Forest Bathing in Puketoki Forest Reserve New Zealand

One of the most wonderful aspects of my trip to Tauranga for the Wright-Murray Residency for speculative fiction writers was the opportunity to go to Puketoki Forest Reserve and do a little “Forest Bathing”. It felt like coming home. The odd bird came out to tease me. Not that I could get a decent shot. None of them believed in sitting on one spot for a moment. Too many bugs to catch, no doubt.

A panorama of the Puketoki Forest Reserve. I love this shot, I remember swiveling to take in the whole view.

It was beautiful. A place where fae could be hiding, or, as this is New Zealand, patupaiarehe. And rather than me say what patupaiarehe are, if you’ve never heard of them, then there’s a great introduction to patupaiarehe and some similar creatures here on the Te Ara website.

Puketoki Forest Reserve New Zealand
Puketoki Forest Reserve New Zealand tree trunk and roots

It’s so easy to imagine all the magic people and creatures hiding under the roots, up in the vines, and just around the corner. And the air is so fresh. This is my FaerLand—except the trees in FaerLand are even bigger still. As are the bugs.

Puketoki Forest Reserve New Zealand
path through trees.

I even inserted a little NZ bush into this picture for my entry to World Anvil’s Summer Summer Camp 2021 Answering the question/prompt: “a medical condition which is feared by some” (Careful! The Rosa Somnus flowers are very dangerous, so don’t look too closely – but more on that next post!)

Stone Sickness

Stone figure with dangerous Rosa Somnus flowers and NZ ferns

I hope you enjoyed “Forest Bathing” in a little New Zealand forest, too. May the wind always be lost in the trees, and the sun and moon be shining down upon you through forest leaves. 🙂

A.J.

And If you want to hear my about the Wright Murray residency:

Post 1: “On the Eve of the 2021 Wright-Murray Residency” is here. Basically me and Lee Murray (Two times Bram Stoker Award winner hanging out)

Post 2: Walking and Writing” is here

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