To the Mountains

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TO THE MOUNTAINS:
An evening with Paul Hersey

Kush Coffee

August 6, 2018

Come to Kush on August 6 and hear from an editor of this remarkable, wide-ranging anthology of New Zealand alpine writing. I'll be talking to Paul about this beautiful book and how it was put together. Grab your copy now from Volume

"The air temperature was probably -35 degrees Celsius with wind chill. We couldn't stand still for long. Our brains felt taxed and our bodies were running on empty. On the Football Field not far from the summit, Sue discovered a square of chocolate. We shared it, telling our bodies we didn't need more. As we continued the descent, the air warmed and filled with oxygen. We began to encounter climbers heading up. Most knew who we were, incredulously asking: 'are you the girls who slept on the summit'?"

- Karen McNeill, A Ridge Too Far: The first female ascent of Denali's Cassin Ridge

If it's mountain-related, this book has it all. A schoolgirl races from class to join a weekend trip to the hills. A mountaineering guide recalls his first weeks on the job during the 1920s. A young climber is shown the best route over the Main Divide by a big bull thar. A climbing party is bombarded by falling rock when Ruapehu suddenly erupts. A mountaineer pays tribute to the Maori guides from south Westland, while a fighter pilot tries to recapture an ascent of the Minarets from his tent in Nigeria during World War II.

From the Darrans of Fiordland to Denali in Alaska, New Zealand climbers, both experienced and recreational, have captured their alpine experience in letters, journals, articles, memoirs, poems and novels. Drawing on 150 years of published and unpublished material, Laurence Fearnley and Paul Hersey, two top contemporary authors, have compiled a wide-ranging, fascinating and moving glimpse into New Zealand's mountaineering culture and the people who write about it.

 

 

oceans, stars, and forestry in NZ Geographic

 At low tide, the mudflats of Waimea Inlet rise above the water. This is the largest enclosed estuary in the South Island, and was affected by heavy sedimentation in the 1960s and 1970s, with 170 hectares of intertidal habitat lost. It’s also an internationally significant area for migratory birds. Starting this year is a plan to increase saltmarsh area and reduce sediment contamination. ROB SUISTED

At low tide, the mudflats of Waimea Inlet rise above the water. This is the largest enclosed estuary in the South Island, and was affected by heavy sedimentation in the 1960s and 1970s, with 170 hectares of intertidal habitat lost. It’s also an internationally significant area for migratory birds. Starting this year is a plan to increase saltmarsh area and reduce sediment contamination. ROB SUISTED

The latest New Zealand Geographic magazine (my favourite) features three of my stories, out today. There's a 4000-word feature on ecosystem-based management, which means looking at every impact on our coastal waters from mountains to sea. It was fascinating talking to the Sustainable Seas Science Challenge scientists who are conducting the research that will help us understand our coastal environment better. The work will hopefully enable stability in the marine environment and the Holy Grail: a "blue economy" that means sustainability becomes an economic reward too. Check it out here

 Once sediment enters the water, it falls to the sea floor, and it’s usually held in place there by plants and animals. But dredging and bottom-trawling remove, injure and kill them, leaving large areas bare, with sediment that is easily resuspended by waves.Suspended sediment affects many bivalves—pictured is an oyster farm in Whangaroa Harbour. ROB SUISTED

Once sediment enters the water, it falls to the sea floor, and it’s usually held in place there by plants and animals. But dredging and bottom-trawling remove, injure and kill them, leaving large areas bare, with sediment that is easily resuspended by waves.Suspended sediment affects many bivalves—pictured is an oyster farm in Whangaroa Harbour. ROB SUISTED

In May and June photographer Rob Suisted travelled the country taking photographs for that article and came across the remnants of the devastating storm in Gisborne that caused such devastation to those downstream of pine plantations. I chatted to a few of the people caught up in the rain and asked them their thoughts on how these disasters can be prevented in the future. Read that photo essay here

 
 Rangi Matamua. PETER DRURY.

Rangi Matamua. PETER DRURY.

 

Finally, I loved talking to Māori astronomer Rangi Matamua, a Waikato University professor in Māori and indigenous studies. His whose journey with the stars began as a university student, when his grandfather handed him a century-old astronomical manuscript written by his ancestors. Among its pages, it contained the Māori names of more than 1000 stars. He's done a huge amount of work on the true meaning of Matariki as well, and argues that Māori need to tell their own stories. Read that piece here

And subscribe!

Headlands launches in October

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in bookstores this spring

 

$30

The team at Victoria University Press and I have been working on this volume of stories about anxiety for 15 months now, and we're really excited to release it into the world in October. The stories in Headlands are told by people from all walks of life: poets, novelists, and journalists, musicians, social workers, and health professionals, and includes new work from Ashleigh Young, Tusiata Avia, Danyl McLauchlan, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Hinemoana Baker and Kirsten McDougall.

In 2017, Ministry of Health figures showed that one in five New Zealanders sought help for a diagnosed mood or anxiety disorder, and these figures are growing. Headlands: New Stories of Anxiety tells the real, messy story behind these statistics – what anxiety feels like, what causes it, what helps and what doesn’t. These accounts are sometimes raw and confronting, but they all seek to share experiences, remove stigma, offer help or simply shine a light on what anxiety is.
 
Headlands shows that some communities have better access to mental health services than others and it underscores the importance for greater understanding of the condition across the whole of society.  It is not a book of solutions nor a self-help guide. Instead, it has been put together for all individuals and whānau affected by anxiety. It’s also for those who are still suffering in silence, in the hope they will see themselves reflected in these pages and understand they are not alone.

Cover artwork and design: Hadley Donaldson