Photo (c) Wynston Cooper 2014I stayed last night on a farm just out of Garston. I went out to breakfast at about 7:30 am and found the 9 year old twin boys in charge of things. They had scrambled a pan of eggs and made toast. Their 12 year old brother had cooked himself some porridge. They asked me if I wanted some tea and how did I take it? Then, as I ate my toast, conversed about their sports, their schools and their hopes for the future. One of them told me how much he had enjoyed hearing me speak about the Camino Santiago when I came to the parish in April last year. The 12 year old told me about his possum trapping endeavours, including the type of traps he uses and where and how are the best places/times to deploy them. I was intrigued at the sheer down to earth practicality of these kids; by their ability to relate easily to an adult; by their groundedness. They impressed me. In the middle of the conversation Wynston came in from taking the photograph above, and their father came in from his early morning farmwork. We talked about Life, the Universe and everything and I was shown something that I have been seeing all this trip: an appreciation of the church, a desire for its survival and immense good will to its ministers.
It was cold, almost frosty, when we left this warm, alive, lived in family home and drove in the great big Fiat towards Kingston. We arrived on the pier at 10:15, just before the ferry arrived from Queenstown. Right on the dot of its scheduled 10:30 it arrived with a large contingent of people all wearing dayglo yellow Hikoi caps, singing Te Harinui while being conducted by Clemency. Silhouetted against the still rising sun, it was a wonderful sight.
Amongst the passengers was the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev. John Sentamu and his wife Margaret.They are too briefly in New Zealand and had taken a couple of days to take part in the Hikoi. The Archbishop has been to New Zealand several times before and has a pretty good understanding of how we Kiwis tick. In the course of the day I enjoyed chatting to him about the plight of rural parishes, and other areas of mutual concern.
It was at this point we said goodbye to Wynston Cooper, who had been our main support person. The four of us had formed a very cohesive and mutually respectful little team, and we will miss him. His place on the front seat of the van has been taken by Dion and Tash, a young couple from Dunedin who have made a pretty promising start.
The ferry took us up lake Wakatipu on a beautiful still clear day. It was cool enough to want a jacket when standing in the shade and hot enough to want to promptly remove it when standing out of it. We arrived in bustling, vigorous Queenstown around mid-day made our way through the crowded lakeside market to St. Peter's church and had a magnificent barbecue on the front lawn. Around 1:30 we set out for the airport about 6 km away.
We had been gifted a helicopter flight across the Crown Range by Heli Tours, a young but rapidly growing company operating out of Queenstown airport. Paul, whom I had met at St. Peters a few weeks ago flew us in a spick and span looking Hughes 500 across the Lake and the town and then over Cardrona skifield to Wanaka.
We were met at Wanaka by a large group from the Upper Clutha parish for the 4km walk into St. Columba's. There was, of course, an enormous afternoon tea, Phil John and I spoke briefly then we were ferried to tonight's accommodation. We are staying tonight, Clemency and I, with a couple our own age. It is very congenial, comfortable and pleasant indeed, though I do miss those kids a little.