It doesn’t have the bling on arrival of an over made up landscape/place wanting to be photographed making you a unwitting part of a perpetual motion tourism machine, a place that at the end of the day as you scroll through your memory cards, you realize you’ve caught the generic, and you realize you have to dig deep to find its soul.
The Manawatu will not like any true beauty surrender easily to the glib onlooker.
I never tire of wandering around our region and seeing with my camera, the light is beautiful, endlessly filtered by an ever changing sky, sunsets fading into a darkness that is full of deep colour until the sunlight can’t curve anymore.
And when night finally fully comes the blackness is held back by endless stars and a moon that rises out of the ranges and settles into the sea.
Beaches, massive sand dunes, rolling hill country, torn steep valleys hacked by Maui’s brothers, ranges rivers and that light...and scattered among it, is us.
(If you have ever sat in the car park at Wharite and watched the sunset until the stars come out you will really see how scattered we are.)
When you become familiar with something it can quickly loses its wonder but if you love and are loved quietly that familiar can become something you never expected.
If I had to pick one thing that symbolized the Manawatu, strangely for me it’s the clock tower in Palmerston North, by night as it changes colour it reminds me of the ever changing daylight that makes our place magical, by day a towered green space the heart of our city.
More importantly the clock tower subtly asks us/me to do one thing, always, look up, the very thing the Manawatu needs us to do to start seeing it.