- Live From The Road
- Offroute Events
- Week One
- Week Two
- Week Three
- Week Four
- Meeting with Prime Minister of New Zealand, 1 September 2010
- Dr Ashraf Choudhary QSM, 2 July 2010
- Meeting the All Whites, 22 May 2010
- Itinerary 2012
- Torch-Bearer Award
- Media Centre
- Community Support
- Itinerary 2008
- Itinerary 2010
New Zealand 3 October: Dunedin – Timaru
All Teams, Dunedin
Our entire team started together this morning running into the centre of Dunedin City, Councillor Fliss Butcher leading the way with the Torch.
As we entered the well-known and colourful ‘Octagon’, Michael Bishop, a local bagpiper played a thrilling welcoming piece for the runners after which we gathered for a short ceremony beside the spring tulips.
After singing the World-Harmony-Run song, Nik Hurring was presented with the World Harmony Run Torch-Bearer Award for her outstanding efforts caring for and nurturing injured kereru (an endangered native wood pigeon) and releasing them to the wild.
City Councillor Fliss Butcher spoke to the team about the need for more initiatives like the World Harmony Run and told us of her work founding an interfaith group that encourages dialogue and understanding between members of various religious groups.
We were then honoured to have a soulful prayer for peace from The Very Rev’d Gavin Yates, the Dean of the famous St. Pauls Cathedral in the Octagon. He quoted St Paul's words: "May you run in such a way that you win life."
To the sound of another wonderful bagpipe salute we ran out of the Octagon, down George Street, and past Otago University.
Two of our teams then had a ceremony at The Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head, at the very end of the beautiful Otago Peninsula.
Manager Sam Inder welcomed us and we explained the purpose of the World Harmony Run and sang for the staff who had gathered.
We were then treated to a wonderful tour from Jane at this extremely beautiful and well set up centre.
We enjoyed a fascinating account and film on the life of the giant Albatross whose wing span can reach over 3 metres! We then were able to walk to the observation deck to see where the Albatross nest and breed. But because of the time of year and lack of wind today, all the Albatross were at sea where they spend most of their time.
On our way back we walked through the tunnels beneath the colony to Fort Taiaroa.
We were then treated to morning tea in the lovely café before getting back on the road for our run from Dunedin to Timaru.
– Phoolanjaya Beale
After the ceremony this morning in the Octagon, while most of our team were visiting the Royal Albatross Colony, our small group – 3 Aussies, a Hungarian and a Czech – travelled out along the Otago Peninsula to Taiaroa Head. Here we paid a visit to Natures' Wonders, a family-owned and run farm and nature sanctuary which, as we discovered, has undoubtedly been touched by a special little bit of magic.
Perry and Tracey Reid own the land and the sheep which graze upon it, although as Perry says, "No one really owns any part of the earth. We are just caretakers of the land." A great deal of care is being taken here, with predator fences being erected and thousands of native seedlings being planted into the green hilly landscape. This revegetation project is ongoing with many more thousands of trees yet to be planted.
One day the native forest will cover Taiaroa Head as it once did and the native birds and wildlife will return with it.
We met Perry in the café and he had a lot to show us. Perry's enthusiasm for the good work he and his family are doing here immediately inspired our team and we almost felt giddy with anticipation of what was to come.
We hopped into the specially-designed and built 8-wheeler and went straight to the top of 'Maori Footprint' hill – in Maori legend, special good luck is deemed to come to anyone who sets foot on this spot.
From this vantage point there are expansive views over the Otago Peninsular with Dunedin nestled at the end of the bay. It was a beautiful warm sunny day. We could see snow-capped mountains in the distance and as we turned around, we took in the open ocean and the vast sky above. Today all of us could tangibly feel the presence of the spirit which pervades both man and nature. Actually we all turned completely around twice – to absorb this 720-degree view – as Perry said we would.
From up here we bumped down the track to the rocky ocean shoreline.
Now the effects of nature's magic spell were really working on us. Enchanted creatures make their home here. Sparkling pinpoints of sunlight dance on the surface of the sea and the waves roll in, breaking against the cliffs where the cormorants are nesting.
Looking at the elegant birds it appears each of them has a part of the sea, a slimline wave of blue painted along the length of their neck.
In the underwater gardens, massed kelp grows and flows with the movement of the ocean, providing nutrition for abundant sea life. Whales frequent these waters all year round.
New Zealand fur seals live nearby.
Today they are lounging on their rocky platform and a couple of younger seals are playing around in a big rock pool.
They pay us scant attention, obviously relaxing with human company, as no people are ever allowed into their rocky abode. On the odd occasion one of them does glance our way, we are close enough to discern a look of inquisitive innocence in their big brown eyes.
Leaving the seals to enjoy their day, we moved onto a beautiful spot overlooking a sacred beach.
Encircled by cliffs, this is the nesting place of the world's rarest penguins. Depending on the time of year, you can see the Yellow-Eyed Penguins happily pottering around on the beach.
It is nesting season and they are hiding, but today we definitely and distinctly saw one at a distance, through Perry's binoculars. Blue penguins also live here and we had a much closer encounter with one. This little fella was totally unfazed by us funny-looking big tall oddities. After checking us all out he proceeded to imitate Grahak Cunningham's 3100-mile race running style, stepping on Grahak's shoe as he ambled past.
Saying goodbye to the penguins, we headed back to the café.
Perry really loves this place and has poured his heart and soul into it. Now he was giving us an opportunity to leave a piece of our heart here too. Assisted by Perry and his elder son Martin, we dug holes and planted native trees. Of course now we'll all have to come back to see how they've grown!
Perry had given us all so much in the way of inspiration and fulfilment and we too had something to offer him: Perry was presented with the World Harmony Run Torch-Bearer Award in acknowledgement of his life's extraordinary dedication to restoring native forests and protecting the wildlife that make their home on his property.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Perry, for an unforgettable, enthusiastic, informative and unmistakably real experience.
Leaving Taiaroa Head, the realisation quickly dawned upon us that we still had the day's running to do. Fortunately we were able to focus on the task at hand, reaching Timaru a bit later than usual.
Fortunately, we had a little time to spend enjoying the delights of the Timaru Botanic Gardens.
– Nigel Webber
After the morning's activities, back in Dunedin we met with the talented and friendly children at Kids Ink holiday program and their co-ordinator Andrew.
The kids were on their way to a fun outing, but they had some time to hear about the World Harmony Run and pass the Torch between themselves.
It was great to see so much creativity in one room. The kids had painted each other’s faces, and there was abundant artwork displayed all over the room.
Then we enjoyed our running for the day!
– Tom McGuire
After our busy morning, we ran out of Dunedin, taking the back route over several ranges of hills.
And what hills they were! Our runners climbed the steep and winding roads to be presented with stunning views of Dunedin and its harbour.
We continued our run down State Highway One, battling against a strong wind and the frequent blasts of air from passing trucks.
As we just finished our miles, the sun began to set as we ran into Oamaru – perfect timing.
– Rupashri Brown
Muslim Badami (India), Erika Pongracz, Gabor Horvath (both Hungary), Lubos Svec (Czech Republic), Anubha Baird, Nina Diaz, Grahak Cunningham, Nigel Webber, Prachar Stegemann, Simahin Pierce (Australia), Rupashri Brown, Suradhuni Anderson, Tania Williams, Kate Carvalho, Susan Marshall, Tom McGuire, Tim Cranfield, Andrew Davies (all New Zealand)
Gallery: See more images!
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