Interview with Marnie
Has the lockdown reacquainted you/your Whānau with the joy of walking or riding?
I have always enjoyed walking and it has always been important as a means to support my physical and mental well-being. I think what the lockdown period has done is provided our whanau with an opportunity to get out on walks together. Our dog Piko was also happy to have the additional company. My tamariki are keen and regular participants in organised sport so when those activities were shut down over the lockdown period, walking was a way in which they were able to keep up some form of physical activity. I feel really privileged to have safe and walk-able areas in our local neighborhood. Connecting to place as well as each other has been a really positive outcome of the lockdown.
What differences have you noticed on your local streets during this time?
There was hardly any traffic on the roads. It was uncommon to see any cars driving along our street and neighboring streets during lockdown. We'd see maybe a few cars travelling along the main road in Waitara. It was so quiet, normally we'd hear the humming of traffic from around 6am. It definitely made other sounds stronger, we could hear the sea much more and as many others have reported the sound of birds was a lot more noticeable. There were time when my kids would go for walks by themselves, this certainly felt a lot safer during lockdown with almost no vehicles on the streets in our neighbourhood.
What is your favourite place to go for a walk or ride?
We pretty much walked the same route everyday. From our home along the main street in Waitara, past Owae Marae, across the bridge, then along the river to the river mouth and then we'd turn around and walk home. As i said before our walks were about connecting to each other as well as place. To have physical reminders of the ancestral connections our whanau have to place like, the marae and the awa, were affirming. I also think they were an important reminder to us that our people have been through so much, have endured so much yet we remain here on this whenua. It certainly was a reminder that this pandemic, although a serious threat, was something we could overcome. I certainly felt privileged, as this event was playing out across our country and the world, to be able to walk on the whenua of Otaraua and Manukorihi hapu.
What will you and your Whānau take away from this experience?
There were a lot of learnings the lockdown experience has provided to our whanau. having the opportunity to just be, not having to run around taking kids to school/sport/appointments certainly gave us some time to reflect on how busy we were and how we too were contributing to unnecessary road use. It's given us time to reflect and appreciate the resources we have locally. We're appreciative to live in a safe walk-able town. The Waitara Broadwalk also highlights to me the important investment council can make that enhance public spaces for the broader health and wellbeing for our community in Waitara.