You may have seen these flowers. They are originally from South Africa, and they seem to be spreading all over the lower North Island. They started appearing in the area I live when the first South African people settled here, bringing with them biltong – thankyou!
There has been a tense relationship with South Africa and New Zealand – when I was 14 the country was divided by a rugby tour from then apartheid-supporting South Africa, and some thought that it was just sport, no problem. Others wanted nothing to do with anything South African.
How times have changed, and many changes have happened in both countries. I often think of those times, and the strong feelings, when I see these flowers. They are for me a symbol of forgiveness, of healing, of reconciliation.
They are spreading all over Wellington, favouring the rocky cliffs where nothing else will grow. They show a tenacity which is admirable. They symbolise beauty in the rocky places.
They also join in the great chorus of wildflowers in the better soil, with wild turnip’s pale yellows, the golden yellow of gorse and broom, deep carmine and white valerian, and white daisies, all against a backdrop of green grasses. Gorgeous!
If forgiveness is part of the wildflower garden, beauty is the result.