Sitting eating our fish and chips in Hine’s Fish and Chip shop gives not just a view of the main street that leads to the waterfront, but also across the road, where we can see part of yet another mural.
Himself had dropped us off in the main street earlier and then gone to find a parking space and by happenchance the van was parked just around the corner from this mural so it wasn’t any distance out of our way to go and check this out.
The mural has been painted onto the side of a factory shop and depicts the iconic scenes and items for which Kaikoura is famous.
In the background of the mural stands the Seaward Kaikoura mountain range, with part of the Inland Kaikoura mountain range peeking out from behind since both sets of mountains are parallel to each other.
In summer they are beautiful enough, but in winter with a capes of white snow down to low levels they are a stunning backdrop to this little town. In the extreme foreground are the round grey pebbles that make the beach-front here instantly recognisable.
On the right in for foreground a seal stares directly at us, behind the seal the flukes of a whale are emerging out of the water as the whale does a graceful salto in this southern corner of the Pacific Ocean.
Sperm whales can be seen in Kaikoura all year round and they are frequently joined by Blue, Pilot, Minke , Beaked, Humpback, Southern Right whales and Orcas too.
To the right of the seal is a pendant in the shape of a Kowhaiwhai , which Māori believe represents the importance of strong and loving family ties. Historically were made out of whalebone but I think that cow bones are used these days.
Between the beach and the sea, to the left of the whale flukes is a Māori pāua necklace in the shape of a Koru, a shape that takes it’s inspiration from one of the yet unfurled fronds of the New Zealand’s silver fern.
Nature knows how to mathematically and aesthetically impress: the form of the silver fern before it begins the unfolding process is a perfect example of the Golden Mean / Golden Ratio .
This is a mathematical ratio of 1 : 1.618, the proportions which are considered to be most one of the most aesthetically pleasing know to man since they represent perfection, perfect balance and divinity.
For Māori the form and symbolism the Koru has great spiritual importance and represents life, awakening, transformation, renewal, peace, harmony, tranquillity, and eternity.
In the background between the Koru and the large pāua shell to it’s left, dolphins play. Bottlenose, Common and Dusky dolphins are all found locally and if you are lucky you might even spot a Hectors dolphin (one of the world’s smallest and rarest) near the mouths of local rivers or by the Haumuri Bluffs.
At the far left of the mural is greenstone pendant, known as pounamu in Māori which is a type of green nephrite jade found in New Zealand’s South Island.
Both greenstone and bone pendants have great spiritual significance too: they are meant to be worn against the skin where they can absorb the spirit of the wearer.The pendant is then passed down through generations, keeping connections with generations past alive and strong.
The twists in the pendant also have meaning: they represent the intertwining of two cultures, friendships or lives. The loop is continuous so also represents eternal love, friendship or the lifelong bond between cultures.
The large pāua shell in the mural is of course not just an icon of Kaikoura but also of New Zealand and I’ve written a little bit about it already here: http://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/new-763/
Finally, the seagull that wheels in the blue clear skies is generally typical of any beach anywhere in the world and here in Kaikoura is no exception…