Kirsty Nixon

Visits to Canterbury in the past have always been special, the arty-ness of it all, the spectacular landscape, even the birds, so different from their northern counterparts, all contributing to the excitement of a trip away from home.

Now, our wonderful daughter has moved to Christchurch and with this special new ‘mainlander’ and her generous partner as my guide, the connection is different. This wonderful area puts on a magnificent show of blue skies and floral displays. Hours in the car with a local takes you to places off the beaten track. Over high, high hills, way down valleys, wonderous pebbled coastlines with atmosphere plus, white sand beaches and finishing wrapped in the cloak of beautiful lesser-known public gardens. Timing this particular visit, the road to Akaroa graced us with a beautiful low tide vista. Soft, late afternoon light falling on distant hills creating dark shadows in its folds is something that has always awakened the artist in me. Even the folds of the roadside flax exciting me, these paintings reflect my recent travels and appreciation for this unique area of Aotearoa.

Gerard McCabe

It has long been my observation that one of the great privileges of living in New Zealand, is the sheer diversity, and beauty of our landscape. And its crowning glory is the birdlife that inhabits it. As the acclaimed author, and avowed bird lover, Jonathan Franzen (The Corrections) has observed ‘birds are always among us..but not of us’ They are a backdrop to our daily existence, separate, but ever present.

From the lonely cry of a Morepork (Ruru) in the night, to the chatter of sparrows, the melodic warbling of tuis at dawn, the day song of myriad birds, to the rising cacophony at close of day, it is a musical reminder that all is right with the world.

In times of increasing ecological stress, birds become even more important, as they are our last, and best connection to a natural world that is otherwise receding.

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