I didn't really know what to expect when I decided to go to the workshop at Lake Waikaremoana in the Urewera National Park. Of course I had my plans about what kind of work I wanted to create… I wanted to explore some new concepts and ideas. I was planning five days of uninterrupted photography and I promised myself that nothing is going to change that.
As we were driving deeper and deeper into the forest, I had a sensation of going back in time. Around every corner of the winding mountain road, more of this mysterious hidden world was revealed. The vast forest wilderness, the primeval clean waters, the dramatic rocky bluffs. Everything covered with a mystical veil of silent energy. I was in heaven. What else does the person with a camera need?
At the moment I stood on the lake's shore, I could sense that something was not quite right. I felt anxious and out of control. The shadowy tentacles of the mountains were closing around me. No matter what I did, nothing was working. My unease remained and my frustration grew. The next day a very strong wind blew from the lake. I had no other choice than to take refuge in the bush. I felt as if the wind was showing me a different direction and setting me out on a journey that no one else could complete but me. So I went and sat down on a tree trunk and watched the river flow by. The water bubbled and splashed its way over the rocks, constant and unspoiled.
"Return to the mountains so that you may be cleansed by the winds of Tawhirimatea." -- Tuhoe whakatauki (saying)
I sat there for a long time until I let myself be at one with the river as I listened to its murmur. I could sense an aura of this land, so rich in history and legends. The people who used to live there were dancing in front of me on the surface of the water. I could feel the healing energy. My dark feelings disappeared. I felt safe and at peace. I was no longer alone. The spirits of the land were guiding me.
The magic didn't stop there. When I returned home, I found answers within a few days to many of my dilemmas that were troubling me for months. And now I'm ready to take the next step in my journey.