In the far far north of New Zealand there is a bay, a jewel of a bay with sunken treasure.At co-ordinates 34°58.50’S 173°56.10’E on the 2nd of December 1987 the Rainbow Warrior was scuttled to form a living memorial.
For anyone old enough to remember the French nuclear testing in the pacific from 1966-1996 you may also remember the Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrier, that was bombed and sunk in Auckland harbour by French spies.
A monument has been erected using the ships propeller so that we will remember this event and the beautiful young man killed, a Portuguese-Dutch photographer, Fernando Pereira.
“When the world is sick and dying, the people will rise up like warriors of the rainbow.”Cree Indian Prophesy.
There are two diverse ends of the beach where we camp. At first glance you may consider it is a case of the haves and the have nots.
The city dwellers here for a holiday with our toys, expensive campers, boats, ride ons and TVs…and tiny fridges with feta and prosecco.
Versus down the other end…
This is the Whanau camping ground end where the indigenous Maori of this area, Ngati Kura enjoy summer months. They also own the land that the public camping ground is on; our fees helping pay the lease to them.
At the end of the day someone from the Whanau end drives down to the public camp to the fish bone bins. These are where we have tossed the heads and bones with plenty of scraps still clinging, after taking the fat fillets. I’m sitting in my camp chair with my book and tea but they won’t catch my eye. In they reach and collect them up, putting them in a tray in the back of their rough, knocked around 4wd and drive them back down the beach. This bounty would make a nutritious soup or maybe some sort of bait; I’d love to ask but don’t want to cause offense or embarrassment.
I wonder sometimes if their end is the better end, their children run like ours with warm sand between their toes and we all eat the same fish but they live more simply, conscious of the seasons, and the length of the day. I have sheets in my tent and a fluffy white duvet and I take photos on my IPhone but they are not distracted by Iphones, TVs and mortgages on the house, camper and boat. What they have is real, a true reflection of the impermanance of life. I see the beauty in their existence. I think they may be living more fully, feeling more than me.
All you really need here is a hand line, a good knife and some shelter and life is simple, hard but good.
And on the way home we pass through a tiny town with the best public toilets in New Zealand, maybe the whole world. We were lucky enough to be blessed by the Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser choosing to live here from 1975 until his death in 2000. The toilets are a wondrous thing.