Bernard rides ahead of me on a bicycle
dreadlocks wrapped around his head (an organic helmet)
slowly peddling along Cost Road.
A Jaguar passes Bernard
up a drive to a batch.
Later, I return from the ocean
walk the little path through the dunes.
Hi to the batch owner
he asks if I live here?
I do. But not here (near the water)
I live in the back.
He tells me I’m lucky,
lucky to live here.
He lives in Auckland
in another house.
I tell him he’s lucky to have a such a mansion-batch.
Jealous of each other we wave an awkward goodbye.
Puketeraki marae stands on the hill
above our conversation.
Karitane is a miss-named place. It’s ‘real’ name is Waikouaiti, meaning something like where the water narrows; it is a small settlement at the rivers mouth. A colonial misunderstanding swapped the name Waikouaiti for Karitane.
A beautiful township of 300, for most people it’s too beautiful to live in but perfect for a Sunday drive. I spent this weekend with my family in Karitane. I rode around on my bike, registering the newest houses; they are like giraffes, stretching tall to get a peek at the water.
I thought of a conversation I had at a friends home near Narewa, Fiji some years ago.
We were drunk in the afternoon. Looking out across his property, I told him his family’s plot of land was the most beautiful place I had ever seen.He turned to me, looked me full in the face, and told me he didn’t care if it was – he wanted to go New Zealand where he could work and be part of a bigger world.
He lives in Whangarei now. I live in Wellington. Sometimes we go back to our beautiful places, only to leave again.
Below are some photos taken near Narewa. The above photo is of Karitane.