A Small Gem Called Cambridge By Melody Green

Recently I rediscovered Cambridge. Not the Cambridge of England famous for its university or the cities in Ontario, Canada or Massachusetts, USA. The Cambridge I speak of is in New Zealand - an inland oasis in the middle of the North Island.

This ‘Town of Trees’ is green and lush in summer and wonderfully hued in autumn.

It was a regular singing spot for me as a young teenager when I would travel annually to Cambridge to perform at Eisteddfods. The road into Cambridge is deliciously green and striped with the white picket fencing of the horse studs famous for breeding some of the best race horses in NZ and the world.

This was always a favourite competition arena for me because I loved the early frosty mornings spent in the car with the heater going chattering to my mother as we drove along. I loved the waiting for the pianist to arrive, who was always scarfed to within an inch of her nose and wore the most enormous fur mittens to keep her fingers warm for playing the piano.  And not to mention it was always a particularly successful competition for me. Some places after all resonate with us and we feel supported and at one with the energy. In comparison I always disliked Rotorua as a venue because things always went wrong there.

So here I was late last year in the town I had performed in thirty five years before. Had it changed – oh yes! Absolutely! But there were some things that were the same – the road in with picket fences is still there and the tree lined streets around the town hall where I sang – yep, that still there too. I walked around slowly filling myself with the energy of those wonderful trees, now more than thirty feet taller than me with knarled thick trunks and felt blessed by the heart of the land thrumming gently upwards to me.

I patted the trees in thanks and moves to a plaque that explained that a green zone around Cambridge had been the design of the council as early as the turn of the 20th century and marvelled at their foresight to create such a space. To this day the green zone is in place and will never be built on. It leaves a heritage of earth and beauty for all the residents and visitors to Cambridge for as long as the town thrives.

Cambridge, NZ – well worth a stop and a walk – and you never know you may just here the echoes of a young girl’s voice on the zephyrs as you stroll along!


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