Today's guest post on New Zealand is by Isabelle Kenyon from Fly on the Wall Poetry. Isabelle is a UK based poet and a graduate in Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance from the University of York. She is also the author of poetry anthology, This is not a Spectacle and micro chapbook, The Trees Whispered, published by Origami Poetry Press. Her latest release is Digging Holes To Another Continent published by Clare Songbirds Publishing House, New York, May 2018.
Myself and my family explored New Zealand for the first time, because of my Uncle’s upcoming wedding to a lovely kiwi. We went to stay with them in the rural north Island, about an hour’s drive away from Auckland.
With explorer’s blood in their veins, they were keen to show us the north island in its entirety, from national parks which clearly resembled beaches, to off the road waterfalls and shanty towns.
New Zealand’s north island bewitched us all, and as I went along, I began to write. By the end of our travel, I had completed a small collection of poetry, ‘Digging Holes To Another Continent’, which is due to be published by Clare Songbirds Publishing House, New York, on May 25th. I want to tell you about some of the places which we travelled to, which inspired the book!
The national parks are home to certain species of bird – many of the beaches are part of a conservation effort to protect the wildlife of New Zealand. At the time we visited (December) many of the small birds were mating and protecting their young, facing up to tourists who dared to walk past them, by running at their feet and puffing their chests!
We travelled up to Hahei, where the locals go on holiday for their summer. There, at peak tourism time, the small town cannot cope with the demand for water and electricity! Hahei beach is a wide expanse of white sand – beautiful at sunrise and sunset for the patterns the sun paints on the sand. However, not content with the generic beauty of this beach, my Uncle and his wife guided us to Coromandel, where the beaches were full of character.
A memorable beach was Piha – picturesque, you may see it as one of THE images of New Zealand, with 2 grassy peaks emerging from the water. The sea here is rough and wild, crashing against the rocks, and perfect for the many surfers who braved the cold day on which we visited that beach!
Whale bay was nearby (by car – every road in New Zealand is practically built into the cliff and the sea edge is dangerously close, so this is not a trip for reluctant drivers), and although a bit of a woodland trek to get down there, well worth it for the sculpted beach view.
A bit of a drive, but Goat beach was best for snorkelling – a conservation effort to protect the many species of fish there! The sand here is black and the beach rocky, so less sunbathing to be done here. Apparently a ship once docked here and left several stranded goats, although this is probably likely a myth…
Each town we travelled past looked identical, which I found bizarre. There was always one strip of the town and all the shops are on that strip. The shops look poor and often temporary – cheap rent by starting your shop in a caravan for example! New Zealand is big on its organic and health shops though, and with their fresh fish, you’re bound to leave healthy.
I wanted to share a few poems from the book with you!
The Drive To The North
Sea lapping at car tyres,
sky a pale imitation of waves
rising in mountains
then mole hills –
the sirens call for human toes to step
‘I dare you’.
Green is the devil’s door,
the rocky drop
where hellfires burst up like lava
with grabbing hands.
You can order the book Digging Holes To Another Continent here: https://www.claresongbirdspub.com/shop/coming-soon/
And follow me on my website here: