The Mokihinui was saved from industrial ruination in 2012 by both flat projected demand for electricity and protracted legal challenges from parties like the NZ Forest and Bird Society, of which we are members (it's a great org so check out their site).
So it was a humbling privilege to finally stand on the shore and know we played a teeny little part in its protection. We urge you to join and support your own local and national conservation societies. Even tree-huggers (why the fuck is that a pejorative term?), hippies, green ferals and pacifists can afford baby-eating lawyers when we pool our resources :)
Think this is some sort of Cyanea jellyfish. There were dozens of them washed up in various stages of development and in the company of Sea Gooseberries, a kind of gelatinous salp (as modelled by my grand-nephew Isayah to the upper left there).
They either lost their stinging undercarriages during their rough trip over the bar or I've completely misidentified them and they're something else entirely.
Stare deep into the jelly.
Plant porn pit stop. Like the rest of New Zealand, Buller can certainly be a bloody cold and miserable place but it tends to shirk most of the frost that restricts what we can grow further south.
Above: Metrosideros excelsa 'Aurea', the delicious and uncommon Yellow Pohutukawa. descended from a pair of natural variants growing on Motiti Island up north. While there are white and even yellow Ratas (a closely related Metrosideros) kicking around, the broader, more curvaceous leaves with those pale furred undersides on this plant distinguish it from those guys.
Right: Meryta sinclairii, the glossy and highly fabulous Puka. Meryta is a tropical family but don't despair- I have a plant in my decidedly temperate Dunedin garden, so if you're in a maritime 9 zone, try giving a Puka a home. Why? Kermit-green paddle leaves up to half a metre long and these crazy berry bunches on female plants remind one that New Zealand is a Pacific island as well as the illegitimate child of Antartica. Just don't stand next to one while it's raining; the slightest breeze results in twenty litres of water dumped down your back by the leaves.
Cows are strange, mercurial beasts, gifted with the sort of prudence most hominids can only dream of (someone should put them in charge of the banking sector) and yet hostage to an insatiable and perverse curiosity (alright so maybe the finance thing was a bad idea). We have tremendous respect and affection for them though we occasionally eat of their flesh; they are one of the more fortunate species in the New Zealand farming system, being almost exclusively free-range and mostly grass fed. So don't let anti-meat hysterics tar your perception with accounts of American-style feedlot/cornfed/hormone horrors. Most beef cows here spend their lives fairly peacefully in decent conditions and that, to me, forms the basis of the equity that should underpin all domestic husbandry. Dairy cows are perhaps not as fortunate and that is why we drink organic milk where humanly possible- their co ops tend to prioritise animal welfare as well as minimising their wider environmental impacts.
It was a stinking hot day, I had a cold, we couldn't find the path to the local alleged spectacular waterfall and the tar from the abandoned roads we were slogging up and down was sticking to my two-sizes too small borrowed Crocs, which should have been punishment enough in themselves.
We located the Millerton Incline, a ruined narrow gauge train line previously used to cart coal down a dangerous grade as was the fashion at the time. The small weir and attendant bush (below) is definitely worth snuffling out, being a soigné microcosm of the surrounding vegetative vastness. By this point my mood had deteriorated to stage 3 sunburnt overtired emo, meaning documentation fell a wee bit by the wayside.
Don't look at the waterfall yet! Check out those Dracophyllum elegantissimum pics you were hanging out for (above/below).
Now you can look at the waterfall. Apologies for the dreaded lunchtime lighting and its histogram-fucking flatness; our timing was actually fortuitous since this cascade is in shitty dull shadow for 80% of the day.
Next time: We walk the Charming Creek track end to end, which is fantastic.