Mount Maunganui, New Zealand

October 20, 2008 – Mount Maunganui, New Zealand

Mauao, the mountain caught by dawn
Mauao, the mountain caught by dawn

Morning in the Bay of Plenty dawned sunny and cool, ideal for a walk around the mountain who tried to drown himself in the sea.

Rocky side of Mauao Walk
Rocky side of Mauao Walk

He was in love with Powhenua, but she loved another mountain, Otanewainuku. In despair, the nameless mountain called on the fairies, nga patupaiarehe, to drag him into the sea. Plaiting ropes to drag him and chanting their karakia, the fairies dragged their friend to the sea’s edge.

Alas, the nga patupaiarehe could not finish their tasks before daybreak. They fled back into the forest as the sun rose, fixing the hapless suitor in place. Now Mauao (“caught by dawn”) stands as symbol of the tribes of Tauranga Moano. He is better known than the rival mountain, though his story had a poignant ending.

Mauao Walk is popular among residents and visitors alike. Along its sea-washed banks we saw large black birds with bright orange beaks and legs. Do any of you birders recognize them? (oyster catchers?)

Birders out there...are these oyster catchers?
Birders out there...are these oyster catchers?

Today’s entry will be brief (mercifully, most of you will probably say). We stopped at a hotspot in a backpackers’ hotel to check e-mail. I learned my brother Eric died in hospital several days ago. I’ve tried to reach his wife, my brother Jerry, and my nephew, but no one is near a phone.

News was sent on the 18th, two days after his death, but I don’t know which side of Greenwich Mean Time that was. All I do know is that he was only 64, and my world suddenly seems a lot lonelier.

Mount Maunganui beach
Mount Maunganui beach

3 thoughts on “Mount Maunganui, New Zealand

  1. To dear Cathryn,
    Our hearts are heavy as we read about your brother giving his high five to the pearly gates while he could still run through them. I imagine you’re having one of those days where you are surrounded by people, people who love you, and yet still feel lonely. I think though, that your brother is now with you even more, seeing the world and travelling through you. I am sad for his Carla, unable to imagine losing a life love, so I will ask for an extra angel or two to be with both you and your sister-in-law. xoxox

  2. Dale Pollard

    Dear Robin and Cathryn,
    I am so sorry to hear of your brother’s death. I was far away when my mother died, and it is an awful feeling. My condolences to you and his family. 64 is far, far to young to go. I hope you will find peace in your travels. I’m sure Robin has told you about Mary Schaffer Warren, an earlier hunter of peace. She found it, and I wish the same for you.

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