Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tilting at Windmills

Today our recently elected National government announced it's plans to begin to dismantle the Resource Management Act. Developed in the 1970's and 80's with growing world wide recognition of environmental awareness, and put forth as legislation by the Labour government in 1989, it was underpinned on the concepts of sustainable management and the integrated management of resources, in other words the balance between protection of the environment and development. Interesting in an historical perspective that the Labour government was outed in 1990, yet in 1991 the National government, with many alterations, passed the RMA into being. Today, the same National government seeks to dismantle it. Developers and business groups are welcoming the changes with open arms, power companies no doubt frothing at the mouth at the prospect of all those rivers and mountain ranges to be exploited, and farmers are hailing it as "a good start". Interesting to me is that these groups claim the legislation is so restrictive and time consuming in involving local councils, and god help us, citizen input from the local communities, that "projects" become bogged down in the "red tape". Yet out of an average of 50,000 applied for environmental consents each year 74% of those submissions WITHOUT public comment are processed on time, and 56% WITH public participation are also done on time, which is a 1 to 4 month time frame. How big of a problem is that really?

In these economically troubled times our government, duly elected, sees it best to stimulate the
need for development and growth by sacrificing the need to protect and look after the environment for future generations. Sustainability is now open to becoming a flood gate for making money and no doubt many are rubbing their greedy hands in glee.

Which brings me to an update on the wind farm project of which so many of you supported my opposition to going ahead with. While there has been a stir created, and ripples made on large pond, I am afraid at the end of the day it is all tilting at windmills. The National government has "called in" the Turitea project, effectively removing decision making away from the local councils and deeming it a "project of national significance". Mighty River has reduced the number of projected turbines by 9 out of 100 plus, and has put forth a very self serving campaign as to their intentions and caring for our communities. Meridian Energy, in on the Puketoi and Waitahora schemes today announced a 6% price rise, their second in 6 months, in spite of making a 128 million dollar profit last year. Needed for new power generation investment they say. Just who will be paying for these wind farms, and who will be taking the profits paid for by the users I might write? In any case those projects are also in danger of being "called in", though I have read of being notified of a public meeting sometime this month. Let me be clear, it is not wind power I am against, it is rather sustaining the unsustainable I object to, simply revenue generators and future tax credit symbols for the power companies who then rob us blind.

There has been much public interest in this issue, strong feeling on both sides. I have had clients refuse to work with me for my opposition to these wind farms. So be it. I have to write what I believe, I have to be a voice for wild places. A common phrase I keep hearing in the business
world is "I am not here to make friends, I am here to make money", well I write "I am not here to make money, but to help save the earth, and it just happens I have made some friends".

There is also a lingering sense of disconnection that hovers around me. This inherent disconnection we as the human race are seemingly developing to Nature, to one another. The fact that the solutions to our economic problems always seem to be in attacking Nature, in creating more and more of what has gotten us here in the first place. A few days ago I read a post written by my friend Maithri. Maithri's place is well worth visiting for the work he does and the message he puts forth, , but his particular post tells, and shows a little story of a classically trained musician playing a Stradivarius violin in a New York subway for 45 minutes. Over a thousand people walked by him as this stunning music pours forth. Seven people stop to listen, seven! It made me think of the importance of music in my life, in our lives, the sheer beauty of it, yet how disconnected we become to that in our busy lives. I wonder how many of those people were "connected" to music through ipod ear plugs? Or late for that important meeting, or not stopping as it is not the sort of music we are "into"? How many street musicians have I wandered by without a second thought to the music? Music surrounds us from morning till night, yet how often do we actually Listen?

It made me recall the above evening with my friend Adam, and Tara's brother Davey. Adam, a classically trained violinist with a passion for the Irish fiddle, and Davey a classically trained guitarist never having played Irish music ever before. Not long before I had lent him a few blue grass albums as he loved the picking and fast structure of the music. So these two together, running through a few basics Adam showed Davey, and then jamming for almost two hours of simply stunning music, only Tara and I for an audience. I wonder had I walked by them on the street, playing with the same looks of joy and fun on their faces as they played with that night, pausing only for an occasional sip of beer and to laugh, then carry on. Would I have felt the same? Would I have connected to beautiful music away from my own comfort zone?

I had the pleasure recently of seeing a man named Mike Chunn give a talk to a work gathering I was involved in up in Auckland. Mike was a member of an old Kiwi band called Split Enz, perhaps one of the most successful New Zealand bands of all time - Six Months in a Leaky Boat, History Never Repeats, they were known to me even in the states back in those days of my youth. Mike now is grown up, kids of his own, an accomplished muso. From time to time he found himself giving talks to groups of kids at schools and at one stage Mike encountered a group of 8 year olds. He asked them, "how many of you here think they could write a song?". All the children immediately put up there hands, and wanted to start NOW. A few weeks later Mike found himself in front of a group of 14 year old kids, and asked the same question. Reluctantly, two put their hands up. Which caused Mike to stop and ponder, what in gods name are we doing to our children between 8 and 14? Or at least listening to him talk, that is how I understood the question. Think about our own lives as Responsible Adults! What are we doing to the Music! It is our most purest, and most accessible form of communication, yet we seem to cut ourselves off from the very form that can bring us closer together. If not as strangers, then as lovers, partners, fathers, mothers, siblings, parents, friends. Turn it up!

Mike decided to Do Something. He started a nation wide song writing contest for teen age children. The results he produced, and played for us, brought most of us to tears. Teen age boys writing songs to their fathers, teen age girls to their mothers, to their grand parents, to their peers, and playing and recording in front of those very people. It was, is amazing. It fills me with hope and light. It is music communicating where all else has failed. God knows I did that for years. But at least I was trying, and these kids with their amazing lyrics and music unleashed upon the people to which it should matter the most was almost unbearable. An amazing Gift Mike Chunn has given those people and the world.

Mike's web site is at : Please check it out, and just support it, acknowledge it, and most of all, go Listen to some Tunes and Turn it Up Real Loud!!!!




Anonymous said...

"A few weeks later Mike found himself in front of a group of 14 year old kids, and asked the same question. Reluntantly, two put their hands up. Which caused Mike to stop and ponder, what in gods name are we doing to our children between 8 and 14?."

This is a striking story. I teach 6th graders for a living in Central Utah (USA) in a small town. These kids are so under such strain to grow up, to get grades, to make money, to wear the right clothes, to watch the right shows on TV that it's like they are being pulled asunder by wild horses.

The difference between 14 year olds and 8 year olds is that 14 year old have been taught that compassion, creativity, and self expression are some how bad.

I don't know how to fix that.

kylie said...

wow robb,
you pack so much into a post!

when talking about environmental issues: my connection to the earth is not as good as it might be but i like to imagine i am reasonably considerate and well informed.
having said all of that i am very reluctant to comment because i am so aware that i really love my comforts. i like my western, 21st century life and it is exactly that life which has got us to where we are.

i tend to agree with lost coyote that we are teaching our kids to give up their creativity but i also think that as they grow older it is natural for them to identify their stronger and weaker points.

i saw your reference to the kemps in your last comment page but neither my parents nor i know the people you refer to. i was just amazed that there was a connection at all!

have a splendiferous weekend

Anonymous said...

I like how you connect attentiveness to nature with attentiveness to music and art. Maybe one common thread is the willingness to be challenged by an encounter with something new, something Other. Somehow education for most people entails the loss of their natural curiosity. In my more cyncical moods, I tend to wonder if that isn't the whole point of our education system. After all, a curious citizen is a potentially engaged and fractious citizen.

Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

Gidday mate. Kia Ora !

What a posting and as Kylie said, you pack a lot into a post and I would like to add, you add a strong punch too. We can't have anyone dismantling the RMA.Dear old Dr. Teichelmann and Leonard Cockayne fought so hard to get protection for so many areas of high conservation value, early last century, that later became National Parks. We can't let them down. Let the current Government have their way and there will be repeaters on the summit of Mt. Aspiring, and cable ways to the top of Aoraki.

Robb I am very busy but just wanted to say, keep soldiering on and if you need reinforcements, call me up. I am on the reserve list.


Unknown said...

Dear Robb,

It's hard. God, is it hard. I just took a huge intake of breath and slowly let it out as I finished your post.

I get it.

My high school students (also from Utah, how crazy to have TWO Utah teachers commenting on your blog in New Zealand) just got finished creating their Utopian societies (in conjecture with reading Ayn Rand's Anthem). Only a small percentage, maybe one or two per class of 30, even took nature, natural energy and our environment into consideration. The rest of them created this high rise city buildings with fast cars, robot cops, chips inplanted in our heads, and happy drugs for people to take so crime wouldn't be committed.

It made me a little sick.

And while, for an English teacher, I get into nature and the earth and our responsibilities more than parents probably agree with, I know that they are not getting this stuff from any other class, so I feel it a DUTY to just bring their attention to it.

For non fiction reading and articles and debate and learning, why not choose Environmental issues?

We need to do it, and we need to do it longer and harder.

As for music, I agree. So much of it can feed the soul and so much of it can deaden our hearts and alienate us.

My musical friend and I just committed to writing a song together. I'm going to write the lyrics, she's going to write the music and it will be one of the featured duets on her third CD to come out, hopefully by the end of this year. This music, this creation, this is a good thing. Turn it on and turn it up!!

All the best.


Marja said...

Oh a lot to ponder about Robb. National is not a good bet to safe the invironment They were always more interested in the business world. It is a hard fight world wide.
Usually people awaken when it is nearly to late or to late. That's why it is good you spread awareness.

I completely agree that the current schoolsystem undermines creativity
They think for them and they just have to swallow and than spit it out again.
That's why you would be delighted to see our kids school. It looks nothing like a normal school. You see kids designing clothes, kids setting up a real business and
some are philosphising about life in a group. Many are playing around on guitars or having a jam session and also write music. I am not musical at all but get inspired by it all
My daughter inspired me to start writing poetry. In my schooldays I didn't do any of it, just digesting information
It is indeed amazing what kids can do. Just trust them
See you meet lots of amazing people. Have a great day Aroha, marja

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Lost Coyote,
A teacher, a man of honour, your words I have read many times today, trying to come to grips with these thoughts.
That you do spend quality time with these young boys, and girls, and that you recognize the struggle they go through, and as a result so do you. That is huge sacrifice, and as I write you are a man of Honour. Is it more men we need where you are, at the coal face?
This is so much part of that Disconnection I am turning over in my head. I think boys need Nature LC, and I KNOW I do. Maybe the answer is in there someplace.
Kia ora for tuning in here mate, and keep that Bloggenplucky on his toes. I wish his presence were more frequent. Happy Hunting!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Kylie,
And you do as well Kylie! I always enjoy my visits to your place to see what you are into at the moment. Your place is well named.
Most of us humans, white ones anyway, are very used to the relative comforts we enjoy. Sometimes even unaware. The fact we turn on a tap and clean potable water is released, or we flick a switch and a light comes on. There are still so many in this world Kylie to whom those concepts are simply unattainable.
My point is to start some where. In your home, in your daily life, with your family and friends. Just be aware, and the realization that we need to cherish the Earth and simply take better care of Her. Look around your yard, I will bet there are things there that would amaze you.
I agree with what you write about the Lost Coyote's thoughts except to write that it could also be difficult to identify things that have been buried too deep to be uncovered. Once creativity is buried it can be hard to recover. Though I will also write that in my own case I am uncovering a bit more each day.
Well Kylie, the Kemp connection was promising anyway! Never mind. It was cool to learn of your connection to Aotearoa, and it adds much mana to your presence here. You are cool.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Dave,
Haere Mai! Welcome!
Nature, Music, Art, there really is so much in common isn't there? To be in a forest and see something we have never seen before but perhaps walked by a hundred times, to hear a song we may have heard a thousand times yet still find something new, or to simply rest our eyes on a photo, a painting, a poem that moves us. Your writing the word Other really grabs me. It is a word I have been drawn to for many reasons lately. No one ever really wants to be the Other, yet we are all at one time or another.
Touche on the education system, an interesting observation. Have a great day Dave and kia ora for your visit.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bob,
New Zealand was very fortunate in the frenzy of colonialism to have the likes of Teichelmann to spare a thought for these places. As you write about in your book, he was a man ahead of his time. I would have enjoyed connecting with him for a scotch and bitters at the end of the day. I would have left out the bitters though Bob.
I am afraid the changes to the RMA are a done deal. National has the numbers pure and simple. The Greens have been surprisingly silent and disjointed and I am very disappointed in their performance to date. Key has made them virtual jokes in a time they should be excelling. This is the time to start beating the drums about making solar power affordable, their well thought of insulation scheme has been all but scrapped, they are caught upon becalmed seas while the rest of the ocean is at storm.
Bob, I know you are busy and I appreciate, as always, your presence here. Having a few drams with you in your convalesence was a privilege. Kia kaha my friend.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora D'Arcy,
I shall await my cd with patience yet still anticipation.
To write that we have connected musically as well as through this medium would be fair would it not?
I meant to include in my post a reference to having Tunes Nights, and how cool they can be. When we connect in person we will definitely have a Tunes Night, count on it!
It seems there is indeed something to this Connection to Utah and Teachers. Another friend who visits here, Boggenplucky, is a Teacher in Utah of underprivileged kids, so it is a strong vibe I get from Utah. All I can write is that it so cool and postive to know there are people like you three at the coal face. It is a war I am considering joining as well over here.
I am going to Listen to Van right now! Have a lovely day D'Arcy. You rock my friend!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Marja,
You are amazing! I am proud to be a voice against National, against any bad government, yet my voice only reaches a very small few. Too many Kiwi's did not even bother to vote Marja. We, as people, deseve what we get, but our Beautiful Land deseves better consideration and treatment than our own very short term and lived "solutions".
How we educate our kids, how we try to to encourage them will be a bigger and bigger battle. You give me hope Marja. I fully have nothing but aroha for your persistence.
I have met a lot of amazing people, many in person as you know, via this way. You are one.

Lynda Lehmann said...

Another wonderful, heartfelt post, Robb.

I think that with so many distractions and the world so complex and fear-inducing, we have become estranged from ourselves, moved away from the core feelings and values of our humanness.

Too much conflict in the world, and too many disappointments. We are taught to fear each day that we watch violence and greed on tv and in movies, and see corporations and politicians trying to live above law and common sense.

If we were less distracted and our conscious minds more able to process, we could rise above these things, realizing that most people are good and it's just the scoundrels who make it into the headlines. As many as there are, it's a small percentage of the overeall population who act on selfish impulse and utter greed.

What are we to do? I don't know the answers. But if each one of us were to connect to our passions and the intrinsic qualities that make us truly human and yet unique within our common humanity, I think we could manage to hold on to the important stuff: balance, integrity, creativeness, and love.

Your friend did a great thing with the music. People who teach or create art and writing, etc. do it, too. The trick is helping people to find the part of themselves that gets off the couch, away from the tele, to do something of consequence. Something that transcends consumerism as a way of life and the wanton pursuit of creature comforts. Finding our passions and our creativity goes a long way toward keeping us human.

Cook and gardeners, birders, hikers, naturalists, and stamp collectors, all do it. Those who just sit, do not.

Just my opinion.

I hope your country will survive the current shift in the directon of development without sufficient study or oversight.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

What a beautiful post and photos, Robb. My grandmother used to play the piano by ear while my grandfather accompanied with the fiddle. What treasured times those were. And you even have me remembering fiddle music at my aunt's farm under the moonlight with the family dosy doeing in a squaredance.

Cheers, JJ

Anonymous said...

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Fantastic images and topic.

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Please share this blog to your family, friends and you can add this blog as a link in your blog, so we can act together to keep our planet safe, beautiful, green and clean.

Keep blogging.
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Good day.

Maithri said...

Dear Robb,

Mate this is such an awesome post!!

You've got a huge heart and its an honour to call you friend.

I love what you say about music... About not stifling creativity in our children...

I think there is a connection which every human being has to the universal mind... And when we see that connection made manifest in art or sport or any form of endeavour...we call it genius...

Yet instead of fostering this connection to their source in kids... we teach the language and the mentality of 'limits'.

We do it by focussing on their faults instead of affirming their goodness, their talent, their strength...

I see it so ofen...

I used to tutor young kids and i found that they were being handicapped not by their abilities but by what they were being taught 'about' their abilities... "im crap at maths" "I cant sing" -- This is what stifles children... an ideology of limitation...

I think one of the greatest services any adult can do for the world is to start breaking down these mental shackles in our childrens minds... It empowers them... It liberates them into their own connection to the universal mind... into their own genius...

Heres to planting seeds of change my brother, seeds of possibility in fertile minds,

Blessings of love,


Anonymous said...

Hi friend.. Interesting post.. keep up the good work.. Do visit my blog and post your comments.. Take care mate.. Cheers!!!

SEDONA said...

Lots of information in one post, WOW.
Have a happy Sunday.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Lynda,
You are right in that what we are told and have driven into us by the media is most often the worst of things. There are some wonderful things happening in the world as well, just seemingly much harder to find. Mike's connecting of people through music is just one example of something really amazing that is happening. You do as well with your art, photos and your words. Your words here remind me of the adage "many hands make small work". It really does not take much effort to make a real difference, I think the biggest battle is simply to start.
Thanks for your concern about our land here as well, your thoughts are needed, and appreciated.
Have a lovely day.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora JJ,
Cheers! I am glad to have brought back some fine memories for you. Music has that power to let us recall those moments very vividly and almost life like. How many time have heard a song come on the radio that just takes you back? Watch out for that ice JJ, just read about a huge chunk on Lake Erie stranding a bunch of ice fishers!

Ruahines said...

Tena koe John,
Cheers, thanks for the visit.
Ka kite,

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Maithri,
Thank you my friend for the inspiration in writing this post, and for all the creative thought that wells from your place.
I remember going to one of my son's Charlies first school meetings last year. The teacher told us Charlie was a "good" boy but having some trouble adapting to the "Winchester Way". Tara and I were both taken aback by that, he was 5! I do not want the questioning and creativity outside of the expected ways stifled in him, or any child. We kept a close eye on that, and this year he seems much excited by his teacher.
One problem I see is that the intrusion of computers, and play stations, ect. seems to have removed some of the ability of children to create their own fun or places. Part of that disconnection. These gardens need to watered.
Thank you for your presence here Maithri, and kia kaha for the Journey you are about to embark upon. You take many spirits with you.

Ruahines said...

Tena Koe Ocean,

Kia ora Sedona,
Thank you for your visit, glad you enjoyed.

Barbara Martin said...

The connections in all things is slowly disintegrating. I am greatly concerned that one day when it is really too late to save anything that someone's eyes will open up and realize they've made a terribly grave error in judgment.

Thank you for trying to keep the connections together. If everyone does their bit to keep these connections, then we may just have a chance to save our planet.

Anonymous said...

A favorite quote from:M. Robin D’Antan

"Depressed? Of course we’re all depressed. We’ve been so quickly, violently, and irreconcilably plucked from nature, from physical labor, from kinship and village mentality, from every natural and primordial antidepressant. The further society “progresses,” the grander the scale of imbalance."

Thanks for the interest in a Lost Coyote, Robb...

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Barbara,
That is exactly where I see things headed unless we do start caring and acting.
As fitting with music your words remind of the lyrics in a song by Josh Ritter, Wing's, and he sings, " I wonder what will happen when they find out their mistaken and the land is too changed to ever change ".
Cheers Barbara, it is good to know there are people out there sharing beautiful places and caring about the Earth.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Lost Coyote,
That is perfect quote for this whole thread really, much food for thought in there my friend. Thank you for sharing.
I have enjoyed your place, photos, and writing very much. I find it very kindred to my own search. Kia kaha LC.

Gustav said...


Your refer to a growing disconnection with our planet and each other.

I submit that connecting with our planet and each other is our sole mission in life. The rest is just a distraction, a billboard sign to nowhere.

My view is that we cannot change the world but we can change ourselves and a few others or at least influence those close enough to listen.

So keep on beating your drum, you are sure to get a few of us dancing.

Anonymous said...

Robb, thank you for thinking of us here in Australia with the horrific bushfires, not made any easier by the suspicion of arson. We all know that the bush will regenerate, but people's lives are in turmoil at the moment,as you can imagine. Not knowing what has happened to your little children or a parent is the worst.I cannot imagine what that would be like. Thank you so much for your concern for others who are suffering,, and taking the time to leave a comment.

Paterika Hengreaves said...

Kia Ora Robb

Thank you for this post. Never mind the frustration caused from the doings of the powers-be. All is not gone for nothing for speaking out on environmental issues right in your own backyard. Take this for what it is worth. Humankind, throughout the ages have never lived up to the high ideas expected of them when they were given the keys to the garden--mother earth--to love her, cherish her and take care of her. Although they were given specific guidelines in the proper management of her.

So in some way I do feel your pain of frustration when sensible laws for mother earth's protection are callously repealed. And especially when there are no clear indications aimed at ensuring no further defacement to the environment take place. Take hope, for laws repealed can also be re-enacted when opportunities avail themselves. However, for such an occurrence like that to take place people must be educated on the whole question of voting wisely and don't rely on the silly-season to educate the mind on how to vote wisely. The time is always right to discuss hot-button issues on the environment, so when voting time comes around again, one is able to vote wisely.

So, yes, absolutely. Our educational system, worldwide must inject new thinking into the way education is delivered. Teachers, no doubt are doing a noble job with the limited resources they have at their disposal and they need more parents to get seriously involved in the educational process of their wards. Constructivism in education definitely holds the key in providing the paradigm shift needed so badly in the manner we go about providing educational tools for all and sundry. Constructivist educators don't deliver via the mode of 'chalk and talk'. They use techniques and strategies that allow learners to develop comprehension, analyze and synthesis skills so very vital in this internet era. Failing to acquire such survival skills, one is left at the mercy of manipulative people and sadly, those people they have given power over them. These power-holders shiver in the face of well-formed citizens but bask in the light of those with flaring ignoramus spotlights produced by their preferred educational systems. This type of education gives learners only tools to regurgitate facts and to follow leadership blindly. Yes, indeed the entire environment needs protecting. The environment goes beyond forest and mountains for whatever exist on this planet we call earth, forms interconnecting links. One link is broken weakens all the other links. A fractured education system factures the environment, forest, mountains--everything one can think of therein.

When I think of environmental issues and how means and methods are advocated to address the damage already done I'm left with despair. Then I snap out of it and tell myself this. Wait a minute! We have never lived in a perfect world. So how can we make things perfect, only God has the tools. But, He has given up tools on how not to destroy it and to live in harmony with it. So let us all make it comfortable for all. On environmental issues let's strike a sensible balance. Let all of us use temperance in all that we do. The Good Book advocates this. I have come to this conclusion using this analogy. Think of the environment as a mother who has lost both her legs and the scars don't ever go away but still she produces healthy and beautiful children. Yes, the scars remain but , she holds on to the determination to preserve what is left of and inside the body.

Scars are already on the environment and they cannot be removed. However, we have the power to prevent other scars from appearing--we have to change our ways, habits, and preferences for the greater good. This does not call for any compromise, far from it. It calls for win-win situation. With a compromise, we will never be satisfied into not thinking that we were taken in like some ponzi scheme. However, with a win-win situation, we give something and get something in return. And far from it, this is not a pay to play scheme. It is a superb management strategy that looks at issues, their viability and sustainability from all angles on both sides before the give and take is executed. From it, both parties are left with shared contentment. This, however, does not mean that we no longer discuss environmental issues. These issues must always stay on the table, on the front burner so to speak as we strive for win-win situations. I see this as the only reasonable course left when tackling environmental issues in all its shades and shapes.

Presently, our environment is so badly burnt and the scars from such are appearing on all sides and angles of the globe. A grave cause for concern and as concerned citizens we must take a stance for the quality of our lives depends so very much on doing so. Renewable Energy is on the plate and take many forms depending on the areas where the technology is most feasible. Windmill-farms are being seen as one of the viable options in capping green house gases. As in anything in life comes with it the good and the bad. It is our rational minds that we seek to minimized the bad and increase the good. This approach must be factored in on all environmental projects and it is the job of environmentalists and environmental activists to work towards a win-win situation not a compromise. In some countries, where the wind velocity favours windmill farms, governments will not abandon the project on the grounds of acting for the greater good in the end. So this can frustrate people who care deeply for the environment and it protection.

Don't be discourage for your job is never done, but focus-shift is what must come into play. The goal then, is to work for win-win situations for all your environmental concerns and where preconditions must exist on all environmental projects. So let's start with the Windmill-Farm projects. Here I'm thinking of Rob and his concerns about the Windmills that may very well be placed on the Ruahine ranges. I do believe that there are several ranges that make up Ruahine. You are concerned that the beauty of the Ruahine will disappear and access to some parts of the Ruahines for tramping or trekking will be gone forever. I gathered this much from your blog, that the project for Ruahine will go forward. Fine! So what can you do in this regard! I'm scratching my head. Then why not work toward a win-win situation. We are pushing for both sides of the divide to come away feeling fully satisfied. Push for preconditions for the installation of those turbines that guarantee:
-minimum damage to the natural beauty of the land;
-servicing of turbines do not lead to the damaging of the land anew
-Windmill engineers when designing the windmills must think how they will affect others (people) so that the designs are compatible with the existing environment.

So what more is left to say on this matter: Live and let live, be happy--but never, never stop speaking up on environmental issues. Even though, the powers-be must harness the wind where velocity is the premium for the perceived greater good - that makes sense. Wind power is renewable that's for sure. Gaining a win-win situation on environmental issues is all that is needed to keep mother-earth green. Well, that's my honest opinion.

Good luck in all your endeavours
Happy Saint Valentine's Day


Unknown said...

Kia ora Robb,

Don't agree with everything you say mate but cherish the freedom and passion in your voice.

I have only been following NZ politics at surface level lately, wrapped in my own concerns, but feel the progress made by National has been balanced, and the biggest cringes I am getting are from the whining opposition David Cunliffe, Clayton Cosgrove et al.

The National govt now is not "the same national government" of 1992, and I will give them a chance. But if they betray my trust I will join you in the trenches.

And I will definitely check out that Mike Chunn site.

Kia kaha


MB said...

Robb, I'm still grinning after listening to some of that music from Humble Souls with the Black Seeds. How cool is that! To my way of thinking there's a definite link between what's going on with our natural surroundings and what goes on with the younger ones and you've phrased it using the same word I think of -- connection, or disconnection. It's a matter, I suppose, of supporting others in reconnecting -- to themselves, each other, and their surroundings. Music is a beautiful way to encourage connection, as you well know. Thanks for highlighting Chunn's work and good luck with your tilting.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Brother,
Why did we connect all those years ago seemingly so randomly? And what that connecton has brought to my life. To you brother!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Pam,
My thoughts are with you and all those impacted by these horrible unfolding events. Kia kaha!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Paterika,
My wise friend, your thoughts are always important here, and I must read them, go away and contemplate, then come and read again, much like your poetry. You are a Teacher.
Your words on Contructive Education are brilliant, and so true. I still want to be a teacher when I grow up, he wrote wistfully, but so much in todays educational system always cause me to not pursue something I actually feel I would be very good at doing. The best place to start really changing the world is to change how we learn and teach, but very difficult to achieve mired in the old ways as it is.
And as to the environment, indeed wind power does hold a place, along with others, mainly solar. And you are indeed right that any government voted in can be voted out, and we deserve the governments we get, but does the Earth? I am probably of an out sider mentality, and Edward Abbey disciple. I can only be a voice for wild places, and human considerations of maintaining dying embers just mean little to me. Still, your reasoned logic makes sense, even to a stubborn not too smart man as myself. I just see so much injustice, racism, pollution, and ill treatment of each other, that I cannot help cheering for the Earth, crying for her, and sometimes getting a glimpse that while She is happy to have us here, she would be equally as Happy with out us. It is our choice to cherish her or not.
Paterika, I hope to see you here one day, to even share a glimpse of the Ruahines with you would be a treasured honour for me. Thank you for your continued presence. Kia kaha!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Jamie,
Excellent to read from you mate! Hope you and Penny enjoyed a lovely time celebrating your nuptuals - you guys have certainly been getting around. The Ruahines are always here waiting for you brother!
I certainly did not mean to infer it was the "same" national government in terms of people. But I will stand by writing the "same" in terms of political ideology. Mainly, and simply, that less government is better for the individual, therefore big business and development is a good thing, using the earth's resources is positive in that development, and that the rich doing well will benefit the poor. National may have moved, or have us believe they have to a more centrist position on the political spectrum, and you are far more willing than I to give them the benefit of the doubt. With Douglas and Hide hovering in the back ground my feeling is you will be joining me in the trenches sooner than later. Still, it is our elected government, so we shall see. The RMA is only the start.
In any case Jamie if we all agreed on everything it would all get pretty boring, and I KNOW you are there for wild places. Mate, stay in touch and if you get up this way call in!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora MB,
You have me very intrigued. The Black Seeds are an awesome Kiwi band, one of my favourites, but I know not of the Humble Souls and a tune, or tunes, done with the Black Seeds. Humble Souls seem to a ring a bell as an acid jazz band, but the music I am unfamilar with, so the combination with the BS reads as being very cool indeed. Please advise!
MB it is always very cool to Connect with you. Kia kaha!

MB said...

Robb, on the left side bar of Mike's website is a link to a video about the Humble Souls (a teen band). It's a great story. Toward the end of the video is footage of them playing with the Black Seeds. I think you'll enjoy the whole thing. Ka kite ano.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora MB,
I can't believe I missed that! I am smiling from ear to ear as well. How cool, how inspirational!
When Mike spoke to us it was just so amazing, the stories he told us of getting young people to Connect through Music, and the music he played for us by these young people, I was moved so deeply and completely. I think Mike has really done something amazing here.
This video just made my day MB, thank you for guiding me to it. I am going to contact Mike and see if there is a cd available. Have a lovely day MB!

Anonymous said...

Hey Rob, You have one very popular blog these days, takes a long time to scroll through comments, I do not know how you reply to them all. Anyway about time I said my piece. I have enjoyed the last three blogs very much. Sounded like a great walk over the new year, whens the next one planned?
I have been meaning to let you know details of a big tramp i did 5 or 6 years back after university with 5 friends. This was to aid planning for your epic birthday adventure I believe. Anyway so i have finally sat down and figured out where we went, (diary etc is back home in NZ, I am stuck in snowy England). So here goes;

1. 4 of us left Mangatepopo Rd End headed over the craters and down to camp next to Waihohonu Hut
2. Via Desert Rd to camp near the pillar of Hercules, picked up loads of food at campsite
3. Via ridge to Waipakihi Hut
4. Rest day at Waipakihi
5. Took wrong track off Ngapuketerua and forced to camp in rain (we didn’t realise till we had walked right off the tops and saw lake Taupo in the distance – a funny moment on day 5)
6. To Cascade Hut
7. To Boyd Lodge via rivers – we snuck through the private land without permits...naughty
8. Via tussock to Harkness were we arrived 5 minutes after a chopper load of people so we continued in the dark to Tepukeohikarua hut on the tops
9. To rocks ahead hut
10. Day off for fishing
11. To Kiwi Mouth hut
12. To Kiripapango campsite
13. Friends picked us up and dropped us up the Taihape road at Comet Hut, we grabbed more food and another tramper (now we were 5) and continued to Shutes Hut
14. To No Mans Hut
15. To Parks Peak Hut
16. Via Craigs Hut ( removed) to Sparrowhawk Biv
17. To Sunrise Hut
18. Rest day at Sunrise, met by loads of family and friends and food
19. To Smith Stream Hut
20. To Daphne Hut
21. To Longview Hut (met by more friends for night)
22. To Birch Whare ( a roof, in bad weather but lots of cockroaches)
23. To Stanfield Hut
24. Via farmland to Kiritaki Hut
25. To Wharite Peak, picked up and straight to the showers then the pub.

Let it be said the body suffered a little, having lost the university beer belly (10kgs) it didn’t managed to ansord as much alcohol as I was used to drinking. Hah Hah.
So a good trip though we had to use plan b on many occasions due to bad weather , would love to do it again. Hopefully may help in any way for your big one.


looking fwd to the next post.


Ruahines said...

Kia ora Tom,
Good to read from you and glad you are still enjoying the place here.
Wow, that is a pretty epic adventure all right. I shall get my maps out and follow along. I am curious about Smith Stream - that hut has been scheduled for removal, or already has been. One of the few I have not gotten to in the Ruahines. Too bad, a real old one apparently, not easy to get to either by all accounts, and rarely visited. Did you climb back up top then drop down to Daphne? That would have been an interesting day. I bet those beers tasted pretty good after 25 days mate!
I am putting together a plan, probably on my own for most and then hooking up with a few mates keen to join me for a few days, and refresh my fod and whiskey rations! Perhaps culminating in a rendevous at Maropea Forks, though it gets pretty cold in there in July.I am still negotiating with my lovely wife about the time I can take off, but at least two weeks would be cool. Being winter travel can be a bit iffy and I am content to simply rest my old bones in a cool Ruahine spot if need be.
The urge to get out there is starting to call pretty strongly, though I am in a busy patch at work so nothing for at least 3 weeks. I am thinking of a solo trip through Pohangina valley, Knights track to Leon Kinvig, down river to Ngamoko, then either down river to Mid Pohangina and out , or maybe over the tops. The weather on those tops can get particularly nasty so a contigency plan is always good. I hope to get out in the mountains before the roar kicks in.
Thanks for the visit Tom and stay tuned! I would still like to read your write up of that trip, I am sure it is a very cool story.

Marja said...

Back again I've got an award waiting for you dear Robb

Anonymous said...

i really hope smith stream hasnt been removed, i think they took out middle stream hut buthavent heard about smith stream. It is in a fantastic spot next to a lovely river but was a bit of a chore to find because i guess the track was so infrequently used. we got lost a few times on the way but got there for a bask in the evening sun and a wash in the river. last i heard they had recut the track but that would be a few yrs back now.

prior to our trip we asked doc about how to get out of there and they recommended a 'tight prick of a creek' to take towards hinerua. we found the creek but it looked to tight so went up the bank next to it. needless to say the creek would have been easier. we ended up on the tops above the tuki tuki, dropped to the river and wandered up to daphne.

hopefully you spot a few ducks on the way down the pohangina

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Tom,
You must be a mind reader! I just got off the phone with DOC a few minutes ago. I rang to inquire about that very thing. Middle Stream has been removed, and Smith Stream is indeed still there, and apparently still a tough nut to crack in getting to in spite of the track being cut a few years ago. I talked to a guy I run into in the Ruahines from time to time and he took about 5-6 hours of tough going to get there, and he knows what he is doing. I guess it must be all the up and down meandering through those twisting spurs. Think I will wait for my mate to give that one a go. I also know years ago there was a track from there to the tops, now long gone - probably the remnants of your bash to the tops!
It would make my day to see a Whio!

kylie said...

hey robb,
i just saw your comment at maithri's place, talking about a stumbling block in your mission....
i just wanted to encourage you. taking care of the earth will always meet opposition while there are other interests involved but it is ultimately worthwhile.

dont let them get you down

and thankyou, so much, for your efforts on behalf of all of life.

bless ya

Marja said...

Like Kyli I came here to encourage you. Working in the frontlines takes a lot from you I have to step back from time to time. Progress is often slow and it is hard work and not always rewarded.
You are however changing the world
and that is quite an achievement
Take care

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Kylie and Marja,
Thank you both so much for words and thoughts. I was feeling a bit gutted about things yesterday, but knowing there are lovely people such as you out there, listening, reading, caring, and teaching is huge. I feel better today, and though the battle is often grim I am smiling.
Aroha to you both,

ghreeblestaff said...

Kio Ora, Robb.
Ryan and I walked and discussed the nature of God and the god of Nature and all that sort of thing over the weekend, up a wee canyon they call Negro Bill's.
One of the topics was that of your friend question to the children. Ryan commented many days ago, but our discussion from that point went far and wide, but still to the point.
Our students are blessed ones, with many points of joy left untouched by adult hands or minds. The music they still make is often seen as nuisance or antisocial, and many will not make it out of this life without scars from their battles with society at large, and really, with themselves as they try to work out their lives amongst us.
The beauty within our children and that in the sky and earth every day is breathtaking. The blind profit taking from those beauties (both natural and human)laid at our feet is appalling and horrifying. I applaud your morals and windmill tilting, and I trust that you know that by now. But nevertheless, I again tip my hat to you and those who are continuing to influence and walk with you.
Things are a bit off kilter 'round here and I'm not terribly on track; our little alt high just got the axe as of the end of the school year. Not much in the way of full time work for teachers like me who've seen this sort of social and financial policy again and again in this rural place, not in these times, at least. They all know pretty much how I think and roll, to boot. I'm a moody sucker in the best of times, so you can imagine, my dear brother...
Ah, well. More time to write, muse and grumble.
Onward, ho!
Love and such,

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Adam,
I wish I had been there on that walk with you and the Coyote, and maybe the fact you were pondering a conumdrum proposed here from this place in Aotearoa, I was there.
Our children, our mountains and deserts, our Earth, our societal needs. Seems a struggle to connect it all sometimes, a blurry picture never quite in focus except in certain places for me.
My thoughts are with you, and of you, and I shake my head at the Value our society puts on teachers, let alone those who teach the tough ones, the unwanted ones. Numbers on a spread sheet. Kia kaha brother, breathe deep the desert air, keep that mountain breeze upon yourself, you are needed.

Anonymous said...

Hi dear Robb, I am late in commenting due to a lot of work right now. I've hardly had time to blog, But I HAVE read this post twice, once before and again today. Last time I went to your friends site, which is amazing, and I hoped to hear some of the music these kids are doing but I could not find it in his site. I sent him an email and asked where I go to listen. I hope I hear from him.

I am sad about the windmills and as you know grieve, but I am so proud of YOU for what you did...and on your own and at a loss of work. I am so sorry to hear that. You are brave and good my friend. True to your spirit.

I also wept inside over the story of the guy in playing the violin and only seven people stopped. It made me think, all over again, how Life is REALLY a CHOICE. I know you understand. So many miss so much and then their lives are over. All that we need is right under our noses and time and time again we humans walk right past it.

That story also reminded me of this truth: Just because we get no response from our fellow humans does NOT mean we are not on the right path, or doing something absolutely AMAZING and magical, something grand, something important, something true and worthy, it often only means that others have not yet chosen to "see", to fully live, to be aware and so forth. Maybe they aren't even yet able to. So , it remind us to ALWAYS do what is TRUE for us what is in our HEARTS even if we stand completely alone. My father taught me that.

Your photos are simply beyond words. I cherish your friendship and your heart and soul insight. Thank you dear Robb. Aroha always, Robin

Anonymous said...

Robb, what can I say? You speak my heart. Yes, yes, yes, to every word here.

It's funny that you talk here of connecting to music, as I recently had an experience that made me really think about how musician's record these days. I was listening to a Beatles tune - I think it was "Here Comes the Sun" - and realized how different the sound is, compared to the slick, studio-mixed songs of today. Back then, musicians recorded their songs by singing and playing the instruments all at the same time, and so the connection to this "live" dynamic was captured in the recording. Nowadays it is all about perfection, with each musician recording a track one at a time, until each is near perfect. And then still, the engineer tweaks the sound for further "perfection."

So it really struck me how raw and emotive the Beatles track was, and how the music just got into my core because of its natural beauty. That's the thing about those tunes. They hit to the core, I think.

And this can be related, as you have done, to the world at large, and how our natural, real connections are lost to this increasing technology and focus on money and material things, and how people are losing one another, and in turn, the earth, because they fail to nurture a true life.

This music class I teach for young children really focuses in on making music as a group, with family and friends, which is so important. In the "old days," people sat around the fire and talked and told stories and sang, etc., rather than watching TV, or sit at the computer, as so many do now. Wouldn't it be wonderful to get back to that! I hope for a shift in priorities. What else can we do, but hope? Otherwise, the outcome looks so dismal, and it's hard to imagine what might come next. I have to stay optimistic, because the alternative isn't possible. Even though it does bring me down, and make me so sad to think of people losing themselves to such a junk-filled existence - in every sense of the word "junk."

Now I've rambled on too long, and I apologize for that. I don't even know if this all makes any sense. But know that I am with you, I get you, I understand it all - and so there's one more soul in the world who is campaigning for, and dedicated to, the resurgence of a love for nature and humanity.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this comment of yours. You should copy it and use it as a post. It is NOT rammbling. Not even close! I have written about this same thing as I too taught voice and music - even tho I can't read it. I had a women's cirlce and a men's cirlce and looked at these same issues. This is a dynamic comment here. We are losing our true music, something that is is ALL of us. Not for just an elete few who are owned by the major record lables. ANYONE and EVERYONE can do music, HAS MUSIC IN THEM. We ARE music. These are true and dynamic thoughts. I just LOVE what you expressed here and would love to see you write more about it. I just love you. Always come straight from your heart as it is pure and good and true.
You go girl! And I am right beside you. Love, Robin

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Robin,
How synchronistic to find two comments today from you and Ophelia, and both so spot onto me, and each other. I KNOW you are aware each moment, each second, and it inspires me, and makes me better, more aware. Please let me know if you read from Mike, I know a lady here who has a copy of the cd with all the kids and I will burn and send you one if need be. And you are so right about Ophelia's comment and it is also something I have been turning over in my own head. That need to get back to telling stories, and family lore, reading poems, Listening to music, or playing music to each other, writing a letter, or just sitting quietly in each others company reading a book, or even just enjoying a moment of Everything. Kia kaha Robin!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Ophelia,
I agree with everything you have written, and also with everything Robin has written in response.
So much of even the new music i find and listen to, and I just found a gem of a cd I will share at some stage, is simple harmony based acoustic music. Maybe it is the pureness I enjoy, the simplicity of rhythm and lyrics I can interpet. One of the common things I hear from old timers such as Van,Leonard Cohen, the Stones is that by the time they got to be able to record a record they had spent years honing their craft in clubs, bars, rehearsals, hours and hours of playing. So the old way WAS to basically record live. It just doesn't have that same sound today where what we hear is what has been voted to be America's Top Talent or whatever the show might be. Really lowest common demonator stuff, and it pains to see our tastes dictated to us like that.
I was saying to Tara, and as I wrote above to Robin, one the things that might be a blessing in these times is a turning away from high priced cable tv or fast broad band and computer games and a slow return to the those things you write about, story telling and singing actually talking to one another. Though having wrote that, there are people in this forum I have become very connected to, you amongst them.
Never aplogize here my wonderful friend, your words make perfect sense and brought tears to my eyes. I do understand, I too can tend go within myself, sometimes too far, but more and more knowing there are people out there, beautiful souls like you and Robin and this lovely connection... I can write no more. Kia kaha Ophelia!

Anonymous said...

I think often about the loss of the musical connection, story-telling, etc., and notice that whenever we do this with our children, they just light up. It's such an innate form of communication, I think, and one that children pick up on right away.

Funny that you mention using it as a blog post, Robin, because I was actually planning on that - and reading your post, Robb, really struck me, because you also had been thinking the very same thing, at the same time. (Funny how that works. Collective consciousness, anyone? ;) I might actually also address the relationship between food and eating, and the earth. How the more we venture into a "fast food" society, we leave our mother earth and become something less connected. I think food is a great way to get in touch with ourselves, and our nature. In thoughtless, distracted eating, we lose the ritual, the meaning of our food, and become sort of "zombies" in terms of what we choose and how we go about our mealtimes. I know this is nothing new, I'm sure numerous books have been written about it - but it's important enough to reiterate.

I'm planning a vegetable/herb garden for this spring, and Jack is really excited about it. He wants an herb garden all his own. I think this is an amazing way to have him learn and connect with the earth and his true nature. Not only gardening, but cooking in the "slow food" way can make a difference, in terms of how we view our world. This might also be a good idea for a post. I'm considering it.

Love and much Aroha to you both. I think of you always. xoxo

Anonymous said...

OH - also wanted to mention how incredible drumming circles are. Just thought of this reading your comment, Robin. They are a really overt and tangible way of sensing the connection music and rhythm can make in human relationships, which I'm sure you both know. Okay, now I'm done. :)