Friday, 19 October 2012

TE Wai  Pounamu

This was the old Maori name for the south Island before it became part of Aotearoa, which includes the North Island of New Zealand. Te Wai Pounamu means waters of the greenstone (nephrite), a sacred stone for Maoris and to be found in difficult-to access places on the West Coast. And there is water aplenty in the South Island - I know,  'cos I have just been down to Dunedin, South Otago.
For those not in the know, the Scots were the first Europeans to settle here and proceeded to build a city that was once called the Edinburgh of the South and everywhere in this small city, one sees the evidence in the old banks, old churches and warehouses, etc. I love it. It's hilly, reminiscent of Wellington, windy, ditto. And the two days I was there, the wind was straight out of Antartica and was not a respecter of persons.
Now my first book Memories in the Bone featured Dunedin in the New Zealand part of the tale - that plus the gold fields of Central Otago, east of the city. Oamaru, a gracious small town further north is also featured in the story, in that Pita Hohepa's marae was situated north of it, by the banks of the beautiful Waitaki river. The main part of Memories' New Zealand story is played out here. And well satisfied I am too, that I set Memories in the Bone in these gracious, gorgeous part of New Zealand.

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