Local Heart, Global Soul

September 3, 2018

A Cairn To Inform, So That Rocks Do Not Build Into Walls To Divide Us…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My father is a fisherman, well sort of a “semi-retired’ one these days since he no longer goes out very much, but one thing I have heard him complain about for years is the amount of irrigation water farmers do and want to take more of, from the big Canterbury rivers each year, regardless of how high or low the river levels are.

River levels are partly determined by rainfall in the Southern Alps, partly by small springs and the rest by snow melt, but as everyone knows, weather patterns have not recently been what they were a century or even half a century ago.

I had thought that this was an old issue and one that had been long since sorted, until I heard about the sharp rise of dairy farming in the South Island.

Historically most of the South Island’s dairy industry has been located in Southland, at the bottom of the island where copious rainfall grows lush grass for the livestock, so I assumed that expansion had taken place here.

Instead I was horrified to hear that it was taking place in the Mckenzie Country, where sunshine hours abounded but in the driest area of the South Island. Where was the water coming from for pastureland? It’s being taken from the rivers.

It’s being taken not just in small quantities either, it appear that the farming industry is hell-bent on using every last drop of water if they see a short term profit in it.

For me this goes deeply against the grain, my ideology here is very much aligned with that of Maori; we should stewards of the land and not masters of it. We should surly use resources wisely and leave the earth in good shape for future generations, or most preferably; in even better shape.

Not only is the McKenzie Country area one of outstanding natural beauty, it also an important one for tourism and furthermore has it’s own ecosystems, flora and fauna, and weather patterns that it is famous for.This is the area of New Zealand closest to my heart and the thought of it being messed with like this makes me very angry. It was therefore to my horror that I read the messages attached to this cairn in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square. I can but hope that the environmentalists and people supporting them can persuade the government to overturn this policy in farming that can only harm the natural landscape and the countries long term future.

I’m not sure if readers find the text on the plaques easy to read or not: I’ve written it out in typed text to make it easier for anyone who may find it difficult.

‘In order to advance the massive irrigation schemes proposed for the Canterbury Plains, the hard won conservation orders on our headwaters have been disestablished, our elected Enironment council have been diembodied, and our right to appeal to the Environment court has been removed. Indeed, Cantabrians are now subject to laws seperate fom any other province of our country: This is a breach of the Bill of Rights and its principles of natural justice. It is the will of the people who built this cairn that it remains here until democracy entire is returned to us.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A visiting tour group getting information about the history of Canterbury, Cathedral Square etc…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

” A cairn by tradition is a mound of stones at the edge of a river by which travellers in the high country indicate a place of departure and a place to regain the shore. This cairn is constructed of boulders from the Rakaia, Selwyn, Waimakarari and Hurunui rivers and has been placed here by citizens concerned that democratically evolved protections of these waterways have been broken. This cairn is a marker, it marks the river of unease that presently flows through our community, a river whose turbulent waters threaten to divide us.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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