Guest Post from Aotearoa New Zealand — Heather Kelly

Heather Kelly took the short flight from her home in Invercargill to Rakirua (Stewart Island) in a plane that seats eight including the pilot to be the weekend preacher. Her three poems take us there as well. It Is the last one that truly returns my heart tot a place where I was visiting two years ago … but also ‘there’ the place which is different each time and always approached through a storm. the place where God finds us.


The mainland airport was being battered
by gusting westerlies, constantly pushing my 46kg frame
off balance.

(C19) masked fellow travellers surprised and humbled me
with assistance and kindness.
The take off run was short and very soon
the Northern Britan Islander was bumping
over land to the coast.

Then beneath was a rough, white topped Strait,
the areoplane engines worked hard as we flew
into the teeth of the gale.

Ahead lay the black shape that was Rakirua.
In what felt like no time at all we were above
Lee Bay.

The landing strip quickly appeared
and we were down.

Every one was saying
“Well, that could have been worse”.

And it could.
No nausea; no fear.
I breathed a silent prayer of thanks.


Strangely the access road appeared to be steeper, but shorter.
Extraordinary and I wonder about my aging memory.
The seabirds glided and swooped in their ballet
over the bay. Delightful.

On one side of the road is native bush and ferns
with a white hydrangea head popping out to
contrast beautifully against the various greens.

Opposite the church drive a flowering current bloomed
among the scrub. Again delightful.
Late night, grounded by holding the rail on the ramp
entrance to the church, I rejoiced and was glad to
enjoy the bright stars from the dark sky sanctuary
that is this island.

Such beauty in earth, sky and sea;
I praise God who has created and
who continues to create!

“BE STILL”                     (Psalm 46)

I came to ‘Butterfields Beach’; near empty
in my emotional tank.
My senses sought fulfillment.

Mindful of the Psalmist, I sat.

First, I smelt the sea;
then the sandflies biting,
Busy swatting the insects
I become aware of the song of
the bush birds singing.

Turning to look I touch the strong
spiked reed-like plants that surround
my seat.

Turning again I watch the wet rocks
at the foot of the short headland
and wonder as they glisten not
unlike glow-worms.

Then the colours hit me –
the ocean; green in the shade of the bush,
brilliant blue under a cloudless sky,
yet translucent at the point where
the small surf broke in foaming
whiteness onto the shimmering sand.

The high tide line was clearly visible
and the storm tide mark.
The brown kelp beds underwater showed.

I realise my senses have been filled.
I know I am blessed.

And this is my own photograph seeing the beach for the first time.

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7 Responses to Guest Post from Aotearoa New Zealand — Heather Kelly

  1. Peggy Wolcott says:

    Thanks for sharing. This is a beautiful way to start the day.

  2. Rosalie Sugrue says:

    I don’t think I have met you Heather? But, I do endorse all the words you write, places and things familiar to me. We honeymooned on Stewart island in 1966 and learnt to appreciate it as Rakirua on our ‘last honeymoon’ in 2010.

    • Maren says:

      Just in case Heather does not have a chance to see this I will copy and send to her.

    • Heather Kelly says:

      Christmas greetings, Rosalie. I have belatedly been shown how to respond: Thank you and we have meet – Synod and School of theology at Lake land. Frankton. There was a time when i was a member of the Methodist Ministry team in Invercargill. It was before, during and after William Elderton’s time. Now I am retired, or tired, and take occassional services in various locations. God be with you; all the best for 2021.

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