Tauranga is...

The Victoria & Albert Museum in London staged a wonderful exhibition called 'David Bowie is...', which was later turned into an inspiring documentary, collated and filmed before his death. I wondered about the title, yet once I saw the documentary it made perfect sense. David Bowie can't be defined, he re-invented himself regularly. 

People ask about a place - how do you encapsulate a place in 300 words? Short pieces of writing allow to focus on one aspect of a place. Tauranga is home at present, so writing about Tauranga is a good place to start.

Below the first in a series called Tauranga is ... email me your comments, ideas, contributions. 

Tauranga is ... water

The map shows more water than land; bits of land reach into waters connected by bridges. A nightmare for cars, a water and bike lovers’ paradise – lots of waterfront to cycle along.

Cycling along a waterfront. Gentle movement with its motion breeze and sights so stunning they overpower the fear of being dragged under a log or container truck on the way to the port.

Tauranga has it all. Salt marshes and mangroves. Hot water, unexpected in estuary puddles, and hot salt water baths. Swamps. Boats. Two marinas and boats tethered in estuaries and at The Strand. No suburb without boat in a front yard or on the kerb. Even the poorest suburb has a dingy, a kayak, a rubber run about.

The estuaries. The water views. The wild surf at Mount Maunganui - voted the best in NZ. Too busy and too dangerous for me right at the Mount with its pounding waves and strong currents. Yet, this white sandy marvel stretches 60 km to the East towards Whakatane. A haven for surfers. Weak swimmers are tempted too, and the papers write about their troubles.

No need to battle the currents, you can swim in one of the many estuaries. Low tide displays a large stretch of sand with intricate patterns and puddles of water. At high tide sufficient depth in the crystal clear water allows a swim in still waters.

Or Pilot Bay – swim or paddle safely while cruise ships, floating cities carrying thousands of people, pass. Right next to the country’s biggest port young, old, weak and exercising swimmers are safe from strong currents and pounding waves.

Tauranga IS water. For now it’s clear, close and accessible.