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The book of secrets

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I photographed these large Scottish Thistle flowers in Waipu recently - considering this town was originally founded by immigrants from Scotland it's quite fitting that these are growing in the center of town.

I've been putting down my laptop this week and trying to make an effort to get back into book reading. One I'm about halfway through is called "The Book of Secrets" by Fiona Kidman which is about this very subject, the first settlers to this area and how they came to be here.


"In 1854 a group of settlers, led by preacher Norman McLeod established a community in Waipu in the northern part of New Zealand. The community had followed him from Scotland in 1817 to found a settlement in Nova Scotia, then to Australia and finally to New Zealand. It is the story of 3 women entangled in the migrations".

Have you read anything worth sharing this week?

Kakaraea Methodist Church

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This is a place I've been wanting to photograph for a long time. Located about 20 minutes or so out of Maungaturoto in the Kaipara along gravel roads the Kakaraea Methodist Church was first opened on Sunday March 29th 1874 and built under the direction of missionary Rev. William Gittos for the purpose of being the central church for his mission to the Maori in this region.


Unfortunately the entry door was locked so I couldn't take decent photos of the interior, so this one I had to make do with through one of the windows.  Apparently the church has special significance as the land it stands on was deliberately picked because of it's tapu (sacred) status in connection with the death of Hautatu (Chief Arama Karaka) and others at the battle of Ranganui (part of the musket wars). Otamatea Marae which is nearby and is the meeting place for the local Ngati Whatua tribe - it is still used today for events and tangis (burials).

Linking up with My Corner of the World and Skywatch …

Kauri Bushmans Memorial Reserve

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The other half and I drove out to Paparoa yesterday, about a 20 minute drive away to visit the Kauri Bushman's Walk - it's nice to see at their entrance they have a system for people to clean their shoes because of Kauri Dieback Disease which is killing many of our native trees.


Kauri dieback disease is something that infects these trees - it gets in at the root and causes root rot, bleeding of resin and yellowing of the leaves, eventually it kills them.


This was a relatively short walk - think it took us about 15 minutes to walk around the loop but there wasn't anyone else but us so it was quiet and peaceful.


Not a big a forest as Waipoua for instance where Tane Mahuta lives but it's an easy walk so good for little ones.


This plaque next to the entry explains that the reserve was purchased in 1954 by the Kauri Bushman's Association Bird and Forest Protection Society of Whangarei and the Otamatea County Council. It was dedicated to the memory of pre-first world war…

The Edwardian Austen Family

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I've had a bit of a disappointing week unfortunately.  After a couple of months asking my sister and brother in law for our family photos I finally got news yesterday that I could pick them up. My parents moved into a smaller house about 3 years ago and they didn't have room to store them so my sister has had them in her garage.

Once I got there I was astounded at the condition they were being kept in. I had to climb over a very grassy ride on mower, various exercise equipment and stacks of winter firewood only to find instead of the photos being carefully stored in damp proof bags they had been thrown into buckets next to spiders webs and ants nests. I don't blame my sister as I don't think she knew, her husband had apparently put them away. I've managed to scan all them them to save to my photo collection but I have to say this one is my absolute favourite.

This is my nana Dorothy Mavis Austen born 1914 as a baby with her mother Minnie Rose Mackie - I'd say …

A dry Summer in Waipu

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It's very very dry here, so dry that a total fire ban has been introduced recently.  We drove past the Waipu Cemetery yesterday, one of my favourite places full of old Scottish settlers to the area and saw these hay bales sitting on the brown grass.

Sometimes in Summer we get people calling the fire brigade even if someone has a barbeque going - in our town and many other smaller towns they have a volunteer fire brigade so anytime the siren wails the members have to put down whatever they are doing, even if they are working to go and respond to the emergency.


This year there hasn't thankfully been many times the siren has gone off, I guess the locals and holiday makers have finally gotten the message about what a fire ban means. Fingers crossed it continues until we get a good dose of rain.

Linking up with My Corner of the World and Skywatch Friday.

Mint Floral

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On our scorching hot day in Whangarei last Friday I happened to be in a nearby park and saw this artistic creation on the side of a building. 

According to their website they sell award winning flowers and gifts for occasions such as weddings, sympathy, birthdays and gifts - I'm not really a flower person but I quite liked these candles and aromatherapy products. I like to sometimes light some incense or some lavender oil in my burner at home - smells so nice and my skin dries out quite alot so I'm always using hand cream.

Apparently in 2016 and 2017 the owners were awarded the Northland Business Excellence Award in Retail for "customer choice" so they must be doing something right.

Linking up with Mural Monday and Our World Tuesday.

Having a rest

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Yesterday my daughter and I drove up to Whangarei for her optometrist appointment to get new glasses. While she was seeing the doctor I walked around a few streets with my camera, the heat was pretty stifling and I think wearing jeggings was probably the wrong thing to have on. There's so many roadworks on the way there and in town itself, we couldn't wait to get home.

We have to go up there again next Friday so she can pick up the new glasses - something cooler will be on the cards I think...

Back to Whakatane

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Well it looks like we may be moving to Whakatane. The other half grew up there, his parents and sister are buried there so when he applied for a job there just before Christmas we kind of thought if it happens it happens if it doesn't it doesn't.  I quite like the town, it's about an hour out of Tauranga and which I hated living there but Whakatane is pretty and a bit of a nicer place.

Last time the population was counted there was about 19,000 people living there and is the 3rd largest urban area behind Tauranga and Rotorua - other local towns are Opotiki and Kawerau. It's been a toss up between here and Greymouth but on going through the costs involved it's become obvious we would need more money to move there at this point.

For us, this year has already been eventful with family things going on. My oldest son who is nearly 25 years old has moved out in what was quite a stressful situation. Things have been brewing for a few months in regards to his attitude tow…

Give Blood!

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This morning in our local town hall there was a blood drive.  Every few months they come up here and people can book in to give blood. My ex husband is one of those with ORH- which is fairly rare because his can be used on anyone especially babies.


My youngest decided to give his blood - we don't know his blood type yet, apparently they let you know by email 24 hours after you do it for the first time, we are hoping he has the same type as his dad.  I think they took about a litre which takes roughly 15 minutes and afterwards he was given a biscuit and a drink. Do you give blood?

Linking up with Our World Tuesday and My Corner of the World.