by Catherine Delahunty
Once upon a time there was a large hungry dinosaur called Gerry who loved eating rocks more than anything else. He lived near a beautiful forest but he had never been allowed to enter and eat the rocks and pull out the trees. He had been told he couldn’t tramp through the clear shining rivers with his muddy feet. Gerry waited for years for some other dinosaurs to come along and help him to pull apart the fences around the forest, and eventually a group of digger and crusher dinosaurs turned up in his neighbourhood. Gerry and the diggers and crushers decided the time was right to get into that forest and have some fun.
In the long years of waiting Gerry had also joined another dinosaur social club which had managed to get voted into Government. Gerry now had the power to push through the fences and his digger and crusher dinosaur friends were incredibly excited.
They were sure that shiny trinkets under the rocks and the nasty black polluting coal would make them richer at last. To their annoyance other species objected to their plans and claimed that the forest was too important to dig up. The birds, insects, native fish, indigenous people and some other humans insisted that the forest was a vital part of the climate and the trees were needed for future generations. Some even claimed that gold and coal were best kept underground and that the peace of the forest was treasure for all time. Others claimed that the forest was a place of stories, medicine and wild foods and that their ancestors lived there and wanted to be left in peace as well.
Gerry was annoyed that so many other species objected to his plans and decided that he could change the rules to help the diggers and crushers enter the forest. He announced that the rules would soon be modified and that everyone would benefit since mining and forests were totally compatible land uses.
Much to his amazement the entire population except the diggers and crushers rose up and prevented him and his mates from wrecking the forest. They also held a telethon to raise funds and bought Gerry the dinosaur and the diggers and crushers a suite of rooms in a retirement village for species whose ideas are deeply passé. Sometimes on quiet nights you can hear Gerry grumbling sadly and greedily from his distant corner but the call of the ruru and the sound of the river running over the rocks is so much stronger.