I was hitchhiking the other day and a hearse stopped. I said, ‘No thanks, I’m not going that far.’Steven Wright
After my departure after sharing a few great days with Kate, Trin and Lorna, I slept on a wavy ferry ride, during the night. I parked at the same spot in Wellington, the spot where I slept the last time, so that I was recovered and able to drive a long distance the next day. I was happy and exhausted when I went to bed.
I drove fom HW 1, 3, 4, 39, 23 to Raglan, the beautiful small surfer town South of Auckland. My road took me again through beautiful scenery and this time with a different look from the other side at Mount Ngauruhoe. Majestically rising steep into the air, surrounded by other mountains, some covered in snow. The road was here and there covered in gravel since there was a heavy rain in the North Island that loosened the sides of the valleys and some ended up as a big slip covering the road, but even though, it was a beautiful drive and I enjoyed the views. In Raglan I arrived close to the sunset. I just picked up Anna and some friends of hers from the ‘Solscape Raglan’ and we watched the sunset at the Te Toto Gorge Lookout, while we shared a we bit of red wine. The Sunset in Raglan is a beautiful color show over the Tasmanian Sea. When the view is clear, you can even see Mt. Taranaki, which is around 250 km further south. After a couple nice days in Raglan and I wished my friends farewell and finally left towards Auckland where I sold Emma.
Taranaki, I nearly forgot about it. A mountain with a a great story in mythologie as in history of English and Maori relations.
Taranaki once was part of the other volcanoes of New Zealand, resided in the middle of the North Island. Pihanga, another Mountain, was treasured by all the Mountains for it’s beauty. Until a battle broke out between them, the Tongario eventually won the day. The Taranaki had to flee, with great wounds of the fight. On his way to the West, he formed the deep gorges of Whanganui River, paused for a while, where you can find the great depression, the Te Ngaere swmap today. Further progress on his run was blocked by the Pouaki Ranges, and with the sun Taranaki became petrified in his current location. What a story. It get’s even better – when Taranaki covers himself in rainclouds, it is said he cries. Ones the sun sets spectacular over the West, he displays himself for his lost love, in all his majesty, in turn the Tongario might answer with eruptions as a warning, for him not to return.
Back at 1865 Taranaki was taken from the Maori by the New Zealand Government and the crown. Over 100 years later the Mountain was returned, but was apparently immediately passed back as a present for the nation, where most of the clan members” are unaware of the evidence that the hapu (clan) agreed to this arrangement. Many who made submissions to us were adamant that most knew nothing of it” Another 40 years later an agreement between the crown, the one that originally stole it of them, and the clan made an agreement to change all the names back to it’s original name. Now to only be referred to as Taranaki Maunga. The national park will be renamed from Egmont National Park to Te Papakura o Tarana. I think we can see some progress there, even tho the name change has not yet been ratified by the New Zealand Geographic Board.
I still think that the pacific ‘conquering’, you could name it suppression and mass killing, of the original inhabitants of the areas, is a forceful destruction of culture and an act with zero respect towards the inhabitants. Many people died, were suppressed, stolen of it’s land, and when Associate Minister of Māori Affairs Tariana Turia compared the suppression of Taranaki Māori to the Holocaust, he provoked a vigorous reaction around New Zealand.
Sometimes it is good to see yourself in these situations. Just imagine – me as a European, that let’s say a nation, no lets say an empire let it be China, Russia or America, runs over us, kills most of us, destroys most of our culture and gives us tiny corners as an act of good will and respect to our culture, so we can life in those like we did before, but all the rest has to life from these new rules now and don’t you dare not to listen to them. All around me are people from the overtaking Empire and your hope to get your country back fades away.
Honestly as much hope you can have, a destruction of culture in that amount is never again able to recover. A nation can be reborn, houses can be rebuild, but culture, culture is lost – probably for ever.
I get quite into this, because for me this is hard to understand. There are many situations in history where humans acted like it before, but it seems like we never understood. How is this possible? How can we not ask them, if they are interested in our things and if they aren’t than that it fine, why do we always have to kill, suppress and attack people instead of respecting their view of the world.
Once past Taranaki and Raglan the ride from towards Auckland is nice on the first hour until the road is getting more busy. On my way to Auckland, I updated my WOF (TUEV), the warrant of fitness for 20$! and met Shari, the girl that bought Emma of me. Shari was a nice girl and she listened good to what I told her about maintaining Emma. I think I gave Emma into good hands, which satisfied me. I was proud and sad I sold her, but now someone else is having a good time with her, I am pretty sure.
In Auckland, I just spend two more days, my last time in Haka Lodge. The vibes were less family like compared to my first time in Haka Lodge, but maybe because I stayed only for two nights. I even met three friends that were there when I arrived in July, haha. I had two nice days in Auckland, just walking through the streets and the parks. From there I tried to hitchhike to my friends in Whangamata. I bought a part of a sailing boat, 30 feet, for 2500 $ with four other guys, that I never met in my life before. Those guys told me they are north of Auckland, so I was happy someone from the hostel could give me a ride, until night, when I found out that the boat, Odin, is anchored in Whangamata. A small beautiful town next to the Ocean. So yeah, next morning I took all my stuff, backpack, bag, guitar, wood-stick (why?..) and my straw hat. I tried to hitch quite central from Auckland, and no one picked me up. So after one hour, some Indian looking guys stopped and gave me their train ticket to get out of town. After around half an hour train ride, I made it quite far south, I found a spot where I could catch a ride. I waited for another 25 minutes in the boiling sun, over 30 degrees, until a guy in a white sports car passed me, turned around and picked me up.
His arms tattooed, black Sunnies and chains on his neck. After storing all my random stuff in his flash car, and a 50 meters drive, he thought I am a nice guy so he wanted to show me his home invited me for a smoke. I am not a pothead and don’t smoke a often. I get to lazy or paranoid. I prefer to eat it baked in moderate amounts. On the other hand, I didn’t want to say no to this good hearted invitation, so I agreed. After a 25 minute drive, we arrived at his house. I was surprised how tidy it was. There I found out that home growing is apparently quite common in New Zealand. So he showed me his plants and we had a taste. After already two hours with Jonny (name changed), and a funny stories as well as sad stories, he showed me his little secret cabin, where he stored his herbs. I thought I was in a movie, and the day became more and more entertaining. After a funny photo shoot in his garden, we left towards Whangamata.
So usually, I try to not judge people by their appearance, but I could have judged Jonny by his appearance and said no, to him inviting me to his car or his house or I could have even said no to his ride, but I would have missed this legend and a funny day!
Approaching the highway in his car and a bit chitchat, he pulled down all the windows of the car and played his favorite playlist. On the highway, the wind coming from every-side and refreshing us, surrounded by nice tunes and me quite funny in my head, felt like I am in a dream. Jonny was a nice guy and believed in karma. I was surprised when he told me he is gonna take me all the way. I said he could kick me out any time and I would be more than fine, but yeah he drove all the way. 120 km to the place where he took his kids when they were younger. The funny thing is, that he wasn’t even on the way to Whangamata. (‘wh-ph pronunciation) After a straight bit on the highway we turned into HW 25, a highway, which looks great fun for a journey on a motorbike, or in a white sports car.
It moves through thick trees and mountains, close to the coast at some points and crossing a couple rivers. Beautiful green scenery, under a blue sky. His car, a present by his sons, was never driven so far from his place, and I saw him enjoying more and more the result of month and month of engineering packed into this car. Racing through the corners and being glued to the streets, we had a good time. He told me to open the glove box and there was good vodka, that we both had a couple sips while we drove. My best car ride in my life so far, during hitchhiking. What an awesome time. And Jonny couldn’t stop making jokes, about kicking me out of the car and what the fuck he was doing, “picking up a random hitchhiker and driving him all the way to Whangamata, fuckn Whangaaamaataa!”. Also when I put my arm on the armrest he kicked me of it, when I got to comfortable. Another time he called a friend, that we saw later in Whangamata,and told him about me, how he picked up a hitchhiker and is gonna kidnap me and shit.
Parting from him was sad. He brought me all the way to the guys on the boat to make sure I am alright and the guys doesn’t want to trick me or stuff. We are still in contact, and I would love to met his sons at one point, since they are around my age. What a great time! Thank you Jonny! In the end I have to add, that he was always in full control of what he did and never put our life in danger. If it would have been otherwise, I would have left the car and waited in the heat for another car to pick me up.
Whangamata is a small town. A lovely town just at the Ocean. It was very calm and the people were incredibly friendly. My friends and me, living on the boat now spend a couple days there. It was so weird to see the guys the first time, that I will spend my next few month with. The boat looked tiny from the shore, and they had around seven people invited to stay on the boat and join us for a beach party at night. But more about that next time.
The next time I will tell you about Whangamata, and my first sailing experience inclusive seasickness and swimming in Bioluminescent plankton at night.
Today is Australia day (Invasion Day), celebrating the 1788, the arrival of the First Fleet of British ships. I still can’t believe that this day is celebrated as an official public holiday as a day when peoples land, children and basic human rights were removed from them. Currently I put my base up at the sunshine beach and survive quite comfortable and productive by dumpster diving. I had a good catch at Aldi, and hope to find some vegetables later on. I guess I will go to a small festival here, not to celebrate this date, but to have a good time.