The Ruru's

T.I.M.E. Habits • Minimalists • Travel Enthusiasts

Category: Anzac

4/10/19 A Hapu of Ngāi Tahu

There is a little settlement on the in-side of Lyttelton Harbour called Rapaki. A hapu of Ngāi Tahu.

Having spent the past two days there on the Wheke Marae, what a gorgeous dot on the landscape to attend a Code of Ethics for Youth Work in Aotearoa.

Such an awesome marae style learning way with fellow industry organisations – way smarter and, significantly better outside the class or the board room.

The korero spoken of the marae history; the ‘Te Tiriti o Waitangi’ beginnings, tribulations and present day collaborations; and navigating ethical transparency doing youth work, were informative, welcoming and encouraging.

If you are out and about over bay-side, stop in and check it out.

It’ll strengthen the resolve to protect OUR bi-cultural presence necessity – a code of ethic all New Zealanders and guests of Aotearoa, should be embracing.

ANZAC Day, New Zealand – We Commemorate Those Who Fought For Our Freedom

Today here in New Zealand, we commemorate those fallen soldiers who fought for our freedom in global conflicts throughout history. Called ANZAC Day, it stemmed from the campaign during WW1 on the shores of Gallipoli, Turkey. Brings back memories of us walking the 370kms to Gallipoli from Istanbul to attend a dawn service there back in 2011.

Today though, it was one here in our home city of Christchurch.

The sound of the bugle being renditioned always has the hairs on the back of the neck stand to attention.

Then, making the most of the autumn day, it was a walk along the beach, a little adventure that is free.

Perhaps because of those that fought for our freedom.

So, lest we forget.

21-24/10/16 Rangataua Part 3: Gallipoli Revisited


The Carrot Capital of New Zealand is Ohuakune.

Many of the early growers were Chinese who cleared and ploughed the free draining soil and habitated the cool climate which is ideal for growing conditions.  It’s also a popular base in winter for skiers using the nearby ski fields and in summer for trampers hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.





Lake Rotopounamu made for a lovely stroll into the native fauna and expose kids to giant Rata trees, Fantail birds and ripples of inland lake water.  Nothing here made in China!  Vents of vapour escape what lies below the crusted earth reminding us that we were in a thermal geothermal area.







The Tangiwai  Rail Disaster monument is a memory of such.  On the 24th December 1953, 151 passengers lost their lives as the express train derailed into the river bed due to a collapsed bridge caused by a ‘Lahar’ that raged down the mountainside only minutes before the train reached the bridge.



It is New Zealand’s worst rail accident.

A soak in a hot pool at Tokaanu Thermal Pools soothed the bones after the mountain bike ride the day before.  Stay in the jets of heat too long and you too can age prematurely with water wrinkles.




The ‘haere ra’ to new friends made had us retrace our route back to Wellington.  We are so fortunate to have a magical land where parts of Canada ridden was replicated here.  It stirred the emotion of why we travel.  Goosebumps too.

Our flights are booked for us to make our way to the top of this island. Not long now before we take the first steps on the Te Araroa Walk.

A visit to Te Papa Museum in Wellington itself served two purposes.  A catch up with a close friend Delwyn for my regular clip around the ear for cheeky comments made from behind a keyboard.  And, to wander through the Gallipoli exhibit.



Jeez, this was impressive.  Not the clipping of the ear but the exhibit!  The life like giant figurines portraying life on the peninsula were realistic, right down to the veins on arms and beads of sweat on the brow.  It brought home the significance of us having walked from Istanbul to Gallipoli back in 2011.






Te Araroa, the Rurus are coming!

Happy birthday Barry.  Cheers Cuz.


Karamea Konnections

The Karamea ANZAC service was held mid-morning.  Town folk gathered to hear a story about three Baker’s leaving the area to go fight and to fortunately return as five.  The rumble of restored army vehicles echoed across the basin  and made the experience just magic – who needed a fly over? Trying to convince the farmer to load up the turret machine gun and fire off a volley didn’t eventuate as much as me trying to convince BClaire to volunteer as the target.

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It was a further 17kms north by road till it ran out.  We had now driven the last of it as far as we could.  It ended at the start of one of NZ’s Great Walks within the Kahurangi National Park – the Heaphy Track.  I walked it back in the early 90’s and what takes 4-5 days by foot can now be mountain biked over 2-3 days.

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DSC02471A land line phone rang in the shelter, so I answered it.  The person on the other end asked for Martin.  Calling out his name, this lanky Irishmen came running over.  It was his transport call to organize his pick up.  Just the fact the phone rang like that had joking comments about his Mum calling to see if he was okay through to his pizza order confirmation – it had heads shaking and laughter abound and allowed new connections to be made.

Martin had just walked the Heaphy from the Collingwood end and was now getting ready to tackle another tramp from west to east called the Wangapeka Track (52 km).  It’s a tougher one with saddles over 1000 metres, the highest 1701.   Another seed sown for us to add to our ‘adventure’ list.


DSC02474The second bedroom handled the 14 km steep winding gravel road to the Oparara Basin Walks exceptionally well.  More spectacular was the Oparara Arch, a limestone formation at 219 m deep, 43 m high and 29 m wide.  Back at the carpark where a mum and dad were trying to bribe their moaning and groaning young children to walk up to it was made easier when I mentioned that you can find a pet rock to take home as big as Dad can carry.  And off they trundled!


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Our final sortie of the day ended at the ‘Last Resort’ for an ale.  The world is a small place when you connect with total strangers that are linked through personal associations – the camp caretaker knowing my Dad as the shuttle driver from Kaiapoi; the ‘Last Resort’ owner going to school with our friend Mandy in Greymouth; a woman girl friending a cousin from Amberley; and a woman from Picton remembering BClaire’s family when BClaire lived there aged 6.   It made for un-expected conversations, banter, laughter and too many re-hydration ales!

The camp kitchen during our time in Karamea allowed us to meet four young German tourists holidaying in New Zealand.  The dialogue around ANZAC Day and its significance made for all to make a comment about how they are not proud of their history when it comes to peace time commemorations about war.  They needn’t be.  The couple who joined us at the service were there of their own volition.  Although it was hard to imagine their emotions that they were feeling as the service was being given, we were pleased to be standing shoulder to shoulder with them.

The young fella had also walked the length of New Zealand, completing the Te Araroa Trail.  Little did he know that his presence had inspired us.  We now shift our focus to visit all our Face Book friends in person where ever they are located on the planet.

Karamea – a place where new konnections were made.

And the place where we celebrated the 100th year ANZAC Day commemorations.


Maori ANZAC – Istanbul to Gallipoli By Foot – 360kms Walked

No matter the weather, as dawn breaks this coming 25th April 2015, hundreds and thousands of New Zealanders across our country will stand in silence.

It will be repeated across the ditch in Australia, where possibly millions will brave the dawn.

And finally again, where it all began, by those New Zealanders and Australians who have journeyed the pilgrimage to a place on the globe called Anzac Cove.  It’s a place on the Turkish peninsula, Gallipoli.

B5 The NZ CenitaphApril 25th is ANZAC Day for New Zealanders and Australians alike.  A day set aside to commemorate those heroes who lost their lives, or survived to go on to fight some more, or survived to return home.  It will be 100 years to the day since the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp (ANZAC) soldiers, along with other Expeditionary Forces landed on the Gallipoli peninsula during World War 1.


B1 Anzac Cove4Their mission was to seize the Gallipoli peninsula and clear for the Royal Navy to capture the Turkish capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul).  However, the Turks defense held and when the Allies evacuated the peninsula some eight months later, almost 36,000 Commonwealth; 10,000 French and around 86,000 Turks had lost their lives to the campaign.

Bugles will echo ‘the last post’ tune – it always causes the hair to rise on the back of one’s neck.   And in mass unison, voices will utter the words “we shall remember them.”  It stirs emotions in both young and old, no matter where their footing will be on this coming ANZAC Day.

6 Istanbul to Gallipoli Travel MapThe footing for us personally holds a more significant place in our hearts, for three reasons.

Not many pilgrims to the Gallipoli peninsula traveling from Istanbul can say that they have stepped out the distance by foot to walk there.

We have.

To commemorate the 96th Anniversary in 2011, we took 21 days to cover the 360 km distance.   The vigil to stay up all night and freeze to experience the dawn service at ANZAC Cove was nothing compared to the ghosts of the past.  It was just special to be able to show respect.

B22 Anzac Day - some unsavory hour of the morningAwaiting the NZ Commemoration at Chunuk BairLone Pine6 - Ru & BC


Miltary base in BuyukcekmeceHouse in the GorgeGelibolu boats harbouring upAt our starting point for the dayFishing Stand2Sardine sandwich timeSea view looking from the Yenikoy RoadOn top of the worll!Some old war bunkersA monument along the coastlineRuins2Nine shags just shagging around.


The walk itself was raw.  It was breathtaking, it was humbling, it was character building, and it was sore legs after day three that had us abandon stuff from our packs so as to make it more easier going!  And this cemented reason number two why the time around ANZAC Day is significant.

Can you find ...After emptying the contents of my back pack onto my bed, what became important was kept and what was nice to have was left behind.  This habit grew more and more as we continued our noses towards Gallipoli.  It was foundational to the minimalistic lifestyle we now embrace where less is more to enjoy the freedom concepts it offers so as to do what matters most.

The third reason was the lineage to the historical events of yesteryear.  My Maori Poua (Grandfather) was an ANZAC soldier who went, fought and survived the campaign.  Shad Ruru in UniformAt the time, I wrote my thoughts into a poem …

Dear Poua Shad

Although we never me, I know who you are,

My Grandfather who went to Gallipoli, a land of distance far.

We came to see for ourselves, where you spent some fighting time,

To expose ourselves to history, and imagined how you shined.

The walk was hard and challenging, but we made it all the same,

It was the least we could do, to honor the family name.

ANZACs are spoken of highly, so we commemorate and remember you,

From all the Ruru Whanau, as they stand proud too.

ANZAC Day 2011, Gallipoli, Turkey

 Post card home from Shad

100 years ago come this 25th April 2015 … we shall reflect, we shall remember, we shall respect – them.

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