You live by the beach. You’re in the middle of the city, but still there is a beach. You swear it never used to be there, but you’re not sure when it showed up. It’s getting closer, forever closer. They say it’s because of rising sea levels. You don’t believe them.
“Keep New Zealand Green”. The slogan is everywhere. Billboards. Rubbish bins. Chip packets. People smile and say it as they put their rubbish in the bins. “Don’t litter,” they say. “Keep New Zealand Green”. The ferns whisper it as they rustle. The trees tell you in their touches, as the branches reach to stroke your face. “Keep New Zealand Green,” people say, monotonous as they throw their soda bottle away. They are no longer smiling. There is fear in their eyes. The “Or else” is unspoken.
Your cousin littered once. You never heard from him again.
Food is always on the news. They’ve changed the recipe again. “Of what?” people ask. “Everything,” the media replies. “Nothing is the same.”
You take a trip to the States, and everyone thinks you’re Australian. When you get home, there is a kangaroo sitting on your lawn. You don’t know who you are anymore.
John Key gives a stretched smile as he gazes into the camera of the press conference. His mask cracks. The nation pretends not to notice. Silently, they wonder what lies beneath it.
Winston Peters has said something stupid again. “How is he still in Parliament?” your uncle asks. You don’t know. You can’t remember him not being there. Neither can your dad. You check the Archives. He has always been there, it seems. He will always be there. There is no escaping him.
“When I was a kid, I rode my bike outside,” your mum complains as a child on a bike passes you on the footpath. “Kids never ride their bikes these days. They never play outside.” Another kid zooms past. And another. And another. The footpath is nothing but children and their bikes. Why can’t your mum see them?
There is a new cabinet member. He is just sitting down for his meeting. His palms are sweating. At the head of the table, John Key lifts his hands to his face. No one but his cabinet sees beneath his mask. The new member wonders what lies beneath. His imagination paints a vivid picture of monsters and tentacles and creatures of evil. John Key peels away his skin. It is much worse. Much, much worse. The cabinet member gulps. Tony Abbott smiles back at him.
“The Haast’s Eagle, now extinct, was big enough to carry off an adult person,” the museum guide tells the group of school children. “Imagine that! Thank goodness they’re not around anymore.” You turn away, so the children can’t read your expression. You can’t lie like the tour guide. One day, the children will find out the truth. It’s better for them to think they’re safe, for now.
You visit Christchurch. The earth starts shaking and you dive under a doorway. Around you, people carry on. “There’s an earthquake,” you try tell them as the building sways violently. You can hear the beams groaning, unable to take the pressure. A crack opens up in the floor beside you. Two old ladies are shopping for clothes and stop to reassure you. “It’s just a small one,” one of them tells you. A hanging light that was swinging perilously snaps and crushes her. She doesn’t scream. “Just a bit of a shake,” the other one says. “You’ll get used to it, after a time.” You’re scared she’s right.
“Don’t scare the kiwi,” the lady at the kiwi house tells you. But the kiwi aren’t scared of you, you think, as they scuttle around in the dark. They know that there is something much more terrifying out there. Something that only they remember.
Maui angered the sun, when he caught it in his net to slow it down. Now, it glowers down upon you all, waiting to kill the unsuspecting. You are scared that one day you will forget your sunhat, and you will be the next victim.
“Slip, slop, slap,” you are taught in school. “And always wear a hat. Or the sun will get you”. Your mother covers you in sunscreen, over an inch thick. You only have a gallon left in the bathroom. Your supply is getting low.
“I’ll reapply your sunscreen in an hour,” she tells you. But you forget. You cry in agony as your skin catches alight. You wish Maui had left the sun alone.
The kiwi are wise. They hide from the sun, and scuttle around at night. They are the only things that will survive in this accursed land.
Photographer Joseph Michael’s project titled Luminosity reveals the beauty of a species of glow-worm endemic to New Zealand’s North Island. Captured with a Nikon D810 and a long-exposure method, Michael was able to photograph the limestone cave’s beauty. The results are viewed as a majestic, neon starry night indoors.
A healthy flush of young kauri trees pushing up through the kanukas on a hillside in the Waitakere Ranges. This are was covered in majestic centuries* old kauri trees up unitl 150 years* ago when it was clear-felled and briefly* put into grazing. The current state represents about 60 years* of natural regeneration, starting from grass.
* playing fast and loose with measurements of time in this one! :0)