Kia ora koutou
This journey has become so timeless, flowing like a river through different landscapes, companions, events, unexpected help, uncertainties, starry nights, bright hot days, still waters, wild seas, wide vistas, strong winds; enveloping, nurturing green of forest, and the next dogged, tired step; laughter, exhaustion, gaspingly steep ascents and descents, giant trees, tiny birds, elated and frustrated moods, challenges, decisions, indecisions, destinations, glowing present moments: all of it held in the spirit of the hikoi which seems to allow a fullness of flow and the universe alive with endless generosity of response, through events and people arriving in the perfect moment……
Help and generosity way beyond the call of any sense of ordinary “duty” from local Takahue (far north) icons Pete and Sabrina Griffiths who came to our aid when the weather packed it in just before Christmas, putting us up, feeding us and transporting us hither and thither through the ongoing changes of plan over the ensuing days….
In Kerikeri unexpectedly early due to two postponed ranges ….
Engaged interview with Hamish from the local paper, feeling him responding deeply as a fellow human to what I describe of my observations in Mental Health, finding a fuller language arising with each time I find myself in the position of more fully opening up the Hikoi kaupapa.
The time of year (and lack of established contacts) has definitely been against me in terms of generating interest in meetings in the far north, but Rolf and Inge of Oraora Wellness Resort very generously offered me two nights’ accommodation and a venue for a meeting in Kerikeri. There were only five of us at the meeting – a couple who had an incredible family story of successfuly supporting a family member with orthomolecular medicine, and without medication, having seen the results of medication on other family members. For Rolf and Inge it was incredibly eye-opening to hear both of our observations on the Mental Health System.
Sections around Kerikeri blissfully pack-free with my fellow adventurer, endlessly good-humoured, warm-hearted and beloved friend Beccy with her unerring ability to bring inner and outer sunshine and always intuit the perfect lunch spot.:-) After Kerikeri- Waitangi and
Opua: the walk around the Veronica Sound feeling a thousand miles from the slightly desperate feeling of holidaying humans en masse; guardian pohutukawas in their summer finery, lapping water and the deep slow tidal rhythms remind and delight and echo the deeper rhythm of a relaxed human being.
Followed by our magical day in the Russell forest, including about four hours of dream-like walking in a stream with depths varying between ankle and thigh; joined the following day by Clare of the lionheart, with her amazing stamina, strength, kindness, calm practicality, wicked sense of humour and huge generosity. Within 24 hrs we had become a close-knit team, joined at Whananaki by Rachel, provider on the first evening of one of the most appreciated meals in the known universe of salad and strawberries to three of the weariest walkers in the known universe!! Rachel’s blend of reassuring strength and beautifully subtle sensitivity is a balm for my more vulnerable moments. We also share a similar, slightly peculiar sense of humour which warms my heart and belly; and all three of my amazing support team astound me with their generosity of purse, action and being…blessed and grateful beyond measure…
We stayed in Ngunguru with Ella and Silver, old friends from the time i spent at Wilderland community in the Coromandel on their organic orchard, and who were extremely generous with their hospitality. From there Rachel and I kayaked a section of the trail, which reduced a long stretch of road walking.
Another local paper interview and photograph yesterday. Teresa, a local woman has come on board very strongly and proactively to help organize and publicise the meeting here on the 17th. She booked the main hall at the “Old Library” and we hired and created an information board at the “current” library. She is distributing fliers for the meeting at the local market as I type this.
We leave Whangarei today, after staying with Nada, another friend from Wilderland days whose real generosity and comfortable beds we’ve relished. Rachel and I will now go back up north to tackle the section of forested ranges that I wasn’t able to do at Chrstmas because of the extreme conditions.
I am meeting with a group of support workers and consumers on the afternoon of the 17th and there is a possibility that Maori TV may want to meet me on the 18th. After that i’ll resume the Te Araroa trail in a more seqential way starting from Marsden Point.
My latest reflections around the essence of the Hikoi Kaupapa is that healing comes from re-establishing a relationship with life, and that this is where treatment needs to start from… I’m finding that the Hikoi is developing a life of its own. I may have alluded to this before, but one unexpected aspect of talking with individuals about what i’m doing is that it gives them permission to tell their own stories that in most circumstances are taboo.
Nga mihi nui