30th November 2006, 2.58
The Mousetrap, Paihia
Well, given the political situation (see the FCO travel advice), the visa delay may have been a blessing in disguise!
Anyways, it’s raining here now, big heavy monsoony type rain, so I thought I’d let you know what we’ve been up to. Well, yesterday, we borrowed some bikes and cycled to Waitangi, where the treaty of Waitangi was signed – it basically created New Zealand as a country and thanks to some hasty interpretation, has been a source of dispute between Maori and Pakeha ever since. Fascinating subject and one of the few incidences where the UK decided to intervene to ensure that indigenous people got a fair deal.
Too stingy to pay the $12 entry fee for the treaty house, we walked to Haruru Falls instead – not a particularly spectacular set of falls, but a really varied and interesting walk. It’s about 5km from Waitangi to Haruru, the walk starts in native bushland, complete with kiwis and huge ferns. Then it drops down and hits one of the few patches of mangrove in New Zealand, we timed it just right and reached the mangrove at low tide, so we could hear snapping shrimp – it was incredible, a constant popping noise throughout the forest. Then it heads back up and we passed two trees full of nesting cormorants – fascinating seabirds that nest on land (they’re actually the symbol of the Joint Services Command and Staff College as they encapsulate the natural environment of all 3 armed services).
Then on the way back, as we left the mangrove and crossed a footbridge, there were hundreds of baby fish in the water (not sure what species though) – as we stood watching them leap out of the water and float in and out of view, a jellyfish came blobbing along gracefully through the water and right under our feet – it was amazing!
So that was that – so this morning, I’ve knitted myself a little case for my MP3 player and baked some bread.