Friday, January 27, 2017

Kiwi Spotting

   We leave Greymouth under cloudy skies and head south along the coast, stopping in the historic and quaint downtown of Hokitika, an old gold mining town that now consists of local craft studios.

     We watch greenstone being carved into beautiful Maori designs. In the middle of town is a possum goods store with everything possum- slippers, blankets, socks, gloves etc. Possum fur is incredibly soft and I can't stop feeling the pillows and fur hats. On the back table are hundreds of possum skins stacked up waiting to be sewn. I am horrified by the thought that animals are being trapped for their skin, thinking how mink stoles were so popular in the '50's. I am told that possums like rodents are predators of birds and are being baited with poisons in the preserves in order to control their population. I'm still not quite sure but maybe it is ok?

     Down the street is a yarn store selling possum/merino wool yarn.  This unique shop has a collection of old sock knitting machines, mostly from England, Canada and the US. The back room holds several large spinning looms, for possum fur I imagine. 

     Our next stop is Okarito Lagoon, one of New Zealand's largest wetlands and home of the kiwi. We wander through the dense forest and walk across the wetland boardwalk. No kiwi here.

     After checking into our motel in Franz Josef Glacier, we decide to go back to Okarito to do some kiwi spotting. These nocturnal birds come out to feed at night and can often be spotted crossing the road after dark. We walk along the road and think we hear one calling but are not successful in seeing one but it is fun nevertheless.


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