Rory Gardiner's Webpage

24, May, 2009

24 May 2009


We are all winding down after an enjoyable weekend in the Kauri Coast, and I am trying to motivate myself to wind up and pack for the coming week ahead.  The highlight of the weekend was definitely the Waipoua Fun Run/Walk through Waipoua Forest.  We were up early and out the door at 8am.  We just made it to the Te Roroa Visitor Centre in time for the third (and last) bus.  The boys managed to commander the front seat.  We got off at Tane Mahuta and were surprised to find another 250 people!  We collected our race numbers, and watched the bus driver complete a 180 degree turn on SH 12 in the heart of the forest without taking out the shelter at the start of the tack which was no mean feat!!  She got a cheer for her efforts.  We left at the tail end of the pack behind the runners and fast walkers.  It was cold and crystal clear and the bus was vivid green and wet with dew and the nights rain.  As we walked down we talked to others on the hikoi; Mayor Neil Tiller, a lovely lady from Kaihu whose 12 year old son Travis battled a brain tumour approximately 3 years ago and who was heading to Ronald McDonald House on Saturday night to cook a meal (I didn't catch her name but we would love to stay in touch if you read Rory's website), John Evans who used to work for DoC in Whangarei, two ladies promoting smoke-free awareness week with fantastic pohutukawa lungs on their t-shirts, and many Japanese visitors.  Rory spent the first 10kms in the wheel chair.  It was easy pushing, Sean, Sam and I took turns, and apart from being cold Rory was a trooper.  He got out of the chair at the entrance to Waipoua River Road and walked the last 2kms along the gravel.  He was tiring as we came into the Waipoua campground but the crowd gave a cheer as they announced his arrival over the loud speaker when we approached the finish line.  He was so proud.  The Te Roroa cooks had been busy with a traditional kiwi lunch of sausages and bread, mussel fritters, soup and fry bread, fizzy drink and coffee.  It was a wonderful atmosphere.  Rory and I both got spot prizes; Rory's was donated by the Japanese visitors, and mine by the Waipoua Lodge.  After the spot prizes and speeches Sam and Rory both got a horse ride back to the Visitor Centre (thank you Maddison and her friend).  It was good to catch up with a few old friends, such as Tom and his wife Karena (Donovan), Bev Sanderson, and my good friend Heni.  We were lucky with the day ... not a shower of rain.  Not like yesterdays soccer.  We got 90% of the way through Sam's soccer game when the sky opened up, after a brilliant morning of sunshine.  There was a big huddle under the umbrella.  Sam's team won 7/3.  Rory's team the Black Panthers lost.  Coach Thomas told me they had chosen Panthers as a name because they were black, fast, aggressive and successful like the panther.  Unfortunately not yesterday.  Bring on next Saturday!!