A Pleasure in Solitude

Being alone in the bush

‘What’s the longest you’ve ever been alone? And I mean really alone, no fucking Facebook or T.V or… or anything or anyone?’

I looked at the dreadlocked stoner for sometime before answering. Cigarette smoke hung in the air between us and we both squinted in the harsh orange porch light.

The Scout's Tale

A poem from David Taylor

I was a boy scout. Possibly still am. Although the popularity of this as a pastime was already waning in the 90s, those of us involved were learning too much and having too much fun to really worry about the perception. It’s hard to believe now that in early adolescence we were allowed, even required, to head off into the wilderness surrounding the Southern Alps with no adult supervision.

The Pig in the Night

New Fiction by William Brandt

William Brandt has written a novel, a collection of short stories and plays. As an actor, he has appeared on stage and screen. He teaches short fiction at Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters and belongs to Write Where You Are, a charity which teaches creative writing in prisons.

The Fall

What happens when a walk in the wild goes wrong

It’s my first walk in the wilds for quite some time. Little annoyances are mounting up; where’s my pack liner? Where are my merino undies? The weather forecast is gloomy, but why wouldn’t it be? Finally I heave my pack into the car, and off I go for a late afternoon walk along the bush edge. At the road-end, it’s hosing down. Raincoat on and out into it. Maybe three hours of daylight left.

When I'm Lost

A poem for lost tramper Stephen Bennett

I was in my kitchen listening to the radio news and heard the story of Steven Bennett, a 28 year old British tourist tramping in Paparoa on the West Coast. He had been missing for two days and was only prepared for a day tramp. For some reason at that time I felt a connection. I thought, if it was me, I would be wondering if anyone was thinking about me.

The Only Good Possum is...

Playing Possum with Rebecca Hawkes

In New Zealand’s alcoholic ingenuity, ‘Possum’ is a drinking game where players scale trees and consume beers (preferably 24-packs of Speights; Pride Of The South) until they fall to the ground from drunkenness. It is unclear whether the first or last to plummet is the real winner.

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.

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