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  • Writer's pictureRose Parsons

Local church helps celebrate one of nature’s greatest miracles.

Local church helps celebrate one of nature’s greatest miracles.

Godwit arrive at the Wairau Lagoon

Church bells will mark the return of the amazing bar-tailed godwit to Marlborough this year, after an epic journey from Alaska to the Wairau Lagoons.

At Driftwood Retreat and Eco-Tours we get excited every year about the 12,000km migration, and we decided it was time to make some noise about it. It’s an incredible feat of endurance, and this is a nice way to let more people know something significant is happening.

We contacted The Church of the Nativity, and asked whether they would ring the church bells when the godwits were first spotted. The southern city of Christchurch had welcomed the godwits this way for several years, ringing church bells for half an hour to mark the birds’ return.

The event could happen in Blenheim any day now, because the godwits may already have landed, but not been spotted due to heavy river flows caused by spring rains. If they’re not here already it will be very soon. And as soon as we can see them, we’ll have them ring the bells.

Vicar Bob Barnes of The Church of the Nativity said he was delighted with the idea, because “celebrating creation” fit perfectly with the mission of the Anglican Church. He said it wouldn’t be a toll for every bird, “but I’ll give it a darn good donging.”

Will never one to miss an opportunity has offered to race down to take a photo and maybe give the rope a few pulls. Bob said “If you want a photo I hope you’re not afraid of narrow ladders up bell towers.” and “Bring earmuffs!”.


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