Our impetus for journeying to Hokitika and the west coast was a shoot Kyle had for Canoe and Kayak Magazine. He was commissioned to do portraits of two bad ass Kiwi kayakers:
Both of whose kayaking endeavors are well worth a Google.
It felt great to leave a place feeling like we saw all the good stuff (though naively). Hokitika is a small town south of Greymouth and is the bounty center for the New Zealand Greenstone (jade) known as pounamu. The river that empties into the ocean at Hokitika carries with it huge chunks of pounamu that local carvers turn into beautiful jewlery pieces and other carved works of art. The greenstone is rare and the art is an age old practice of the Maori. We met up with a local carver at Te Waipounamu and he gave us the full tour. During which Ava picked up a pounamu necklace and threw it at the carver, who later gave it to her as a gift. Kyle and I picked piece for each other and have not removed them since.
Cultural experience, check.After downing some delicious fish and chips we headed to Hokitika Gorge to see the fabled majestic turquoise river.
It was so ravishing that I wanted to leap off the 40 foot high swing bridge into its swirling waters.
We escaped them by staying on the bridge - apparently they are afraid of heights.
The hues of blue were not so mesmerizing as to block out the apocolyptic swarms of sand flies that bite on any area of exposed skin.
and played with the waves.