A shining example


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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » East Coast » Gisborne
December 22nd 2014
Published: February 1st 2015
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The ozone at Rere Falls helped dispel last night's grogginess due to overindulgence in wine.

The falls are about 60 kilometres north of Gisborne and a popular place for local people to picnic. A family was there with their relative from the USA, a laid back man who was impressed with how clean and pretty the place was. "If this was the States, it'd be covered in trash," he told Matt (my husband who I was travelling with) and I.

A wood pigeon perched in a large tree; the falls splashed into a brown river that ran into a grassy distance; the sun was warm and pleasant. Ahhhhh.

We drove on to Napier where we would stay for two weeks with Matt's family, to celebrate Xmas and New Year. Sadly, his lovely mother, Anne, would not be partying with us, having passed away while we were trekking in Africa in October. She will be sorely missed.

Before reaching Napier, we stopped at Lake Tutira to stretch our legs. The environment here is not pristine but local government are replanting native vegetation and there are heaps of native birds. We saw fantails, a wood pigeon, kingfishers and, best of all, a shining cuckoo. This unbelievably beautiful bird has iridescent green wings, a striped belly and throat and intelligent amber eyes. It only lives in New Zealand from around October to March, spending winters in the Solomon Islands and having one of the longest migratory flights of any bird. There is a downside to the cuckoo's magnificence: it lays its eggs in grey warbler nests.

It was a thrill to see and photograph the bird, as it is more frequently heard than seen. Matt's mum used to say when the shining cuckoo sang, rain was coming.

A fitting end to our tour of the East Coast.


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