For Conservation Week 2021, the Department of Conservation ran a writing competition for Rakiura's Halfmoon Bay School students, and the Predator Free Rakiura Group sponsored some of the spot prizes and helped judge the winning entries featured in the story below.
I like climbing on rocks with papatūānuku. When I climb on rocks, papatūānuku hugs me. We need to keep her tidy.
My favourite time in nature is climbing trees and campfires. I love climbing because sometimes you get a good view. Cooking on a fire is dangerous but fun. I love cooking. You can cook. It is so fun. I just love nature.
Still said the breeze, loud said the trees, melodious said the birds, calm said the clouds. Happiness swells inside me as I let my thoughts overwhelm me, because I am in nature. The trees sway their branches beckoning me forwards. Daring me to venture further I trek through the trees, the moss muffling my footsteps. For I am the explorer and this is my jungle. Going further every step because I am in nature. I settled down at my secret spot. I close my eyes and go to paradise and think about whatever I wish. My thoughts are forming, oh what bliss. I say out loud to you and me, I'll do whatever, I am free and I am proud because I am in nature.
I hear the soft waves crashing on the shore as they lash back and forth. I see the birds as they soar over my head. The tide rushes up the river. I feel calm as I kneel on the tree and wonder if there is any place I'd rather be. No noise other than nature. No one else but me. Today is the best day of Lockdown because there is no room for any drama. Just the Island speaking to me. My happy place is here and I don't have to share. Lucky me. This is what I enjoy most about nature.
We go looking for monster crabs at Horseshoe. We found some big ones and when I was looking for some crabs I found three females, all with eggs, under one rock. I took them back to show Mum my find. I respect the crabs by being very careful to make sure I do not hurt them. I gently put them back where I found them. Sam put his fingers into one of the crab's claws and made a discovery of a crab's claw...but it was not fun! He screamed and then we went home. I like nature because you never know what you could find or what you could discover...maybe something new.
When I first get in the sea it gives me a wave of adrenalin and I know an adventure is about to begin. I feel the water streaming through my fingers and toes. I taste the salty surroundings. I can see the world below me, it's like travelling to another planet full of wonderful things. I breathe in the fresh air that surrounds me. I hear the waves splashing against the rocks. I love the sea and it makes me very happy. I don't know who I would be without the sea because it is a big part of me. This is how I enjoy nature.