Pump it out

by d d b

Little Girl and I had a great walk to the Blue Pool on the Waihou River, just north of Putaruru.

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One end of the walk starts from a carpark on Leslie Road. We walked about 1km across farmland to a bridge over the Waihou River.

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The track continues around the corner to the Blue Pool, a widening place of the river, and where a natural water spring adds to the confluence. The water was crystal clear, and bracingly cold (11deg). The place was just gorgeous.

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It is the source of Putaruru’s water supply, and provides the water filling Pump water bottles.

When we arrived, I saw a couple of young guys across the river in the water, with a large empty bottle in hand to fill. From their huffing and puffing and exclamations I got the impression the water was none too warm. It was real hot though in the sun, so LG stripped to her pants and got in. After shrieks and laughter, she dived under. I had to join her after a while; it was freezing. Good fun.

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A maori family joined us on the river bank. The dad was trying really hard to be ‘staunch’ in everything I overheard him say to his kids and wife. Keeping his voice deep, and gruff, and clipped, and communicating a real sense of menance and implied threat, he stayed ‘in character’ the whole time. Even when talking to his little baby did I hear no sense of warmth in his voice. His kids swore at each other, casually, and were not corrected. It was weird, unsettling, upsetting. I could not bear it after a while, felt that we were in danger, so I took LG and left. I have practically nothing to do with maori, so perhaps I am being over-sensitive, middle-class white, and over-thinking things, but I wonder. Is this behaviour standard? If so, no wonder physical violence and child abuse that is reported in the media emanates so much from maori families.

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