MORNING IN KAIKOURA greeted us with a crystal blue sky and a Pacific Ocean mirroring the natural features of the rugged, seal-covered east coast. But enough of all that. We’ve all been impressed with what Mother Nature has given New Zealand and have each individually experienced “moments” of sublime land-lust. Our little pacific nation really does rock.
Our community project was to help at an innovative recycling centre. Here we were to help process the unwanted “resources” of the festive season. Everything from long forgotten furniture to day-to-day waste ends up at this community-focused trust. It performs way beyond its relatively modest size by successfully recycling about 65 per cent of all that comes through the gate. Projects like this are fundamental to enhancing our clean and green image and ensuring that a healthy natural environment is preserved for future generations – one of the most important features of living in God-zone. We were proud to be able to help out.
The trust also dedicates a significant amount of time to helping up-skill lout of work locals and at risk youth. They’re winning the battle though and helping to contribute to the record levels of employment nationwide – 96.2 per cent of Kiwis are in paid work – the highest number since records began.
To show our appreciation for the endeavours of this hard working band of recycling brothers and sisters, we purchased a Pohutokawa in the name of young New Zealanders and Young Labour. It’s part of a project called “Trees for travelers” (www.treesfortravelers.co.nz) that gives tourists the opportunity to buy a tree to be planted locally and thus, the chance to give something back to the area before they leave. Our tree will be planed on reserve land and be left to grow and mature over coming decades. We can even check its progress online! Perhaps it will be visited in 50 years time by future Clarions on similar tours to ours.
The drive to Christchurch was always going to be a slog. Knoxy’s gearbox has been playing up, refusing to change smoothly from second to third and making “cruising” a little haphazard. But that wouldn’t be the only thing fate was to hurl at us. The impressive countryside had distracted us enough to let our normally razor-sharp fuel gauge watch momentarily lapse.
As embarrassing as it is to confess, to we ran out of fuel one kilometre from Amberley. Diesel engines are temperamental little beasts and we all held our breath as Kirsten (pictured) from the local Shell service station rushed to our aid. Priming the engine can take a little time, but whiz-kid Daz (our rebellious driver) managed what seemed like the impossible and got Knoxy’s turbo-charged 6 cylindered motor pumping again in a jiffy.
Still, the pressure on the increasing fragile Jacinda (game set and match, Rob) our loyal VP and camp mother, had clearly taken its toll. A coup d’etat was being organised and with the support of a majority of the clarion caucus, Jacinda was advised of her excommunication and told to leave the tour by the next morning. In all seriousness, it was work that dragged our beloved leader back to reality. Whilst we will miss her physical presence her spirit will live on within us all, providing nutritious energy and driving ambition. Engine problems or not, this tour will be finished and our determination to do so hasn’t waned.
Rubbish kicked our day off and rubbish ended our day too. The evening’s community project was a cleanup of Sumner beach courtesy of Yani Johanson and the Keep New Zealand Beautiful Trust. From there it was off to Di’s house before dinner with Tim Barnett at the wonderful Ironside Thai Restaurant in Christchurch. We did our best to fluster the staff with spilt coffees, emergency evacuations, and changing orders, but they were more than up to the challenge. Thanks guys for helping to fuel the Clarion tour! – ROB