Day 8 “Trail Magic”

My trail mate Karla

My trail mate Karla

Peter and his well polished knives

Peter and his well polished knives

6.30am – Karla already packed and ready for lift from Peter to Ratea Forest, I’m still in tent hearing my feet telling me to let them be. Peter is an amazing bloke and was instrumental in negotiating the trail routes in the Far North here and knows almost every step, he has been offering some sound advice and describes a guy who did the trail with only 6.5kg base weight pack (before food and water), one set of clothes only and the lightest gear money can buy. Peter thought my boots were too heavy as well as the pack we were carrying, suggested we go hungry with less food and stuff ourselves when get to towns.

Just said goodbye to Karla, quite sad after 5 days together and going through some “tough shit”. Asked her to carry dad’s strip of blue shirt for me which she touchingly said she would keep with her for a while yet (her label for me is “blueshirt” , hers is “greenslime” (superchick more apt i think) and Katrin’s is “half-shoe” due to her cutting  her shoes into sandals).

Managed to catch up with Marie on Facebook messages which was really nice and reaching out back to her and home which I miss.


What an amazing day, they talk about trail magic where good/fascinating things just happen and today was one of those moments. I feel priviledged to have been in the life of Peter Griffiths for the day. I offered to help with any jobs needed which didn’t involve moving very much. Peter is a knife maker among other things and I was given over 30+ hand crafted knives to polish. While I was setting about this pleasant task a local maori leader Reuben arrived with 2 dutch girls who were making a series of films and were wanting to interview Peter about sustainable ways of living. I sat in on an amazing discussion with Reuben and Peter about the future of the Far North area and the rest of the world for that matter. It was fascinating to hear the views of Reuben as a Maori who was very much about preserving the land for the future and not to see exploitation of resources nor any sort of authoritative structure. He was anti banks and also anti money being given directly to Maori (apparently $60m is on the table) Peter was keen to see it being given directly to local maori groups to support sustainable tourism, jobs and training. There is also the oil debate and potential of offshore drilling which many Maori and other locals are against. I’m beginning to sense there is a strong sense of guardianship amongst Maori like Reuben and sense of not taking out of the system what can’t be put back in or improved. Reuben was keen to get our views and I talked about the growth in social enterprises in England which enabled non profit organisation to come together to represent and develop community priorities through consultation and provide non “authority” structures to engage with other agncies and drive forward plans. He seemed to like the concept.

The dutch girls (Isabella and johannika) stayed the whole day and interviewed Peter for the film. It was all quite surreal as just behind Peter there was me, Katrin and Martin all lying on the floor with hammers cracking macadamia nuts!

Another super dinner cooked by Peter (spageti bolognaise) washed down with feijoa and pear cider. Peter continues to amaze with his knowledge and we had a few laughs around cracking our nuts and missing our wives. Think he likes me even though I’m a pom. He has offered to take me to hospital in KLaitaia as thinks foot need looking at as its so swollen. Managed to get first five day blogs posted before retiring quite late at 11.

Pete’s website is go there!

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