The Way To Golden Bay

One time, while hitching in Australia, I was told about a small – but thriving – intentional community in a lovely sounding place in New Zealand. The driver who told me about this place made it sound so inviting that I decided to go there as soon as I arrived in Kiwi-land. And so it is that a short hitch in Oz led me to the peaceful new-age hub of Golden Bay.

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To get to Golden Bay there is only one way; over the 800m Takaka Hill. On top of the hill there is an emergency airstrip and this is the gorgeous view form there.

In 1642, the Dutch were the first Europeans to arrive in this micro-climatic, lush bay, protected from the rest of the South Island by a range of hills bordering to mountains. They had barely put their clog-clad feet on the white sand, however, before the local Maori decided to make minced meat of them. The Maori habit of devouring their enemies led the Dutch to first name this place “Murderers Bay”.

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This is one of New Zealand’s iconic house trucks. And yes, of course I have ended up living in one myself!

Then in the 1840’s, someone found a load of coal in the area and the bay became known as Coal Bay. That lasted only for a decade or so, until a lucky digger struck a gold-ore in the 1850’s and the Golden Bay was given its current name. The gold-rush is long since over but there is definitely something golden about this insular piece of New Zealand, where life is easy and laid-back and where many a hippie house-truck has come to its final resting place.

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This is taken from a sailing boat I had the pleasure of being on board recently. You can hardly see it, but nestled in among those gentle hills is Tui Community. Right behind is the Abel Tasman National Park.

As part of my radio-documentary I have moved into Tui Community to experience their way of life and to bring it with me in the form of audio interviews for my docu. As you can all imagine I have found that I fit right in here and I am thoroughly enjoying the rural pace of life and the openness and warmth I have been welcomed with by the “Tuis”.

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A classic Golden Bay image. Watching the tide rolling in and out has become one of my new favorite pastimes.

They are a funny bunch – the Tuis – and so far it seems like they truly have a good thing going here; wonderful houses, lush natural surroundings, a co-op balm-factory providing employment for the residents, a fully equipped community house, lots of international visitors, a consensus-based decision making process, a magical events-park with teepees and a sweat lodge, a meditation house on top of a hill and much much more. Needless to say I really like this place 🙂

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A Tui hard at work. As part of my Tui-experience I am helping out with the infrastructure. Since the 2011 flood the roads and gardens are still being rebuilt.

In fact, I like it so much that I have decided to stay for a little longer and I have thus started the tedious and bureaucratic process of applying for a visa extension in New Zealand. I was only given 3 months, but I reckon a few more on top of that would be in its place. Not least because I arrived at the beginning of a (so far) really wet spring and I feel it would be unjust not to see at least a bit of the much lauded Kiwi summer.

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The view from a Tui house. The massive piles of sand bear wittness to the great flood in 2011 that silted the creek beds, forcing the Tuis to hire a digger to clear out the channels again.

So, expect more posts here from Golden Bay & Tui Community as I get into the golden life and make sense (or a mess) of it all here! How are you by the way?

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Beauty & The Beast Records Album In Quaint Queenstown! | Impromptu Immigrant
  2. Trackback: Tui Turns 30! | Impromptu Immigrant

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