I New Zealand Tailwinds
It turns out that Paul is a real-live flesh & blood human, which is good because we were depending on him to guide us through some of the less/seldom/rarely/never traveled parts of Southern New Zealand. We had our suspicions though; we had not met in real life and it was curious that Skype would never let us utilize the video feature during our many trip planning calls. How were we to know that he was a flesh & blood human being and not just an algorithm cooked up by Tourism New Zealand to lure hapless travelers down to their country? Our suspicions were only compounded by the fact that once we were in-country he didn’t show up to our rendezvous point, Motel on Carroll, until far into the night. The rest of us were anxiously awaiting his arrival and when you get a bunch of antsy travelers together it doesn’t take long for rumors, gossip, and mythologies to spring up, further fueling the question of Paul’s existence.Finally he arrived. Walking, talking, and laughing like a person. Paul was real after all, or so it seemed.”- KVHADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR THIS PROJECT WAS PROVIDED BYSRAM
Our goal was to cross the country from east to west traversing the Southern Alps, and in the process we would be going to places where no bikes had gone before. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, though. Our crew: Paul (the guide), Patrick (the coach), Benedict (the face), Erik (the metal), Daniel (the camera) and myself (the support) departed from Dunedin aboard a wizard train that most likely shuttled Harry Potter to his magic school. We crossed high trellis bridges, mugged for the camera, and a took verbal/physical pot shots at one another. Eventually the train dropped us at the end of the line. The wind was trying really hard, and if there is one thing that a cyclist loves its wind. Paul had a surprise for us, “It’s going to be all tailwind from here.” The elation was brief, because what Paul was talking about is a New Zealand Tailwind, or a very strong gusty wind which blows incessantly and from any direction. We left Otago station riding with one of those New Zealand Tailwinds. Much much later that day, after some not insignificant rain, below comfortable temperatures, an almost lost wallet, innumerable sheep, and some very, long very flat, very unpopulated miles we arrived to Dansey’s Inn at dusk where we would enjoy lukewarm showers, hot meals, and a paint stripping conflagration that was roaring in the inn’s communal fireplace.
Day 01 Playlist: "All Seasons in One" Please enjoy while viewing the following photographs.
Playlist by Raf Spielman11Raf Spielman plays drums in the Woodsist Records band Woolen Men, who rarely get mentioned without a nod to their New Zealand influences. He also runs the Eggy Records label, which has been documenting the Portland music scene on vinyl and cassette tape since 2008. If you like the sound of Raf’s sounds the Woolen Men have a new EP out on Loglady Records, you can order it here.
This mix digs a little deeper into the fertile New Zealand music scene of the 1980’s and 90’s, focussing on bands that were local favorites but lesser known beyond their native shores.”- Raf Spielman
Dunedin The Wizard School Train Station
IV What a beautiful bridge!
V Pukerangi Station
VII Danseys Inn
Danseys Pass Inn and the Kyeburn Diggings Brief Histories
Rosara Joseph has both law and history degrees from the University of Canterbury, NZ, she then went on to gain her masters and PhD in constitutional law and history at Oxford university as a Rhodes Scholar. Her erudition applies to the physical arts as well. She raced Cross-Country mountain bikes professionally for eight years, representing New Zealand at the World Championships and the Beijing Olympics before “seeing the light and taking up Enduro” where she competed and podiumed in the Enduro World Series (EWS). She aslo introduced us to Paul Smith, our spirit/physical guide while we were in New Zealand, and when we asked her to help us put together some brief histories related to our trip her response was simply, “I love this shit!” by Dr. Rosara Joseph
Danseys Pass Inn is the last standing evidence of the once bustling community at the Kyeburn Diggings. It was the old coach inn, hosting wagon trains plying trade between the Waitaki Basin and Central Otago gold fields. Danseys Pass was named after William Heywood Dansey, a North Otago run holder who was with three others on an expedition over the Pass into Central Otago in 1855-56.
The Inn was built in 1862, one year after gold was first found in the Upper Kyeburn by a prospector named Leggatt. The original stonework was done by a mason known as “Happy Bill”. Bill was paid in beer – he received one pint for every schist boulder shaped and laid.
The Mount Ida Chronicle in 1870 listed the business places at the Kyeburn diggings as three hotels, three stores, one butchery, and one bakery. And, unofficially, six unlicensed grog shanties. The gold miners on those diggings subscribed to the work hard, party harder ethic. After hours of shovelling, sluicing, and scouring for golden flakes and nuggets, miners would take advantage of those six grog shanties and imbibed freely, which was known as “getting on the spree”. Gambling, brawls, dog-fights, and pig-hunting were the other principal amusements.
The Kyeburn diggings also housed a large Chinese community; one report in 1880 estimated that there were 600 Chinese working on the diggings. The Chinese miners tended to stay separate from the rest of the mining community; their appearance, dress, language, and use of opium set them apart from the rest. The Otago provincial government encouraged Chinese miners, mainly from the Guangdong province in southern China, to come to New Zealand to replace the European miners who had deserted the Otago fields by 1866 for new rushes on the West Coast. Their mining methods were unique: as they had on the Californian and Australian goldfields the Chinese miners preferred to rework abandoned claims as there was known gold there and they knew that much gold was lost in the washing up by the more haphazard European miners.