The Natural Wonders of Life by Elaine Zhou (8 years old)
On a cloudy Saturday morning I was woken up at the time of exactly 7:22, we were late for the kauri tree trip! I quickly brushed my teeth, washed my face and I asked my mum what I could help with, she said I could help putting the luggage on the car so I towed the luggage right down the stairs and we set off for the bus station, the bus was already waiting for us so we hopped on and zoomed away.
The kauri forests
After about 2 hours we climbed a steep hill towards a kauri forest, everyone hopped off the bus and brushed their feet and gear, we do this to help prevent kauri dieback disease spreading to our ancient kauri trees. Kauri dieback disease is moved around by soil movement, it is a tiny spore that makes a shield like atmosphere to protect itself in hard conditions, when it reaches the roots of the kauri tree it starts to climb the tree, when it’s half way up the tree the tree will start to release gum, as the disease is climbing up the tree it rots the inner cells of the tree which takes energy, sunlight, nutrients and water up and down the tree, this will make the leaves wilt and fall off. There is nothing we can do once the disease is in the kauri tree and this is why we brush our shoes before and after visiting kauri forests.
I heard lots of stories on this trip!
How the Maori treat kauri trees
When we went to look at the 2000 year old kauri tree called the “God of the forest” a maori came to talk about the trees and I learnt the that the first thing they ever do is to say hello and do a karakia and a song, when they want to chop a tree down they have to say a karakia to tell the God of the forest that they need to use some of his children, now the maori do this because in one of their myths a person from his tribe cut down a tree and said no karakia, he went back home and the next day the tree was standing up again so he said no karakia and chopped the tree down again, this time he guarded the tree all night , but when he went into the bushes, all the animals came out and put the tree together again, and that is why they always say a Karakia.
Another story is in the sand dunes in front of Opinoni. There were lots of ships have sunken in this area, this is because the wave is moving all the time and the sand bars levels under the sea rise and fall. This is another story of the sunken ship that carried more than 200 people. The ship was going along the coastline and he was going the wrong direction so of course the flag house told him to turn the other way, but his 6 year old map had marked out there was no sand there, but there was. And sadly all of people died because they didn’t know how to swim.
Beside the wharf was the little village, Opinoni. The village had a famous story that a lost lonely dolphin came to the beach and played with the people there. Everyone loved the dolphin and wanted to protect it. Sadly they found the dolphin dead the next day. They were so sad that they set up a statue of the dolphin playing with a little boy in the sea to commemorate the dolphin they love.
It was getting late so we hopped on the bus and zoomed to Dargaville. We had a 30 minute check into of our rooms and then we had dinner, good night, what a big day !!
The next day I woke up at exactly 7am. We didn’t want to be late again. I helped pack and got on the bus at 7:45am. I was thinking about what sort of breakfast we would be having. When we got there the place was beautifully decorated and some organic orange juice was already waiting for us on the table. There were cereal, milk, yoghurt, fruit salad, baked beans, bacon egg, kumara and sausages. They were all quite yum. Thanks to the leader Estella who booked everything on the trip for us.
After breakfast we went to lake Kai iwi. There were three lakes, the middle one was the biggest and it had white sand. Our next stop was Dargaville museum, it had ancient telephone, dug out boats, the earliest computers and a working machine for washing kauri gum.
After that we went to The Kauri Museum. There is a kind of kauri wood called swamp kauri, this kind of kauri wood is dug up from the ground. In big storms or earthquake kauri trees were pushed over, they lied on the ground but not long after that it started to sink, this was because the ground was wet and it got really sinkable, soon the tree was completely covered and lied there unfossilized, the tree would be left there until someone digs it up. We cannot chop kauri down anymore because there is only 1 to 4% of kauri trees left in New Zealand so we are working hard to protect them. There are only that much because when the first European settlers came they chopped down lots of the trees to make boats , houses and other things, they also sold lots of them overseas. The Kauri Museum had working kauri choppers, olden day houses, pictures of pulley carts. The best bit was the kauri gum room. It was soooo cool. There were black, brown, white and yellow coloured gum, it was all so beautiful.
On this trip I got a rimu ruler for a souvenir, it is beautifully carved with swirls and it had rainbow shells on each side. On one side is inches and the other side is centimetres. My mum got a square fruit bowl which was made out of swamp kauri it is 45,000 years old.
We hopped on the bus and went back to Auckland. On the way Estella asked if anyone could write a recount or report about the trip and that sounded like fun so I put my hand up and to my surprise no one else put their hand up, but everyone clapped for me. When we were back home it was 6:50pm on Sunday.