October 2, 2003

2 October 2003

I have just spent a marvellous few days with Marty and Linda Haugen. It rained a lot but Marty was able to capture some beautiful shots of our flora and fauna and landscapes around Lake Taupo and the Tongariro National Park. One of the highlights was visiting Lake Rotoaira to be greeted by a fat kereru, native to these shores, bouncing on a branch- this variety of pidgeon is the largest in the world. Marty was able to get really close to it.

Marty has been over here as a guest of the Worshipping Under Southern Skies Conference held in Auckland and Christchurch. It was my pleasure to be tour guide for a few days before they headed off to Christchurch. The Conference was a great success. Thanks Linda and Marty for the music, the input, the conversations and humour. It was an honour to share something from your kite and for me to share something of mine and this land of ours with you.

I presented two workshops on the first day of the Conference. The participants were really enthusiastic, sang beautifully and a number joined me on guitar. I shared with them some of my new songs from
'Serenity' and we ended the session by composing lyrics to one of my melodies- 'We are here in the presence of our God' from 'Overcome by Love'. I loved it and judging by the applause at the end of the workshop, they were all pretty pleased with themselves. This is what they came up with.....Congratulations!!!

Aotearoa is the land on which we stand
Aotearoa is the land on which we stand
Holy ground where many peoples gather in your name
Aotearoa is the land in which we share

We are living in the heartbeat of the land
We are living in the heartbeat of the land
We are sharing together our cultures and our lives
(Whakaora ngakau-nui ki te whenua)
We are living in the heartbeat of the land

We see Jesus in the faces of the land
We see Jesus in the faces of the land
We see Jesus when we ask to heal divisions on our way
We see Jesus in the faces of the land

Holy Mary, O Mother bless our land
Holy Mary, O Mother bless our land
As we gather together singing under Southern Skies
Holy Mary, O Mother bless our land.