When I last blogged, I was headin into week two of my Epic Greenpeace travel trip! Week 2 started out in Whangarei where work went so much better for me than the last time I was there! Our day was cut short by a threat from a council member and so we had to move on.. Damn GP haters! We spent the next few days working in Kaikohe, Kaitaia and finally Kerikeri which was awesome! I had been to a few of these places before but working there meant gaining a much better view of the place! We had gone to Ngawa Hot Springs which was super nice, especially in the rain, gotten mani/pedis (just me lol), gone to Manginangina nature reserve (awesome) and ate some super good food (eggs Benny @ Zest, Kerikeri).
Friday was the best, it was a paid day off and so each and every one of us made our way up to Matauri Bay where we would all spend the weekend, enjoying the Maori hospitality and culture, the beautiful surroundings and each other's company :) Not to mention a days hard labour up the mountain ;)
We all met at the local fish and chip shop for a quick song rehearsal for the gathering at the marae we were invited to stay at. We learned 3 songs in about 30 mins which was pretty superb and yes, we sounded great! We sang Nga Iwi e, Te Aroha & Tutira Mai Nga Iwi which all translated into some very inspirational messages for all of us! We all headed off in convoy to the marae where we were give instructions in how to enter, subject to invitation. When we had all entered, greeted each person from the Iwi and paid homage to the ones that passed, we all took our respected seats. We were greeted by the chief, a lovely old man with a walking stick who shared his history with Greenpeace and the rainbow warrior with us. We listened to speeches from members of greenpeace and we then sang the songs we had learned just an hour before.
That night we ate an amazing vegetarian meal together in the dining area and afterwards everyone set up there tents and joined others in the marae for story time. The fowling morning we all awoke for breakfast and were given instructions on the day of labour ahead! We each took on a job and followed each other up the mountain with our respective tools! Spades, shears and rakes in hand, we hummed 'hi ho hi ho it's off to work we go' as we reached the familiar rainbow warrior memorial sat proudly at the summit.
We spent the morning and afternoon clearing the path way, weeding, making way for plants and generally tidying up the whole area, not forgetting an amazing vegetarian lunch in between! The coolest thing was having a few people walk up and down the track offering us water, vegan biscuits, sunscreen, ice pops and first aid help. It made it a lot easier ;) Each and every one of us did a great job wether it was one of the jobs mentioned above or helping out with cooking. Some people were there helping out who didn't even work for greenpeace which was pretty awesome!
Over the weekend I met some great people, got to know friends better and got to do all of this in one of the most surreal places on earth! There was an air about Matauri Bay and it must have been the chiefs speech at the end that did it for me because it made me realise how lucky I was to be apart of it all. Greenpeace had given me this opportunity which not many people would ever get the chance to experience in their lifetime. I was truly grateful. We spent Saturday night partying the night away before one by one dropping off. Sunday was a sad day, it was an experience I was too familiar with... Saying goodbye! The group set off home at different times from morning up until evening when we left back to Auckland. I got to spend the last few hours lying by the bay with new friends and when the time came, it was time to head back to Auckland. And eventually to the mount ;)
Matauri Bay was an incredible experience and it will be something I will remember for the rest of my life :)
Kia Ora x