Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Oh Weeping Waters

Yesterday I purchased a twenty-something year old book from a second hand shop called 'Strange Facts & True about New Zealand'.

It had a section on New Zealand disasters & I thought might offer extra info for my Crux series.

Well, it was $1.50 well spent.

If you recall the article which covered the Tangiwai Disaster on Christmas Eve 1953, then what follows will make terrible sense. That Eve-nt took place one day after the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth became the first ever monarch to set shoes upon our shores.

Hopefully you also recall the mention of the Waitangi Treaty of February 6 (1840) - the document by which NZ got possessed by ...

... the rite-heavy British Crown.

Quick reminder:

On Waitangi Day, 1952 George VI died ...

& his daughter Elizabeth rose up & ascended into his shoes.

She was crowned the following year on Waitangi's (6/2) reverse date (2/6).

Elizabeth II stepped onto New Zealand's shores 6 months later. The following day 151 people died in a freak accident at Tangiwai. In the post that covered this, the word sacrifice was appliqued onto that event, though the mechanics behind it were not understood.

What was finally understood was that the names Waitangi & Tangiwai are the two sides of the same coin. One word, ever so slightly juxtaposed, their meaning - "Weeping Waters" - the sound perhaps made by a land possessed.

We return to my $1.50 bargain book that dates back to the early 80's. What it said was & yet was not, news to me.

"New Zealanders have developed a superstition about visits by Queen Elizabeth to this country, as many more serious disasters have taken place while she was here."

After mentioning NZ's worst ever train disaster (Tangiwai), the book goes on to cover our worst ever road disaster. I didn't know about this, I doubt many Kiwi's do, I don't know why.

Pussycat, pussycat where have you been?
"I've been to Waitangi to see the Queen

"On Thursday, 7 February 1963, a bus containing 35 passengers and the driver were making their way south from celebrations at Waitangi (near Paihia) where Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were attending"

"Shortly after 1 p.m. on 7 February 1963 a bus descending Pilbrow Hill, in the Brynderwyn Hills, near Whangarei, failed to take the last bend before the bottom, smashed through a fence, and rolled through scrub down an almost vertical slope to the Piroa Stream 100 ft below, killing 15 of the passengers and injuring the remaining 21 ...

... Ten of those killed came from Ngati Whatua settlements in the Helensville district.
All the passengers were Maoris who had attended the royal visit celebrations at Waitangi. Subsequently, the Transport Department's inquiry found that the accident was caused by the failure of the service brakes."

"On the 7 February 2003, a monument was unveiled on the banks of the Piroa Stream and is clearly visible to passing traffic".

Words from a rememberer;
"I was a teenager I will never forget the army trucks arriving the rain the caskets being lifted from the trucks and all of us trying to find those we loved my little cousin of seven years who lost her mother sisters grandmother grandfather greatgranmother and aunties. There was never compensation as the media stated or officials. a trip to pay respect to the queen that snapped away 5generations."

I have been steeped in New Zealand stories of late, soaking up both fresh & ancient tales & busily researching for the next part of the Crux series. Out of seeming nowhere comes this information, demanding new eyes.

So let's turn the same gaze we used for Tangiwai, to Bryndweryn. Let's see what happens when we view the colonial masters as agents of a force not subscribed to by National Geographic or Time Magazine.

Let's remove our woolly glasses for a moment, & see if we find ourselves looking towards an energy/entity that requires copious feedings of ritual & sacrifice. I have no idea of the mechanics of this, but that doesn't prevent the seeing & hearing of bloody strange echoes between 1953 & 1963.

Screaming in at number one, we have Royalty aligning with a place named Waitangi (Weeping Waters). In 1963 she stands at the place where the original Treaty of possession was signed.

Echo number two: The Curious Case of the connection between Royalty & freak tragedy. On both occasions a terrible accident & great loss of life occur the day after Elizabeth II sets foot in NZ.

Echo number three: Both disasters involve vehicles being unable to brake in time, careering off track & hurtling to a baptismal destruction.

Echo number four: Drivers of both sacrificial vehicles are identically surnamed:-
1953: On the Tangiwai train the driver was Charles Parker. Also of interest was his fireman Lance Redman "Mars the God of War. Mars's emblem emphasis[es] his warlike role. His symbol was the lance..."

1963: "Even after valiant attempts by the driver Harold PARKER to slow the bus it hurtled through a wire fence and tumbled down a 30 metre almost vertical slope to the bank of the Piroa Stream."

Echo number five: The distance between these two 'disasters' - from 24th December 1953 until 7th February 1963 - it "is 3333 days from the start date to the end date, end date included."

The name Parker means "Keeper of the Park" but also paints a picture of one whose job it is to bring vehicles to a stop.

Brynderwyn is Welsh for Oak Tree Hill

"the Druid priests considered a grove of trees, especially the oak, as a sacred space for religious communion and ritual ... Oak is considered mighty ruler among trees in folklore and has come to be associated with sacred kingship."

A mighty old oak from Windsor Park

"MAGICKAL ASPECTS:Used in spells for stamina, lust, and fertility; endurance, triumph, strength, power, dominion, and prosperity. A wood of sacrifice; the guardian and liberator."

"The sacred grove of Diana at Nemi ... was a grove of Oak trees. Here the King and his tanist fought to the death for the privilege of being ritually united with the Goddess."

Presented here here patterns, pondering, a wish for wholeness & healing for both living & dead. Answers are not supp-lied, proof proves nothing.

I leave with the following quote, I am not sure what the writer was referring to, when they spoke of 'chosen ones', but felt it was rite to include.

"A tragic loss to the district was the Brynderwyn bus accident on 7 February 1963, when a group of Maori representatives from Reweti were travelling home from meeting the Queen at Waitangi. The people involved were the chosen ones and their loss is still felt by Maori and European alike. In many ways the heart was knocked out of a community hitherto working together - the effects have been far reaching."