New Zealand 10
New Zealand 10
Arriving in the small hamlet of Clarence on New Zealands southern island I stopped at a farm for permission to camp. Thankfully, Bridget and her partner Jeff allowed me to camp there and were so keen to hear about my world walk that once I set up my tent I was invited inside for a chat.
Like most people in the area, the hot topic of conversation is the Kaikoura area earthquake which struck the region in Nov 2016 with enormous damage for it registered as a magnitude of 7.8. The city of Kaikoura was effectively cut off from the rest of the country as the roads had been ripped apart and along with sections of train line fell into the ocean. Astonishingly, there were only two fatalities. Pretty much for a year supplies were airlifted in. Many businesses went to the wall and even Bridget's rafting business took a severe hit as the place she took her clients to which was previously only thirty minutes drive away, and when the road was closed it took over nine hours, so nobody wanted to do that. I was told that many people lost their jobs but the government was pretty good and made social payments to those in need. That hamlet I was in was lifted up four metres. Bridget also mentioned that previously she would have to climb up on a ladder for a beach view from her back window. Now, she has a great ocean view as her whole house has been raised but luckily with only minor damage. The ocean at her back garden is off limits and residents can't swim or even walk on their own beach. According to her friend Karen many people are also suffering from strange illnesses and obviously, the consumption and sale of all seafood are also banned, the ripple through effect and how many peoples livelihoods have been devastated. It seems that the only good thing that has come out if it is that, previously many coastal properties which were ebbing out to sea due to coastal eradication are now protected by the four-metre land lift. Ironically, prior to the earthquake, the government was about to begin a multi-million dollar coastal rescue project. Now that project is not needed! New roads and bridges have been built at an astonishing pace. But as geologists say that the ground is still moving at a rate of four and a half inches per day much of this new infrastructure is constantly being repaired. A new bridge has been repaired four times in a few short months and I have seen cracks on the newly constructed road, please see photos.
On a nicer subject Karen, who is of Maori origin spoke excitedly about the natural health benefits of a leaf called Kawa Kawa, aka Macropiper leaf, please see photo. It seems that a tea made from this native New Zealand plant can improve or cure at least 27 known health ailments. These conditions range from sore muscles, colds, flu, cuts, poor circulation, arthritic pains, toothache, rheumatism, insect bites, burns and even anti-tumour properties. The last one had me interested and when I told Karen that my walk has a cancer awareness message she gave me permission to write the following:
"My son who is only in his forties was diagnosed with testicular cancer and was given just months to live. He went and had just one chemotherapy. I knew it wasn't going to do him much good, So I made him up some Kaya Kaya tea and eventually he was cured. The doctors were speechless and wanted to know what it was that I gave him to drink. Several years later after being told he had only a few months to live he is still alive. He is a rascal but I love him to bits!" Said, Karen, with a big smile.
"And just one more thing Tony, How old do you think I am?"
I told her that I had no idea and with another huge grin, she said.
"I'm 68, for Kawa Kawa also has anti-ageing properties."
I'm told that it can be bought in a tea form in health shops and I have even seen it in a supermarket.
Please check out this astonishing link
Next day, January 4th I heard the weather was about to change for the worse with a rainstorm lasting up to 36 hours. As if that wasn't bad enough, gale force winds were expected to hit 130 kilometres an hour. It was time to get off the road and find a place to shelter. After a nineteen kilometre stride in which I even passed grazing llamas, I arrived at a restaurant called The Stone in the hamlet of Kekerengu. I asked the owner if I could camp in a sheltered area at the north side of the restaurant as the storm was blowing from the south. Thankfully, he allowed me to. It rained all night and it finally stooped atI guess I could have walked that day as the 36-hour pelting only turned out to be a mere 14 hours long. However, I had already settled into my rest day mode. Instead, I just took it easy, caught up on some writing and made friends with two young Aussie staff members called Harlan the chef and his partner Star. They are travellers themselves for they met while backpacking through Turkey, so I'm sure they saw helping me as repaying karma. I was so grateful when they gave me a delicious dinner and breakfast the following morning as the restaurant was closed due to the little custom as the highway was also closed. Obviously, the highway was closed for safety reasons as heavy rains often wash loose earthquake debris from the mountains and onto the road.
It was also the first rain that my new tent had to withstand and it passed with flying colours. I love it as it weighs just over a kilo and takes only about seven mins to erect and has a nice outside vestibule area where I can store my pack and smelly boots.