Kapiti Island

Forbidding island in the grey strait by Paraparaumu
Boat and dashing spray carry us across
To driftwood skeletons on grey pebble biers
Bird chart reads like a haka
But buxom Brenda rattles off the names
Points out a dozing ruru
A prehistoric takahe grazing in the grass
Up up the steep trig path by root stairs
Past hobbit trees and saddlebacks (we think)
Eventually into sunlit summit clearing
A few picnicking Germans
The wooden lookout very treasure Island
Precipitate trees to sea and rocky arch
Big big views of coast and the South Island
We take the gentler Wilkinson going down
Idyllic dappled sloping woodland path
The tuis chime in patchy blue
We reach the grass and flop
Cheeky wekas peck our bags and water bottle
Here comes the boat
All aboard and round to the north end
Still held by the descendants of that Maori chief
They welcome us
A quad bike pulls the luggage on a trolley
A ukulele tied behind the seat
The matriarch sits
A youth of pleasant aspect drives
We mere tourists follow over pebble paths

Kakas and kakarikis greet us at the hut
Coffees then here’s a talk on birds
And very articulate too by this son of the Pacific
Knowledgeable in all the local ava and its lore
We’re led out to our cabin
Bunk beds spare but adequate
Solar the lights that we will use at night
A deck where like the pigeons gorgeous green we’ll soak up sun
The evening meal is lovely
Fish and vegetables so fresh and light and plenty more where that came from
A cheesecake to delight and conversation with a Dutch couple
Both tanned they look the part to sail the south sea isles
We sit
The talk then turns to kiwis and how to stalk this icon of the south
We’ll take some torches walk with care in single file
And talk with signs and not by words all right

Under the gibbous moon inverted in Aquarius we set off
The Cross will never set here but is low and upside down itself
But no black mass
The night is bright and glorious

We reach the patch where kiwis should be feeding
Among the grass below the hills and trees
We stop
And wait
And listen
It is the rustling of the wind

In the bright night we stop again
We listen
A snuffling
a shuffling
There says Maanaki

And there indeed the kiwi comes
He’s lighter than you’d think and though little spotted
He trots to and fro
Silent film comedy in the guide’s red torchlight
We’re frozen by this myth and symbol of the land
My mind is back in childhood
Kiwi boot and shoe polish bore his likeness
And here he is and live and real and all
It’s difficult to believe
But so’s the Southern Cross and that’s up there
As real as any stars I’ve ever seen
My camera has caught him
What a travellers tale I’ll have to tell
Oh yes when I was in New Zealand we hunted for the kiwi in the night
Beneath the southern cross
One nearly ran me over so it did

We see three more not quite so clearly
Perhaps the word is getting round we’re here
And a blue penguin trekking overland
A gecko which I hold with fumbling hand
The night’s alive

This is a better sighting than theyve had here
For many a trip and tourist
My video shot is praised
May feature on their website

To bunk and bed the stars were for us
Thanks Kapiti
Thanks kiwis
Thanks our guides


One thought on “Kapiti Island

  1. A lovely read about another strange beastie or two! Look forward to seeing the video in the flesh! It sounds like New Zealand and its inhabitants are performing rather well for you! 🙂 xxx

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