Thursday, February 11, 2010

Whata ngarongaro he tangata, toitu hewhenua : Man disappears but the land remains.

Most times in life the things we most worry and fear over do not come to pass. This is one of the greatest self lessons I have learned in the mountains. Yet sometimes that fear and worry does appear, does manifest itself in real and terrible ways. I have alluded to in a few prior posts about my concern for the welfare of the Wild Places of Aotearoa, that they were under the eye of individuals, corporations, share holders, and those whom would alter them eagerly for the benefit of man. That has come to pass. Our National elected government has now clearly stated their intention to open up our publicly held conservation estate to mining and mineral "extraction". The battle is truly upon us, sides will be taken, and the future of the Land, and our children is at stake.

The Conservation Estate of New Zealand compromises 13% of our land mass. Within it lies the beauty and immense treasure of such gems as Aoraki, Aspiring, Arthur's Pass, Fiordland, Taranaki, the mysterious Urewera, Tasman, Nelson Lakes, Westland, Tongariro, and the newest and perhaps most susceptible, Kahurangi. There are , of course, other jewels at risk, such as my beloved Ruahine amongst other lesser known places. The contempt our government shows for any wild place makes these even more at risk should anything of "value" turn up. I use words like treasure, gems, and jewels, in the sense of the wealth they contain in their wildness, in their ability to connect to parts deep within us we seem to be losing even faster than I ever imagined. The wealth they represent in their Wildness is too much to ever comprehend or put at risk. Too many others see treasure, gem and jewel, as simply representing potential wealth in terms of money. And so these places become mere grid lines on charts and maps representing dollar signs. 13%!!! Is it too much to ask to just leave that much alone? To just let it be and let it represent what it can be to those whom chose to seek it, or even just dream of seeking it? To leave our children, and their children, just 13% of Wilderness! How they will hate us!

Our smiling and very rich prime minister, John Key, uses buzz phrases even better than his jowly servant Gerry Brownlee. Soothing utterances such as "sensitive extraction", "all New Zealanders care about conservation", lie next to the dark possibilities of "economic growth", "job creation", and bringing "wealth" to all New Zealanders. A very quick check on companies mining or hoping to mine, within Aotearoa will tell one 4 primary movers in this travesty have little connection here aside from its interest in our "wealth". As soon as the "wealth" is extracted they will leave the mess behind for our future generations to contend with. "Clean and Green New Zealand", "100% Pure New Zealand". It is the Big Lie my friends. We have already desecrated the areas outside the 13% left pure, now the time has come to move in on that as well. It makes me weep.

Edward Abbey has always been an inspiration to me. Though later in his life Ed wrote what I considered some far out offerings about the governments NOT wanting people to HAVE access to wild places, real wild places. A paved road leading to a look out some where would suffice the urge for us once the connections are truly severed. I used to think Ed might have had a few too many drams by then, he was indeed a heavy booze hound by that stage, and that there was no great conspiracy, that deep down governments are here for US.
Ed, I apologize, you always were ahead of your time, and the future is upon us. They really do want us to just care about our mortgage, our job, fitting in like everyone else, and just being a good citizen and not asking too many questions. Total Disconnection. Holy Shit!

Earth First! Kia kaha! Please, Let us fight these Bastards where we stand. We stand on the Earth.



kylie said...

hi robb
i'm rushing a bit, just wanted to say thanks for visiting my place

take care, eh?

Marty Mars said...

kia ora Robb

I'm with you mate - all the way!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Kylie,
A bit much to come across no doubt. I never intended this place to be this way, but I have no choice. There are too few voices out there. So even if the few that read here get the message then I thank you for stopping by. I hope to resume normal transmission soon. Have a great holiday my friend.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Marty,
You are a Voice my friend, and I thank you. I encourage any reading this comment to check out Marty's place at
This battle has finally begun in earnest and I am glad you are out there Marty. Kia ora. Kia kaha!

Ophelia Rising said...

Robb, I'm disgusted. And incredibly sad. And ANGRY. I can't believe what people will do for money - I just can't. I don't know why it should surprise me, but it does - even when I see, over and over, how far we've sunk in our priorities, how much the human race is sinking down into a sad, sad state. I just don't have the words.

HOWEVER. I am with you in the fight - and anything I can do, I will. I do believe that there are many out there who will help fight the good fight. I think we can really find a good place for a petition - several places - and that, with some publicity, maybe a major outcry might sway the decision. Thank goodness for the Internet - there are lots of sites that might be interested in promoting information about this, as well as a petition. Well, I'll send you an e-mail (don't mean to go on and on here. Sorry)!

I'm sending you all positive thoughts - just know I'm with you, completely. With righteous indignation.

"A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need, if only we had the eyes to see ... No, wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, as vital to our lives as water and good bread."

- Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

Kirigalpoththa said...

What a beautiful area!

greentangle said...

For some reason your post had me thinking of quotations also. From the end of Casablanca--

"Welcome back to the fight. This time I know our side will win."

And from the song No Place Away by one of my favorite songwriters, Greg Brown, here's the relevant part.

"And I tried to hide--
live there like I used to.
But the sadness sent me,
letters every day,
sayin' there's--
there's no place away.

Tell me where the hope lies,
to bear the world,
to bear the destruction,
in which we all participate."

Good luck against the Bastards!

Mike said...

Hi Robb. Thanks for another great post as usual. Sorry, I think I have to post it as 2 comments due to length restrictions.

For some reason I've never really believed the entire 'clean and green' claim that New Zealanders tell themselves, even 15 to 20 years ago. People see themselves living in a country which has bush and rivers and mountains and use this to justify the image, but for many it never extends to living clean and sustainably, avoiding polluting, or wanting to actually put in an effort beyond expecting someone else to do it all in exchange for rates and taxes. So many people in New Zealand have problems closer to home, and I'm not convinced it'll be before issues such as poverty, alcohol & drug abuse, family violence and social inequality are effectively dealt with (if ever), that many people will take a look outside and realise there's an environment out there. I'm also not convinced that the obvious approaches to solving such problems are the best. eg. "Social inequality" doesn't have to mean that everyone has the same amount of money, it just needs to mean that everyone has the same opportunities. I also don't think outright bans on drugs do anything more than make the black market more profitable and push it under the radar, and I found it depressing yesterday morning to hear our Justice Minister outright rejecting a well researched report calling for debate about decriminalisation of some drug use, without even being willing to consider it.

Irrespective of who is in government at any time, it's always selected by Aucklanders. I think if any attitude is to change and if the NZ government's stance is to change, people in Auckland really need to be convinced and their problems (as described above) need to be solved. When you posted and I read this not long ago, it got me thinking and ultimately inspired my most recent thing about what I enjoy in living here, in Wellington. I work 5 days a week in an air conditioned 14 storey office building, and 2 days ago I saw a Kaka flapping past my window! Ten years ago this would never have happened, but there's a very successful sanctuary and breeding programme not far down the road, which has had some government support in later years but was initiated by enthusiastic volunteers who just got up and did it! The whole region's well shaped over the long term to foster that kind of enthusiasm, though. No matter where I go around here, there's a good view of the Town Belt or the Outer Green Belt, partly because the landscape is hilly, and it's similar for most places near here. Even with the population, there's green space everywhere, much of it un-sculpted native bush. It's very accessible and it's hard to miss even for those who prefer to sit in cafe's rather than go for walks through it. Many people walk or cycle, because among other things the parking's atrocious.

Mike said...

[part 2]

I'm fairly sure that Auckland doesn't have the same experience on a lot of levels. Sure, there are places to get outside and go for a walk, but there's not the same encouragement to do so. It's not even legal to walk or ride a bike over the Harbour Bridge, which effectively cuts off those methods of commuting for anyone who needs to go that route. And if you read Thursday's editorial of the NZ Herald, which was an okay newspaper about 10 years ago but is now devolving into New Zealand's equivalent of Fox News, it's just doing more to shape what many Aucklanders think about a land and a space that isn't a direct part of their lives. (On the side, Editing The Herald is a good laugh, but it's also very disturbing that so much satire is so easily available from the country's largest newspaper.)

troutbirder said...

My hopes and dreams with wishes and prayers go with you and the like minded people of New Zealand. Here, my hero Sigurd Olsen, stands as an inspiration that the good fight can be won and cemented in law to hold back the despoilers.

PATERIKA HENGREAVES, Poet Laureate said...

Hi Robb

I felt your pain in this post. You know from time in memorial, money has been the root of all evil and today this evil is continued by greedy people in high places. However, while we continue to fret and display all signs of helplessness in this struggle to preserve priceless gems that mother nature has generously given to us to nurture, use wisely and to protect, in this regard, the voting patterns of the people display tunnel vision and add to that, their appetite for instant gratification with dire consequences ignored. The challenges are great for all those who believe in the sensible protection of unique wild places, the fauna, flora and the land... a lonely voice crying in the wilderness of corporate greed out of control as they do with wanton haste their acts of raping the land and destroying its treasures that cannot be replaced once they are no longer there. The struggle will be long and hard for the friends of mother nature but true friends never give up for within their hands stands the ballot, use it to put a stop to the abuse on mother nature's generous gifts. We with voting power must do the right thing to end this environmental abuse. We must seek every opportunity to keep environmental issues on the front burner and when voting time comes around cast our votes for mother nature.

Anonymous said...

What can i say, I'll fight with you my freind!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Ophelia,
My Wild Sister, you do have the words, and they put joy and hope in my heart. Your immediate response to my email, and the plans for action rally my sagging spirit. We have to match word for word those whom try to justify this travesty, put short term human gain ahead of the earth, and leave even more messes for our children to clean up and deal with. And this is not even about some supposedly justified reason like power generation to sustain the unsustainable, this is just about pure greed under the guise of economic benefits. We have to fight these technocrats or we will have no Wild Places left to Listen to the River, to feel the mountain breeze, and to be wild. I think more and more it is what they want. We somehow have to cast the eyes of the world, at least its like minded peoples upon this and let them know they are being watched. I shall be in touch soon. Kia kaha!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Kirigalpoththa,
Indeed these are beautiful wild places, and the issue is now to keep them that way. Appreciate your visit.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Greentangle,
Thanks for stopping in. By funny coincedence Greg Brown is playing a free outdoor concert tomorrow here in Palmerston North, less than a 10 minute walk from my house. I hope he plays the song!
They are bastards all right! My gut feelings tell me this is a real big thing, and that it will be huge part of our lands future in many ways. Sides will be taken.
On another note, my condolences on the loss of your grandfather.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Mike,
Thanks for such a thought provoking and insightful comment. At times I wonder how many of those social issues you mention are a result of now generations becoming so disconnected from that outer environment. As I mentioned Ed Abbey had a lot to say about the real aim of technocrat governments in seperating people from nature, and real freedom. I see it happening, it killed my own brother, it is real and upon us.
I have pretty much kept my mouth shut on the whole decrimiliztion thing but it makes me laugh when idiots like Laws and the Herald quote stats about cannibis use as gospel and true. Many of my generation, well educated and what society would consider "successful"
people and might use cannabis from time to time would never participate in such surveys, or call talk back radio shows to be submitted to abuse by the likes of Laws. They ( the politicians and media) are completely disconnected from the reality of it, and it would appear so with the need and importance of wild places as well.
I have always held Wellington in far higher esteem than Auckland in every way, and every time I visit come away more in love with it.
Thanks for the links Mike, especially to the Herald. If that is not self serving propoganda worthy of Goebbel's himself! Fox news indeed.
I enjoy reading and viewing vicariously your journeys over at your place, as I am still a good 4 months or so from mountain interaction. After that, look out! Got to get out there while we can.
Kia kaha.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora TB,
Sigurd, John Muir, Edward Abbey, they would be be welcome here now mate! Such voices are hard to replace, and hard to find others willing and worthy to pick up the torch. We have to though, too much is at stake, and at least the paths hard traveled by those men gives us examples to be guided by. Thanks for your support TB.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Paterika,
I have no words to add to your always beautiful words, which always cut to the heart of the matter. Unfortunately this government was overwhelmingly voted in by the people of this country, and thus far the opposition has failed to combat the right wing propoganda being rolled out upon us. The rich get richer, tax breaks to the wealthy spun as good for us all, 10's of millions given to private schools, where the rich send their kids, whilst are public school are in turmoil, and adult education has been vitually wiped off the map. Below that comes Nature, our disconnection as people ensures that most care not for these areas, and are far more concerned with making sure we get a few scraps from table after the rich excuse themselves. A very cunning ploy, one that has to be fought, perhaps even sacrificed for.
Sometimes Paterika I just want to go sit by the Ruahine river and cry, and let the Earth enfold me and take me. But if only for my boys I shall try to Rave On. Kia kaha!

Mike said...

Thanks Robb. Yeah if people could get more exposure to the outdoors I'm sure that many would enjoy the opportunity and benefit a lot from it, even if they didn't realise that beforehand.

I should probably say that I don't know if I'm for any kind of decriminalisation or not, but my gut feeling is that the current laws are not constructive, more a consequence of political grand-standing and (probably) pressure from certain other nations. What frustrates me about the last few days' developments is that the government has thrown out a well researched report without even considering it, and our Minister noisly talks as if he's proud of it because apparently this is the populist thing to do and gets the most positive attention on talkback radio and the like. It's bad governance. I thought the previous government was doing a few strange things in its last couple of years, but this latest government disturbs me even more straight away, with all the urgency and refusal to properly consider details of all the populist changes it's so keen to push through. While I'm on the topic, here's another link commenting on our government's fast-tracking of new standardised testing into schools (unfortunately a long article but very insightful). Just something else to make me grumble.

I also don't want to sound too critical of Auckland... I just think that Auckland influences the government so much that it's necessary to convince enough people who live there of anything important. I have friends there, including people who are completely conscious of the environment and who even actually get out of Auckland from time to time. I think it's just that being a city that's an order of magnitude larger than anywhere else in NZ, there are completely different groups of people who probably never see anything outside the city. And yeah, as you mentioned I think a lot of it's cyclical with children taking role models from those around htem. There's probably also a certain amount of people immigrating straight into the city from all kinds of cultures without having much opportunity to see what's outside, or perhaps without having much interest in it regardless.

Cheers. :-)

KB said...

The last part about Edward Abbey reminded me of a shocking conversation I had with a 'mole' in our county government. I have a favorite bike loop, but part of it follows a trail that the county has declared 'closed' recently. Now, they're talking about closing a heavily used trail that is part of the same loop. I asked my friend
"why"? He said that government officials feel that they cannot control the routes chosen by people who use any of those trails. Their goal is to funnel everyone onto certain prominent trails, period - anyplace where that doesn't work, they change the access rules. My friend emphasized that the fear that the government could not control an area often dictated their public land use restrictions. So much of our local public land is being 'closed' to all human use for this very reason. To be perfectly honest, I used to pay attention to their rules but I don't anymore.

It's being free to wander, to tramp, that I love more than anything - the antithesis of the thinking of these goons in government who want to control my behavior on 'their' lands that my money and my ancestors' money bought.

I am heartbroken to hear of the mineral extraction decisions in your country. Colorado has a very long history of mining. As I wander through the woods, I find relics from mining a hundred years ago or longer. These weren't huge mines but little test ones - and when they came up dry - the miners abandoned all their garbage and equipment on site. I won't even begin to describe the scenes at former huge mines. And, the poisons that still inhabit the streams that drain mined areas.

Another huge impact (aside from the environmental ones) is road building. We have 'old mining roads' throughout our forests. Before I became somewhat disabled, I would have hated them because they carry more people into the 'wilderness' than would ever dare visit without the roads. Now, hypocritically, I don't mind them. I participate in trying to make their entrances 'disappear' with dead tree slash and downed trees. But, because riding a bike is so much easier on my body than hiking, I do like the roads as long as no one else finds them :)

If you're involved in any groups fighting decisions in specific areas, the road issue is a much bigger one than many people think (and you might emphasize it). Those roads will persist for a long long time after the mining is done.

Without wild places, my mind and spirit would wilt. I hope that something can happen in your country to keep your public lands free of the civilizing effects of mining.

Kia kaha. Your surgery will be next, right? April? It will help you hike in your mountains, I feel sure. So, I hope that it's a date that you're learning to anticipate eagerly despite the short term pain of having a joint fixed.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Lost Coyote,
I always knew you were brother. In the lands where Ed himself roamed I am glad you are there, glad you are a voice. Kia kaha.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Mike,
What we are seeing is absolute lowest common denominator politics, right across the board. I only mention the decriminalizing thing as an example where these technocrats think they have the finger on the pulse of the nation, when they actually have not a clue, and the bluster in this case would make me laugh - except it is directly connected to so much that makes me cry.
I probably mean I like Wellington so much more in therms of its being a real walkers city, much like San Francisco. Auckland is a very diverse, and interesting place in its own right. My tramping mate John lives there, right in the CBD. I noticed walking with him into a few shops to get some supplies which were run by Koreans. John said hello, and thanked them in Korean, and in turn I could see by their smiles and time taken with him how appreciated it really is, and perhaps how simple for us to cross those boundaries. Once that happens anything is possible.
Watch out for those Wetas Mike!

pohanginapete said...

Well said, Robb. We have a hell of a battle on our hands, but it IS possible to win it. They may have the money and the greed, but we have the commitment and the passion.

I see our Prime Minister John Key has just been found to hold shares in a mining company — what's more, one that's mining uranium in Australia. Not a good look for the leader of a nation that prides itself on its nuclear-free policy and promotes itself as one of the most beautiful places on Earth (which it is).

Ruahines said...

Kia ora KB,
Yours is a classic example of what Abbey had predicted. Civil servants, most probably very good people, carrying edicts from on high to close in and narrow down the options available for freedom. As Abbey said about the Wilderness, "Travel at your own Risk!". KB, I am glad to read you ignore them. Bugger the technocrats! Rave on!
Your words on the mines and roads ring loudly here. Especially the roads. When they make such dribble appear in the media as "restoring" the environment, or "replacing" the land under mining with "other" conservation land it makes me tremble with rage. How can you restore land once it is destroyed, any more than you can replace conservation land outside the 13% already conserved. More political bullshit and technocrat babbling. How do you just reconstitute already developed land into conservation land, aside from having it show up as thus in statistics, graphs, and charts? Until you crawl across the real wilderness on hands and knees (Abbey again), nothing is real. The mind boggles.
KB, thank you for your understanding, and your inspirational journey to remain in the Wild. Yes, my surgery is 8 April. I lie in bed at night and imagine I am in my sleeping bag around a campfire or a hut and I drift off to sleep. Kia kaha my friend.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pete,
Indeed Key being discovered to having mining shares is no ral surprise. Any man with his sort millions is not going tell me his dosh his tied up in'Blind" trusts! He knows where every penny is at. It really does appear there is a conspiriacy of the rich and powerful to keep the status quo, and a lot of that does indeed relate to minimizing our petential contact with the wild. Wow!
I find it doubly depressing not being able to interact with the Ruahine as I wait for this new hip, but knowing like minded folk are out there brings a smile to my face, and even a sad one I'll take at the moment. Kia kaha.

Donald said...

Well written words Robb!

I must admit to being perplexed as to the seeming stupidity that will be evident to the people in other countries should this New Zealand National Government tamper with our National Parks and World Heritage areas. They underestimate the fact that it's not just us Kiwis that care! Many have sampled our wild places in the guise of tourists, and I know for sure that the vendors are very aware that we must not develop the goose that lays the golden eggs.

It's almost like that many of the people who sit in on Select Committees and Govt. buy into a unsound ideological concept [that we can mimic Aust. pulling wealth from the ground] then try to make the situation fit same. It's really a question here of how far madness can progress, before many of us adopt principals akin to the other extremes of the polarity shaping up.

I'm reminded of a classic read called "The Monkey Wrench Gang", where many years ago in the US a handful of citizens would cut hydraulic hoses on earthmoving gear at night to stop the desecration of the wilderness.

btw I'm getting too many low lifes leaving messages on my own blog, so although moderation is enabled, I'm turning on the option of a commenter needing a Google account to comment.



Marja said...

Great post I am with you robb. We came to New Zealand because it it was still an unspoiled natural paradise. One of the last on earth
But as you see money creeps in everywhere and puts a spell on people, a bad one and when they wake up from it it is too late. Than they have destroyed the planet and no money in the world can get that back again.
With national in the lead this proces speeds up. It is very sad indeed. I hope things can be turned around.
Wish you all the best. I am not around on my blog as I am working
a lot at the moment. But I'll keep in touch Arohanui marja

Steve Julian said...

Are you in the south island? I watched the movie Lord of the Rings. The interesting I noted was the horse chase scene with Liv Tyler. She rode her horse among a bunch of planted trees, red pine or scotch pine. A favorite of timber companies for it's fast growth. Interesting. I also heard about the rodent problem over there with the koa (?) wood dying because of the all the leaves being eaten by possums. Never hear much about that.
Nice blog, great pics

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
The Monkey Wrench Gang was written by Edward Abbey himself, and a well thumbed copy holds a prominent place upon my bookshelf. Rather than dating as some late 60's environmental writings have done, Monkey Wrench takes on more relevance as the truth of Abbey's words in regards to Nature, Wild Places, and the Technocrats unfolds. I see us heading there.
I am thinking of doing a petition similar to the one I did for the windmills. I am not sure how much good it did, but that battle was at least temporarily won. Maybe Key and Brownlee would laugh and scoff but we need to let them know the eyes of the world are upon them. Then there is always the way of the Wrenchers as well!
I too have switched to approving comments simply because suddenly I get at least one daily anon. spam comment and can't be bothered with them.
Have a great day my friend.

lph said...


Well said my friend! A beautiful post about a barren bureaucrats.

I always find it interesting (and devastatingly sad) how these FAT CAT Corporations actually assume that I want a piece of their wealth. My wealth is in the water...the woods...the air. The battle is just beginning. Beat them down hard!

Larry Hale

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Marja,
Your words ring true my fine friend. Everything National does indicates a division between haves and have nots. Well the earth is no ones to have, it is just for us to be part of, but as you write our insatatiable relationship with money and view of it as our only measure of a successful life is really really out of whack. You know I see us here becoming divided as I saw in America during the 80's under Reagan. There are still those who consider him the greatest of all American presidents for "bringing down communism" when in reality it brought itself down, and those whom know he openly brought in the the wanton corporate disregard for anything but profit, openly declared war on nature, and destroyed a generation of children with welfare, health, and education cuts. It is amazing how cheaply we can be bought off, and the result is wounded divided America where someone like Sarah Palin is viewed as a potential presidential candidate! We are heading the same way and need to get people to vote these crooks out at the earliest opportunity.
Come around when you can Marja, always good to share thoughts with you.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Steve,
Glad you stopped in! I live in the North Island, perhaps not quite as in your face stunning as the grand mountains, forests, rivers, and sea as in the south, but rather with a subtle beauty in places that when unfolded and accepted makes the heart pound just as fast.
Logging is a big industry here so the planted non indiginous pine forests can be very extensive.
The possums are an introduced pest, and extremely harmful and very non selective about what indiginous plants and trees they eat, and controlling them, as they will never now be eradicated has become a very emotive battle. The most time tested way is to dump 1080 poison over large areas, which kills not just possums of course, but has also been shown that in time bird populations and such do return and the bush does recover. It doesn't make deer hunters happy though, another argument as deer andre an introduced animal as well. There is money to be made in trapping possums for their skins and fur, but it is hard lonely work and not many take up the call.
Of course our beautiful lands are now under attack from a bigger pest than possums, our own government!
Thanks for the visit Steve, really enjoy your place, and I must write you have very good musical taste!

sarah said...

greetings Robb!

i was disturbed to learn of our government's push to begin investigating mining in our beautiful national parks. my heart sank as i followed the speech in real time, it truly is a step backwards and one i intend to help fight tooth and nail.

i was interested to read mike's comments about auckland and thought i might mention the fact that the part of auckland i live in, waitakere city, is an eco city strongly committed to the environment and protecting it's natural assets (including our beautiful west coast beaches and waitakere ranges):

i am proud of the way our council has been such a strong voice and advocate for our natural resources, they have been worthy guardians. i shudder at the repercussions of a supercity and the dissolving of a structure so dedicated to preserving our beautiful wild west.

at any rate, you are 4 months away from being out in your wilds again, i am so excited for you!!!

be well.


Ruahines said...

Kia ora Sarah,
Glad you are on board, every voice will be important. It is even scarier to read today that now the government wants DOC to be a money making enterprise! National is letting it all out now, and my belief is that by also getting people up in arms over gst, and tax cuts for the rich, that these irretrivable destructive views towards are natural places will slip through. It is a cunning strategy to be honest but it must be fought at grass roots level most of all.
My tramping mate John works for the council and is heavily involved in preservation of wilderness and development of walkways, ect. particularly on Waiheke island. It is an interesting situation politically when such a huge percentage of ourt population base is centered around one geographic area, certainly not like anything I ever saw in the states. As I wrote to Mike I agree with his observation of the changing ethnic diversity of Auckland impacting thought on the environment in many ways. Disconnection being one. And the southern parts where so many Maori and Pacific Island families just try to survive each day, much less worry about interacting with nature. The problems that our societal make up of have and have nots makes that disconnection even more intense. Ah, I don't know Sarah, I get frustrated trying to keep at it all the time. It just seems the more the government keeps us focused on relatively meaningless pursuits, we lose a little bit more of ourselves each day. The battle for so many to keep their heads above water makes easier for these technocrats to keep us line. We have to fight. Kia kaha!
Robb -p.s. I think about that reunion with the Ruahine everday!

Mike said...

Hi Sarah & Robb.

I certainly didn't mean to imply that there aren't many people in Auckland who care about preserving parks and the environment and so on, so I hope I hadn't come across that way. There could well be at least as many such people in Auckland as anywhere else, simply due to its size and diversity. I have a suspicion though that it's also one of the main regions in New Zealand where it'd be easy to find people who are completely disconnected from the outdoor environment because, for one reason or another, they've grown up in a world without having had particular opportunities to know or experience anything about it. The world stops at the city or the family, or the airport, or whatever else.

I'm sure the outdoors isn't something that interests everyone even with the opportunities, and I wouldn't want to impose my views on people. My thoughts about the other social issues were that they're all things that prevent people from having the information and opportunities to make a decision for themselves. If you don't have an opportunity to know or understand the outdoors, why care about it? Obviously this happens outside Auckland too, but I thought Auckland might be significant just because of its size and that so many government policies are ultimately swayed by what Aucklanders think.

sarah said...

hey Robb,

yeah it's a hard call, there certainly are no easy explanations as there are no easy answers.

i hope and pray this mining issue will not be swept into obscurity by all the other loud clamour and attention on tax cuts etc, i hope there is an upsurge of horror and indignation. if auckland really is the key, may we stand together and disprove the reputation that very obviously precedes us.


sarah said...

hey Mike,

i appreciate your thoughts and your opinions. i guess i see auckland and aucklanders as being an easy target whether we deserve to be or not, i'm not sure. perhaps we do deserve to be. whatever label we deserve, it's a worthy observation and one worth putting some thought into. time will tell whether we have enough of a sway to shift the direction this government is taking.

one thing i do believe and that is these are complex issues and auckland can't be entirely to blame.



Lynda Lehmann said...

I weep with you, Robb. But who will answer to or wipe our tears?

It seems that in our simplistic collective mindset, we equate life and success only with material wealth. Who will stand up for spiritual wealth? And how can we have spiritual wealth if the Earth is decimated?

I know you have the strength to make your voice heard, and to keep standing up for our environment, and for rational principle.

What wealth is there in a world where the profit motive drives us into a firepit of poison and accumulated toxins and industrial detritus? When will we learn that what's good for the planet is good for us, materially and spiritually?

Mike said...

Hi Sarah. Target isn't exactly the word I had in mind, at least not in that context. I guess I was just thinking that people in Auckland as a whole need to be convinced if the national government's attitude is to change, and that'll be difficult without figuring out some of the closer-to-home problems that many people in any big city (especially Auckland) deal with from day to day.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Larry,
Sorry mate, I seemed to have skipped by your visit! Like Troutbirder you have spent time in the Boundary Waters, know of Sigurd Olsen and his fight to create such a place, to protect from economic exploitation. You know what it is like to be camped on a lake with no one around for miles, the waves gently lap the shore, the shadows of the fire play on the now at rest canoe, the haunting call of the loon that somehow stays within our soul, the wolves and bears our only companions. That was worth saving, and so are the mountains here and everywhere. It is just shameful, pitiful, and a crime against humanity and nature to try and attach economic value and worth to the places, to the moments that are possible within them. How do we get them to understand?
Thank you for your support brother. Kia kaha!

lph said...

Hey Robb,

I started a new blog. This one has a bit more of a focus. The second semester should provide more opportunity me for me to write and correspond. Let me know what you think.


Ruahines said...

Kia ora Sarah and Mike,
Hey I think any dialogue is a good thing, and understanding the key to real change. So rave on my friends.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Lynda,
My wife and I were talking about this today. That it can be sometimes so heavy upon us all this disconnection with Nature, what these governments are trying to do, and the people it ultimately really impacts, and the daily battle of talking to people whom don't get it, that is so important to find a few moments of peace and beauty during each day. Other wise we would just crumble in dispair at it all. It is reassuring to know that other voices and like minded people are out there. Kia kaha!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Larry,
Very cool mate! Worthy goals as well. That Ruahine badge is here waiting for you, it would be a pleasure my friend.

Robin Easton said...

Dearest Wild Brother, I have come here and read this probably 4 times and this is the first time I can leave a comment without really chocking up. What I feel in you is what I have felt every time the places I've had love affairs with have been desecrated or totally destroyed without a backward glance. I have SOBBED Robb. Bawled my eyes out. Wailed even. Like you when I fall in love with a place or the Earth herself, it like my children, my mother has been brutally murdered. I feel it just the same. And I go into shock and feel even like part of me has been killed.

As a species have lost our connection to the wild so completely that we don't even see Nature anymore. We seek solace in churches made our of toxic and man made materials, we form idols and follow gurus and all the while everything we need is right in front of us.

Please let me know how I can help. My schedule is insane right now to working with the publishers and getting my book launched but there are still things I can do to help. So keep me posted. And know that you are NOT alone.

Like Lynda, says if we could only learn that what is good for the planet is good for us.

I am with you my brother. Know that. Your voice is profoundly moving, gripping, honest and beautiful beyond words. My heart swells with love and pride for you.


Pam said...

Great responses here to your post Robb.I have tried hard to word a response previously, thought about things and returned to try and grapple with your dilemma of others total disconnection. My fight is for endangered species, to fight for that without a voice, as you are trying to do with your beloved landscapes and unique flora and fauna, also vulnerable to exploitation. Recent responses to a question by another blogger on the vulnerability of tigers to the commercialism of Chinese medicine illicited such responses as "perhaps we can clone a whole new species of tiger that don't have the requisites for medicinal purposes" WTF?? and if in fact another questioned if the tiger was suited to this century!!! "I am pretty complacent. I think the dodo and dinosaurs weren't meant to function in this milennium" said a laid back contributer.We can only add our voice to others who are outraged, disappointed, and aghast at the total disregard and arrogance and most alarming, "pride in complacency" that exists around us. I stand beside you. I am proud of your passion and committment.My teaching colleagues, and the teachers in my family must lead by example. We are told as a profession often by parents, "not to inflict your viewpoint on my child", to report issues impartially, and often Robb, I am reluctant to add to your despair, but many young people side with their parents to hop on the fast track to wealth, selfishness and materialism.I believe those who do care very often do so from a very early age. We can but try.

Gustav said...

Be Strong Brother.

The fight is never over.

Ruahines said...

KIa ora Wild Sister,
There is no denying these places within us yet as a race (humans) we try and try. All I can do when NOT being amongst them is hang my head and cry.
I need to be in the mountains my Wild Sister. You shall be with me when I do reunite.
You know me.
I honour your resence in my life.
Rave On! Kia kaha!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pam,
I am more and more reminded of the words in the Joni Mitchell song, Big Yellow Taxi, about the trees ending up in museums and having to pay to see them. It sums up pretty well our collective attitude that nature, which includes the animals, as something to be utilized in commercial ways, and as long as we have a few parks, zoos, or as Abbey wrote of, cement roads leading to a few overlooks we seem to be more and more satisfied with what is left being compromised. Complete and utter disconnection.
You are right about the children of those already whom have disconnected, not even understanding what the argument is. I would struggle with the concept of being a teacher and not letting my own views emerge. Isn't part of learning being able to look at at all points of view? Reminds me of the old tv show Dragnet where the guys always says, "Just the facts m'am". I really think part of the answer lies in getting kids out there as much as possible. In small ways I see the results in my own oldest boy at times, and part of my frustration lies in my own inability to get Charlie out there. Hopefully my new hip will rectify that part of my growing grumpiness at the world!
Kia kaha Pam. I appreciate your returning here and formulating so thoughtful a post.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Gustav,
In the end the Earth will win, but why we are at war with our own planet is the issue I struggle most with.