We drove up to Northland last night through lashing rain and buffeting wind. Well, B drove and I performed the essential duties of white-knuckled left-seat driver: “Watch the shoulder! It’s only 70 kilometers per hour here, slow down. Drifting to the left again!”
New (to us) car, new side of the road, new countryside, and just stunning beauty everywhere.
We lodged overnight at the Postmaster’s Hotel here in Rawene, a bed-and-breakfast brimming with graciousness and history.
Hokianga Harbour is said to be the place where the great Maori explorer Kupe sailed his waka and discovered New Zealand (Aotearoa). I’m looking forward to learning more about the history of this place now that we’re here. For now, here’s a glimpse of what I see as I look out toward the harbour:
Early this morning, I took this shot from the hospital car park while we were waiting for our welcome into the marae. We took our shoes off and entered, and there were clinic staff and associates ready to welcome us in Maori. They spoke and sang, and then it was our turn to speak and sing. B introduced himself in Maori (thanks to a quick lesson from C.). Our family sang “Barges” and then everyone lined up, shook our hands, gave hugs and kisses and gave us welcome hongi with foreheads and noses touching. Then hospitality in the form of tea-coffee-scones-etc.
I felt privileged to participate in this beautiful and authentic continuation of ancient cultural ways.
This is the view from our back deck, a little later in the day.
And at yet another point in the day. The light changes so frequently during stormy winter days here.
B, A, and I explored a bit around Rawene. This is the mangrove boardwalk.