Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

06 May 2010

Schist Outcrops: Dansey Pass



Most of the romance has been removed from the roads of New Zealand so that tourism may be more comfortable, easier. Roads that were once serpentine and shingle-surfaced are now straighter and macadamized; the traffic travels faster, the roadside histories are passed by, the grandeur is now seen in broad sweeps with detail left unconsidered.

But Dansey Pass, once a miners’ route from north Otago into the gold fields of the Maniototo and Central Otago, remains narrow, winding, rough and romantic. It runs from the Kyeburn Diggings to the south bank of the Waikato River and if you care to stop at one of the few off-road refuges and switch off the engine and then listen to the sweet nothings that come on the air from the stream below and whispering tussock grasses your eyes will start to distinguish slow moving sheep who, like the remains of miner’s stone huts, are the same colour as the landscape: sometimes, grey, perhaps pink, often amber.

The rock is mainly schist; speckled pancakes perfect for building huts and fences where one layer may be snuggled above another without mortar – like giant flaky pastry. In an otherwise hostile surround the rock was often home and shelter to the miners.

© DON DONOVAN
donovan@ihug.co.nz
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Blurb

RANDOM SAMPLINGS F...
By Don Donovan