We reluctantly left our beach house and drove off towards our next destination – the Abel Tasman National Park. Along the way we stopped and zip lined over the Buller River and then at a small town called Murchison in the middle of nowhere we ran into Rajeeta and Gunaraj while we were filling up on petrol.
We set up camp at a nice newish Airbnb house on top of a hill near the town of Motueka with great views of Nelson bay and the town of Nelson on the other side. The mountains above Nelson and the constantly changing colors of the bay provided foregrounds for dramatic sunsets and moonrises (and I guess sunrises and moon sets too but I wasn’t up early enough for those).
One day we visited Te Waikoropupu, a spring popularly called just Pupu. Contrary to the name, this spring produces some of the cleanest water on earth. When scientists tested how clear this water is, they found that the only water optically clearer is in a deep well in Antarctica. Pupu spews up 14,000 liters of this ultra pure water per second. Back when white people first came here they discovered gold. At that time they used the spring water to separate gold from the ore. Today’s environmentally smart Kiwis value the clean water more and you aren’t allowed to swim, boat, wade, touch, or dip a container into the springs.
New Zealand in recent years has tried more than any other colonizing white people to try and keep the indigenous culture alive. Maori is an official language and towns, mountains, rivers, and lakes often have Maori names. But it’s hard to say if it’s a token gesture or the real thing. Kia Ora is used often and is the NZ version of Aloha, and says just about as much or as little about New Zealand’s Maoriness. Maoris are hard to spot in places where tourists go. Someone told me that at their hotel the night porters are Maori. We could tell from government messaging that drugs and alcohol were issues in the Maori population. Which are probably all indications that, as much as New Zealand respects Maori culture and the All Blacks do the haka before international rugby tests, the Maori are still a ways from being masters of their own fate in their own lands.
We continued northwards from Pupu and ended up at Golden Bay in a small town with a beach and we saw the most amazing rainbow. Rainbows usually seem so distant. This one was right there. One end looked as if it had plopped down on cows in a pasture. You could literally see cows walking through rainbow light. The other end was on the beach. Evan ran through it (from our perspective, though for him the rainbow would appear to keep moving further away).
We get our kicks where we can. An unexpected rainbow is just the kind of thing you can’t plan for. As our year goes on, I believe that as long as the big things are okay, it’s the little things that brings a smile on our faces.