A Deed of Recognition, from the Crown for a taonga [treasure of Ngai Tahu]

“Hikurangi and Manawapopore [upper and lower Mavora Lakes] are an integral part of a network of trails which were used by Ngai Tahu in order to ensure safe journeys. Activities along the way including camping overnight and gathering kai [food].

The trails were part of summer-time pursuits such as kai-hau-kai, whanaungatanga [the renewal and strengthening of family links] and arranging marriages with hapu from the neighboring area of Otago and further afield. Such strategic marriages strengthened the kupenga [net] of whakapapa [genealogy].

The mauri [life force] of the two lakes represents the essence that binds the physical and spiritual elements of all things together, generating and upholding life.

All elements of the natural environment possess a life force, and all forms of life are related. Mauri is a critical element of the spiritual relationship of Ngai Tahu Whanui with this area.”

Copied two days ago from a Dept. of Conservation sign in the area

Lower Mavora Lake…

Craig and Nic construct a new Dept. of Conservation swing bridge by the mouth of the Lower Mavora Lake…

Lower Mavora Lake…

My first visit to this area was several years ago with my son Dougal [aged 9 years at the time]. It was our first significant holiday post separation/divorce, and I somehow knew some significant insights would come our way if we checked out this place known more to Southland locals than tourists.

Lower Mavora Lake…

We arrived in the dark, erected the tent and in the morning woke to snow on the ground. By the time we were the 30 Kms back on the main road the next morning much had been learnt with few words – in fact none except the usual to facilitate what needed doing. I had the sense the place had bought us both a much needed equanimity.

Beech Forest by the Lower Mavora Lake…

A few years later I returned, alone this time with a problem: I’d been asked to express some ideas on our friend Riley’s education and where he should live, given his mum’s pending return to homeland Canada. He had his dad there and yet had bonded very significantly with my son’s friends at school in Wanaka. Through his association with Dougal and myself over the years I’d inadvertently become a significant other male figure in his life – a privilege I might add!

Lower Mavora Lake…

So in Nov. 2007 I found myself back at Mavora Lakes, and in the dark parked up by the water’s edge in my camper truck, well up the upper lake away from the usual camping areas. At the edge of the water and the beech forest I settled down to making some decisions while cooking tea to the melody of water lapping the shore and the sigh of wind in the forest: basically arriving with giving advice consistent with the needs of a teenage boy, that would see him much less in our lives and back in Canada near his dad for 2008 and onwards.

Night time snowstorm, Upper Mavora Lake…

The next morning, after negotiating a 4wd track back at the normal camping area I saw a new DOC sign, the contents of which I’ve quoted to begin this post, and I stopped to read it.

Upper Mavora Lake…

I was simply stunned to learn the Maori locals of old had used this place for similar purposes to my own, and most of all that I’d been drawn to the place. You could say “called” if you like, to the energy of “renewal and strengthening of family links”! On this trip I was also en-route to a family reunion day in Invercargill!

Lower Mavora Lake…mavora-9.jpg

Night time snowstorm, Upper Mavora Lake…

The above selection of landscape photos of the area were all taken over the last 2-3 days on a road trip through Northern Southland to Invercargill, to visit my friends Roger and Kara in Invercargill.

I always make the time now, in light of the above, to be kind to myself and gather in the essence of this special place whenever possible.

… on this visit determined to make photos expressing what calls me here, or for other purposes?!

PS: A couple of hours after posting the above one of my distant relations I hardly ever hear from rang me up requesting family genealogy details for an update of a family book, and lo there is another family reunion coming up in Southland in Jan. 2011! And the connection to myself: in the generation preceding my grandmother Elizabeth Harris, three Soper family brothers married three Harris family sisters. Both are very well known and large family names in Southland. The Sopers once fielding a complete rugby team

The distant relation who rang me up, well her mum’s name is Mavora. She is my late dad’s cousin, and was born at Lake Mavora!

About this Like Minds Blog Donald Lousley