Rangitoto is a shield cone volcano that emerged from the sea off the coast of what is now Auckland, only 600 years ago. We took a ferry to the island today, and hiked from the wharf to a kidney fern forest, then the summit, and finally through some lava caves.
It was a hot and bright day and the colors, as has been the case almost every day in NZ, were amazing. The ocean was a sea-glass green and the sky, pure robin's egg blue. Add the black a'a lava and the bright greenery of Southern hemisphere winter, and the whole deal was glorious.
Only managed to add three birds however: a thrush, cormorant, and tern.
After the morning hike, we bussed across town for a (far too fast) visit to the Auckland Museum. I am sure I could easily spend a week there--as it was, I only just raced through the Maori and Pacific peoples exhibits before spending some serious time in the bookstore getting research materials.
[At some point I'd like to talk about how I buy books when what I really want to buy is the time to read them. But don't try to tell me to stop buying books. If you do, you might find that I like them more than you.]
One of the books is a children's book called Rahui. A rahui is a ritual ban of certain activities upon a place for a finite amount of time. In the book, a little boy's cousin dies on a beach and they cannot swim or fish there for a year. When we were in Omaha, our hostess Karyn said that there was a rahui against gathering shellfish from certain areas of the bay so that the populations could recover from over harvesting or virus attacks. The rahui is not legally binding, but is generally as well respected as any other ordinance.
I also got a graphic novel about some war history and a book of Maori myths and legends. One thing that is important to me in my efforts to "retell" one of the creation stories is to honor the "trueness" of these stories. Maori believe that Maui fished the North island out of the sea--and so it rose sometime after the Cenozoic according to geologists--who is wrong or right seems beside the point.
Tomorrow we will drive for seven hours--but we'll get to see a geyser at some point en route.