Friday, October 29, 2010

Trees and other stuff

Despite the fact that I have now been to five movies in six days (two National Theatre Live performances and three movies at the Italian Film Festival) I have been thinking a lot about my next piece and hope to make a start next week. I have made some notes and done another page in my latest workbook which helps the focus.

Quote: You can't do what you don't know if you keep on doing what you do know.

In the meantime, more about the Chathams where the landscape is low-lying and exposed to the surrounding seas. Strong winds are consistent and leave an influence on the trees.

These trees are the native ake ake which is a different cultivar to that on mainland New Zealand. The result of the winds is pretty evident!

I like the contrasts in a clump of trees, especially the 'wave' patterns when the wind blows.

The NZ Dept of Conservation (DOC) is very evident in the Chathams. They have a full-time staff of 16 which makes it the biggest ratio per population (580)within NZ. While we were in the Chathams they had a session on a remote seaside area, planting out 1500 ake ake tree seedlings. The school children (about 40 pupils), parents and their teachers, do such plantings once a year. We tourists decided to join them, and I planted about 30 trees. Perhaps I will return one day to see 'my' mature trees!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chatham Islands

I have now returned from my week in the Chatham Islands, 800km east of New Zealand, 44°S. These isolated islands belong to NZ and currently have a permanent population of about 580 people. Its primary income is from fishing and stock farming. It has an incredible history with its first inhabitants the Moriori, the early whalers, sealers and missionaries from Germany and France, and the arrival of the Maori and English settlers. Enough to say here that it was a great week, the hospitality was outstanding, and the weather much better than what has been reported back home! It was rather like stepping back in time, and all that was good in my own back country upbringing. However, I would not wish to live there permanently, they have to be very self-reliant. Day-to-day living is costly, with supplies being shipped in from NZ. Longtime residents are very proud of the Chathams and their inheritance.

Thank you to those who left comments on the blogs which self-posted while I was away, your comments are much appreciated. I have yet to start work again, ideas are forming but they need more time before I make a start. In the meantime, I shall continue to report on the Chathams. Here are some general photos:

Waitangi, the main township on the Chathams.

A typical road through farmland, most roads are gravel, with some sealed roads through the towns. In this photo the sea mist forms a haze across the island.

Coastline on the south region of the island.

This is quite a special photo. If you look very closely on the centre left you can just see a narrow strip of Te Whanga Lagoon, a fresh water lake. The sea on the right is the Pacific Ocean.