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Day 4 - Opononi To Muriwai: Macadamia Nuts, Puzzles, Tāne Mahuta, Blah Blah Blah
 
 
 
In Opononi we stayed the night with Chrissie and David who we found through the NZ wwoofing website. We didn’t have time to do any wwoofing on this trip, but I really wanted to meet them and check out their macadamia nuts.
 
In the morning Chrissie showed us the macadamia trees and introduced us to Chief and Maverick on the way. Maverick was quite interested in the camera and microphone.
 
Chrissie said the nuts would be ready to pick in June.
 
And the good thing about macadamias is that, like, if it really poured with rain in June, we’d just leave them - pick them in July, or August or September. The other thing is that you don’t have to worry about bruising or ... like with other fruit, or things like that. Because if we, um, if you drop them on the floor you can run over them with the tractor and still come and pick them up. You know, it’s really … they’re really, so hardy.
Chrissie Williams
 
Before the nuts are sent to the processor, to have the shells removed, they’re put through a machine to take the husks off and then left to dry for a few months.
 
We put the nuts in there and they get rolled around and they get fired out the end here. We have it all set up so there’s a tray here. And then the husks drop down to here.
Then we take the good nuts from there and we lay them on big trays for a few months so that they all completely dry. And that’s dried inside the nut as well. Because if we don’t dry them for a long time, they have to go into a big dryer. And that’s … the electricity for that dryer makes the whole nut more expensive. So the more we can get them dried in our own … we just actually lay them out in the garage.
 
Chrissie was born in Auckland and grew up in Taupō but has lived in the Hokianga for 28 years. She and David bought this property about 18 months ago.
 
We really wanted to buy a place with some flat land because the last place we were on was really hilly. We wanted to have a place close to the main road, so that it wasn’t up a dirt road. And the macadamias were like a bonus. Then we realized, oh, there’s a lot of macadamia trees here and we thought, well that’s nice to be growing something. So we thought it’s a waste to have some food-growing plants on your place and not utilize them. So we just got into it and we’re really happy that we have.
 
When we drove back through Opononi to head south, we saw some people setting up for a gig that we’d been to in Waihi Beach the week before. I think they were following us.
 
We stopped at the Arai te Uru recreation reserve to have a look at the view. It was a Kiwi Zone. But we didn’t see any Kiwi. Kiwi are pretty shy and usually nocturnal.
 
This is the Hokianga Harbour. Te Hokianga-nui-a-Kupe. It was so beautiful … I felt like I was inside a postcard.
 
A guy standing near me pointed out something in the water. He said it was an orca or a shark. It might have been a taniwha.
 
The next stop was Labyrinth Woodworks and Maze.
 
While we were checking out the puzzle museum and shop, a peacock snacked on the bugs that had landed on our motorhome.
 
Louis, the puzzle man, taught me some magic.
 
Abracadabra in a clockwise way. Yip.
 
And he showed us lots of puzzles.
 
This is the latest one I bought. It’s 30 moves to get inside. It was designed by a guy called Akio Kamei.
 
So I get my customers to … I say, oh put some of your money in there. And they’re all a bit weary, cause they realize they’re going to lose their money. So we put it in the box. OK. It’s in there, right? Are you sure? Mmm. Yip. OK, you’re right?
 
I go to puzzle parties all over the world and you make a hundred puzzles and you give them away to other puzzle designers. And I got given this one in Prague by a guy who used to be a micro engineer for NASA.
 
Now the object of these type of puzzles is to actually, not pull it apart, but figure out how it was made.
 
One I picked up in Japan recently is this one here, a tennis ball in the glass jar. Now you might say, oh, they probably took the air out to squeeze it in there. Well I asked the guy that, did you do that and he said no. And if you feel that ball, it is a solid tennis ball.
 
Now how would you get that many threads through a needle?
Um … hmm …
 
These come from Mongolia. You just put in on the floor, you give it a, oops, give it a spin, and centrifugal force opens it. It’s a six piece notch puzzle. But they’re beautifully carved. Faces on each one.
 
Bye bye. Next box.
 
Cats, rune, and nuns. OK and then the fourth word is … not a word. OK, so what you’ve to do, is you’ve got to find four letter words with some of these cubes.
 
Ruff. Ruff. Ruff. Ruff.
La, la, la, la, la. La.
 
Louis’s originally from the Netherlands. His family moved to Australia when he was nine and he bought this puzzle with him.
 
He started making puzzles in Australia when he was 19. He said he moved to New Zealand when he was 23 and three and a half weeks later he arrived in the Hokianga. I asked him what he liked about this area.
 
Oh, everything, you know, I like, sort of .. probably the most important thing is the community itself, it’s the people. You know, we live with really good people, we know our neighbours, you know, we all got similar sort of aims and objectives in lives, you know, ideals. You know, we’re all either all old hippies or young descendants of old hippies.
Louis Toorenburg
 
Louis also showed us the maze.
 
And he told us about another project he’s working on.
 
A maze in a garden. Amazing Garden. When it’s finished, it’ll have over a kilometre of track through here with giant puzzles. But it won’t be ready for another five years or so.
 
We drove down through the Waipoua Forest, the home of Tāne Mahuta, the lord of the forest and the biggest kauri tree in the world. The day before I asked Bill Matthews to tell me about Tāne Mahuta. Bill’s a guide for a local company that does tours in the Waipoua Forest.

Tāne Mahuta
 
Mai i te tima tanga ko te Pō.
Mai i te Pō ka puta ko te ao Mārama.
In the beginning there was total darkness. The void. Absolute darkness. New Zealand was a land of birds. Absolute darkness.
Our two parents of creation, Papatūānuku, Mother Earth and Ranginui, Sky Father, they were cuddled together in eternal embrace and within that embrace, their children, the trees, they were sick and tired of living in that world of darkness.
So they all tried to separate our two parents of creation. But they all failed except for one, Tāne Mahuta. With his thick feet against his father, Ranginui, Sky Father. His big shoulders against his mother, Papatūānuku, Mother Earth, Tāne pushed and pushed and pushed and all the children, the trees, they begged Tāne to stop. But he ignored those cries and he continued to separate our two parents of creation. And holding them where they are today and ultimately letting light in where light never entered before. Also creating that very important word, life.
Bill Matthews
 
In Dargaville we stopped at Caltex for some diesel.
I liked the bilingual sticker in the toilets. Horoia ō ringaringa.
 
We drove through the town and found a cafe called Blah Blah Blah.
 
Here we go.
Thank you.
Thank you!
 
I wrote a postcard and sent it to England.

Blah Blah Blah - Dargaville
 
Dargaville is famous for kūmara so we stopped to buy some … but unfortunately I discovered I didn’t have any change.
 
That night we stayed by a beach on the west coast about 40 kilometres from the centre of Auckland called Muriwai.
 
 
licence
 
thanks to:
Chrissie and David Williams
Maverick and Chief
Bill Matthews Footprints Waipoua
 
music
 
starting track
artist: Eric Elvendahl
 
track 1,4
artist: Kevin MacLeod
track: Opportunity Walks
 
track 2
artist: Kämmerer
track: Mind drifting back (Leaving paradise)
album: Leaving Paradise
licence: CC BY 3.0
from: Göteborg, Sweden
 
track 3
artist: Kevin MacLeod
track: No Good Layabout
 
track 5
artist: Kevin MacLeod
track: Backed Vibes
 
track 6
artist: Kevin MacLeod
track: Gymnopedie No 1
 
track 7
artist: Kevin MacLeod
track: Dirt Rhodes
 
track 8
artist: I Am Not Lefthanded
track: boatsbutnottheocean (Swept Away)
album: Time To Leave (Instrumental)
from: London, United Kingdom
 

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