Today we left beautiful Kaikoura, along with old and new friends. It was fantastic to have spent four nights in one town and to have had some really decent time with some of the lovely people who looked after us.
It was just amazing to have spent Saturday night at Takahanga Marae having only managed to organise that the afternoon beforehand. We were powhiri-ed onto the Marae which was a new experience for some of our team and we had invited our hosts from the previous two nights in Gore Bay to join us with their wwoofers from Germany who have only just arrived for their working holiday in Aotearoa.
The entire time there was stunning, from the opening up of the spiritual realms of ancestors passed as we walked onto the sacred space before the wharenui, to hearing parts of the Ngati Kuri oral history as the intricately detailed and colourful stories crammed in the carvings and kowhaiwhai were recounted to us.
The marae sits overlooking the peninsula head and out to sea and is backed by the giant mountains behind. There are thriving veggie gardens and a commercial sized kitchen to die for, and the hospitality and aroha given to us was warm and has ignited new friendships.
We had great conversations about potential ideas for the runanga to try, like timebanking, permaculture and savings pools; economic models that empower and enrich local communities without the constant leakage of capital to faraway places.
It wasn’t a surprise to us that our hosts weren’t very familiar with the TPPA or how it might affect Maori because, let’s face it, not many people are. The conversation has been so well shut down. Anyone asking questions about the TPPA is labelled ‘anti-trade’ or ‘protectionist’ as if that is reason enough to ignore them, no matter whether they are or not. I’ve re-found this article by Graham Cameron about the Treaty exception in the TPPA which I think explains the situation well. In a nutshell the TPPA Treaty of Waitangi exception says that rules the NZ government makes to fulfil their obligations under te Tiriti will be protected… unless some corporation thinks it amounts to a barrier to trade and they are being treated unfairly because of it.
Today we felt really buoyed following the news that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU has been scuppered. It proves once again that this movement is massive and international, that millions all over the world have woken up and are no longer going to stand for the greed of just a few at the expense of everyone and everything else.
Walking along the Kaikoura coastline, one of the world’s beautiful places, it is easy to understand how many New Zealanders don’t yet get the issues that the TPPA encapsulates. We are so lucky to be in a country of such abundance and of so few people, so far from radiation spills and spewing smokestacks. In spite of our now only wadeable rivers, this country still looks pristine… as long as you’ve got your rose-tinted sunnies and don’t look down… we gave up picking up rubbish on day two.
Yesterday we walked from Kaikoura to Maungamanu and today, from Maungamanu to Clarence. I’ve travelled this road many times but it’s like a different place when you’re on foot. The seal colony goes on and on and on for miles, its good to know their numbers are finally regenerating back to what they were before the whalers and sealers came and decimated their populations.
It made me think about the human propensity to consume resources which seem abundant right up until the point that they’ve all gone – Easter Islands, the kauri forests, our fisheries – is this pattern built into our make-up? Or can we outgrow it?
Yes. We can. I believe that we are on the brink of a paradigm shift.