28.01.2013 - 28.01.2013 88 °F
We have just left Akaroa. This town was a simple village until the earthquakes hit two years ago and destroyed the port of Christchurch nearby. Akaroa’s population is about 500; it has a little beach surrounded by high craggy hills (that would be called mountains in Connecticut), some colonial houses, a lighthouse, and a little Anglican church. Once cruise ships started going to Akaroa because they could no longer go to Christchurch, the town is bustling. The harbor area is filled with vendors and tour guides and boats to take you swimming with the dolphins and wildlife kayaking; the park has teens doing Maori dances; the ladies have a craft fair, and the church has a 2 pm tour. Today, we went up the “hill” to Paua Bay Farm to see life as it is without tourists. We drove through miles of stunning scenery to a farm and watched a sheep lose at least half its size in 3 minutes (see below). Then we saw the sheepdogs run at incredible speed and respond to complex commands and whistles and smartly move a herd of sheep to exactly the place the shepherd chose. The sheep shearing was very moving. These are beautiful animals; when you hold them, hug them, they are trusting and unguarded. They are warm and soft and look at you with beautiful eyes and don’t try to squirm away, nor do they baa. We understood a verse from Isaiah (53:7) in a new way. Isaiah talks about the Suffering Servant (a prefiguration of Jesus) as one who was wounded for our transgressions because we like sheep have gone astray. This Servant “did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent.” I don’t think I could have borne it if our sheep were led to the slaughter - the shearing was actually wonderful to see because the sheep submitted so nicely and seemed to love the freedom of romping without a heavy fur coat.