I decided it was best to rest and take some time out for my leg (which appears to be slowly healing and yet yesterday’s hitchin kinda flared things up a bit but I’ll survive).

Regardless, my time at Rongo Backpackers (Rongo meaning peace in Maori) and the idea behind this is to establish a beautiful artistic community with lots of great ideas including a permaculture farm, more building expansion, and the development of a bigger community. So far they are off to a really great start in this chilled out environment. I think anyone coming off the Heaphy Track would be silly to not stay here for a few days and see what they have to offer honestly.

I managed to spend a bit of time getting to know the woofers and the collective owners of this project (well some at least) and it was worth it. The Rongo backpackers has been focussed on making their hostel as sustainable as they can afford to (read: the more money they make the more they invest in environmental projects to reduce their carbon footprint). Roll the list…

  • They have some pretty amazing things setup such as a huge rain barrel in the backyard that feeds the shower water (possibly the toilets as well). This is the first time that I’ve run across a hostel like this and it makes me pretty happy to have a staggered shower with reused rain water (YAH)!
  • All the water for the showers is heated with solar heating on the roof. I was totally giddy when Paul took me around to show me the heaters. Two different panels were used to heat all the water used by everyone (sizeable hostel really) staying at Rongo. I’ve seen this once before at a sustainable eco-lodge up in northern Alberta called Aurum Lodge (beautiful place to stay too)
  • Composting – This included raw food for the garden and cooked food for local pigs *being a vegan I’d rather see the food go towards something then be chucked out*

MC BillAlong with the development of the arts the crew here decided to setup a local radio station that simply played what a radio station should play MUSIC! Unlike some of the other radio stations that broadcast lame-o commercials and other junk this was a completely local choose-your-own-adventure style radio station. Sooooo you guessed it I kinda went a little nutty cause I A) love music B) love playing music C) love making music for peeps (see my office to the right). I spent two different half days (4 hour sessions) cranking out some tunes that I had put together for peeps to listen to. I was having a blast the entire time and kinda loved the fact that I was free to play what I wanted.

So of course I cranked out some rap, reggae, indie, funk, folk, and yes Neil Young. Made a few dedications to people back home, at the hostel, and all around really. Who could ask for a better 4 day rest then that?

Big fat hugs & goofy looks,

– Shane

PS – While I’m kinda on this shameless self promotion front I’d better make this plug. I made a pretty good connection with the hostel owners here in Nelson at The Bug. They’re really relaxed and a chilled out couple (Steph and Anthony .. Steph is from Montreal, QB, Canada). When I rocked into Nelson I didn’t have any reservations and it turned out that every hostel was completely jammed full to the point that people were sleeping on roofs of buildings. Ok exaggerating but whatev. Ant and Soph made an exception, picked me up, and setup a tent in their backyard for me to sleep in for the next two nights! SWEET AS *another strange Kiwi saying…means something like Sweet As [fill in the blank]*