchurch.  There were weeks of variations on that theme.

8 days ago something solid came in.  The words were Denniston, Lake Mavora, written in permanent ink on a white board in my mind.

Denniston Plateau is on the West Coast and it’s a unique environment with jutting tors and amazing plant life…pygmy pines, teeny rata.  There are incredible native species of gecko and snails – and worms in glorious burnt red technocolour with green blotches circled in white lines.  Plus other species that still haven’t been fully investigated.

There is no other place like it in NZ.

There are also  giant spotted kiwis screeching their heads off during the dark hours.   

This kiwi species is listed as vulnerable.

Vulnerable is how  I feel about this place because an Aussie coal-mining company is working on creating an open cast mine there.   

This controversy has not been given news coverage. I saw a little thing on our public service  TV channel (soon to be pushed out of the way for an shopping channel)  and a little bit more on our public service radio station.

New Zealand looks pure and natural  as the driven snow on tourist billboards.  Butter wouldn’t melt in our mouths…ok, it would.

Our bush is dead, there is no sound coming from it.  You have to go to off shore islands to hear the choir that is our national anthem.  That beautiful melody that astounds you.  

I want to hear the cry of the giant spotted kiwi  on this trip…because on the next trip it might not be there.

Covering my bases you see…though I’m still hoping that a significant part of the area might be claimed as reserve.   

But who knows eh.

Next – Mavora Lakes.  They are on the way to Te Anau and no-one lives there or near there.  The lakes were  movie stars in Lord of the Rings, so I’m told.   

A company called Riverstone Holdings wants to build a 43 km monorail  near  the lakes to Te Anau. 29 kms would go through conservation land.  

We have this remote area,  as in pristine and pure like those posters of NZ want us to believe…and then some blokes want to  chomp through it all so people can experience a rapid rail with no time to look at the scenery that they went there to see.


Anyway, that’s the theme of the trip.  Visits to remote, unique landscapes…get them while you can.

25th April

Anzac Day was yesterday.

 People wrapped up warm to go out at dawn to commemorate dead men and the wars that killed them.

 I wasn’t around when those wars swept the planet and I don’t make a judgement (not much eh!) about what inspired and pushed and informed those men, often very young men, to pick up guns and shoot at other young men just like them.

 They had more in common with each other than they ever had in common with the big wigs on their own sides. The generals and politicians ….I don’t think those coots had much in common with the men in the drenches on either side.

 Those generals and politicians seemed to me to act more like the enemy than the enemy. Making the troops perform mass suicide…like on the Western Front. Sending them to slaughter.

Why weren’t those guys deemed war criminals?

Why were men who suffered shell shock and ran away, shot for cowardice?

Why why why….so much weirdness.

I’m asking why in the context of the time and place…not in the context of the bigger question….what possesses us to consider ‘us’ so different to ‘them’ that we want to rip their insides out with a baynet, drop bombs on them that makes the fat on their bodies boil.

 Once, well actually at my first Judy Satori retreat, I had an experience about those wars. It was a retreat held over Anzac weekend about six years ago. We were up at the Tara sanctuary and I have no idea what we were supposed to be doing.

There was the most beautiful Buddhist male chant playing on the cassette player. I was holding hands with Judy on one side and a friend on the other. Quite quickly I began to see souls cowering in a very deep pit, deeper than deep.

Souls from those wars.

It felt like Judy was seeing them too because when I encouraged one to go to the light – and it did, Judy’s hand appeared to tighten a little. Getting the souls to release their fear and lift themselves up was really easy it turned out. They just needed one ounce of encouragement. They flew up with such lightness and joy. With laughter.

Whenever a group lifted skyward my head would automatically rose skyward too. It felt like Judy was doing the same thing. I have no idea if she was though…it just felt like that.

So that was a beautiful Anzac Day celebration…and my only experience of participating in 25th April.


Have you heard of fractals?  Well I hadn’t… until a couple of years ago when I was watching a science programme  and discovered this bloke Beinot Mandelbrot  who came up with fractals.  I watched the  programme and I didn’t understand anything about fractals by the end the end of it, except I noticed  my body leaned closer and closer to the TV screen and positively fizzed. 
My eyes got wide…and then wider …even though I didn’t understand a buggery bollocking thing.  I watched the credits roll at the end of the show and thought…my life has changed…I know about fractals.
When I was a kid I didn’t understood why I was so crap at science.  My family on my father’s side are scientists.  My father did pre-med at Auckland Uni, you had to be good at science to do that.  His two brothers got PhDs in chemistry.  My cousin is a world expert in photo voltaic cells, another is a medical doctor, another helps write regulations for water quality for the federal govt in the US. The other two cousins were no slouches when it came to science either; though they chose not to pursue it. 
Science, I figured, should be in my veins.   I used to go to science classes at school and think….I need a link, a relationship between me and this subject to get me in.  Just giving me the periodic table and bunsen burners and petri dishes and hard stools to sit on at wooden tables next to a bunch of boys who wanted to blow up things, wasn’t gonna do it.  
Science is really about imagination and creativity and it’s spiralling in its energy…a bit like a fractal. 
I even said once to myself at about 15, why can’t I understand this subject at all.  The answer came back, but you do understand it.  I thought….it’s pointless thinking to myself if all I get is ridiculous answers like that.
I dumped the subject totally then.  I did English which I wasn’t much good at, and geography and history and art history which I liked.
So I have gone through life knowing no science or physics…and not caring either.   
It was  when I started doing spiritual stuff that I suddenly got interested in science.  The link in, the relationship I found, was  quantum physics. 
I was in love with quantum physics as soon as I clapped eyes on it, it was love at first sight.   I didn’t UNDERSTAND it with my brain but I KNEW it with my body.  Richard Feynman, that noble prize winner for physics, once said, anyone who says they understand quantum physics, doesn’t.   He said “I can safely say no-one understands quantum physics.”  And Niels Bohr said this cool thing…” anyone who is not shocked by quantum physics has not understood a single word. ” Groucho Marx said “very interesting…it makes no sense at all.”
  Just those comments…it shows me potential for possibliites, I mean, infinite potential and infinite possiblities. To me these comments say we’ve got something outside linear time and space, which is why you can’t understand it, and if you get into a relationship with the ‘concept’… guess what….you explode your knowledge, the edge of your knowing, into a new and completely different realm of understanding.  It takes imagination, creativity to do that. It also takes frustration mixed with excitement to want to get beyond the boring old three dimensional paradigm.
Here’s the thing…since I was born I have never accepted this 3D limitation.  I always thought, even as a little kid….this is so boring…nothing happens.
I am so happy now with my new friends fractals and quantum physics.  They reassure me I wasn’t mad and I’m not mad now.  They tell me about other dimensions and I go there sometimes on some level.  It’s bloody exciting and exactly how I imagined it might be.
It sounds like a fizzy drink bottle being opened.
It tastes like fizz too, as soon as you taste the tingling sweetness, it’s gone. It’s moved on to something else.
There’s no certainity. There’s clarity ..but only for a second.  There’s no duality in it…duality can’t exist there.
I’m besotted. I’m in a relationship with science…it’s  called Love.

Grey herons, Seagulls

I am back looking after the dogs on 90 Mile beach for a few days. I told you about them  six weeks ago.  They live in a lovely house with a view right onto the white foamy Tasman Sea.  Lucky…dogs.

Last night the four of them and I went for walkies just before the setting of the sun.  I was in hobble-mode because the ‘pains’ in my ankles were ouchy and so the walk was slow and not that far up the beach.

We timed the walk to hit the ramp a bit before sunset to avoid all the tourists who wander down from the carpark to take photos.  They are fun to watch; they look all happy and frolic along the water line.

  After the sun sets a few stay for awhile.  But they never stay for the best bit…it is that time ‘between’.  There is a time when the sun has gone over the horizon and after 10  mins the light, strangely,  gathers power.  The power comes from this time of in ‘between’, being not light, not dark. Twilight. 

When this happened last evening, the sky divided into two parts.  One half going south down to Ahipara was all dark clouds from sky to sea, like a block colour.  Where I was, well my half going north  was a pale blue sky, the most pure expression of pale blue.  This backdrop of colour held light streaks of bright rose  clouds.  

It moved me to tone the words Om Tara, words I have become more and more familiar with since Judy Satori’s retreat on the Coromandel in Februrary. The toning became a song with those two sounds.  When I did this the dogs at first looked at me with great concentration.  Then the big dog came and lay at my feet.  A few seconds later the other two also lay around me, filling up the space on the ground. 

I found that amazing…to me they were grounding the energy.  And they have never sat with me before on the beach, they usually too busy off doing their own thing.   

A dark grey single cloud, lower in the sky that those that were rose coloured, looked exactly like a grey heron.  That was beautiful!

When I had ended the toning and looked down for a moment, I raised my eyes again to see six seagulls flying in the middle of the sky.  I mean, I had looked down for a few seconds from a birdless sky and then  suddenly, these birds  appeared from nowhere right in the middle of my view. 

It was an incredible experience.  All the people were long gone so we were the only ones to experience the beautiful sight.

  The dogs and I had the whole beach to ourselves on the way back to the ramp. Bliss.