By Ben |

Fri, June, 28

We woke tired and sore and were unable to get the stove to light and decided over breakfast to return the campervan early and get a hotel. There was no refund, but it was worth it to have a comfortable place to rest! Jessie booked us at the Roomie Apartment Hotel, which was very roomy — although there were only dishes for two in the kitchen, there were three sinks! While unpacking my boots, Jessie made a joke about how we'd brought them halfway around the world to get them cleaned.

Friday was Matariki, the Māori new year and in its third year as a national 3-day-weekend holiday. We had been invited via a Facebook group to attend the holiday celebration at Earthsong Eco-Neighborhood, but the expat who invited us let us know that many people in the neighborhood had come down with something, including his daughter who seemed to have chicken pox, so after he gave us a tour and tea on the veranda, we excused ourselves. The ecovillage is 20 years old and has many edible and useful plants that are as old, and native trees that are much older. 

I was struck by how all the native trees and imported tropical trees keep right on growing and producing during the winter, while the imported temperate trees drop all their leaves and go dormant! It's disorienting to see bananas and oranges thriving while an apple tree is totally bare. The valuable sunny real estate of their bark is thickly covered with mosses and lichens and epiphytes.

Back at the hotel, we ordered a pizza and enjoyed the Māori channel, including a movie named Matariki which strives to capture the new-beginnings spirit of the holiday through the intertwined lives of 7 characters.