November 2012


Taratara photo taken from State Highway 10

Last week the Wednesday Walkers visited Taratara. This is a sacred mountain to local iwi and by chance our walk coincided with a nearly-full solar eclipse. We were all buzzing!

A friend I interviewed on Voices from the North a few years ago, Colin Brown, has mapped the route spirits travel on their way to Spirits Bay. Taratara is a significant marker on that path. To put all this in perspective here is a little on Spirits Bay from Wikipedia:

The bay is considered a sacred place in Maori culture as according to local legend, it is the location where spirits of the dead gather to depart from this world to travel to their ancestral home (or afterlife) from a large old pohutakawa tree above the bay.

A Māori name for Spirits Bay, Kapowairua (meaning to “catch the spirit“), comes from a Maori language saying that translates into English as: “I can shelter from the wind. But I cannot shelter from the longing for my daughter. I shall venture as far as Hokianga, and beyond. Your task (should I die) shall be to grasp my spirit.” The words were spoken by Tōhē, a chief of the Ngāti Kahu people, who is considered one of Muriwhenua’s most important ancestors. Tōhē made his way south, naming more than one hundred places along the western coast, until dying at Whāngaiariki near Maunganui Bluff. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirits_Bay )

Located just off State Highway 10, between Kaeo and Mangonui, the magnificent rock formation called Taratara was formed some 20 million years ago. The rock rises some 300 metres above sea level and is covered in native flora. Here is the Maori mythology associated with Taratara:

Maori Mythology of Taratara Peak (and the two prominent hills beside it)

According to the local people Taratara was a very handsome mountain whose two wives attended on him dutifully. Maungataniwha, (Taniwha Mountain – a taniwha is a monster or demon) who lived over to the west wished for a wife of his own and decided to ask Taratara for one of his wives.

Taratara disagreed and Maungataniwha returned disconsolate to his home. Time passed and Maungataniwha again went to see if he could persuade Taratara to give him one of his wives. This time the arrogant Taratara laughed at him in such a derisive manner that the angry Maungataniwha whipped his tail and cut off Taratara’s head.Now Taratara’s head lies on the top of Ohakiri near the [Whangaroa] harbour entrance and his wives remain loyally beside his body grieving for their husband. (http://www.eske-style.co.nz/areas/farnorth/wow_taratarapeak.asp )

Enjoy the photos from the day of the eclipse:

Otangaroa side of Taratara

View towards Whangaroa Harbour

The easy part of the climb.

Reaching Taratara requires permission from the farmer whose land one must cross.

 

 

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Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

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It’s time to catch up with a few photos from Wednesday walks in September. Access to this East Beach walk is via Kaimaumau. We had plenty of wind but not the drenching rain we received on the same walk  the previous year. Butterfish Bay is the new name for Paewhenua Island, just outside of Mangonui. This is the only place I know of in the Far North where you can see spoonbills. Enjoy!

 

 

A well-maintained grave on a reserve at Butterfish Bay.

CLICK BELOW TO:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

I strongly urge to read the Avaaz appeal below to suport Nigerian politician’s in their stand against Shell. I also encourage you to listen to my interview from earlier this year with eco-crusader and lawyer Polly Higgins. You can find it here:

https://insearchofsimplicity.com/2012/05/13/eradicating-ecocide-an-idea-whose-time-has-come/

In days, Nigeria’s Parliament could approve a $5 billion fine against giant oil polluter Shell for a spill that devastated the lives of millions of people, and pass a law to hold all oil companies to account for polluting and plundering. This is a watershed moment, but unless we all speak out, oil giants will crush it.

Finally, Big Oil is having to pay for the wasteland and violence that they’ve created. President Jonathan supports the Shell fine, and progressive Senators are pushing for strong regulations, but oil companies are slick, and without huge international support MPs could buckle under the pressure.

Politicians are deciding their positions right now — sign the urgent petition for the Nigerian Parliament to fine Shell and support the bill, and then forward this to everyone — when we hit a million signers we’ll bring our unprecedented global call to the steps of Nigeria’s Parliament:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/make_shell_pay_b/?buCAtbb&v=19071

Experts say that every year Big Oil spills as much crude into the Niger Delta as an Exxon Valdez, but as it is Africa, it gets little media play. After a leak occurred at Shell’s Bonga oil facility last December, millions of gallons poured into the ocean and washed up on the densely populated coast — resulting in one of the largest African oil spills ever. The fine and bill on the table are a once in a lifetime chance to stand up to Big Oil.

Oil companies have made $600 billion in the last 50 years in Nigeria, but locals don’t see the benefits. Their land, drinking water and fishing grounds are ruined. And Shell has spent hundreds of millions of dollars a year on security forces, repressing protest against its harmful practices.

The oil industry is crucial to the economy, but companies have never been held to account for the devastation of drilling. Now, the Nigerian President and a few brave MPs are speaking out and they could finally slam the oil giants with tough fines and give fair pay outs to the victims. If we show MPs that the world supports these crucial steps, we can literally change the lives of millions. Click below to sign the urgent petition:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/make_shell_pay_b/?buCAtbb&v=19071

Avaazers have stood up to Big Oil all over the world, from Chevron in Ecuador, to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, to ending fossil fuel subsidies at the Rio Summit. Now let’s do it for Nigeria too. Make sure the politicians send a message to Big Oil: your days of impunity are over.

With hope and determination,

Pascal, Patricia, Alex, Ricken, David, Rewan, and the Avaaz team

Shell Faces $5 Billion Nigeria Fine (Wall Street Journal)
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303933704577532723563488122.html

Shell urged to pay Nigeria $5bn over Bonga oil spill (BBC)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18875731

Shell’s grip on Nigerian state revealed (The Guardian)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/dec/08/wikileaks-cables-shell-nigeria-spying

U.N. slams Shell as Nigeria needs biggest ever oil clean-up (Reuters)
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/04/us-nigeria-ogoniland-idUSTRE7734MQ20110804

Nigeria: Oil spill investigations ‘a fiasco’ in the Niger Delta (Amnesty International)
http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/nigeria-oil-spill-investigations-fiasco-niger-delta-2012-08-02

CLICK BELOW TO:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101