I had a short camping break with my son at Whaingaroa/Raglan on the west coast, which involved some of our fave simple treats – fish’n’chips from Raglan Wharf, a long walk on the beach & some paddling in the surf for me, a chance to read a fave author for my son. We relaxed & refreshed together.

My other New Year’s Day activity was picking up empty bottles along the beach/estuary, with the Xtreme Zero Waste Whaingaroa crew, at first light. Two cellphones, some car keys, & a lovely little pounamu necklace were among our finds.

The cellphones were returned easily to their owners, the rest went to the local Police station, where they joined a growing pile of lost property.

Gratuitous image of beautiful west coast beach:


Of course, I found cool places to shop:


After a week-ish back home, I set off for a sustainability Wananga at Parihaka, focussed on how we integrate kaitiakitanga into our interactions with te Taiao, through mara Kai (food gardens) & mara raakau (food forests), as well as protecting the tai Moana (sea shores).
We gardened, harvested & tested water quality at the Marae, and also did a beach cleanup. So much rubbish! We were just along the beach from the historic Egmont Lighthouse, which has become a ‘freedom camper’ hangout.
So, this is what we found:


Please, don’t do this when you visit beaches in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Either bury your wastes, or pooper-scoop them, but don’t just leave poo behind, it’s gross.

I stayed at the Marae, where we had delicious meals, short showers, plumbed toilets and a large & well-ventilated wharemoe to sleep in. We had great conversations, and some awesome teaching, mixed in with the practical care of Papatuanuku, our Mother Earth.
I wish more people would take the opportunity to get amongst the communities running Marae & see how waste reduction (Para Kore) and stewardship of resources was being done in such an holistic and creative way.

A late evening shot of the Marae at Parihaka, where a real renaissance is happening:


My thanks to friends who organised that weekend, & to the greater Taranaki Iwi who attended & drove the conversations around caring for the region.

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