While visiting son and family recently, we took the opportunity to bless the pounamu that our granddaughter had been gifted from Kāi Tahu as part of her school starter pack.

We chose the river that she connects to – the Kakanui river, at the place where it meets the ocean.

Our granddaughter was stoked. Previous to receiving the Kāi Tahu pack, she had expressed how she was ‘missing her ancestors’. And upon receiving the school starter pack in the mail a few days later, was absolutely delighted, saying, “I can’t believe my ancestors did that for me!” As she’d had to wait a few weeks for it to be blessed before she could wear her pounamu, she was very excited to put it around her neck at last.


After our visit to Moeraki and surrounds, we headed home the long way, travelling inland from Palmerston and towards Ranfurly. Ahead of us the Rock and Pillar range.

Accompanying us on our road trip, a little flower on the car’s dashboard, given to us by another granddaughter before we left Ōtepoti Dunedin. Bless her.

As my expression appears to convey! The wind was bitter that day. We could see snow on the top peaks of the Rock and Pillar range. (I think I’m right in saying that this photo has the hills of the Kakanui Range in the background.)

Some of my whānau may get the bootmaker joke …

The bootmaker’s and this stone building and wall are located in a small town we passed through. The town Macraes close to the Macraes mine. The school there has the rather romantic name of Moonlight. There was a hotel with attached accommodation (for the miners?) I admit, seeing the land torn up for the mining, left me feeling unsettled and not all that impressed.

One thing for sure, travelling through this part of the country you’re going to see rocks, tussock and mountains.

And we saw a lot of hawks. I was reminded of a poem of mine from my latest poetry collection, Upturned.

On this trip, we noticed that the fence hung with animal skins, is still there. Didn’t stop to take a photo this time though, preferring to look at the mountains, the hawks and the land.

For miles (or kilometres … I still think in terms of miles, somehow it sounds more poetic?) we were the only ones travelling the road that Wednesday morning. The joys of retirement, eh.

Daggy road sign

On the way to Ranfurly, because of a road flooded from heavy overnight rain, we had to make a detour through Oterehua. This is where the well known Aotearoa New Zealand poet, Brian Turner, lives. We stopped at where we thought there was a cafe, but it appeared it was closed and the whole town along with it. We moved on.

In Ranfurly, we had lunch in the cafe that locals frequent – as opposed to the cafe that the rail-trail bikers and other passers by like us are more likely to go to. I enjoyed eavesdropping on the local gossip. It seems they call going to Dunedin for shopping, ‘going into town’ and believe that the rail trailers ‘all think they’re it’.

Another stop we made was more sombre. We stopped at the Hyde monument, erected in memory of 21 passengers who died in a terrible rail accident in 1943.

As always, even though we enjoy a bit of a break, it is also good to get back home.

With winter closing in, home is probably where we’ll be staying put for a while now.

And this is where I intend staying put … where I’ll be …

The notice I made for the door, saying it all.