New Zealanders are an outdoorsy bunch, with a suitably well-developed sense of appreciation for the awe-inspiring scenery so casually on display in their country. The land - be it the mountains, the ocean or the bush - is in the Kiwi genes. Once you spend a little time here, you bond with the place, it becomes a part of you and you become proprietary about your favorite places. For me it's my Makara and my bays of Wellington or the Southern Alps. They are all places that have changed me and will remain with me long after I leave Aotearoa.
Many of my Kiwi friends have told me about "their" place. There's a lovely tradition here, once someone has passed, of dedicating a bench in their memory at a place that moved them. All over this country are benches with the most spectacular views and touching plaques.
Many of these benches are often visited by friends and families and decorated with little mementos or flowers. Such gentle touches remind that you are sitting in a place of special importance. It adds weight to the view.
There are, literally, hundreds of these benches all around Wellington and it cements the special link between people and place, and between past and present.
Far from being melancholy intrusions into a commune with nature, I find these tributes to be uplifting: here are good people remembered by those they've left behind; here are their loves memorialilzed in the grand arenas they once roamed with hearts full of their daily passions. The vistas they survey stand there still, eternally glorious and worthy of the loves of those who once embraced them, touching reminders.