17.03.2009 - 23.03.2009 20 °C
Most of my twelfth, and final, week in New Zealand has been spent in the alpine-styled village of Hanmer Springs.
Resident to a little over 700 locals, Hanmer's relative proximity to the cities of Christchurch (in one direction), and Nelson (in the other), guarantee it a steady supply of out-of-towners. Many come to soak in the thermal spa pools, or head off into the surrounding mountains for some ski action (during snow fall season), or perhaps propel themselves round some of the finest mountain biking trails on the South Island.
All worthwhile pursuits, for sure, but I'd be willing to bet my return ticket home that not many of Hanmer's temporary visitors get to:
- Wield a chainsaw through several dozen hefty logs, chop, split and then distribute them around the village to keep the locals in firewood for winter
- Construct a stage and rig the lighting in the town hall for an upcoming tribute concert to The Eagles (killer rehearsals guys)
- Divide up a sports field to create a temporary car park at the finish line of a sporting event
- Clean and service a fleet of mountain bikes at the local outdoor adventure centre
- Take part in a wonderfully corrupt St Patrick's Day pub quiz all in aid of sending a group of 16-year-olds to Thailand (why were these fund-raisers not invented when I was at school?)
But then not many have the chance to stay with Grum – local hero, creative force and Hanmer postie extraordinaire – and his wife Juliet. It was a real pleasure. For introducing me to the community, and getting me involved in local life, a huge thank you. I'll just have to remember to bring a bigger stash of unmarked fivers to the quiz next time.