The Tenth Anniversary Celebrations for the Katikati Haiku Pathway, New Zealand

by Vanessa Proctor

The Katikati Haiku Pathway in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty is an attractive embodiment of haiku, where the abstract becomes concrete. A total of 42 haiku are inscribed onto boulders along the Uretara Stream. Each poem has been carefully selected by a committee to reflect its surroundings, and to walk along the pathway is to literally take a trip into the world of poetry. The brainchild of Catherine Mair, the Pathway was one of New Zealand’s Millennium Projects and recently celebrated its tenth anniversary.

I was fortunate enough to attend the celebrations on New Zealand Queen’s Birthday long weekend, along with my family. There was an excellent turn out of poets and supporters, including the Japanese Consul to New Zealand and his wife, and we enjoyed viewing an impressive selection of bonsai as well as ikebana inspired by poems on the pathway. Sandra Simpson, Secretary of the Katikati Haiku Pathway Committee, announced the winners of the Katikati Haiku Competition. Particularly striking was the quality of the entries in the junior section. Two Japanese students demonstrated how to wear a yukata, the traditional summer dress of Japanese women, and there was a rousing Taiko drum performance by Wai Taiko.

July 31, 2010: Cloudcatchers Winter Ginko 18

Most of us have accepted ‘beach’ as a summer kigo. However, participants in the winter ginko of the Cloudcatchers (Far North Coast of NSW) were obliged to re-think that concept, as it was held on Thursday 22 July at Shelly Beach, East Ballina. In spite of the FNC reputation for warm sunny winters, the day was appropriately ‘wintery’, with an overcast sky, a chilly breeze off a grey ocean and even some spots of rain. This did not daunt the twelve poets, who produced as much insightful writing as ever. The tide was low, so the rock pools featured in a number of haiku, along with sleeping gulls, hardy swimmers and the perpetually fascinating ocean.

It was Max Ryan, who put into words the thoughts of many: ‘You can go to the beach and wander along it yourself, and write haiku. But you never get as much out of it as you do when you come to a ginko.’

The next step was lunching together at the Shaw’s Bay Hotel, and now the post-ginko round-robin (three each, by email) is in full swing. Our spring ginko will be held on 14 October, and any poet who wishes to join us is welcome.

Quendryth Young
Cloudcatchers Coordinator