I sat next to an 86 year old woman at our local genealogy group last night and learnt that she had emigrated from the UK in 1949 as a young woman in her twenties. She had travelled light thinking she would only stay two years and return to her homeland. Instead she married, had a family and settled here. She has only managed two trips back to the UK since 1949.
With utter delight she showed me two photos that she had just received via the internet of her as a baby with her parents and sisters and another of her extended family. She explained that she had not thought to bring any photos with her when she left the UK and after her Mum died, her Dad burnt most of the photos and papers because he did not want other people digging through their private matters. She had long given up hope of ever having any photos of those earlier times.
A small subscription to a genealogical website resulted in a connection being made from UK to New Zealand from a distantly related family. My new friend proudly stood before our group and told of her wonderful “find” . She glowed with happiness.
Our Tui is back. I like to think of him (or is it a her?) as “our” tui because for the last few years he returns in the autumn and does not leave the area until summer time when I’m presuming he has to find food sources elsewhere.
When we shifted here 20 years ago I used to dream of having Tui in our garden and in the surrounding bushy areas. What I did not know at the time was that many, many people were working to make my dream come true. Our growing population of Tui thoughout the region is due to the establishment of wildlife and bird sanctuaries, the planting of native plants and trees and an ongoing predator eradication programme.
We have just experienced a long dry summer and autumn and the Tui’s return seems a little later than normal, so he is especially welcome this season. Last year we witnessed a Tui trio late in spring. We presume it was the parents with their young offspring.
Our neighbours have a large evergreen magnolia tree which the Tui loves to sit in and sing, sometimes up to an hour at a time. The Tui has a double voice box which allows it to sing the most beautiful fluting notes in addition to croaks, gurgles, twitters and squawks. His recitals are show stoppers and I am fortunate to have a front row seat only a 3 or 4 metres away from him.
We have planted two kowhai trees in our garden and are now nurturing several seedlings from these trees. I hope this small, ordinary contribution makes a difference in years to come in providing food for the growing Tui numbers and to our Tui and his/her families in the future.
Recently on another blog the question was asked: ” Where is your favourite bush walk?” Here in New Zealand that means native bush. My favourite place to walk in the bush is in Otari bush in Wellington.
My parents took us there as children and my parents’ ashes are now buried beneath a young Rimu sapling that we planted in the reserve in 2004. The sapling we planted to commemorate our parents has grown from a seed from the 600 year old Rimu that lives in a different area of this bush. Not only is there the 600 year old Rimu but in the same clearing there is an 800 year old giant.
There are many tracks to follow in this wonderful bush reserve but my favourite is the one that runs from the Northern carpark to the Troup Picnic area. The path is always shaded no matter what time of the year it is. The path tracks alongside the stream through beautiful tall trees, smaller native plants, ferns, tree ferns, mosses and lichens.
Once at the picnic area the stream is very easy to access and it is fun to watch children paddling, searching for small creatures and attempting to dam the flow with rocks.
The calls and songs of the various native birds that live there are a delight.
It is very easy to forget the cares of the world once in the bush. I find it restful and restorative; a place to reflect and remember in; a place to wonder and experience awe.
We are experiencing a blissful spell of weather at present. It is calm, sunny and warm. At times the light has a golden quality to it. There is an ease to living and working in an Indian Summer such as this.
It feels like an offering of grace to us before winter bites.