TANGIWAI (in memory of KA949)

Christmas shattered
in mud and twisted steel

drowned voices lost
among the river stones

shriek of iron
and a train whistle

blowing, blowing

This place on the Whangaehu River was prophetically named – Tangiwai has the meaning of weeping waters – and on Christmas Eve 1953 a rim of Ruapehu’s crater gave way, releasing a lahar of mud, rocks and water down the river, just as the Wellington to Auckland night express was approaching.  There were heroic efforts to stop the train before it reached the bridge where the lahar had washed away one pier, but in vain.  Many of those on the train were heading home for Christmas, and over the following days searchers found mud-soaked presents and toys among the twisted wreckage and bodies.  Four of the carriages were destroyed in the torrent.  151 passengers and crew died.


A walk in the spring winds this morning that blew away the winter cobwebs.  It rained during the night and the riverside was fresh and green.  Bert had a lovely time – not just a walk, but shopping at his favorite store, although we had to convince him that he couldn’t help himself to the goodies on display.  And to top it off for him, we met a most beautiful young lady Staffie and had a little chat.  Sorry my friends – didn’t get a photo of her.  Next time…

once dark
banks now bright with growth


I’m having so much fun playing with watercolors, even if that mandarin looks a bit squashed.  I’m discovering that things don’t have to be perfect to be enjoyed…

and this is the beginning washes for another one I’ve started – lots more to go for this Kaipara fence-line.

Still plugging away with this one – learning patience (and not to get too hung-up on the housework).