Posts Tagged ‘Wanaka’

Kirtana Performs 1st Time on New Zealand’s South Island

08/02/2015

Kirtana photo for Art of HealingMountain Spirit near Wanaka, will be hosting Kirtana, a California-based singer/songwriter will be who performs at events with speakers such as Eckhart Tolle, Gangaji and Geneen Roth. She comes to the South Island for the first time to share her contemporary, sacred songs. She will be performing at St. Columba’s Anglican Church on Sunday, 12th, April from 3:00pm-5:00pm in Wanaka

Described as a ‘brilliant poet, marvelous songwriter and accomplished guitarist’, Kirtana best describes both her music and her purpose in sharing it is to “celebrate divine love and the truth of who we are.”

Randall and Amanda Richards, of Mountain Spirit, the newly created retreat centre, say, “We’re really excited to have Cover unseen graceKirtana come to the South Island and share her music with us. It will be our first event. We’re still working on infrastructure  on our land and permitting for other programs, so we were not quite open to host the event on-site.  So when the Anglican Church agreed to have the event at their church, we knew it would be a great venue.”

Kirtana says she is thrilled to have the opportunity to share her music and divine exploration in concert with Kiwis. She will be performing songs from her newest CD “Unseen Grace”

Says Onethemagazine.com, “Kirtana has become one of the most highly sought after modern-day minstrels of non-dual awakening. Her voice and lyrics reach with vulnerable longing for the heart of God, while at the same time transmitting the discovery of that, the opening to that, and the final consummation within it.”

Kirtana bwTickets are $30 in advance, ($35 on the day). With a “Group of 5 offer” at $125 and can be purchased over the phone at Mountain Spirit 03-443-5669 or online at Eventafinda.co.nz  For more information call 03-443-5669 or go to the event webpage at mtnspirit.co.nz

Listen to the Music – Change the World

28/04/2014

The Creation of a Song Can Change the World

Doobie Brothers' Tom Johnston at Elvis Costello in Queenstown, New Zealand, April 2014

Doobie Brothers’ Tom Johnston and Elvis Costello in Queenstown, New Zealand, April 2014

I’m here to kindly challenge a comment  Doobie Brothers singer/songwriter Tom Johnston made about his song “Listen to the Music” in an interview with SongFacts. If you’ve not heard the tune, you’re probably mistaken. You have, and just didn’t know it.  It’s been on top radio lists (topped the charts at #11) and has been heard in advertising for major brands and is one of the most uplifting songs written.

Last night we saw the Doobie Brothers in Queenstown New Zealand at the Queenstown Blues and Roots Festival. It was a great experience.  I used to drive many highway miles in my college days from the East Coast to Utah,  listening to their music, so seeing them live for the first time 40 years later was full-circle experience.

The Doobie Brothers’ first hit was written by the band’s lead vocalist Johnston, who also played guitar on the track.  Johnston described the motivation for the song as a call for world peace:
“The chord structure of it made me think of something positive, so the lyrics that came out of that were based on this utopian view of the world.

“The idea was that music would lift man up to a higher plane, and that world leaders, if they were able to sit down on some big grassy knoll where the sun was shining and  just listened to the music – such as the type I was playing – would figure out that everybody had more in common than they had not in common, and it was certainly not worth getting in such a bad state of affairs about.

“Everybody in the world would therefore benefit from this point of view. Just basically that music would make everything better. The world would be a much better place. And of course I’ve since kind of realized it doesn’t work that way.  It was very utopian and very unrealistic. It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

I think Johnston might have been a bit premature in that assessment.

Mark Laurent Singer Songwriter

Mark Laurent
Singer Songwriter

Auckland New Zealand recording artist Mark Laurent  writes in a song on track 2 of his album Undergrowth,
Everything we do, matters somewhere,
You let the cat jump out of the bag,
It hits the floor running and never looks back,

I’m gonna pick up this ball point pen, I’m going to change the world,
I play the chord and I play it again, I’m going to change the world,”

This adds fuel to the creative fire and idea, that words and music do indeed change the world and that Johnston’s intent in writing Listen tot the Music,  is actually being realized. To the untrained eye, it might seem hard to see sometimes, but by focusing on what is good in the world, actually we see that humankind is on the brink of colossal change for the better, evolution and at the same time upheaval.  The Hundredth Monkey Effect  is right at our doorstep.  The tipping point, when we’ll really be living fully in a humane, compassionate and just world is happening before our eyes.

The energy is changing throughout the world. Check out Where the Hell is Matt if you’ve not seen it yet, for a powerful video with regular people dancing from all over the world, set to very timely music which was written for the video. THAT sort of thing was simply not possible a few years ago. There is no way the old order can survive such positive vibes.

Pat Simmons and son performing Listen to the Music, Queenstown, NZ

Pat Simmons and son performing Listen to the Music, Queenstown, NZ

Speaking of positive vibes, when the Doobie Brothers played Listen to the Music as their encore, I could just feel a wave of energy. Call it what you want, but “that is powerful medicine”, as spiritual teacher Sun Bear used to say.

Co-lead band member Patrick Simmons also was putting out great vibes on stage.  “He must do inner work of some sort” I thought to myself,  as I saw him play the evening out. He seemed perfectly at home in his own skin playing on stage.  Probably, he’s just as peaceful off stage as he appears on stage, unlike a lot of rock stars, as witnessed by the tabloids, (not that I read them).

As I used to be a wire services photographer, (UPI) I usually take my camera to events, and caught a shot of Simmons sharing the microphone with a young performer. We thought it might have been one of the buskers who had played earlier, who had been  invited up on stage. It seemed to make a good shot, so I took few and sent them off the Doobie Brothers’ website. I got a quick reply and was informed the young performer is Simmons’ son Patrick Jr, who is doing good work on the music scene in his own right in Hawaii.  Maybe we can get him to come down to our Mountain Spirit Secluded Sanctuary here in Hawea/Wanaka to do a workshop sometime.

So, listen to the music everyone, and change the world. And to Tom Johnston…keep writing!

Images: Queenstown shots: R. Richards | Mark Laurent from his webpage
Editor’s Note: Stay tuned as I find some links for these songs.

 

 

 

Build It & They Will Come

14/01/2012

An Outpost of Sustainability

Robert and Robyn Guyton were determined to start a food forest instead of mowing a front lawn. And a forest did they grow,  when in the mid-’90’s,  they purchased some land and a house in the small coastal town of Riverton, New Zealand. Riverton along with its neighbor, Invercargill rank as one of the southernmost towns in the world, and back then Riverton was an affordable place to buy land. It still is compared to the northern resort towns of Wanaka and Queenstown, the latter which graces its runway with  private jets, rivaling Aspen Colorado.

The Guytons worked  in earnest on their two lots planting trees and plants based on permaculture practices. When they first started, they received some odd looks from the neighbors, as their front yard started to take on the forest look. There were no other like-minded people in Riverton when they arrived, but undeterred, they started a cooperative learning center called the South Coast Environment Society.

Today the organization modestly states on its website it is an umbrella group for a “several” local environmental groups who have information,displays and meetings in the centre. Those several groups include:

Groups working for protection and enhancement of local ecosystems:

  • Riverton Estuary Care Society
  • Aparima Pest Busters
  • Aparima Nursery Enterprise
  • Seed Balls for Restoration projects

Groups working to promote sustainable lifestyles:

  • Riverton Natural Health Group
  • South Coast Permaculture
  • Sustainable Lifestyles project
  • Riverton Organic Food Co-op

Groups promoting sustainable growing methods

  • Riverton Organic Growers Gardeners Group
  • Southland Seed Savers
  • Riverton Organic Farmers Market
  • Riverton Community Orchard
  • Rivertonians for Alternatives to Toxic Substances (RATS)

Robert Guyton

My wife and I met the Guytons when they were giving a presentation on sustainability to the ultra small Garston School, (which deserves its own blog post),  New Zealand. We were intrigued with their presentation, which included a movie (to be posted on this blog) called “Welcome to the Food Forest”. We decided to take our chances and take the hour and half drive from our place and show up unannounced. Even though we had a standing invitation, we happened to miss them, when we stopped by to say hi. Nevertheless, I decided to interview Mark Baily while visiting the centre. You can see the video on my adjacent post.  We’ll have to get down there again when Robert and Robyn are home, so we can get the proper tour of their food forest!

Preserving Lakefront, Not Dominating It

18/04/2009
Lake Outlet Campground, Wanaka NZ

Lake Outlet Campground, Wanaka NZ

Lake Outlet Campground in Wanaka, New Zealand  might look like your every-day campground in a stunning setting, tucked in amongst the low windswept trees alongside the shores of Lake Wanaka, but I assure this is no ordinary campground. Owners Glenn Tattersall and Tracy Addison happened to be at the right place at the right time a few years ago when they expressed interest in taking over the campground from landowner and operator Liam Urquhart.  According to campground employee Joshua, Urquhart no longer was interested in running the campground, apparently the land developers caught word of his intentions and offered him millions for the lakefront property.  ( Private lakefront property ownership doesn’t exist in New Zealand due to a national law called the Queen’s Chain that declares all land, starting from the high water line at the shore and going  40 meters (120 feet) back are public property and right of way. This also goes for rivers. The public is allowed to use this land for recreation and fishing access.)
About that time, enters Tattersall and Addison.  The owner had no interest in selling to developers and with a lot of work was able to come up with a thirty-five year lease which not only provided Glenn and Tracy with a way in which to operate the campground, but put the land in protection during the next 35 year lease.
The author’s father once owned a lakefront campground near Fisher’s Bay in Sunapee New Hampshire, USA, in the mid 1960’s. The tents eventually gave way to million dollar homes in the form of a “funnel development “ called Oakledge. (The term “funnel development” is used for subdivisions which use a small amount of lake frontage to sell and support a large number of home lots away from the lakefront. This shared access allows many homeowners access to boat docks, beaches, launching ramps etc. Funnel developments were no longer allowed in the early 1970’s in New Hampshire, USA)
In the free market , it was an obvious course of events, as tents wouldn’t pay the bills as much as a subdivision.  So I had personal experience of the value of what Mr. Urquhart and Tattersall and Ms. Addison had accomplished at Lake Outlet.
And Lakeside is no mere campground. Tattersall states his goals in running the operation – “We are making this operation as green as possible. Through our improvements and renovations we will be installing energy efficient appliances in the renovated green building of the main shower and kitchen complex.

Tentsite: Working with nature, not dominating it.

Tentsite: Working with nature, not dominating it.

We are also working with the landscape rather than dominating it. Our tent and RV sites are interspersed around the existing trees and we intend to plant more trees.” He concluded, “This land is locked up in preservation for the next 35 years, and we’re proud to have had a part in that.”  Of course none of this would have been possible without the stalwart vision and forward thinking of the landowner.

Inspirational People

26/02/2009
Karan Puri & Shawn Lee, Adventurers from Singapore

Karan Puri & Shaun Lee, Adventurers from Singapore

Karan Puri, 18 of Katong Province and Shaun Lee, 19 of Bedok province, Singapore, are not only really nice guys, they’re also inspiring. I’ve run into them here at the the Wanaka Hostel. Right now there  currently out biking around town somewhere. I found their motivation to travel New Zealand so inspiring I thought I’d share it with you.  I interviewed them last night over a beer, out here on the porch from where I write this piece.

Both Karan and Shawn have just finished high school and have about three months off, before they report for the mandatory 2-year military stint that all young men are required to do in Singapore.  When Karan first walked into the hostel I noticed he had a sense of inquiry and interest, not to mention compassion and friendliness. Later, upon meeting Shawn it I got the same sense of adventure and excitement.  They are now on day 6 of their adventure. So here’s some insight as to what brought them to Wanaka, New Zealand.

MSI: So what motivated you two to come to New Zealand?
Karan: To do something before the military. This is the first time on vacation without my parents, and I had been here in Wanaka when I was a child. Something about the place stuck with me. So I wanted to come back.
You see, one never really gets a break to travel if you’ve been brought up in Singapore. (more…)

The Power of Place

22/01/2009
Matukituki Valley, Mt. Aspiring Nat'l Park

Matukituki Valley, Mt. Aspiring Nat'l Park

The Power of Place
By Randy Richards, MSI Founder

I was debating how I was going to write my first entry from New Zealand. I have already written one article but don’t think it will make the grade. So I guess I’ll write about a magical valley. Oh, I can hear you say, “But all places are spiritual.”  Yes, but, I think there are places where the spirit of the place is so evident it comes over you like a wave.  I think this valley is one of those places. Places like these have a power that is unmistakable, people are drawn to them,  as Boyton Canyon, near Sedona Arizona, or Alta, Utah, and of course Machu Pichu.  All land has an energy, and some places are humming with energy, whether it’s the beauty of the place or the history or both.

NW Ridge, Mt. Aspiring

NW Ridge of Mt. Aspiring

The Matukituki Valley is west of Wanaka , New Zealand in the Mt. Aspiring National Park. The hour drive from Wanaka changes by the mile. The long flat valley with cascading waterfalls begs superlatives.  Mt. Aspiring is the tallest and proudest peak near the back of the long valley. Climbers come from all over the world to do their best on the mountain. But others come to enjoy the valley and glacier edges high above.

In the US, Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods is gaining traction with his important coinage of the term, Nature

A family group arrives at Aspiring Hut

A family group arrives at Aspiring Hut

Deficit Disorder. Here I have observed many families in the valley for their summer vacations.  One group at right, consisted of  two families with a total of 10 children who hung out at the hut and environs for three days. They did steep day-hikes up to the surrounding ridge lines. The four-year-old didn’t make it all the way up on her daddy’s shoulders though.

The hut ranger at Mt. Aspiring Hut in the valley, and greets both climbers and “trampers”  of all ages.  It’s clear that the valley has its hold on many. One volunteer hut warden makes the annual pilgrimage from London, while others I met from New Zealand come back year after year, and others, after some 30 years away.

Amanda and Lindy

Hut Warden and her sister at Shovel Flat

One who has a special feeling for the place is a hut ranger going on her third season. The coveted position is shared by another Department of Conservation employee as well.  The former, divides her time between Aspiring Hut, French Ridge, precariously perched on the valley’s edge just below the glaciers near Mt. Aspiring,  and other huts in the region.  She beckoned me, “You’ll love the place”.  And I did.

The large trees have a way of calling to you.  The winds that caress the grasses on the valley floor seem to create a rhythm that makes us forget the traffic in town.

Double Rainbow from the warden's quarters

Double Rainbow from the warden's quarters

It’ s a good reminder of why we need to get to these places, and of course preserve them. Whether it’s Mt. Washington,  Mt. Shasta,  Alta, or the Matukituki,  get out while you still can. I will still post that previous article with tons of revisions, but here’s a start on my impressions of New Zealand and the power of the place.