Thursday 30 May 2019

Autumn at Waimate North

If there's one thing I like about Autumn and Winter it's the absence of leaves on the trees. those bare branches look like they're reaching out to the sky for warmth. I wonder how old the tree is?

The Waimate North Mission Church and Cemetery looks so dark and mysterious. No life, just moss on the old fence and dark stormy clouds.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday 28 May 2019

Little old house in Whangaroa

"Absence is a house so vast that inside you will pass through it's walls and hang pictures on the air" - Pablo Neruda.

I have a thing about abandoned houses and sheds. They speak volumes to me about being unloved and unused. I imagine who lived there and what memories they left behind.

I have been reading a book by Barbara Brookes called "Women in History - an essay on European women in NZ". Quite academic about some of the first females to our country to those who are currently living. The early settlers must've had quite a hard time when they came here, struggling on land in farms and houses learning how to become self sufficient through growing their own vegetables and fruits, making their own clothing etc. We are quite blessed these days to the point where practically everything is done for us.

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

Saturday 25 May 2019

Edmond's Ruins

Last weekend we ventured out to a local historical place called "Edmond's Ruin Historic Reserve" about 15 minutes out of Kerikeri.

There is the remains of a stone house, stone walls and various citrus trees, native trees and shrubs.

John Edmonds was an Englishman who came here from Worcestor and was sent here by the Christian Missionary Society to build the Stone Store. The Missionaries weren't told about this and instead ended up employing William Parrot, a stonemason from Sydney, Australia.

In 1837-1838 John Edmonds, embarrassed about the omission bought about 2,700 acres on both sides of the Kerikeri River and wrote that it was "covered in ferns, volcanic stones, swamps, rough grass and very little wood.

Sometime between 1841 and 1859 he built a stone house which had walls that were over half a metre thick. It was approx 38 foot long and 28 foot wide, it had a large lounge and a big open fireplace, bedroom, kitchen with a stone oven.

Opposite the kitchen door was another smaller building with a fireplace and a stone wash basin. The roof was made of shingles, he named his house "Belle Vue" after his home in England.

John Edmonds and his sons worked the property and created an orchard, a garden and a vegetable garden. Unfortunately around 1885-1886 it was believed that one of his boys was supervising a controlled scrub fire/burn off and the sparks from this spread to the roof thus destroying the house of which the ruins are still there today.

Thursday 23 May 2019

Autumn in Kaeo

Although it doesn't get too cold up here in the far north we still have a few Autumn colours here and there. At Whangaroa Golf Club there are plenty of trees changing colour and dropping leaves.

These ones on the side of the highway between Kaeo and Whangaroa are shades of yellow, orange and red.

These ones are the same on the other side of the highway, around the corner is the town of Kaeo which has a very small population of approx 495 people. There are shops there, a school, a tavern etc but it's very much a farming rural town.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday 21 May 2019

Blustery Hihi Beach

Usually on Sundays we like to relax as it's our first day off each week but we decided to get outdoors instead. So after driving through the countryside for about 50 minutes we stopped at Hihi (hee hee) beach.

My hayfever allergies were playing up to the max so I was sneezing alot but it was good to get out of the car and walk along the sand.

Very choppy waves and a chilly breeze blew us around a bit. The only sign of life we saw was in the form of 2 young surf-casters walking with their rods around the rocks.

From the beach we could see over to the other side of the bay - this is Cooper's Beach in the distance.

Definitely not a day for swimming I think. This is quite an isolated spot with a few holiday homes and baches grouped together, not my cup of tea. I like small town life but it's convenience to have a supermarket, shops and other outlets where we live. I bet this place is packed over Summer though.

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

Sunday 19 May 2019

Pigeons - pests or friends?

My daughter recently bought some bird seed and a bird seed bell and placed it on an old metal plate on the grass in our backyard. To our surprise the Sparrows, Thrushes and Blackbirds basically ignored it until 2 mornings later we spotted some Rock Pigeons out there furiously pecking away at it all.

We've gone from 3 to 6 - it seems the whole family has now turned up. I'm wondering through are they pests or friends? I'm hoping they don't make a mess on the neighbours roofs.

Your thoughts?

Friday 17 May 2019

Russell's wharf gets help

Over Summer we visited Russell (I had never been there before) and witnessed what a busy hive of activity it is. I read last week that apparently the wharf is in an urgent state of repair and submissions are being made as to what people think should be done to it.

After the closing date for the submissions on May 16th the mayor and councillors will go over what they've received and a new plan will be formed by June 21st. One of the ideas is to add a cafe or a restaurant and a boat terminal, this region is extremely popular with tourists so I think those additions will be a good idea.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday 14 May 2019

Meet Mr Lepiota

We were out on a new bush walk we discovered not far from our house and on the way along the path I spotted this wee fellow. I like finding things that are different and kind of weird so mushrooms and fungi tend to appeal to me.

After much googling I found out this one is known as Green Spored Lepiota or Chlorophyllum Molybdites and he is not edible at all. Apparently if it's consumed it can caused gastrointestinal problems.
Think I'll stick to the ones I buy in the supermarket.

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

Sunday 12 May 2019

Autumn at Roland's Wood

Last Spring we visited a local dog friendly park called Roland's Wood which consists of 30 acres of land purchased in 1985 by a man named Roland Sansom who converted it into a beautiful woodland place full of trees of different colours.

Yesterday I drove out there again and was happy to see 2 Labrador dogs there with their owners, one of which came up to me for a pat.

There are beeches, liriodendrons, gingko, maples, birches, tupeloes, oaks, sasanqua, claret ash and camellias. Some are in flower and some are changing the colour of their leaves.

It all makes for a lovely array of shades.

Tuesday 7 May 2019

Learning at Rewa's Village

One of our adventures recently have included visiting an attraction that is local to us called Rewa's Village. Now this place overlooks the Kerikeri Stone Store and Mission House and was designed to teach people about the Maori fishing village that used to be there before and when the first settlers arrived in NZ. Well known chiefs like Tareha of Ngati Rehia, Rewa of Ngai Tawake and Hongi Hika of Ngati Tautahi stayed here in the 1820s.

This is a storage area that the Maori use to store their food in such as vegetables, ferns, roots etc.

A Maori whare is what we call a house or sleeping area or a meeting house. You can see the small door and window at the front. There is a floor area inside that is basically the earth and they would've laid grass or mats down to sit and sleep on.

At the bottom of the hill is this wetland area. The tide was out so we were able to see the various plants that grew there such as Mangroves which are an important ecological food source for many fish and crustaceans such as Snapper, Crabs and Shrimps etc.

Along the many pathways were many medicinal plants that the Maori would've used to treat illnesses and eat for food such as Flax (Harakeke) was prepared and used as clothing or baskets, Kawakawa was used to treat cuts, wounds, bruises or for toothache, the bark of the Rata tree was soaked in water and then applied as a lotion. More information on the uses of these plants here.

This hut under the earth was another storage area - this one particular for Kumara or what you might call Sweet Potato which was a very important food staple. In fact it's still popular today, we like the orange variety as it is sweeter than the gold or purple.

Near the edge of the water was this fishing waka or canoe that would've fitted at least 2-3 people in. It's alot smaller than a traditional war canoe. To the Maori, Tangaroa is the God of the sea and of fish. It was important for them to be favoured by this God and because fishing was regarded as being Tapu (a sacred activity) they had rules about when to fish and how to make nets out of Flax.

This hut was for a Tohunga's enclosure. A Tohunga was sort of like a doctor who practiced alternative natural medicine and they were greatly respected.

More medicinal plants around this path including plaques explaining who the first botanists to our country were such as Joseph Banks and Dr Daniel Solander who came off Captain Cook's boat.

I'm particularly interested in natural medicine and I have grown various herbs for use in cooking and drinking so this appealed to me.

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

Sunday 5 May 2019

Autumn at The Stone Store

We were out and about this morning enjoying the fresh Autumn air, not too hot not too cold and I felt this shot expressed what an awesome view this is of the Kerikeri Stone Store, St James Church and the Kemp Mission House.

This is the location where missionaries James Kemp, Francis Hall and John Butler lived, taught and preached as well as farmed and gardened. According to Maori historians, Ngati Miru, the people who first lived in this area were attacked and driven away by a war party of Ngapuhi.

I hope you enjoy your weekend :-)

Friday 3 May 2019

A rocky beacon

This is one of the beacon's that we see when we are out on the water sometimes in the Te Puna Inlet Harbour. It lights up at night and sits there on it's rock surrounded by waves in the day. On this particular morning it was very stormy and about to pour down with rain. We had to hide under the canopy in our boat.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday 1 May 2019

St Andrews Church - Taumarere

Nearly halfway through my week and here's another historical church we found on our travels. St Andrews Anglican Church is in Taumarere, just out of Kawakawa and was was erected in Paihia in 1874.

We've been quite fortunate so far in that most of the churches we explored have had unlocked doors with signs welcoming people inside. This one in particular served all ethnicities of people mainly Maori but after the attendance numbers dropped it fell into disrepair. In 1904-ish a lay preacher named William Bedggood arrived in the area and began repairing the church. In 1926 it was moved by barge then transported by Bullocks to where it is today.

The inside of the church, in particular the carpet and atmosphere had a very 1950's/1960s feeling, I don't know whether it was the tablecloth or the mat but it was good to see that it's been kept so nicely.

Linking up with My Corner of the World.


  Westport, which is about 90 minutes north of Greymouth is one of those old coal/mining towns as I've previously mentioned. I spotted t...