Hiring an old car, and with no destination in mind, my rucksack and I left the wonderful city of Auckland.
Letting the road take me where it would, I happened to go north.
Leaving the suburbs behind, I drove leisurely through beautifully changing landscapes, at once exotic yet somehow familiar – that hint of Englishness perhaps, in the rolling hills and little rivers, but not amongst the wild ferns and mighty kauri trees.
Lunch time beckoned as I drove into the magical Waipoua Forest, a place I shall never forget. Leaving the car, I initially followed the trail that wound its way through the forest, often rising several feet above the forest floor. New Zealand’s beautiful and ancient kauri trees rose up majestically, as if planted by the gods. The oldest of these trees, Te Matua Ngahere, ‘Father of the Forest’, seemed to beckon to me through the tree ferns and undergrowth. At an estimated 2,000 years old, this colossal living organism had the ability to both instantly humble and fill one with awe.
This was truly a place of tree magic…
The Maori believe in tree spirits and so do I. The ancient Greeks called them the Dryad. Whatever the name…this was a place of inspiration, a place to ignite the imagination!
My first novel, White Mountain, was still in its infancy at the time, and although I knew one of my characters, Wendya, would have to live in a colder climate, her home, ‘The Grey Forest’, was born…