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Whose (New Zea)land is This Anyway?
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The ancient Maori story goes that a boy called Maui, half-man half-god, really wanted to go fishing, so he hid on board his older brothers’ canoe, called a “waka” in Maori, and only emerged when they were out at sea. He brought a wonderful fishing hook with him, made from the bone of his great grandmother’s jaw, with a sparkly bit of abalone to...

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Hope is a Feathered Thing
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The Peace Camp 2016 in Israel-Palestine has come to an end. I am full to the brim with impressions, feelings and learnings that will take some time to integrate and understand more deeply. And yet, I would like to put words to some of the experiences from out there in the Judean Desert, to share them with you, and let the world know what...

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Jericho Has Not Fallen
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Jericho Has Not Fallen

Apr 29, 2016 by

During the Peace Camp 2016 in Israel/Palestine, I took a half-day trip to Jericho on a mission to experience this part of the Occupied Territories and to find… tea light candles — for the purposes of giving a diminutive pot of eclectic souvenirs to all the participants. And so, the cousin of a local man we bumped into turned up in a yellow taxi...

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Common Ground
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Common Ground

Apr 23, 2016 by

I am lying on the sand and stone of the Judean desert, on top of a foam mattress. It’s too hot to have even the thinnest cover over me. A very bright full moon lights the sky, and insects fill the air with their calls. In the distance, I hear the sounds of the desert highway – the odd car or truck comes rumbling...

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What Is Asked Of Me?
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What Is Asked Of Me?

Sep 11, 2015 by

As I arrive on the first floor of the retreat centre, a renovated ex-monastery, there is a modern single door to my room on the right, and huge double doors of solid dark wood to the chapel straight ahead. A large crucifix hangs overhead. I am at the Madonna Centre in Reimlingen, Germany, for a nine-day International Intensive Training on Non-Violent Communication (NVC), and...

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Rubbish Revelations
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Rubbish Revelations

Aug 12, 2015 by

There is something highly satisfying about collecting rubbish. Litter, trash, garbage, waste, refuse, debris. Stuff people drop on the ground that should go in the bin. I signed up for the local Litter Picking Patrol around one month ago, on a whim, after seeing them mentioned in a local newspaper. Since moving to this area, I was quite dismayed by the amount of litter...

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Consecration
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Consecration

Jul 17, 2015 by

“I am under the earth. It’s dark. I can’t see anything.” Her voice is tentative, not quite scared, but the note of approaching discomfort is audible with a finely tuned ear. “Are you in a coffin, or is it just earth around you?” I enquire, trying to get my bearings so I can help her. “It’s earth… and… oh no! There are bones all...

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Shinto Spirit
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Shinto Spirit

Apr 17, 2015 by

30 floors up, the view over the Shinjuku district in Tokyo is breathtaking. I am perched in the skies, in a high-rise hotel room, contemplating these last few weeks of travels around Japan. I have fleeting memories of monks dressed in purple, white and gold walking in a long line in the Asakusa district’s temple park. Distant echoes of their voices raspily chanting in...

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Hiroshima War & Peace
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Hiroshima War & Peace

Apr 12, 2015 by

It is raining in Hiroshima. I am walking towards the Peace Park, which is at the hypocentre of where the atomic bomb was dropped over the city in 1945. My shoes are getting soaked from above and below. Under the umbrella, my steps feel heavy, even as I dance and jump around puddles to minimise the soaking. A sense of gravity is settling in...

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Malta Marathon and on and on
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There is a storm brewing and the sun has yet to rise. People are walking around, sparsely and a bit aimlessly, with what appear to be focussed looks on their faces. It is hard to see much though – it still looks and feels very much like the dark of night, despite everyone here having been up for hours already. It is the beginning...

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Megaliths of Malta
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Megaliths of Malta

Feb 25, 2015 by

I walk among mystery in the warm February afternoon on the Mediterranean island of Malta. Giants? Phoenicians? Aliens? Who carved and arranged these gigantic slabs of limestone in such evocative forms on the hillsides? There have been many colourful theories through the centuries, since the sites were abandoned in 1500BC or earlier. They are older than the Pyramids of Giza, and Stonehenge on the...

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Scenes from the Desert
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Scenes from the Desert

Dec 11, 2014 by

Let me paint a scene in your mind, with brush strokes broad enough for desert vastness and vagaries. In the centre of this scene there is a portaloo – a temporary toilet cabin made of plastic, for those unfamiliar with the word – and from inside it, an attractive young woman is peeking out through the crack in the door. She is both annoyed...

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