We had a windy but beautiful walk at Henderson Bay June 13th. Thanks as always to George for the photos. 

 
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Radio host, 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

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It feels like déjà vu. In Beyond the Search I wrote about our involvement in the opposition to an open pit gold mine on the other side of our fence in New Mexico in the early 1990s. We were ultimately successful in sending the Canadian gold mining company – Placer Dome – home. Now the same threat has arrived in the pristine land of Northland, New Zealand, our home for most of the last 15 years. The Far North Mayor has, on public money, gone to Toronto (where I come from) to welcome mining companies to our part of the world. Dear, dear. Do read the following epistle from Dean Baigent-Mercer, current Chairperson of the Far North branch of Forest & Bird. Something must be done soon if this is to be stopped before an environmental travesty unfolds.

Northland: the skinniest parts of our country with spectacular coastlines, low rugged mountains, is culturally and historically rich and under attack.

The charge has been led by the National Coalition Government and Northland councils to smooth the way for multinational mining companies.

The public opposition to mining in 2010 saw 50,000 people march up Queen Street against mining in conservation areas. I was there and the mood was clear, the public objected to Government plans to open our national parks to international mining interests. In response, Prime Minister John Key and Gerry Brownlee led us to believe that they had listened to the public, backed down and would protect our precious areas.

But since then it’s been full steam ahead with the mining agenda. Without landowner consent, and using $2 million of public money, land from Warkworth to Cape Reinga had aerial geomagnetic surveys carried out last year. Again we were told there was nothing to worry about, that they just wanted to see what was underground.

Two weeks ago a Government delegation and the Far North Mayor Wayne Brown played host at the world’s largest mining trade show in Toronto, Canada. They took a promotional booklet that gives the false impression that Northland would welcome all miners with open arms, the natives were friendly, and the Northland life would suit them fine and be prosperous.

The Government timetable sets the next fortnight for northern councils and Maori to point out sensitive areas where mining would be inappropriate then treat all other areas as open for mining applications from next month.

Only in May will the ordinary landowners and the public be told in which areas what minerals have been found and where the mining industry is being directed.

This is mining by stealth, despite what the Far North Mayor says.

What we do know is that the two main gold deposits are in deep quartz veins beneath mountains of eastern Northland called Whakarara and Puhipuhi. Accessing gold beneath both would involve literally moving mountains, destroying native forests and reopening some of the largest mercury beds in the country.

Whakarara peak is over 300 metres above sea level. The gold begins 200 metres down through very hard rock. Tunnelling is not an option. Mining would mean another Waihi-type hole in the ground.

Toxic waste from hard rock mining, over 18 tonnes per gold ring, would need to be safely stored beyond time scales we can imagine. Both areas are prone to extreme floods as witnessed in recent years.

Bay of Islands

These mountains head the catchments of the Bay of Islands, the Kaipara and Whangaroa Harbour making waterways downstream at risk of toxic mining pollution, including Matauri Bay, Helena Bay and Mimiwhangata.

We can’t risk any more waterways being further contaminated. Already the Far North District Council and Northland Regional Council cannot deal with pollution from dairy farming, let alone pollution from mining companies.

Local authorities are claiming that all mining applications will be subject to ‘strict’ requirements. But right now the Crown Minerals Act is under review and powerful mining interests are lobbying to strengthen their corporate ‘rights’ and relax their environmental compliance. They want easier access to any land with minerals and the key objective of new mining laws to be promoting attractiveness for business and investment. All this would further undermine genuine environmental, public concerns and sensible protection.

And despite what the Government promised two years ago, mining investigation permits have since been given the thumbs up for World Heritage areas and South Island National Parks. Will Coromandel and Great Barrier Island be next in the firing line?

The Department of Conservation has recently sacked their “back office” staff with the knowledge and skills to address biodiversity and recreation threats from mining applications. Internal memos now instruct what the Department can and cannot comment on. In contrast there has been a major staff expansion within the Ministry of Economic Development to promote the discovery and extraction of minerals, metals and oil.

But the public backlash has already begun as local communities in Northland feel betrayed. Perhaps that’s why the politicians are rushing ahead, to try and sign contracts with miners before the mining reality sinks in.

Dean Baigent-Mercer 16 March 2012

Chairperson of the Far North branch of Forest & Bird

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Radio host, 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

 

On Friday and Saturday we moved our 25,000 book library to its new home in the fantastic newTe Ahu Centre in Kaitaia. It was a monumental effort of many people including Sabine Beard who took the following photos on her phone. We are extremely pleased with the new space conceived by Story Inc of Wellington. Two different people said they felt the atrium entrance to the complex has a cathedral-like feeling. I think the library and museum are reminiscent of the national museum of Te Papa in Wellington. Te Ahu roughly translates as ‘meeting place’.

Step one: Load books in banana boxes

Step two: Take them to the new space, even if not yet completely readyStep three: put the books on the shelves.Voila: A multimedia library with cafe.

 

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Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

 

Radio host, 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

 

I recently joined the Doubtless Bay-based hiking group that has walks most Wednesdays. Here are a few photos courtesy of George Van Valkenburg:

Striding Out on 90 Mile Beach90 Mile Beach Walk from Waipapakauri

Ascending the Dunes For Lunch

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Radio host, 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

 

Beautiful Mangonui Fishing Village

I consider it a real privilege to be able to interview some of our elders on Voices From the North. Neva Clarke McKenna is one such elder and she’s an amazing woman. Neva was born just after the First World War, and was 87 at the time of our talk in 2007. She is an accomplished writer and historian. She is also an actress, a mother and friend and humble helper of many. In preparation for the interview I got to know Neva a little and the following words represent my meagre efforts to capture a little of what Neva has to say:

‘I had my 87th birthday this year. I grew up in Gisborne. My father was a wonderful man. When he left Ireland he said he would never set foot in a church again because of the hypocrisy he had seen in Ireland; and he was true to his word. The only time I ever saw him in a church again was for his funeral and then I didn’t really see him, only his casket. My mother and we children used to go to church but not my father. Once a week, the Presbyterian minister came to our house, to talk to Dad. They had great talks. Dad had a bible; he just didn’t go to church.

When I was about eight, I was out in garden with my father. He was planting onions and there were many ants around where he was working. I asked him, “Are there Catholic and Protestant ants?”

He said to me, “I don’t think so, Nugget. But they can fight with each other just like Protestants and Catholics.”

He used to encourage me to keep asking questions. Even then I was curious about everything. He also used to tell me to keep my mouth closed and my ears open. Then I would learn a lot. I asked him how I was to keep my mouth closed and still ask questions. He said, “When you are older you will know the right time to listen and the right time to ask questions.”’

I trust that you enjoy this inspiring interview with Neva Clarke McKenna:

It offers a glimpse into the world of yesterday, of growing up during the depression, of wartime Europe (Neva served in Italy in WWII), and of Neva’s approach to historical research and writing. I’ve been inspired by this woman. Her humor rings through our conversation. For more on Neva and the creation of her book Mangonui: Gateway to the Far North click here.

I said at the beginning of the hour that it has been my privilege to get to know Neva these last few months. Here are a few words about friendship that were sent to me by email recently:

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person. When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.

Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

CLICK BELOW TO:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

“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

I thought I’d give you a glimpse into my world. It may be a little different from the norm. But it is the life of my conscious choosing. It works for me and allows me to find fulfilment through service and simplicity of living.

At the age of twenty-five I had a highly stressful and challenging management position in customer services with Bell Canada. Each of the three men who’d had the job before me ended up in the hospital with a stress-related illness. During my annual physical with our company doctor it was found I had high blood pressure. Remember, I was only twenty-five. A few months later I headed off to the Middle East as an advisor with the international arm of my company. I began to travel. My perspective changed and I haven’t worked nine-to-five since.

I do what I love. So does my wife, Lucia. We don’t own much and nothing owns us. We have the freedom to listen to the spirit that calls in the night and whispers sweet melodies at dawn. We love our life, our family and each other. We love this place we live in and the community of friends with which we share our lives. We’ve needed to sacrifice a few material possessions and the financial buffer we’d had earlier in which to pursue our dreams. We wouldn’t have done it any differently. We are so lucky!

The following is a synopsis of last week’s experiences for me.

March 7 to 13, 2010

Sunday was a wonderful day out for Lucia and me doing walks in the beautiful world-renowned Bay of Islands which is just a little over a one hour drive from here. A link to a post describing that day is here.

Monday was a day of writing and included a visit by a talented and sensitive young man who had been unjustifiably threatened with dismissal at his place of work. The rest of the week entailed drafting a letter of support for him to his employer and numerous calls by Lucia and me to sort this mess out. For two hours in the afternoon I joined a small group of people practicing old-time songs to sing at a fundraising dinner for Far North Hospice coming up on Saturday night. Lucia and I closed out the day with a beautiful walk on the beach together and were treated to an amazing sunset.

Tuesday began with Lucia’s weekly yoga class attended by a group of local ladies, a visiting man from the UK and me. After spending an hour-and-a-half giving a Touch for Health balance to a client/friend, it was time to address the computer. For the next few hours I was engrossed in formatting my new book. It’s quite a satisfying and exciting exercise to see the words begin to look like a book with page numbers, chapter headings and the like. One can see the conclusion to the months and months of creative writing taking a concrete form. I also continued to tweak the new book cover I’d started the week before. In the afternoon I spoke on the phone with a friend in Arizona whom I’ve interviewed in the past. He’s a deeply sensitive and creative individual and it was this conversation, together with the one with the young man the day before that inspired me to write the article entitled How to be Sensitive, Vulnerable, Creative and Safe in an Unfeeling World.

The day finished with a journey with friends into Kaitaia for our weekly session of Scottish Country Dancing.

 

Bottle Nose Dolphins in New Zealand's Far North

 

Wednesday’s highlight came at two o’clock when Lucia rushed in from her walk on the beach to get me. An excited group of primary age children staying at the Christian Youth Camp here had the privilege and pleasure of playing with a large school of dolphins right by the shore here at Coopers Beach. I quickly got into a bathing suit and jumped in with them. What a buzz! There was a pod of approximately 15 adult dolphins rounding up kowai, a local fish. The dolphins took turns out from their feeding work to entertain the kids (of all ages). We don’t often have the dolphins so close to shore so this was a special treat. For these city children the experience will never be forgotten.

Wednesday evening saw me on the radio for a fascinating interview about mental health and healing in the modern world. For more on that see the blog and interview here.

Thursday afternoon I was invited to attend a class for homeschoolers with an Italian operatic singing ORFF teacher. ‘What, dare say, is that?’ you ask.

Carl Orff (1895-1982) was a German composer and educator who developed a unique approach to music education. Orff defined the ideal music for children as “never alone, but connected with movement, dance, and speech—not to be listened to, meaningful only in active participation.” Orff said, “Experience first, then intellectualize.” Based on this ideal, the Orff approach builds understanding of concepts and skills through connecting students with the music by experiencing it on all levels. These levels include speech/chants, movement, singing, drama, and by playing pitched and unpitched instruments.

The above paragraph was copied from http://www.classicsforkids.com/teachers/training/orff101.asp There is a wealth of further information on that website.

I will see about having the teacher, Lilia, on the radio soon. I’ll let you know if this comes to pass. Below is a clip to give you an idea how Orff works. I have to say it was a lot of fun. It was like Brain Gym to music. The children did better than me!

Thursday evening I walked along the beach and turned inland to a friend’s place for a couple of hours of chanting, followed by meditation. One friend, a talented semi-blind musician originally from Switzerland, recently returned from an extended stay in India. He shared some new chants with us, accompanying them on his harmonium. The friend, Shelley, who hosts these evenings each week, is a skilled and talented homeopath who is currently studying two books outlining new remedies (nosodes) for diseases carried in meat. A nosode is a remedy consisting of the product of some specific disease administered in minute doses for the cure of the same disease. I’ll have Shelley back on the radio in June to bring everyone up to date on these new challenges to people’s health. Here’s a link to a previous interview with her.

Friday began with my usual walk on the beach but it began a little later than usual because I’d been particularly productive writing first thing. I met a man, a retired local farmer, on the beach and leapt immediately into a far-ranging discussion. I realise it is this kind of chance meeting that give richness to my life. For me, freedom is having the time to honor the synchronistic encounters that occur regularly if we have the eyes to see them. Simplicity of living is by no means dull. It is exciting in the nicest sort of way. There is a feeling of joyful expectancy that doesn’t go away.

Bronze Whaler Shark

When heading out for my afternoon swim, a man warned me that there was a huge shark that had been hanging out by a buoy around which I swam most days. He said it was twice his size and said he wouldn’t swim because of it. I asked if was a Bronze Whaler and he replied in the affirmative. These sharks come into our bay each summer. I know of no one who’s ever been hurt by one. I went in for my swim but I must say I did stay a little ways from the buoy. It was a wonderful, refreshing swim. I saw no shark.

Saturday, I walked into Mangonui, our picturesque little fishing village to go to the weekly market and to pick up some bread from the local bakery for our daughter, Asha. On the way home I stopped at a roadside stall to buy some lettuce and cucumbers. The owner/gardener picked the produce while I followed them around. How’s that for service? They even gave me some seedling lettuces and bok choy for our garden. We had visitor in the afternoon, and then Lucia and I attended the forty-fifth wedding anniversary of some lovely friends who’ve recently moved here from the U.K.

I had to leave a little early in order to be on time for the fundraising for Hospice at the local lawn bowling club situated just around the corner. The singing went well. The place was sold out and over $2000.00 was raised for Far North Hospice. It was a successful evening, even for the diehard cricket fans watching the television screen in the corner. The Kiwis won a test from arch rival Australia. By the time I walked home along the beach under a starry sky at eleven o’clock I was more than ready for bed.

I was up early writing most days. And, of course, each day began with yoga and meditation and a walk and was highlighted in the afternoon with a swim. For more on my daily routine check out this post.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my discourse as much as I’ve enjoyed the actual happenings. I’d love to hear your comments.

John

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

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The Beach Dancers. John in Purple Wig!

I’ve made several posts over the last months describing my family’s involvement with our monthly Céilís in Mangonui. I thought I’d paste below an article I wrote this week for the Northland Age, a local paper. Hopefully it creates for you a picture of this special event. The photos should help too.

Saturday, September 19th saw the unfolding of the monthly Céilí (pronounced ‘kay-lee’) in the Mangonui Hall. One of the features of a Céilí is the opportunity for attendees or band members to present an ‘item’ at some point in the evening. These items can take the form of a song, a dance, a story, a skit or an instrumental performance. Over the three and a half years the Céilí has been running in Mangonui there have been some pretty amazing items. The September Céilí was no exception. First, after about four dances, MC Brian Farrant announced there were some people about to arrive modelling 1920s beach wear. In bounded 8 members of the Kaitaia Scottish Country Dance club led by their gregarious leader, Brian’s wife, Gladys Farrant. The beach wear was colourful, if not exactly true to the period, and the dancing performed by the group brought smiles and laughter to the audience. Not to be missed was Gladys chasing fellow dancer and interestingly attired Ron Rice with a child’s plastic spade.

One of the founders of the local Céilí, Jill Freeman, entertained with the hilarious story of the gender of a computer (a story currently making viral rounds of the world via emails) and later, after more dancing and supper, Kerikeri’s Bill Dawes demonstrated his considerable prowess on the tin whistle. One listener was overheard saying, “That first song was powerful. It brought tears to my eyes.” Bill was quick to point out after his poignant offering that it was all done on a $5 whistle!

The Céilí band, Spootiskerry Spraoi (pronounced ‘spree’), was there as always providing foot stomping, toe tapping music led by band leader Jax Pellett on fiddle. This band gives their musical accompaniment entirely voluntarily and the composition of the band is fluid as members take off temporarily to fulfil other obligations. Replacement musicians jump to the fore to ensure great music is heard and danced to every month. The aforementioned Bill Dawes was one such fill-in on Saturday together with Grant Goodwin on the Bodhran (‘bow-ran’). People who were lucky enough to attend Trial by Jury by the Bay of Islands Singers would have seen Grant in another musical role.

The Céilí organisers invite you to attend on the third Saturday of every month at the Mangonui Hall. The next one will be October 17th. The doors open and the music starts at 7.00 pm.

Dancing begins at about 7.30 pm. Entrance fees are $2 per adult plus a plate for supper. Entry is free for accompanied children. It doesn’t get much more reasonable than that.

This is good old fashioned fun for all ages in an alcohol-free setting in the enchanting ambience of historic Mangonui Hall on the waterfront. Come along and enjoy. No dance experience is necessary and it is perfectly permissible to simply watch.

The Kaitaia SCD Beach Dancers in Mangonui

The Kaitaia SCD Beach Dancers in Mangonui

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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.