Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Once again here in Aotearoa our Wild Places are under attack. It is no surprise really as when this National right wing government was elected last year we all knew the Resource Management Act would be put under immediate threat, and has been. Yet now we have our National Parks, forests, and sea put in the sights of those whom would happily carve up our wild places in the name of wealth generation.

We have right wing lowest common denominator scrawny shouldered talk back radio hosts promoting this as being a good thing. Our girthy and heavy jowled Minister of Energy and Resources, Gerry Brownlee, is scathing and sarcastic in any resistance to the wishes of his corporate masters. "Scaremongering" he bellows! "We have been quite up-front about the fact WE WANT TO SEE THE ACTIVITY INCREASED," he said. "We do not want to destroy the conservation estate, BUT where there can be "sensitive" mineral extraction which adds to the economic well being of this country we should do it."

Well pardon me Gerry while I set down my meat pie and ponder that one! Being upset about that statement doesn't appear to me to be "Scaremongering", as you are clearly stating the intention to get into pristine wilderness areas and alter them forever. Just what is "Sensitive" about any mineral extraction? The road building, the helicopter pads and traffic, the destroying of waterways and forests, or the pilfering of our wild resources to create a few jobs and send the wealth overseas? You need to go for a walk in some these places, not fly over in a helicopter or look at them on a grid map, and take that talk back radio host with you.

Above and below are Charlie, "T", and cousin Gibson out by a nearby river for International Rock Flipping Day.

It is for boys like this above I feel a heaviness weigh upon me. Knowing so many who would read my words and quickly classify me as "Greenie whacko", an "old hippy", a "hand wringing liberal apologist". The reality is I am a balding middle aged white male with a mortgage and a job raising a family the best I can. I do vote Green, and probably am an ex hippie, and I am certainly more a liberal than a conservative, but life has sort of steered me back to the main stream as it does with so many of us. The mere fact Wild Places are out there makes the day to day grind a little more tolerable, represents possibility and freedom, experiences away from the trappings of modern life. It sets free in me something wild and primitive that in turn helps me connect to a bigger focus. For some it is religion, or spirituality, or philosophy, but for me and many others it is in the Wild Places. I simply want these boys above to experience that in its purest form, or at least have the opportunity to know that such places still exist. To those who don't get that I can only paraphrase the words of Edward Abbey in that it does not matter if indeed we never actually even go there but that they merely are there for the possibility they represent.

I will end my brief rant with the words of Sigurd Olson from a speech given to the 9th Wilderness Conference in San Francisco back in 1965. Olson was an environmentalist, author, and a passionate defender and advocate of Wild Places. He was at the helm of the political canoe which steered the creation of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness through rough and troubled waters until signed into creation by President Jimmy Carter in 1978.
"If, as Harrison Brown said, " The spiritual resources of man are the critical resources," then wilderness, which fosters such values, must be preserved. If we can believe what the wise have said for thousands of years, then there is hope for wildness and beauty in our environment. If spirit is a power and a force that spells the difference between richness of living and sterility, then we know what we must do. It may well be that with our swiftly expanding population, the movement away from nature into vast city complexes and decimation facing much of the land, that the wilderness we can hold now will become the final bastions of the spirit of man. Unless we can preserve places where the endless spiritual needs of man can be fulfilled and nourished, we will destroy our culture and ourselves." - Sigurd Olson

'We stand for what we stand on" - Ed Abbey


HWHL said...

Robb, it's been a long time since I've been to your blog. I hope you, Tara and your boys are doing well.

Interesting that you should post this. Just last night I watched a beautiful documentary on America's Parks, and one of the RESOUNDING quotes that stayed with me (I believe it was John Muir.... one of the great champions of conservation and preservation) said "The ages have perfected them... men can only marr them..." or something to that effect. Sounds like you have a very similar situation going on there. I hope that cooler heads will prevail, and people will look at the long-term consequences, rather than just short-term gain.

Blessings to you and your family.
-Tracey (a/k/a Happy Wife)

Ophelia Rising said...

Oh, s#!t, Robb. Why, why, why don't they leave it all alone? It seems, again, that the almighty dollar is more important than anything in the world to some people, and what's more than sad is how widespread this perception of priorities has become. I don't understand why it's okay to do whatever it takes so that a company can make money - at the risk of our very earth, and its people and wildlife. When have grown men and women become so childishly blinded that they can't see past their own nose? Why is it that only now matters, and whatever happens down the road doesn't matter b/c, well, it's not right NOW. Do you know what I mean? I am increasingly bewildered at how sort of immature this point of view is - there is no insight or wisdom. Or grace. Only greed and arrogance, and a sort of carnage It's a vast problem, apparently not only here in the U.S., but now in other countries, as well. I thought that we were the biggest offender, but no. It's disheartening.

Please, please, let me know what I can do - if there is a fight to fight, I am with you. Whatever I can do (from so far away), I will try and do.

Guess I'm an old aging hippy, too. I fancy us more as old souls, though, I think. :-)

"All that in this delightful garden grows
should happy be and have immortal bliss."
- Edmund Spencer, The Faerie Queen

Kia kaha!
And much aroha...

Ophelia Rising said...

Actually, reading over my comment, I want to clarify that I do think that the U.S. IS the biggest offender, in most cases. But now, with Obama in office, I'm hoping some things will turn around. But slowly...and will it be too late? And how much resistance is there? The change will have to be drastic. It's all so precarious.

troutbirder said...

Well stated Robb I couldn't agree more. The Ken Burns series on our National Parks was a wonderful history lesson on these kind of struggles.
And of course mentioning Sigurd Olson and my all time favorite wilderness retreat, the BWCA, was nice to see as well.

Barbara Martin said...

Robb, a well stated post. It brought to mind the old movie "Soylent Green" where over-population destroyed the natural resources and the only way to see what the country once looked like was to see a filmstrip of green wilderness. In Canada, too, there are mining companies that are ruining the land and environment in the North-West Territories and the federal government does nothing to prevent that. Greed for profit seems to be the key with them. Corporations and governments need to make immediate changes to their structures before Mother Nature and God come in to rectify everything, permanently.

KB said...

You said it so eloquently. I feel the same way about wilderness nourishing my spirit. The terrible thing is that, once wild places are messed up like your leaders are trying to do, it takes eons to bring them back to their true wildness. Even here in Colorado, old mines dot our wilderness, from 100 years ago. No one ever forced them to truly clean up so today I passed a rusted out old cabin next to a small shaft leaking dirty water. I looked up on a historical map and it's been 80 years since that mine was excavated.

Fight it any way you can. Without wild places, some of us would be lost.

Donald said...

Robb, well done re your words on our wilderness! They obviously motivated me to ramble...

It seems to mean more to me as a dad, than before, that we must leave the wilderness untouched. And not only leave it alone, but bring it into focus in the sense like you say, so we know it's there.

Many years ago I found myself involved by accident in the early days of heliskiing in New Zealand. Eager for adventure I deferred contemplating the moral issues of compromising the quietness and isolation of wilderness. But sooner rather than later while guiding parties, the thing that really stunned me was that by people sampling it [for many the first time in their lives], a high percentage finished their day having grasped what we're talking about. Maybe now like me they sometimes lie in bed recalling the light and feel of these areas, and then imagining and asking "what's it like there right now?"

Now this is a bit of an extreme way to introduce such concepts, so how do we bring it all into focus on larger scale!? One way gifted to us are the writings of the people you quote, and your own. In today's climate it seems a grasp of marketing would help a lot too.

Those of us fortunate enough to have happily lived and travelled the wild places can bring their values into our everyday life I'd like to think. We can make a difference I believe by working at it in many ways. The calmness for example can be used to bear witness to the suffering in countless lives, [or just a handful - who knows], and every now and then I'd hope this sort of demeanour will be noticed. Quietly by the example of the wilderness, we can be the very wind, rock and earth too - an anchor or constant for others, and if we do it thoughtfully it won't take us a lot of energy to demonstrate where it came from - not from us, but through us!

And really life is all about the acquisition of energy! Many don't realise yet though that there are sources that it's not our right to deplete. Gently, but strongly we have to remind these people. It's a pity more of the Helen Clark type of leader do not "shoulder" a pack and live by the breath of an honest slog uphill. I'll not comment on her politics, but in my reckoning it is such that it is a prerequisite in the quest for wise decisions to be "out there" occasionally, and that's just the beginning.

I almost made it as a hippie when I got invited to join a commune in the MacKenzie country once, but I knew of gentler places of solitude. Knowing them, I only need now carry them in my head and heart.

So keep up the good writings and posting great photos - photos many of which hold emotion. Indeed kids playing with the energy of wild little rivers, the life blood of the land and our lives.



Ruahines said...

Kia ora HWHL,
So good to read from you and glad you stopped by. John Muir was a huge part of creating the US National Park system. We need more like him, but I am afraid he was one of a kind.
My belief is that we are coming to real cross roads as humankind decides what it is we really value and what we want future generations to look upon this period as being.
Tara and the boys are all well, and we pass on our regards and well wishes to you and yours.

Gustav said...


"We stand for what we stand on".

Simple and powerful words.

Soon we will be standing in a river.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Ophelia,
I always take heart from your impassioned comments. Just the mere fact other people care enough to respond to my ranting lifts my spirits, but also the knowledge that through sharing our voices we can make a difference, as we have already experienced. I think the answers to your questions lie in the continuing disconnection we as people experience with nature or the wild. For instance I could bet my bottom dollar the talk back radio host and most certainly our government minister have NEVER spent time in these places, and see no intrinsic value to them other as a commodity for NOW. This is what we are fighting against. I don't know how to make people understand this, except to continue to talk and write as passionately as I can.
I honestly do not view this at all as a US problem, but rather a world one. The areas needing the most protection are the ones where the people have no choice but destroy the very forests which shelter them, pollute the waters which should sustain them, and create huge sores upon their own beautiful earth to dig up that which our consumerist societies demand. They are only trying to survive, and it is really we who need to look at why we live this way.
Indeed the states has done some ground breaking work in terms of creating wilderness areas, national parks, forest reserves, ect. We have produced voices like Edward Abbey, John Muir, and Sigurd Olson, amongst others whom have produced huge results. I guess it is our turn to Listen to the echoes of their impassioned words as they still bounce off the mountains, canyons, lakes ad streams they helped to preseve and DO something by keeping the ever reaching greed of the corporations and governments away. Rave on Wild Sister Ophelia! Kia kaha!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora TB,
Have not been fortunate enough to see the Ken Burns doco on this - the one on jazz was awesome! Men like Muir, and Sigurd Olson literally gave their lives to preserving wild places. I will keep my eyes open.
Some of my finest and most soul searing moments in Nature have come in the BWCA. Just the thought of hearing the haunting call of a loon while around a campfire can bring a lump to my throat. Sigurd was a huge voice, and his impact immeasureable to all who launch a canoe upon the waters of the BWCA.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Barbara,
The truly scary thought about the movie scenario is that there are seemingly many within the industrial complex we have created whom are so disconnected that seeing "Nature" in some sort of clean antiseptic museum would almost be preferable! This what Abbey raved on about, the creation of a national park system where people DRIVE on sealed roads everywhere. What is the result of such folly? The reality is often time some of our US National Parks are the most dangerous places to BREATHE the air! Is this what we want?
"Corporations and governments need to make immediate changes to their structures before Mother Nature and God come in to rectify everything, permanently". That is beautiful and truthful writing Barbara. Kia ora my lovely friend, and Kia kaha!

Maithri said...

Dear Robb,

Wonderful, rousing words my brother...

We must stand up for the wilderness, for the wild places...they have been ravaged too long by the callous hands of commercial greed...

We are all familiar with people saying "its our childrens future and the future of the plante that we're dealing with"...and yet we continue to turn a blind eye... to wring our hands in indifference.

I stand beside you in solidarity and raise my voice for the protection of these beautiful wild places,

My love to you dear brother and to your precious family,


Ruahines said...

Kia ora KB,
Yes, and the battle is still going on in the American west, as Abbey foretold the greed and reach of corporations knows no end, and these corporate governments happy to line their pockets under the guise of economic development, job creation and content voters. Sad, and yes it must be fought in every way. As you show on your every day romps and rambles through your beautiful "back yard", we must keep these places wild. Rave on KB!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
One the things I love most about creating a discussion with comments is the depth and beauty that can expand a point far more than I ever took it to begin with. Your comment is full of knowledge, wisdom, and passion. It expresses so well what I was trying to get at and the frustration I can feel at trying to get those who do not travel in wild places why that actually is not the point. The mere fact they are there is beauty in itself, and certainly once people experience that it is easier to grasp. I myself often close my eyes at night and think of the Ruahine, wonder what a particular spot looks like right now, hear the wind whistling through the beeches, or the soothing serenade of a mountain stream as it lulls me to sleep. Perhaps it should be legislated that no one shall touch a forest, dam a river, or dig a mountain out of existance until they have spent a few days amongst such places. I firmly believe that even among the most hardened city dweller that deep within us there is a connection to the wild waiting to be sparked. Our disconnection from that as a species is a dim prospect. So yes, I shall continue to share words and photos, and read those of wonderful souls such as yourself, and most of all get out amongst it at every opportunity. Kia ora Donald, wonderful comment. Kia kaha!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Gustav,
Abbey could turn a phrase pretty well brother. Looking forward to a little mountain time with you in 4 weeks or so!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Maithri,
I am proud to have you stand beside me and raise a fist to the skies my brother!
I know you are consumed with matters of humankind and seeing that those most in need are looked upon with dignity and aroha. I am trying to find way to do that for the earth in my own way. Thank you Maithri for the inspiration. Tara sends her greetings.

Anonymous said...

What the hell is sensitive mineral extraction, sensitive and extraction don't go together...I wish these people would get out there and learn the value, the real deep and dirty value, of wildness and wilderness.

We, as 'modern' humans (modern because we're quickly loosing any resemblance to those who hacked out a living on and with the ground and the wild beasts they shared it with) only value 'economic' potential.

We're a dying race, but we'll die with wonderful portfolios...but we won't be human...

That said, I'm glad to stand with you, brother, in preserving what we love, what we need...

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Lost Coyote,
The corporate babble speak and spin they put on these travesties, the "cool" "hip" celebrities they pay to prostitute and encourage the destruction of wild places boggles the mind. I can't believe a verb like Sensitive could be used in a sentence describing what it then goes on to do! The visual concept of "senstive" makes us feel better, as if the brook will still babble laden with trout, and deer will nibble contentedly at springtime buds as the earth is excavated gently around them to unearth its riches for our well being. I feel better already LC, yea right!
Yes brother, we are losing contact with the parts we need to BE most in contact with. Ol' Ed would probably say it is for the better. Maybe it is.
Glad to stand with you as well my friend. Till I next hoist my tin cup in your honour up in them hills! Kia kaha LC!

Bob McKerrow - Wayfarer said...

Why did God give us morons like Gerrie Brownlie ? To top it off, he represents me in my electorate !

And I must confess, I did not vote for him.

It is hard to be a strong advocate for the issues you are fighting for, living in Indonesia, but I applaud you for your efforts. Keep at it Robb.

Kia Kaha !


Marja said...

Absolutely great post There are so many issues at the moment The mining in the South Island, Farmers who want to dam the wild rivers, dumping wastewater at Christchurch shore in the ocean and many more. Nature is not only spiritual important to human beings
but is vital for survival and than NZ isn't even one of the worst.
One of my best friends does a lot in the environmental area and has profound knowledge about the ecosystems, and the effects on us
if we disturb everything. You don't want to know Thank for you contribution to such an important topic BTW the photos of the kids are wonderful

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Bob,
The mere fact you have been in so many of Aotearoa's Wild Places, much less the most remote places on earth makes your advocacy a huge contribution. Though you, like Maithri above, deal with far more more severe and immediate consequences. Bob, you are a Kiwi icon, one of my heros, and I am proud to be of your acquaintence.
If you are around NZ over the holidays and there is a possibility of catching up, both Tara and I would love to see you, and return the hospitality and grace your family showed to us. I am raising a glass to you this evening.
My strongest thoughts and aroha to you and your teams whom are fighting the good fight. Kia kaha!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Marja,
I would love to stroll through some bush with you and just talk. It will happen.
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, you and I will be long gone before Nature truly answers back. Already she blows more harshly in our ears.

kylie said...

i'm sorry to see that the greed of the few is causing anguish. it always does of course, some things never change.....

you do well to maintain the passion and i commend you for it.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Kylie,
Cheers. Yes it does seem that we as a western societies are just never content to let anything be, much less wide open expanses of Nature which "don't do anything". As a few others have alluded to here above, I fear that ultimately such careless and frivilous treatment will be our demise, or certainly radically affect the world we leave future generations.

Unknown said...

Hey Robb

You are a raving lunatic man, can't you see that the mainstream is behind National now. Can't you see that the PC days are gone, that the power of the people is here.

The long hour of democracy.

Constitutional consumerism.

I fear Robb that we need more raving lunatics like you, not only because we are all so damn greedy, but because we are so damn boring as well.

As you say "rave on"


Ruahines said...

Kia ora Jamie,
Good to read from you Jamie. Hope the recent silence at your place is due to good cause such as being out in them thar hills.
It occured to me reading your comment that we DO need more lunatics. And not easy to point a finger and laugh at dread locked greenies, professional protesters, or priveleged students. But rather more lunatic middle class white males (or females), whose lives are more main stream than fringe, who work, raise families, pay taxes, and VOTE. People who understand, or try to, the value of Nature and Wild Places, of our Conservation estate, of how we here can be an example to the world - as our leaders so often put out there but rarely back up. People who cannot be so easily laughed off by co workers, family, or right wing talk back radio hosts. People whom are passionate enough to stick to our guns and take the money grubbing bastards on where we stand, and for what we stand upon -
a little paraphrase from Ed there.
"Constitutional Consumerism", you got that spot on Jamie. We are all living in the wide shadow of the smile of John Key and his back room deals. A fools paradise.
Be cool brother.

Hell Mission said...

Hi Robb,

Added 2 in 1 Surviving the Saw and Golden Hut

Contains our story about our traverse of Sawtooth Ridge and our second tramp that weekend to Gold Creek Hut and one of the oldest huts in the country Ellis Hut (1884).
Lots of great photos in the photo gallery too. Got a great pic of a gecko!


Ruahines said...

KIa ora Phillip,
Great photos mate! The gecko photo is superb, and so are the ones of Black and Sawtooth ridges. Your skills as a writer, photographer and tramper are soaring my friend. I can't wait for the day to walk into a hut and find you guys.
I am off in the morning to camp on the tops of the Ngamoko then drop down and stay at Leon Kingvig or camp on the Pohangina river. I may be back at Iron Gate te last week of November as I have a mate from America who now lives in Tasmania coming over for Thanksgiving. He wants to spend a couple days chasing trout, and that is as good a spot as any. Keep on truckin' my roaming friend.

Ruahines said...

ps Phillip,
I was at Gold Creek almost 10 years years ago when my son was 7. I wonder if that visit is still in the hut book? We came in over the ridge, then out down the creek the next day. A tough creek for a 7 year old! Took us awhile. I wrote a story about back then. I should post it here.

ghreeblestaff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ghreeblestaff said...

Ah, dear Robb,
I dropped off the edge of the earth for a while. The words I type with a either a leaden or winged heart pale when compared with the passions behind them, especially when they concern brothers, the land and/or the hopes and dreams we hold within.
I make apology often when I don't record my thoughts on this board for too long a while, and by now I hope you don't trouble yourself a whit when I don't reply via this forum or that, perhaps it doesn't even register amongst the greats who speak to you from near and far with better consistency. I dunno.
The things you speak to in this post are gargantuan. The voices, opinions, spin and influence peddling are like a landslide- immense in power and ability to engulf whatever is set up in its path toward the goal of damming the stream at the bottom of the hill.
Your arguments are beautiful and true, lyrical and clear; as they ever are. Many have found them and appreciate them for that, others have found them too, who have dismissed them as dross, who cannot see the clear stream for the beauty that it is. To them the stream is water, and that water is yet untapped money. You know the causation and rationale too well, I needn't belabour that point, aye, Robb?
Even as I write this attempt to add to your beautiful voice and just express my joy at your heart's purpose, I write paragraphs only to highlight and delete again and again. My experience in effecting change is scant, but the need for more such change is immense. How are we going to achieve this or at least allow our hearts to rest, knowing we've fought the best fight we can? Your writings are one such way; you've been a part of good movement toward hope and preservation of that which nourishes. I yearn for a more perfect dialogue though, one which fosters respect and learning, conciliation and unity in direction, if not unity of real purpose.
All I see so far is skirmishing and victory in battles; the war continues unabated between human hearts and dreams. Though we are the same at the core still, the covering to that inner being is diverging more and more by the day all over the earth. It is even more evident in those who have power or the will to influence with that dynamism.
Ah well. I sure appreciate you, yours and what you do with what you've been blessed with, Robb.
Please know that my thoughts and yearnings go with you where you go, and my heart is with you where you are.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Adam,
I understand your silences completely brother, though find much joy in seeing your name and thoughts to follow appear here.
I have just returned today from a few nights camped out by a Ruahine stream with a climb up to the open tops and then return to my camp. All I kept thinking is why can't we just leave these places alone? Why does "productive" have to mean wealth generation? In that sense it did generate enormous wealth for my general well being, my mental state, and the depths of my soul which needed the light of the mountains.
I built a camp fire up there Adam, and I let my self drift to a place where you and the Coyote sat there with me. It was only a small fire but in my heart it roared. Rave on brother.

RedLogix said...

Thanks for writing this. People who understand what wilderness means seem fairly thin on the ground these days; it's easy to feel pretty alienated and lonely.

If we never actually meet, I'll still take comfort in knowing there are still some kindred spirits left.

Robin Easton said...

There quotes for you my dear Wild Brother.

Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the last remaining wilderness be destroyed.... We simply need that wild country available to us even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in. ~ Wallace Stegner

When wilderness is outlawed, only outlaws can save wilderness.
~ Edward Abbey

We are the eyes of the Earth, the voice of the Earth. I have risen up out of the soul of the Earth. ~Joseph Campbell

As I awoke to full consciousness I began to grasp my place in the
scheme of things, and my realization of the equality of all life was born. ~ Copyright: Robin Easton

Let me stand in the heart of a beech tree, with great boughs all sinewed and whorled about me. And just for a moment catch a glimpse of primeval time that breathes forgotten within this busy hurrying world. ~ Stephanie June Sorrell (1956- )English poet

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~ Albert Einstein

In wilderness is the preservation of the world.... We need the tonic of wildness.... At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be infinitely wild, unsurveyed, and unfathomed by us... We can never have enough of nature.
~ Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Dear dear Wild Brother, dang this is soooo powerful. SO SO POWERFUL! You ought to submit it as an editorial to some of the news papers there. Or a magazine article. My god, your writing is truly as magnificent as is your heart. I was held spellbound reading this. WOW!!!

And the photos of the boys brought tears to my eyes when I know how dependent they are on us to leave them even small pieces of the wild world. I sit here crying thinking how I am letting them down. I often think I would like to use my book (just signed a book contract) as a platform for a good cause for the Earth. The org that I and another woman started way back is in transition and may not continue due to life choices/changes that others are making.

So I've been thinking of what other cause I could create awareness for. If you ever don your wilderness warrior clothes PLEASE let me know.

I am not even their parent but I so worry for those precious beauuuuutiful little boys. Oh my god they are dear beyond belief. They need to wade in creeks, feeling the current, hearing the song of the water, seeking salamanders, throwing rocks and exploring for no reason at all...other than it is WHO they ARE! Who we all ARE.

Almost all the world has forgotten who they are. They think they ARE their cars, the tarred roads, the cities, their cell phones, their computers, the mall, the movies, the iPods, the fast food, and on and on.

We cannot remain in a state of health without connection to the rest of who we ARE...the Living Earth.

Let me know if I can help. I am with you always in spirit and will do whatever I can. I bet our dear sister "Ophelia" would too.

Thank you Robb for choosing to be who you are, for speaking so passionately, honestly, boldly and bluntly. The world desperately needs it.

Aroha always...
Robin, your Wild Sister.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora RedLogix,
Welcome and cheers. Glad indeed there are kindred spirits out there. And lord knows, to paraphrase John Muir, there are many of us who need to go to the mountains to get their Glad Tidings.
Thanks for the support, and Tuning In.

Wilma Ham said...

Hi Robb
I am with Robin all the way and what you say here "Unless we can preserve places where the endless spiritual needs of man can be fulfilled and nourished, we will destroy our culture and ourselves."
This is where we can connect with creation that is unadultered and until we connect with each other in that way we need nature.

Robb, thanks, love Wilma

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Wild Sister,
I love the quotes and in particular the one by Stephanie Sorrell about the beech trees! That one immediately invoke the Ruahine within me, the thought of being on a high ridge with the wind gently rustling the branches. One of the places I often close my eyes and dream of out here. I will have to use that one Robin!
Indeed, the main reason we as modern societies treat Wild Places with such disdain and disregard is because we are becoming capable of only measuring value in terms of PROFIT, PRODUCTIVITY,and WEALTH GENERATION. Again, it is the growing disconnection to the values that Wild Places are offering us if only we will LISTEN.
We have it so backwards and instead we look at what should sustain us the most as something else to simply be exploited and ruined.
Those boys are gorgeous, and those smiles genuine and bright, untainted by anything artificial. A place where even Mr.T can put his past behind and just be in the moment. Those boys loved it, they love all the interactions with Nature, for within us all is the Child that inately responds to such unadulterated and simple stimuli. It is within us all.
Robin, you rock the world by simply being you, by being open to all, to expressing your love and joy at simply being in the Wild, by creating a place for others to discover and share such values.
I am keeping any eye on these developments and should I need the powerful words and aroha of you and Wild Sister Ophelia I will unashamedly call upon you both. Rave on!
Aroha e rangimarie

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Wilma,
I just find it a bit insulting when our beautiful land here comes under attack from some of those most disconnected from its real value. That is what we should be most connected To! We look so hard and wide for complicated solutions to so many problems such as child murder, alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, prescription drug addiction, and so on. Maybe at times the solutions are far simpler. Cheers Wilma, thanks for tuning to the ranting as well.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Robb, it's nature that secures our world's future. It sustains us. I am glad you are taking a vocal stand. Nature is vital to our survival and well-being. Some people are in denial to make money.

The Best to You!!!


Lynda Lehmann said...

I share your despair over the further encroachment of commercial interests into your wild areas, Robb.

You have put it so well: "It sets free in me something wild and primitive that in turn helps me connect to a bigger focus."

And the quote by Olson says it so well, too.

I am among those who believe that my experience of nature connects me to the mystery of Creation, to the wholeness of the universe. I do not mean to say that they lead me to Divinity in any traditional religious sense of the word, as traditional religions are by virtue of dogma and definition, limiting. They divide us as much as they unify.

I mean that for me, the forest is my cathedral--and the trees and lake and mountains, sentinels of all that is holy and of consequence, which is, of course, LIFE itself. We all die a little bit, each time a mountaintop is razed for coal, or a forest is skinned for cropland or commerce.

Still, I always find joy in the wild places that are left, and hope that some will remain for our kids and grandchildren to explore and cherish.

I guess we all have to work hard to raise consciousness and unearth (no pun intended) and express our collective political will.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora JJ,
Cheers. I think you promote that need for connection very well through your writings and photos. Maybe if more people actually looked around and appreciated how close to nature we all are these places would not be under attack. Have a wonderful nature filled day my friend!

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Lynda,
"I mean that for me,the forest is my Cathedral... and the trees, lake, and mountains sentinels of all that is Holy and of Consequence, which is of course, LIFE itself."
That is a perfect description of the holy connection I feel in Nature. Lynda, thank you for these beautiful words and thoughts. And you are right we have to keep putting our views, and values out there, and speak with our votes.

Mike said...

Hi Robb.

Thanks for the post. Reading this has prompted some thoughts about things I noticed in Laos (we just returned yesterday), but I haven't quite formulated it yet so I might post something later on.

Without meaning to inflame things too much more, have you heard anything about John Hayes' (Wairarapa MP) proposals to dam the Tauherenikau and Waiohine Gorges? I was overseas at the time and can't quickly find an online reference (hopefully a good sign), but it was reportedly published in the Wairarapa News of 28th October. I think there might also be an odd letter or more in response in the following issue(s), but I've not seen it (apart from the front cover of Nov 11th which indicates more inside) so can't say for sure.


Ruahines said...

Kia ora Mike,
Welcome home. I thought you must be on some trip or another with the recent silence over at your place.
No Mike, I have not heard of any such plans, and the mere thought of that sort of intrusion into the Tararua's is simply unacceptable. Any info you find please let me know. With Brownlee leading the way it is not surprising to hear of other National MP's blathering off as well, but as of yet I have heard nothing - and a quick search has revealed nothing either. But I have no doubts of whispers in the wind.
Cheers Mike, I am sure you will be out in the mountains soon!
Ka kite ano,

Mike said...

A quick side note -- I notice that Gerry Brownlee was recently reported as saying "I don't think you are going to see any large scale dams built in the foreseeable future.".

Interesting. Not that the proposed Tararua dams would necessarily be "large scale", of course, but if genuine then perhaps this signals something else.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Mike,
I sent through an email to you regarding potential hydro developments taken directly from the government website. We should be very very concerned.
The Waiohine in the Tararua, and the Pohangina in the Ruahine have both been earmarked as highly likely for schemes in the next 20 years. The specifics would seem to indicate outside conservation land but I would not bet my life on that.
I see a fight looming once again.