Friday, 18 May 2012

The Heart Trail...

"TE ARA MANAWA" 'The Heart Trail'...

In the thick native green, there are steps in a hill side, fashioned
in earnest from heavy orange clay and fallen punga. Mist accosts the valley below
the steps; shielding the small homestead from view. 

It’s only as you push past the
umpteenth clump of manuka that you see smoke rolling from the chimney of a
structure that is in fact less a house and more a truck. With wheels long gone and
many extensions it’s not clearly a truck. 
Over time though you come to know the
stealthy camouflage these once mobile relics choose. Native timber, board and
batten ply, corrugated iron and old flooring. Mismatched windows, stain glass
adorned. Scavenged, salvaged and gifted. All bought together to welcome a new
member to the family. A room with a view- every time.

When you step inside, back in time, the smell has base notes that don’t change from
house to truck, bus to shed. Burning manuka, linseed oil, bees wax, tobacco, dough
rising, bread cooking. 


Wander a little further west and the ocean greets you with the power of tangaroa. 

It’s bounty evident, Kia Moana present at every hui. Don’t think for a minute your harvest
will come easy. This coast is fierce at time merciless. My beaches and river mouths
have snatched more fathers and sons than I dare to recall.

Regardless of where I wander, bush or beach mountains or the coast it is best
summed up for me as The heart trail (Te ara Manawa).

 by Chloe Boyd

It can be a wondrous thing to lose yourself in the green of the bush. It contains a whole lot of new sights, smell and experience.


For some it is coming home...

for others it is like a wonder of the earth being seen for the first time....

for me, it is easy to be blind to the possibilities the bush represents and also easy to be blinded by the enormity of it when surrounded by it.  

But, all I needed was an excuse...

an extension of a birthday and the offer of two types of cake was enough for me.

So, off we went to Snail's place in the bush. The house you see has been part of the geographical landscape for a long time and still holds its charm  for Snail aka Allan Gale - artist & a hidden gem of the Hokianga.

As you walk into his domain you are introduced to smatterings of his work...wood sculptures greet you, point your way...

The house emerges and new sights absorb you...

 before you know it the heart trail calls you...'come, explore'


the boys at the end of the trail...
the old shed

at the end of the trail is an old building...

a wood shed.

It stores the pieces not yet realised,
 for the creations of Allan Gale, this is his treasure trove....

Many a kauri block waiting to be transformed.

Who knows what they will become...

carving, prints or other representations of life..

I just know it will be good...

a pleasure to have been there to see where it all starts.

So when you return to your own domain, you have a deeper understanding, appreciation of a way of life. I am in awe...
He makes these, by hand, with wood collected from the bush...sounds so simple doesn't it...

This is a life so far removed from some, yet I hope this little exploration has brought you a step closer to the grass roots.... of life in the bush. 

Inspiration & creation, well camouflaged in the west coast of New Zealand.

"TE ARA MANAWA" 'The Heart Trail'...

Kauri wood block prints by Allan Gale:

wood block print of Tane Mahuta by Allan Galewood block print of a fantail by Allan Galewood block print East Wind, Pakanae by Allan Gale

wood block print of pukeko by Allan Gale

Wood block print of Hokianga Nikau by Allan Gale 

wood block print of miti miti beach by Allan Gale


  1. Thanks Csill, quite the team we are

  2. Fantastic photos on this post Csilla! It's almost transporting me to the Hokianga ...(where my heart is anyway!!) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx