'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Monday, 1 March 2010


On Sunday we climbed Otanewainuku again.
I've posted about this lovely mountain before here, but it is always magical, and this time was no exception.

It was a hot day, but under the trees it was cool and ferny-green with only a few flecks and patches of green-tinged sunlight. The Tui were in full guttural chortling voice and we were followed by a fantail for some distance. The trees are of course, magnificent. Unlike much of New Zealand, Otanewainuku has never been milled for timber, and so is virgin forest. There are some very tall Tanekaha (which I could recognise by their leaves, if only they were closer to the ground!) There's also Rimu, Tawa, Kamahi and Rewarewa, which I know are overhead when they sprinkle their dark brick red flowers on the track in spring. Especially wonderful are the huge Pukatea trunks with their distinctive buttresses.

Then there are the clump-of-grass-like epiphytes that roost like huge green birds high in the angles of trees and occasionally come crashing down in high winds, which is why they were called "widow-makers" by the early European settlers.

And of course there are ferns of all kinds everywhere - giant tree ferns like the famous silver fern with its white undersides; climbing ferns like Mangemange which is also called 'Bushman's mattress'; ground-hugging ferns like the translucent filmy ferns and kidney ferns; epiphytic ferns like the Fragrant fern (sweet-smelling when dry), and hanging types like the spleenworts.

But the star of the show was the North Island Robin that followed us closely and even quite boldly investigated the bugs I stirred up with my feet. Wonderful!

Thank you Pippa for the great photos.


  1. To walk in that virgin forest would fill my heart with glee. Another good reason for visiting your beautiful land.

  2. Green-tinged sunlight. I can identify with that. And the silence.

    The friendly Robin might have followed you home. Did it try to?

    The picture at the bottom reminds me of hills in the Western Ghats mountain ranges in Goa.

    Is much of New Zealand shorn of timber?

  3. I hope you are saving for your trip YP

    Anil, in hot countries we *really* appreciate the cool green places, don't we?
    The robin knew it was better off in the forest. I expect it just waited for the next tramper (hiker).
    I shall have to Google Earth the Ghats.
    Most of NZ was denuded of the forest ("Bush") and the land converted to farmland. Here's a short post I wrote that discusses it a little:

  4. How many syllables in Otanewainuku? Where are the stresses? Inquiring minds want to know.

  5. Two rules for now.

    Rule 1. Maori has even syllabification - ie no stresses, rather like Japanese. Sounds tricky, but comes with practice.
    Rule 2. Every syllable ends with a vowel.

    So we have: Oh tar nee why noo koo.

  6. Correction: That should have been:
    Oh ta nay why noo koo.


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