Monday, March 31, 2014

Scenes along beach and bay

Great as the sunrises and sunsets are on the Bay of Plenty from Ohope Beach, there are also many great scenes along the road. I have enjoyed the blessing of getting to know an Emergency Department nurse at the hospital where Matt works.  She is an absolutely sublime photographer who feels the compositions talking to her.  I went out with her and her husband last week, and they took me to some marvelous locations.  Most of these shots were taken on that trip.

Ohiwa, Ketaware_wharf, Opotiki

Ohope Harbour



Ohope Beach

Shell Beach Ohope

Ohope Beach

Ohiwa, Ketaware_wharf, Opotiki



Friday, March 28, 2014

The Eternal Shepherd

"Love unites all, whether created or uncreated.  The heart of God, the heart of all creation, and our own hearts become one in love."  Henri Nouwen

Kutawere_wharf_NZ, Ohiwa_NZ

And God is the eternal, ever present Shepherd calling us to Him, bringing us to Him. Thank goodness, because even now, I still wander astray and need him to bring me back and give me strength.

Baker County

East Cape, N

 "I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord. I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak." Ezekiel 34:15.16

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sunrise, Sunset, Ohope Bach, North Island, New Zealand

Ohope Beach lies on the Bay of Plenty, a long crescent shaped bay four hours east of Auckland.  It recently was rated as the top beach in New Zealand.  The beach here runs for miles, offering great waves for surfing and boogie boarding.  Excellent fishing is found both in the ocean and Ohope Harbor, or Ohiwa as it is also called.  Morning and evening light is never the same, never boring, sometimes subtle, sometimes shocking, but always alluring and enduring.

Ohiwa, Ohope_harbour

lilies and Ohope sunrise

Norfolk pine, Bay of Plenty

Ohope Harbor, Ohiwa

Bay of Plenty, Ohope Beach

Ohope Beach

Ohope Harbor, Ohiwa

West End Ohope

West End Ohope

West End Ohope

Saturday, March 22, 2014

God is at the heart of the answer

"I am certain of one thing: the love that is God is at the heart  of the answer, just as it is at the heart of each moment--past, present, and future…Faith chooses to embrace hope and to be embraced by hope, even when overwhelmed by despair; it seeks life even in the face of death….God's grace embraces our questions as well as our answers and our blindness as well as our vision,  just as the sun shines steadily through the night, waiting to illumine the sky at dawn."  Jean M. Blomquist

Whale Island NZ, Ohope Beach

Ohope Beach

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

East Cape lighthouse and the first light of morning

For years, as we have stayed with our family here at Ohope Beach on the Bay of Plenty, we have looked out to what seems a mythical line of land that stretches far, far out toward the horizon.  East Cape forms the eastern boundary of this vast bay.  Meg and I have long wanted to explore what lies beyond our sight.  So, we followed the ever twisting, ever rising and descending, narrow road that goes around this cape.  Beaches and coves beyond numbers came into view and then were left behind.  Our destination was the small town of Te Aroroa, from where a gravel road goes out to the East Cape lighthouse, the most eastern part of mainland New Zealand--where the sunrise first reaches the country.

We got up early at our motel in Te Aroroa, five fifteen to be exact, and drove in the dark, past cows and horses in the road, past a few narrow drop offs, to reach the trail up to the East Cape lighthouse.  Seven hundred and sixty steps later (yes the guidebook gave us that specific number), we were there with five other viewers.  Purple turned to pink to red, to yellow, and the sun arrived.  We had nothing to do with "calling" the sun to rise.  Yet, its rising seemed uniquely special to us.  The event is daily, and to be there just to be there, creates an inner joy and tranquility.

East Cape lighthouse

East Cape, Te Aroroa

East Cape lighthouse, East Cape, Te Aroroa, Gisborne

East Cape Lighthouse, Te Aroroa, Gisborne

East Cape, Gisborne

East Cape Lighthouse

East Cape   (if you enlarge this image, you can just make out the lighthouse at a the top of the bluff)

Tongariro National Park from the air

Meg and I have visited the Tongariro National Park three times during our stays on North Island with our family.  Obviously, it is one of our favorite places.  To be in the center of three active volcanic mountains -- Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, and Tongariroare, the summits of which are each sacred to the Maori people -- never ceases to awe and stimulate our senses. This national park was donated to the New Zealand government  in 1886 by the local Ngati Tuwheretoa Maori tribe in order to protect it permanently.  It is the oldest national park in New Zealand and the fourth oldest in the world.
On this visit we enjoyed absolutely still and perfectly clear skies and made a flight over the volcanoes.  As always, we enjoyed seeing country from above that we had seen up close through earlier hiking on the Tongariro Crossing. And, having stayed once at the Chateau Tongariro, we loved seeing its setting beneath Mt Ruapehu.
Mt Ruapehu crater lake, Tongariro_National_Park

Ketitahi_Springs, Tongariro_National_Park

Volcanic Flights, Mt Ruapehu, Tongariro_National_Park

Ngauruhoe, Tongariro_National_Park, Volcanic_Flights, Tongariro_Crossing

Mt Ruapehu, Chateau_Tongariro, Tongariro_National_Park

Crater lake Mt Ruapehu, Tongariro_National_Park

Mt Ngauruhoe, Tongariro_National_Park

Red_Crater_NZ, Tongariro_National_Park, Tongariro_Crossing

Saturday, March 15, 2014

First light

During our stays in Ohope on the Bay of Plenty, North Island, Meg and I have looked out to the long crescent of land that extends toward the horizon in the east. The road along this East Cape twists and turns, sometimes high above the ocean, sometimes at beach level; sometimes close to the ocean, sometimes inland.  The drive is slow, highlighted by gorgeous bays and beaches, and most dramatically, the East Cape Lighthouse.  There, the sunrise first meets New Zealand, and actually is the second landfall from the International Dateline after the islands of Tonga (where Meg and I served in the Peace Corps) .

As Meg and I watched the sunrise Wednesday morning, we enjoyed these selections from Psalm 25 as we felt the power of the Lord's ever abiding gifts to us, His children:

East_Cape_lighthouse_NZ,  Bay_of_Plenty

East_Cape_lighthouse_NZ,  Bay_of_Plenty

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tongariro National Park

In 1887, Te Heuheu Tukino IV, then the paramount chief of Ngati Tuwharetoa, gifted the sacred peaks of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, and part of Ruapehu, North Island, to the English people of New Zealand. This decision kept the land from being divided up and preserved the mana (prestige) of the Tuwharetoa people.
The original deed of gift created an area of 8,000 acres  consisting of three small circles around the main peaks. Over the years that followed, large-scale purchases of land were made by the Crown, so that when the Tongariro National Park Act was passed in 1894 the area was approximately 65,000 acres. This Park was the fourth in the world to be established.
Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe are two of the most active composite volcanoes in the world. In 1995 and again in 1996 Ruapehu erupted in spectacular fashion, sending clouds of ash and steam skyward and mantling the surrounding snow fields and forest with a thick film of ash.

Mt Ngauruhoe serves as Mt Doom in Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings."  The Mordor scenes were filmed on the flanks of Mt Ruapehu, and the scenes of Gollum fishing were filmed at several nearby streams and waterfalls.

Ch√Ęteau Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe

Tongariro National Park, Mt Ruapehu

Tongariro National Park, Mt Doom, Mt Ngauruhoe

Tongariro National Park, Ruapehu

Tongariro National Park, Mt Ruapehu

Tongariro National Park, Taranaki Falls

Tongariro National Park,