WITH THE HOMELY LUXURIES of the Ardern residence behind us, we faced day two of Clarion ’05 with some trepidation. Morrinsville gave us clear weather for the obligatory group photograph in front of a local landmark; that being a faded, but still proud, town mural. With Matamata (or “Hobbiton”) calling, we set off, keeping our eyes ever on the darkening sky above.
So far the atmosphere on the bus has been great complimented by the fact that the bus (the Fort Knox II) has yet to let us down mechanically; all down to the expertise of our driver, and professional raconteur, “Muzza”. Knoxy sails through tight corners and cuts up hills, each time proving our skepticism entirely unfounded and seemingly begging us for more.
Matamata enjoyed our company for an hour; time spent stickering and meeting the locals. So far our reception has been nothing but warm, even from those who don’t necessarily support our Party.
The consensus thus far has been that it’s great to see young Kiwis talking about the future direction of our country. This impression was reinforced at Mt Maunganui – our second stop of day two.
With an acoustic guitar ticking over in the background and jaffas to entice the weary, our banner was quickly brimming with positive messages. “Keep it clean and green” clearly resonates as much with younger people as with older generations. Our nuclear free stickers were snapped up and stuck to skateboard decks, bikes and clothing.
We’ve also found ourselves employing the ballistic PA system that Knoxy’s fitted with. We passed holiday salutations to Tony Ryall on our way through Te Puke, to the amusement of diners at a nearby cafe, and serenaded Rotorua with dulcet ramblings.
Now that we’re in Taupo with a long haul to Wanganui in supposedly suspect weather ahead tomorrow, we know our tour has the support of those we’re met so far. Bring on day three! – ROB