"I wanna hang a map of the world at my house. Then I wanna stick pins in the locations that I`ve traveled to.
...But first I have to travel to the top two corners of the map so it won`t fall down."
-Mitch Hedberg

Monday, May 3, 2010

Kaiteriteri Beach

Kaiteriteri Beach is a small golden sand beach just north of Motueka, and honestly is something that Care and I would have overlooked were it not for my Dad. For those of you who don’t know, my dad was born in Dunedin on the South Island of New Zealand. He was raised in Waimate (Otago) for most of his young life before moving to the States when he was 18. He’s told us kids a few stories about life on the farm in New Zealand and about some of the stuff he did as a kid, but New Zealand was always so far removed from my suburban Californian childhood that the memories he shared never really stuck - they just didn't have enough context.

That’s a large part of the reason I'm in New Zealand for this year of tramping and exploring – to sharpen the hazy edges of my family history here and to give those stories context. This finally happened when my dad told me about a little beach he used to visit as a kid – Kaiteriteri Beach.

Kaiteriteri is a popular holiday destination, especially with kayakers eager to explore the Nelson coastline near Split Apple Rock. The beach is great and sunny weather typical of the area (Nelson is considered one of the sunniest spots in New Zealand) greeted Care and I as we lazed around on the sand. But the best part was actually setting foot in a place where my dad played as a kid.

I’m a big fan of physically experiencing the sites of historical events - like walking around Rome on the same paths that great Romans had tread millenia before. It fills me with an indescribable sense of connection to the things I've read or heard about. It’s magical.

So even though I know the waves aren't the same ones my Dad swam in, the sand he played in washed out to sea long ago, and the sandflies that attacked me are only distant ancestors of the ones that bit my dad here 50 years ago, I felt kinship to a dormant side of my family tree. I found context amidst the sand and waves and bugs on this little bay in the South Island of New Zealand.

And it feels really good.


  1. Just wait til you get to Waimate and walk the land of the farm. Talk about magical!!