Monday, November 23, 2009

A big day on the road visiting the past

The weekend just past I'd set aside to attend the raising of a memorial plaque in Kurow cemetery for my aunt and uncle who passed away a few years back. This involved motoring over the Lindis Pass to the Waitaki Valley and MacKenzie Country to meet with family. North Otago was where I primarily grew up, while my aunt Pat and uncle Jim worked and lived on the remote and very large Otematata Station for about 44 years.

Jim and Pat's new memorial mounted on some greywacke...
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Across the aisle is great granddad Silas...
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I was a bit late for the ceremony, but it suited my mindset to be alone, and so after reclining on the grass by the memorial and watering the poppies left at the graveside, I wandered about the other graves looking at the history - goodness even discovering folk I knew younger than myself are in residence! I quite liked the cultural difference of this memorial though, but some fresh and cool beers would be a nice touch....
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Next I adjourned for lunch to the nearby Awakino Ski Field access road. These modest mountains, The St. Marys Range are where I cut my teeth in winter learning the art of looking after myself in the New Zealand mountains...
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Away back in what seems like another age an older ski club member showed me some hidden graves of two very young children near the ski field access road, so in lieu of some exercise in worsening weather I looked for them and found to my delight that [presumably] the local farmer has tidied them up and planted roses. There is an enclosure each for the two little souls...
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Grave of the two yr. old Emma Barrett who passed on in 1872...
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Grave of 8 day old Jennett Robbie - also 1872...
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Looking down the Awakino river to the Kirkliston Range in the Hakataramea Valley...
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On the road again in changing weather - it went from gale-force nor west and about 33 Celsius, to sth east gale-force again, with a drop in temperature of about 15 degrees in an hour...
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On the way back to Twizel to regain the company of my family I detoured a little to check out Benmore Dam. I found the visit quite thought provoking given the thinking behind my recent posts on the folly of building more dams on the Clutha River. I was just a kid when this monster was built. Many people don't realise too that it flooded an amazing white water gorge that few people have seen [myself only photographs], that was apparently unique in New Zealand and even more so in world terms...
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Next I detoured again to Lake Ohau which is another one of my favourite childhood haunts [caught my largest trout there ever], and in my 20s and 30s the larger area became the focus of much tramping, mt.eering and powder skiing...
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The end of a stock fence in Lake Ohau, and the block of mountains in the middle background is the Glenmary Range. The main peak Glenmary is about 8000 ft. and to the right slightly is the incredibly hard-to-reach Glenmary Glacier. I've had a lot of fun in them tha hills...
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... and another fence near the Lake Ohau access road...
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Many years ago I lived in Twizel for awhile and shifted this house onto two large sections. Apart from many years doing part time renovation on the house I planted about a hundred trees and put them on a trickle irrigation system. It paid off - although the house is long sold and I do miss it a lot, the trees give me great joy...ohau-16.jpg

On another topic some of you may recall a post or two back in Jan. this year about searching for missing tramper Irina Yun on Cascade Saddle in my current near-to-home Mount Aspiring National Park. Well a few days ago her remains were at last found, and fellow blogger and mountaineer Bob McKerrow has done a very good post on the story, which incidentally I think will help her family grieve. Well done Bob... more>>

Lastly, it's been my trend of late to use this place to draw attention to issues I don't agree with such as the damming of the Clutha River, and the Project Hayes Wind Farm [my grounds are simple - blatant use of our unique landscapes at the expense of our own wilderness values and those of our children]. So speaking of children you should read what fellow blogger Marg has written lower down on her weekly post about what our uninspired New Zealand Government is doing to New Zealand early childhood education... more>>

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5 Comments:

Blogger Marg said...

Hi there Donald - this is a lovely lyrical post - you've managed to make a real connection with your words and photos.Especially liked the gravestone photos. Thanks for drawing attention to my concerns also through your post. Every little bit of raising awareness helps. Today I emailed the director of the New Zealand Teachers Council and asked him to raise these matters also with MOE officials. It's a matter of plugging on and using all the connections that have come your way. Do you think sometimes that something happens in your life or you meet someone and it's only later that you realize the significance of such an event or an encounter as if time has gone before you to prepare the way for a later event? Maybe it's that serendipity thing you mentioned?

Anyway I can see that the lateness
of the hour makes me philosophical. time to stop lest a new day dawns sluggishly.

November 24, 2009 at 10:59 PM  
Blogger Bob McKerrow said...

A wonderful posting Donald. I love the photo and all those forgotten people remembered again. Burkes Pass in another fascinating grave yard. Bob

December 7, 2009 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger Donald said...

Hi Bob

Yes, thanks! I noted a recent post about Burkes Pass, as you mentioned Gary Ball in relation to this. I intend checking the resting place out.

We lived at Cook years ago - he a summer guide and myself a part time ish winter one. I saw an integrity in him more as an amazing person than Gary the mountaineer. I treasure my times with him and found his verbal wit stimulating and fun - he could not only easily out-climb me too, but also easily out-party me!

Cheers

Donald

December 8, 2009 at 1:41 AM  
Blogger Donald said...

Hi Bob

Yes, thanks! I noted a recent post about Burkes Pass, as you mentioned Gary Ball in relation to this. I intend checking the resting place out.

We lived at Cook years ago - he a summer guide and myself a part time ish winter one. I saw an integrity in him more as an amazing person than Gary the mountaineer. I treasure my times with him and found his verbal wit stimulating and fun - he could not only easily out-climb me too, but also easily out-party me!

Cheers

Donald

December 8, 2009 at 1:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually it was me that tidied the graves, at least it was in about 85-86 when I spent half a day there and they look like they haven't changed since then, still drooping on the nth east corner.
The roses were already there at that stage.

Love Iain

December 20, 2009 at 2:35 PM  

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