Rakiura is a place of wild and desolate beauty. It is rugged, unforgiving and brutally alive. From lush rimu forests to miles of wide sands open to Antarctic currents and winds, it is a place in which the role of man as custodian of the wilderness is a delicate balance of repentance, repair and withdrawal. The finale – renewal – must come from the life of the land itself. Rakiura: Seeds in the Sand tells a story which, unlike so much of the island’s flora and fauna, is certainly not unique. After all, variations on this theme – the interference of mankind with an ecosystem – are echoed in countless other histories throughout New Zealand and the world. But this story is not about the damage done by mankind to a pristine wilderness. It’s not a rant against the hard-working farmers and woodsmen who were doing their best to feed their families. It’s not documentation of an endangered species from man’s neglect or greed or apathy. No, it’s bigger and wilder and much more important than that. This is not a story about mankind: it’s a story about everything else. From the smallest grains of sand to the vast dunes and beaches they comprise, from the red-yellow berries carrying tiny seeds of giant rimu trees, the living wilderness of Rakiura holds a message that is applicable far beyond its shores: that life, in all its wild, incomprehensible, muddy-booted glory, goes on.
“In our world,” said Eustace, “A star is a huge ball of flaming gas.”
“Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is, but only what it is made of.”
– CS Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The virtue of the camera is not the power it has to transform the photographer into an artist, but the impulse it gives him to keep on looking.
– Brooks Atkinson, Once Around the Sun
… and then the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud became more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
– Lassie Benton
A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.
– Maya Angelou
If a man walk in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being called a loafer; but if he spend his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.
– Henry David Thoreau, Life Without Principles
“I say,” Helmholtz exclaimed solicitously, “You do look ill, John!”
“Did you eat something that didn’t agree with you?” asked Bernard.
The Savage nodded.
“I ate civilization.”
– Aldous Huxley, A Brave New World
I have never seen a greater monster or miracle in the world than myself.
– Michel de Montaigne, Essais
The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.
– Lao Tzu
Destitutus ventis, remos adhibere. If there is no wind, row.
– Latin proverb
The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.
– Earnest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
– Leonard Cohen, Anthem
Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large enough for some of us to see.
– CS Lewis, God in the Dock