More bikes and cars driving on once deserted roads; it’s back to life, back to reality – the tourists are coming, writes Ruta Mave.
you read this, I’ll be flying across the vast Pacific Ocean heading home from
the New Zealand Kayak Nationals.
threats of thunder, lightning, wind and rain from weather forecasts, we
experienced sunny calm conditions unlike tropical destination Rarotonga.
tourists are coming, the tourists are coming, beat the drums, kill the fatted
calf, they are coming, they are our salvation, they are Kiwis.
are expecting a picture-perfect brochure holiday, not days on end of torrential
rain, fingers crossed.
Kiwis do, they will probably bring their own food in polystyrene ‘chilly bins’
and leave them here for us to recycle.
will be excited to get out of ‘Dodge’ – Auckland – but will they spend? Pre
Covid, Kiwis were never the big spenders, like northern hemisphere tourists,
but we love them dearly and they are now more than ever our lifeline to the big
we can do it with Kiwis, we can do it with anyone.
to wake up people out of our year-long sabbatical. Give credit where credit is
due; New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern closed our borders keeping us
safe, Prime Minister Mark Brown kept our chins floating above water on minimum
may have to pay it back by destroying our ocean floor, or give our children’s
children the burden to bear, but we can’t deny the past year has allowed us to
breathe, the lagoon to breathe, and the roads to be repaired.
life has returned to the lagoon, turtles by the score, and now with the return
of tourists we will once again crowd their habitat and scare them away – or
we learnt that less is more? One lagoon operator said they will take less
customers per group to lessen the impact on the ocean life. Will others follow?
one boat trip a day was enough, then demand pushed it to two or three, fish got
fed not twice, once each per company, but four or six times a day.
this a good practice for preserving natural environments? Venice, Italy, which
has banned large cruise ships from entering its canals, has seen the return of
dolphins and fish to the now clear waters not polluted by the hundreds of
petrol polluting boats and water taxis.
long will it last before the tempting lure of money, money, money throws the
baby out with the bath water?
showed no attempts to control the continued increase in tourist numbers
pre-2020, heading well over 150,000 per year, despite the strain on our
infrastructure, sewage systems and water ways.
downturn has led to an upturn in culture and agriculture, planting, and small
business growers. Will they remain, will they trade in the stressful life of
hospitality for the creativity of living off the land?
say: “Oh you’ll be happy the borders are open.” Hmmm, will we? Yes, we will,
have to brush off our complacency; the Kiwis are coming and they travel at the
speed of light.
spent a lot of time driving the highways at twice the speed we drive in
Rarotonga and it was still too slow.
these drivers come to Raro they bring their need for speed, but that’s not who
we are. In fact we have relaxed more into island time, maybe they have too, or
we’re in for a wakeup call.
to retrain the children crossing roads and locals pulling out of their
driveways as there will be traffic, once again.
those car graveyards around the island with shiny new cars rusting in the
paddocks will be released onto our roads. Sitting for over 12 months in the sun
and rain, hopefully with the hand brake off or else it might have seized.
bikes and cars driving on once deserted roads; it’s back to life, back to
reality – the tourists are coming.
much talk about Covid-free and being Covid prepared, but should we tell them
can be avoided by social distancing 2 metres, but dengue is mosquito-carried
and they can fly more than two metres.
is high risk from one mosquito flying around in a room of people social
distancing and wearing masks, spreading dengue than the same people catching
Covid. Should we be telling them?
to brush off the dancing shoes and ei katu, the genial smile and the history
spiel – the tourists are coming.
asked, most tourist operators and workers will say it’s been nice not having
any tourists, but we can’t all sing for our suppers, which makes the arrival of
phone has been beeping hot with friends enquiring on places to stay and see.
Here they come, our holiday is over, their holiday begins.