“Every moving thing lifted the dust into the air: a walking man lifted a thin layer as high as his waist, and a wagon lifted the dust as high as the fence tops, and an automobile boiled a cloud behind it.”
Clouds did indeed boil behind automobiles today, as a svelte band of adventurers began the exciting first steps of a new decade of exploration. Exploration in rally cars, under the banner of the New Zealand Classic, and as the journey through the land of the long white cloud began its first day of a three-week quest, it was more dust cloud than white cloud. Like something out of a Steinbeck novel, the caravan of cars shuffled along much as the Joad family had done, on a scorched and parched land that had not seen rain for more than forty days.
Unlike the Joad’s however, this was not the beginning of a journey of an arduous nature. No this was the commencement of 7000 km of stunning roads, terrific scenery and the opportunity to experience new cultures. The cultural element began before any wheels were turned, as the competitors were treated to a display of traditional Mauri displays that culminated in the fearsome Hakka. If any members of our band of travellers had been struggling to shrug off the fog of an early morning, the sights and sounds of the customary war dance would certainly have blown away the cobwebs, and it was with some haste that many of our competitors departed from the starting arch, making good their escape, should the Mauri warriors return to finish the job.