As many Friends know, I find it daunting and well as exciting to be setting forth on this adventure to new lands. The proverbial shoes to fill are huge when I look at the list of previous Backhouse Lecturers on the Australia Yearly Meeting website.  The interactions I’ve had with both Australian and Aotearoa/New Zealand Friends as we’ve made preparations make me smile.

Many hugs and much encouragement to feel the joy of the Spirit have been surrounding me have been part of the parting gift.  Nancy Richard offered the following as an important component of my travel pack.

Your backpack
is filled with angels—
adding no extra weight,
they fit in effortlessly
around all your stuff.
They will be with you
throughout your travels—
England, Australia,
New Zealand, Hawaii,
at every talk you give
and every workshop
you lead.
Remember to lean into
the Love and Light
your angels carry.
They probably work
in shifts, so some of them
are always refreshed
and ready to accompany you.

For Marge Abbott
June 7, 2016
Nancy Gibbs Richard


I don’t know how often I will add to this blog, but will as words rise up for it.  I do know I will be meeting many, many folk and my days will be full.

For those who are not familiar with the Maori word often used to name the islands we call New Zealand, a brief explanation follows.


“(literally, ao = cloud, tea = white, pale, roa = long). This could be translated as (the) long white cloud. It does not mean “Land of the Long White Cloud”. In Māori that would be Te Whenua o Aotearoa.

“As with many Māori place names, the context from which the name derives is important. Traditional accounts suggest that Hine-te-aparangi, wife of well known pacific navigator/explorer Kupe, after a long ocean going voyage, sighted a particular cloud aotea that usually indicates the presence of land. The term roa can also indicate a length of time. Thus, a more accurate translation could be ‘It has been a long time since seeing a cloud that indicates land’.

“Aotearoa is commonly given as the Māori name for New Zealand. Before the arrival of Europeans to the New Zealand, it probably only referred to the Te Ika a Maui (i.e., the North Island).”



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