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Posts Tagged ‘Avon River’

A lone paradise shellduck was sitting on a tree by the river this morning.  Where is her mate, I wonder?  They mate for life, so I hope he’s not far away.

“A lone duck sitting on a tree
she looked as lonely as can be.”

 

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A great jet of water pouring over the river and Oxford Terrace prompted me to investigate.

It turned out to be a Fire Brigade Training exercise.  They simply lift up the cover of a fire hydrant and plug into the water main.  The bright sunlight provided a rainbow in the water.

The firemen assured me they were kindly washing the road.  When I inquired what might happen to any car coming down Oxford Terrace from Hurley Street they demonstrated how they could change the direction of the water flow.  It’s good to know the brigade is prepared for all kinds of fires.

“I went across to see because
I wondered what the water was.”

 

 

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Continual rain overnight (thanks to Cyclone Cook) meant that our patio was flooded when we got up this morning.

Patio Pond

We’ve not seen it like this before.  There was 40mm of rain overnight, and the ground underneath must still be saturated from the previous week’s rain.  Luckily it’s draining now the rain has eased.  The river was also high, and was over its banks in several places.

Avon/Otakaro near Barbadoes Street Bridge

It’s flowed onto Fitzgerald Avenue near the Kilmore Street intersection.  We’ve been spared the high winds that have caused problems in the North Island, and a fine afternoon is forecast.

“I’ll stay inside, the river’s high
and I want to keep warm and dry.’

 

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Hope is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson  is a poem I often think of when I see ducklings.  They are such an endearing symbol of renewal.  This poem is often found in anthologies of readings suitable for weddings, yet I’ve never been asked to include it in a ceremony.

Yesterday I saw ten brand new ducklings down by Sunset Corner.

duck-family-small

Today there were seven Paradise ducklings at the Margaret Mahy Playground.

paradise-ducklings-small

All uplifting symbols of hope and regeneration.

“A duckling is the sweetest thing
and sure to make any soul sing.”

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To see horses crossing Barbadoes Street is unusual.  I grabbed my camera and followed them along the river.

Horses

These horses usually live in Marshland Road, and had come into town to give some children a ride.  They were now being offered a chance to cool off in the river.  I did wonder whether pollution in the water might  be harmful to them.

The horses’ owner was called Richie, and I think he’s Richard Hayden, who has previously seen in town with horses.  Certainly the ponies and dog look the same.

“A horse is not a common sight
to have them near was a delight.”

 

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A mother duck was swimming beside The Terraces this morning with eight new ducklings.

Duck family

Duck family

The eels were nearby, and mother duck was doing her best to keep the family away from them.

Eel family

Eel family

I doubt that there’ll still be eight ducklings tomorrow.  On the other side of the river two scaupe were sleeping in the sunshine.

Sleepy scaupe

Sleepy scaupe

“A lovely warm and sunny day
means summer’s surely on the way.”

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The walking tour along the Otakaro was a feature of this year’s WORD festival.  Offered on three days, it quickly sold out, and I was glad to have secured a place.  Joseph Hullen (Ngai Tuahuriri, Ngai Tahu) led us first to the riverbank in Victoria Square, opposite the law courts, where there is a significant group of Ti Kouka/Cabbage trees.

Ti Kouka (Small)

Ti Kouka trees, of the same family as leeks and onions, provided food, shelter, clothing, and footwear for early Maori.  This area was the largest mahinga kai/food gathering area in Otautahi, and from here food was transported to the settlement at Kaiapoi.  There were a number of Pa nearby, which served as way stations for travellers, and where people could keep an eye on their food source.  From the 1780s local Maori interacted and traded with sealers and whalers, but in 1850 the Pa sites disappeared with the Kemp Purchase.  The first organised commerce between Kai Tahu and Pakeha settlers happened at the Market Square (now Victoria Square).  Maori built houses on the corner where the Oxford Tavern later stood, and brought goods in from Kaiapoi to sell to the settlers.

There were urupa/graveyards all through the city, because Maori like to bury their dead where they can keep an eye on them.  When the St Luke’s Vicarage was built a skeleton was found which is considered to be that of Tautahi for whom Otautahi was named.  Since the earthquakes, wherever there are excavations they will be overseen by an archaeologist, and by a member of the runanga if it’s an area where there may have been an urupa.

Because of the food gathering tradition of the Otakaro/Avon River, Kai Tahu are keen to have their cultural values commemorated.  Patterns laid out in stone, such as this one at the Margaret Mahy Family Playground, help to tell the stories.

Maori Design MMP (Small)

The patterns are set in a metal frame so that if the area needs to be dug up in future the pattern can ramain intact.

Some of Joseph’s story was heard in an interview with Kim Hill on Saturday morning.  His part comes after the bit with Sam Crofskey of C1 Espresso.

After the walk I went to a session on Ngai Tahu Story Telling with Ta Tipene O’Regan.  He talked about an oral map, and how when cultures move they take the memories with them and plant them in a new place.  Place names are the memory posts, the signposts of the land.  He told the story of Poutini, and how Port Levy got its Maori name Koukourarata.   Ta Tipene said that myth is the only reality.

“An afternoon of Maori lore
has left me wanting to hear more.”

 

 

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