Our latest article is out in the June / July edition of the NZMCA Motorcaravanner Magazine. We are meeting some great fellow NZMCA members on our travels who are doing good positive stuff around New Zealand.
Yossarian Fay and her husband Liam became members 65177 at the Easter Rally. Inspired by the Motor Caravanner article Yossarrian bought a Freeset t shirt from Liminal Apparel to support decent work for young women of India. The Fays plan to take to the road with their 2 children by December and are currently in the market for a bus. As the sustainable conversation got down to nitty gritties we all felt it would be great to reconvene at their place to see if an 11m bus would fit down their drive, charge the car, have dinner together, let the kids play and feed the chickens our 2 weeks worth of stored vege scraps. The bus fitted perfectly and we will see them on the road soon!
Paul and Yvonne Holcombe, members 39961, offered another sustainable way to deal with our vege scraps, two piglets! They said stay, even though they were being helicoptered onto Mt Ruapehu. They volunteer for DOC, painting huts to preserve them as shelter in this unpredictable terrain. Paul trialed a blend of Greenfuels Biogold and has since reported it’s the first time he’s tackled a particular hill without needing the lowest gear. Yvonne put us in touch with the principal of Levin School and our kids taught school kids about sustainability. Much to the kids delight we were then allowed to take the Holcombe’s little dog to the beach.
As I lay looking out at the magnificent stretch that is Foxton Beach I watched a lady making her way up the path carrying two handfuls of rubbish. She smiled a lovely smile in greeting and I was compelled to ask if she was an NZMCA member. “Oh yes” she said. “I thought so” I replied. “Mind if I take a photo?” She quickly apologised and explained she always did this…picking up litter, I said “Don’t apologise. You’re one of the unsung heroes that make up the association!” Maria, as the Roaming GGees members 26535, and takes it upon herself to leave each place better than she found it. No reward, no fanfare, just because she says “It’s the right thing to do”.
We were leaving the Horowhenua when we heard The Extravaganza was coming to town. Discovering that they were all NZMCA members, and mainly young families living and working on the road, we asked if the Loop Bus could join them. We were made part of the corral of extraordinary travelling homes creating the village green. Swept away by music, street theatre, exotic wares, treated to the skills and tastes of yesteryear, the steady stream of visitors most dressed for the occasion transported us all back to a carnival in the middle ages. We were inspired by these hard working families and their commitment to a sustainable life on the road. Within 24 hours all 3 kids had their hair wrapped, sported a tattoo and told us they were part of The Gypsy Tricksters show. Breeze on hula hoop, Bracken on poi (he’s working on setting them on fire he tells me!) and Reef doing the robot dance much to the crowds delight and applause. The kid’s grew in confidence and didn’t have time for screens. We are so thankful to The Extravaganza for keeping such a magical time alive.
Down to business, it was interesting to discover these self-contained NZMCA members are quite concerned about what they call “vannys” people, more often than not tourists, who buy a van throw a mattress in the back and travel without dealing with their wastes responsibly. This impacts on the way “living on the road” is perceived by the general populace. The Extravaganza applauds their NZMCA’s stance on self-containment and are also committed to being zero waste by 2020 and plant trees to help offset their emissions. Cam and I were astonished with the way the grounds were left, not a skerrick of rubbish. Extravaganza waste warrior Kathleena, member 40030, and gypsy Josie sort it all, including what the public leaves behind. Next season they plan to pull a dedicated waste trailer that will educate as well as make waste disposal fun. The Loop bus has been invited to join and we may just run away with The Extravaganza!
It was The Loop Crews month for first hearing Levin’s Mayor Brendan Duffy at the Easter Rally, then meeting him at the Leading the Charge electric vehicle event at the Library. Mr Duffy told us he’d been keeping an eye on The Loop bus and sure enough knew where we’d been staying around town, acknowledging we’d been leaving it better than we found it!
Via a moving Powhiri in at Te Wānanga o Raukawa in Otaki we headed to Waikanae where we met Mayor Ross Church who too spoke in support of electric vehicles becoming the norm for the future. He spoke of infrastructure and support of the country’s journey towards sustainability. Dee and Steve West of Charge.Net.NZ were acknowledged for leading the charge by supplying the country with rapid chargers which means we can travel further faster. The Loop Crew followed their Teslas to Lower Hutt where we met yet another Mayor, Ray Wallace. He drives a hybrid and was very interested in The Loop Crews 100% electric, nick named “Little Miss Sunshine”. We explained to him Reid Technology and Century Batteries designed the system to charge her on solar as well as using a standard 3 pin plug, camping ground commando or rapid charger. Ray was in agreement, this is the way of the future.
We talked to crowds following Leading the Charge from Levin to Benheim where we left them and joined electric car owners and NZMCA members 41818, Penny Dolimore and Pete Wilkinson. We stayed on their 62 acres of grapes, organic olives and saw their array of solar powered toys. Most of the toys were built by Pete who is a local folk hero of sorts who’s often quoted in the media. “I want to look my grandchildren in the eyes and say when the solution became practical I acted on it”. Boy has he ever. Penny and Pete love having members to stay and offer a free cottage and a power point for electric vehicles. Cam and Reef had a blast on Pete’s homemade electric bike. Penny took Breeze to feed the chickens our collection of vege scraps while Bracken explored the grape vines yum!
Needing some well-earned family quiet time we found a secluded spot at the Taylor Dam. It had been such an intense month we just wanted to hide out a bit and chillax. We sat playing scrabble watching the mist slowly rise to reveal a mirror glass dam reflecting the hills and the bellies of black swans as they landed… unbelievable! We decided on a walk and before long were making piles of litter to pick up on the way back, then what to do with it? We got right round to the other side when Bruce Taylor from the Department of Corrections wandered out of nowhere to us to give us rubbish bags, acknowledge the kids and offer to take the rubbish away. Then around the corner comes a Mayor! Ex Mayor Liz Davidson of Blenhiem who within the hour had organised a media crew to descend, interview and photograph us all, landing us in the local paper and on Stuff. So much for hiding out!
NZMCA member 41415 Lynette offered her bin after a litter pick up at the beautiful Rarangi Beach. She also welcomed our personal vege scraps to feed their chickens and told us of a NZMCA rally beach clean-up at Rarangi Beach’s Wairau Diversion. Lynette had a run in with ‘Vannys’ but asks “What can you do?” she advised DOC of the amount of rubbish which included an old mattress. NZMCA members Bernie and Heather Wills 37946 suggested tickets/stickers printed for members to place on rubbish bags explaining where it was picked up and put next to a public bin. The Wills have volunteered 429 hours doing clean ups and have planted just shy of 10,000 trees. They are planning a planting at Tanners Point BOP May/June. If anyone would like to help the Wills out please contact them on email@example.com.
Next stop, literally, saw us in a remote and extraordinarily beautiful part of the Marlborough sounds with a home schooling family (NZMCA members)… stopped…completely as it happens…something to do with sucking in air, as are we, the freshest I have ever breathed…we’ll keep you posted.