Marlborough Anniversary Weekend has come and gone for 2014 and with it an opportunity to reflect on what's special about Marlborough.
Sometimes it can seem that Marlborough doesn't offer all the excitement of larger centres due to a small, widely distributed population, however there is actually far more to Marlborough than many people are aware of. To quote The Lord of the Rings,
"A part of this tale was known to some there, but the full tale to none."
This was Tolkien referring to the tale of the Ring, however it is a statement that could equally well apply to Marlborough.
As a kid growing up in Blenheim I didn't like the place much and couldn't wait to get out, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I ended up back in Blenheim as a young adult, and over the years as I've worked in my own business and pursued my hobbies, I've met a diverse range of people who all add pieces to the jigsaw puzzile that is the story of Marlborough.
I've come to appreciate that Marlborough has enormous historical, ecological, and cultural significance to New Zealand, however as a fairly modest bunch, we locals don't always make enough noise about what we've got, or else look enviously further afield without noticing what we've got on our own doorstep.
In my household, we have a broad range of interests that cover outdoor activities, visual and performing arts and other things to the point that we struggle to find enough time to fit everything in.
Given my interest in the outdoors, and photography, particularly of the natural history and landscape variety, I have to mention one of the greatest things about Marlborough to me personally, the landscape. There are few places in New Zealand, and probably the world that offer such a huge variety of different wilderness areas to explore as Marlborough. The Marlborough Sounds offer their unique and breathtaking maritime beauty, but within a short distance is the Richmond Range with its forested peaks, then to the south the dry landscape of the Awatere Valley with the mighty Tapuae-o-uenuku towering above everything as the road leads on to the barren beauty of Molesworth.
Though I'm not so parochial that I'd claim that all the best landscapes in New Zealand are in Marlborough, I would say that if I were faced with having to make an epic adventure movie on a tight budget, requiring a wide diversity of landscapes without having to travel too far, then Marlborough would have to be a top contender.
Other people will have different preferred activities to my family. Some will prefer to get out on the water in the Marlborough Sounds, some may be happy to relax at home with one of the region's great wines or craft beers, but whatever your preference, there is no shortage of options.
A while ago, I wrote some verses that I think sum up what I think is special about Marlborough. Earlier this year I managed to combine them with some video clips of Marlborough landscapes I've made over the years, and a melody I wrote to fit the words. I'm not the best musician, and an even worse singer, so I included the words as subtitles rather than inflicting my voice on unsuspecting members of the public.