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SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans
December 15, 2014
Docked in Lyttleton
Sail Plan & Course/Speed
The surprisingly small town of Lyttleton has welcomed us with gorgeous weather and wonderful people. After a typical port morning - breakfast and cleaning - we headed out to Christchurch for the day’s activities. A short drive through beautiful green mountains brought us to the Ngai Tahu Government Office. Ngai Tahu is the largest Maori iwi (tribe) on the South Island, with over 53,000 registered members who can trace their whakapapa (lineage) back to an 1845 census. At the Government Office, and later at a park in the heart of Christchurch, we learned about the history of Ngai Tahu and the struggles they faced with the Crown over land claims. We learned about the work being done by the Ngai Tahu government in issues like cultural development, education, and the natural environment.
One of our friends from the Government Office, Arapata Reuben, told us about the infamous earthquakes of 2011 that demolished Christchurch. As we walked around the once booming city, we saw the crumbled buildings and the holes where houses and shops once stood. Construction seemed ongoing in some places and utterly nonexistent in others. As we discussed the tragedy that struck Christchurch, Arapata told us about how the community came together. He told us about one of the core values of Ngai Tahu, manaakitanga. Manaakitanga, he said, meant love your people; respect and care for each other. In the wake of destruction, help and support flooded in to those who needed it most. Food and shelter were freely given and aid came from all who were able. It was the perfect showing of manaakitanga.
Though it is not always obvious, living on this ship is all about manaakitanga. We may not be able to show it so tangibly like those who helped after the earthquakes, but if you look deep enough, you can certainly see it. In the eleven weeks since we met, on shore and at sea, we have come to love each other. We may not always like each other, there are times when the boat seems especially small, but we love our people, we respect and care for each other. We are a community that, perhaps forced at first, has come to be a family. With only a week or so left on the ship, I’m sure we will feel the manaakitanga stronger than ever. This is an experience that will never be forgotten with people that I will always love. Kia Ora.
A quick happy birthday to my little bro Kyle. Sorry to be missing it, but I’ll be home soon and I’ll make it up to you!
And a sincere thank you to my Grampa, who passed along his sea legs and his love of the ocean - I wish you could see all the incredible things out here. I can’t wait to tell you all my stories!
And finally, although my shipmates keep telling me to stop. eight days! Have the gingerbread cookies ready and the Christmas music playing, family! See you all so soon, miss and love you dearly!
Love to all,