17-Aug-2005 -- We may have set something of a world record for the number of people and the number of different nationalities at a confluence at the same time – 14 people, 6 nationalities.
This confluence has been visited several times already but we decided it would be an excellent team building exercise. We had 5 engineers from Brazil working with our company in Auckland. One of them had already been the first to visit 5 separate confluences in Brazil. He had never been to one in New Zealand and none of us had ever been to one at all.
We worked through to 1.00pm and then went to the Clevedon Cafe for an excellent lunch. Well fed we headed out to rural Brookby in search of our quest. Our maps suggested we drive up West Road until we came to a farm access road that we would either drive or walk. A contracter on the access road gave us a cell phone number to ring for permission to use the property. It turned out the Manager was going to Brazil later in the year and knew several Brazilian musicians living in Auckland, what a coincidence.
The last part of the road turned out to be a challenge for the cars – it didn’t look that steep on the flat piece of paper that was our map! The first car to tackle it was a front wheel drive who backed off after the first attempt. The others all parked but the drivers of the two rear wheel drive cars decided to make it a challenge as to who could get to the top.
Dave was first to go but couldn’t get past the half way point. Phil beat Dave’s position but couldn’t make it either. It was then that the team work kicked in!! With 4 Brazilians, 3 New Zealander’s, 2 Chinese, 1 South African, 1 Nepalese all pushing Phil drove all the way to the top. One New Zealander and our lone Englishman watched from the top of the hill.
Having reached the top of the hill we were within 600m of our quest. We followed the fence line down the hill but it was running at a tangent to the circle centred on our confluence so we decided to abandon that and head into the bush on a line directly to it. After much slipping and sliding down hill then puffing and more slipping on the way up hill we came to a small lake behind an earth dam and a grassy ridge with a wide track leading away from the fence line that we had abandoned earlier.
Within 20 minutes we were less then 100m from our point. It took about another 20 minutes to find it on a south westerly facing slope covered in medium sized pine trees growing out of the ferns on a carpet of pine needles. When the GPS was finally held in the spot where the last digits registered as zero, there was much clapping and whooping – we had achieved our goal.
The tramp back to the car took only 25 minutes – aided by the fact that the confluence was only 100m away from a second fence that intercepted our original fence. The fact that Dave had also driven our Englishman back into town and was waiting for us with some cold beers also contributed to the speed of the return journey.
It was an excellent way to spend the afternoon. As we stood drinking at the top of the hill looking at the lovely panorama of rolling green farmland, dotted with farm animals – including new born lambs, the sun set over the forest behind us that we had just been in. Our Brazilian colleagues had witnessed rural New Zealand at its best. A lovely warm afternoon, lots of fresh air laced with the smell of fresh green grass and then pine forest. The floor of the pine forest was carpeted with silver ferns, one of New Zealand’s most recognisable icons.
What a great way to work together!
Picture #5 Legend (left to right)
# - Name - Country of Origin
1 - Tim Orum - New Zealand
2 - Phil Lloyd - New Zealand
3 - Adrian Hills - New Zealand
4 - Gordon Otte - South Africa
5 - Lingjiang (Joe) - Wang China
6 - Emilio Rodrigues Hulse - Brazil
7 - Shafiq Madhikarmy - Nepal
8 - Rog_rio R. Morrone - Brazil
9 - Eduardo S. Alvarenga - Brazil
10 - Ian McGill - New Zealand
11 - Dietmar Lillie - Brazil
12 - Zhuang (John) - Tian China
13 - Upesh Patel - Fiji
14 - Marcelo Knies - Brazil