Do Oranges Float?

An interview with poet Nikola Champlin

Nikola Champlin recently visited from the prestigious Iowa Writer's Workshop in the USA to teach an eco-poetry course at the IIML in Wellington. I enrolled in the course and twice a week we sat in a stuffy room on campus and discussed the different ways that writers write about the natural world.

Don't Overlook the Parsnips

The pleasure of tending garden

It’s not really the country, just a city person’s idea of it. You can still buy a latte or a fancy lamp. But it’s far enough that I’ve come to do different things, to spend a lot of time driving between towns, to swim in rivers, to talk at length about the weather, and to garden.

Interloper

How to get rid of gorse

An interloper and an upstart, a new arrival that has outshone the locals. Gorse, that inescapable feature of our hillsides, its gold flowers a neon sign announcing its presence. It flowers twice here, once more than it does in its continent of origin, Europe. Like pine trees and 10 Guitars, it has had a life of its own in this country.

The Inner Elf

Fashioning Christmas presents in the outdoors

If you find yourself on Christmas Eve with no presents and hours from the civilisation don't despair, with little more than a knife, some rubbish and a bit of ingenuity you can make presents for the whole family.

On Vulcanised Thrones

Tubing on the Waiohine

Henry David Thoreau once said you should ‘mistrust all enterprises that require new clothes’ and, while not strictly clothing, you could say the same about wearing a car inner tube.

En Plein Air

An update on The Art of the Hut project

From rustic dunnies to possum dinners Felicity Deverell's project to paint the backcountry huts of the North Island has taken her on adventures she could never have imagined two years ago. Now, after making her way around the North Island back country she is exhibiting the results in Whangarei.

Along Deadman's Ridge

Exploring the Ruahine Ranges

Triangle hut is a jerry built thing of plywood sheets, with a steep roof and verandah like an old villa. It sits beside a shallow but fast flowing river, catching the sun, and inside are all the necessities of bunks, table and stove. It seemed like the archetypal hut when I stayed there, only occasionally visited but perfect.

Going Down in Flames

How not to make your own camp stove

The greatest Christmas present I've ever received was a box of timber off-cuts. I was six and seeing my love for hammering bits of wood together, my uncle found an easy way to get rid of his discarded lumber. Since then I've been obsessed with DIY, making things out of junk that most people wouldn't bother with, things that could easily be bought at Mitre 10.

Creating the Shape of the Land

Reading Philip Temple’s The Explorer

Six years before the Beak of the Moon series, Philip Temple wrote this, his first novel, the story of an early explorer surveying new territory on behalf of the government. Their motives are economic, urging him to keep an eye out for gold. But for him, it is exploration itself, making his way in unmapped bush that is its own reward.

Towing the Line

First excursions into kayak fishing

Perhaps only rivalled by whitebaiters, kayakers are among the most passionate of fisherpeople. There are countless forums on the internet where kayakers discuss their gear, spots to go and of course how superior kayak fishing is, how it means going places and catching fish that no one else can. For the kayak fisher, there is simply no other way to be.

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