Alex Hart

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Living under the rainbow

It has been six months now since we moved here to the peaceful Hokianga. The Hokianga is regarded as a very spiritual place. Perhaps it’s due to the artists and writers who live here or the influence of the many missionaries here last century and the little wooden churches they left behind. It could be to do with the fact that every tide washes the beaches to a pristine white. Personally though I think it is the people here with their kindness and willingness to share what they have that really sums up the reputation.

The beaches of Opononi washed clean by the tide

The beaches of Opononi washed clean by the tide

The house renovation was progressing despite the arrival of the cold and wet weather. Then one badly judged jump resulted in one horribly broken ankle leaving me housebound and unable to drive over the wet wintery weeks. The paramedic who first arrived at the scene kept me laughing all the way to hospital and the same lady gave me tissues, a hug and a cup of tea when 6 weeks later the Dr announced the cast had to stay on for a while longer.
The local shop offered to deliver my groceries and mail. Our landlord’s wife drove me to hospital appointments and took me out for cups of tea. Many of the tradesmen dropped by to chat through what they were doing at the house and people I had barely met sent kind messages and dropped round beautiful fresh fish.
When the big winter storm and floods hit and we lost power, including heat internet and phone, dear L brought me a thermos of hot water and the cats (of course) just sulked and camped out on the bed.
The rain kept on coming, interspersed with the odd days of brilliant sunshine and the most enormous and beautiful rainbows I have ever seen. It felt like there was a rainbow right over our heads every day.
The rainbows keep on coming

The rainbows keep on coming

Finally, as spring approached, the work on the house started coming together and we moved in. It felt very strange at first –particularly when the front doors blew open by themselves a couple of times at night in the middle of the night giving me a huge scare. My first overnight guests blessed the house in the Maori custom “There have been a lot of people living here” offered S wisely when I told her about the doors (by that she meant spirits). “They just needed to leave”.
The same family also offered to send “the boys” from W round if I had any problems or prowlers – I am still not sure which of those things comforted me most.
When we left our last place I was sad to leave the little kingfisher that sat on the telephone wires and chirruped every evening ‘all is well’. Happily though he seems to have found his way here to our new house and power lines. I think that’s a good sign.

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