Saturday, 30 November 2019

The glory of Rainbow Falls

This is one spot in the far north of NZ that I miss. Rainbow Falls or Waianiwaniwa as it's named in Maori means means "waters of the rainbow is located on the Kerikeri River. Standing at 27 metres it's a very popular spot for tourists - we first visited here when we were on holiday in 2018 just before we moved there.

Most waterfalls are made when the soft rock erodes but this one is made of hard basalt layer of rock beside softer mudstone. There is a walking track next to the carpark which is about 3.5km long and leads to the Stone Store and Mission House. It also passes through a kiwi zone which means you can't take dogs for obvious reasons.

When I re-visited here last Summer it was with my daughter and it was a scorching hot day. A year later we are living in a completely different town and still pondering where to next. I think I mentioned in another post that we may be moving to the South Island - at this point we are still negotiating the pros and cons but if it goes ahead I think we will be saying goodbye to renting and buying a house there as properties are very very cheap. Moving such a long distance however will take alot of planning I think.

Yesterday however NZ seemed to be chocker-block full of tv commercials advertising Black Friday sales. For one thing it wasn't actually Black Friday for us which usually falls on the 13th of any month but I do wonder whether our retailers were riding on the coat-tails of our American friends. There were lots of sales on and the other half managed to buy on special an air-fryer which from what I understand is a more healthier option and will probably replace a couple of other appliances we have in our cupboards. Did you end up buying anything?

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Moving the Ports of Auckland

I'm not sure if this story has made the overseas news or not but there was talk recently about the NZ government thinking about moving one of our main ports in Auckland up north to Marsden Point.

It seems that Auckland City has become a bit too overcrowded since it's beginning so the potential move could be a good thing.  Currently the port sits on 140 acres of land most in Commercial Bay, Official Bay, Princess Wharf and Mechanics Bay full of storage areas and wharves.

Marsden Point however lies 30 km south of Whangarei (which has it's own port too) on the same coast and 140 km north of Auckland.  At the moment the proposal is in study mode but they are hoping to start the shift within 15 years. Auckland will remain being the port for cruise ships, ferries etc.

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

Monday, 25 November 2019

Vexta - Miya Tsukazaki

On our recently trip to MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology) in Auckland we saw so much but one thing that caught my eye was the artwork painted on alot of the buildings. This one named "Vexta" was painted by Mia Tsukazaki in 2016 and was done to symbolize the world's love of plastics.

According to their website it explains the artwork as this:
"Plastic was invented in 1907 and in the short since since it's birth we have firmly embedded it into our lives, our environment and now inside our bodies. Ever single piece of plastic ever made still exists on earth and now it is breaking down into tiny particles in our seas and being consumed by us...the world is choking on it's plastic consumption. Now is our time to find ways to create a world without plastic. This artwork is a meditation on the consumption of ideas, dreams, plastic particles and the inter-connectedness of life. A woman is being fed plastics representing these themes from an outstretched hand, below a snake representing wisdom wraps around a QR code which can be scanned by the viewer device leading to a blog dedicated to sharing knowledge and discovering a world without plastic".

I don't know if you are aware but our government banned plastic bags with handles and of a certain thickness and when it first came into law some people were supportive of this others didn't handle it quite so well. It was quite sad to see how many loved plastic and hated to see them go despite them not being good for our earth but on the flip side since the ban last year it's also been positive seeing how many people take their re-usable bags with them when they go shopping. There is however still a long way to go in getting rid of plastic and bringing in biodegradable products.

Linking up with Mural Monday and Our World Tuesday.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Return to Alberton House

In Auckland City's Mount Albert stands this grand old lady. Alberton House was built in 1863. This entrance is from the side where the driveway is, I will show the front of it later on...altogether the house has 18 rooms.

Inside is the parlour room, this was used to welcome visitors for tea and cakes etc. Quite useful when people were calling on a member of the family.

The dining room, doesn't quite look like a huge table, probably just enough for only the members of the family. Apparently all the furniture etc in the house was used and left by the family. I just love the coloured glasses though.

The kitchen, coal range and scullery etc - again quite modest. There have been rumours over the years that apparitions have been seen in this part of the house, perhaps the servants are still keeping busy here.

Now when I was growing up my parents didn't have alot of money so mum use to take us to places that were either cheap or free, this is one place I remember visiting and from memory I think this room at that point in time was a bedroom now a sewing room.


The entrance way and a set of stairs - one light and airy and one dark. I have a thing for vintage glass so I admired the colours above the front door.

The bathroom right next to the master bedroom - I like how they've kept an old bathtub in there, I imagine running water through the taps would've been a very new thing back then.

The master bedroom with it's iron bed frame. The property itself was originally owned by a man named Allan Kerr Taylor of Scottish descent born in India in 1832 one of several brothers who purchased property in early Auckland.

The library full of old books, I would be quite interested to read through and see what he was interested in.

The nursery for the little ones. Allan Kerr Taylor married for the 2nd time a suffragette named Sophia.  Together they had 10 children.

Several of the doors in the house still have the original glass within the frames - they have been well looked after.

I did read in an article online that one of his daughter's Violet was pretty much disowned by her parents after marrying a working class shipping clerk. Sophia, being an advocate for women's rights apparently didn't want any of her daughters marrying.

Another of the many bedrooms, now this is the one that interested me the most. On the first visit to this place I was only little and I vividly remember coming in here and feeling like a very eerie atmosphere but it was the sewing room I use to call it the blue room from the colour of the wallpaper.

Perhaps a study area. I liked around the house how they still had photographs of each family member here and there.

Near the front entrance. All the original wallpaper and wooden floorboards have been meticulously looked after. Apparently Mr Kerr Taylor's first wife Martha who had already lost their first child, died after giving birth to their second hence him meeting Sophia.

My mum's mother use to live just around the corner from here and two of her best friends were caretakers back in the 1970s. After Mr Kerr Taylor became involved in several business ventures that failed he suddenly died of a cerebral haemorrhage most likely caused by stressed.

His financial situation was found to be less than satisfactory. The home was mortgaged by the loan company but is now owned by Heritage NZ and is open to the public.  As for Mr Kerr Taylor, he was laid to rest in St Luke's Church Cemetery.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

The Tomarata Fireworks Display

Every year one of the local primary schools holds a Fireworks Display in one of the empty domains. This particular area is a farming community so fundraising is a huge part of their efforts to maintain and look after their students. Usually November 5th is Guy Fawkes day here in NZ but this was held the week after.

Since we've had B's daughter here from Perth for the last 2 weeks she decided to go with 2 or my 3 children (the 21 year old and the 19 year old). I figure they probably wouldn't appreciate us oldies going along with them so we thought they would appreciate the freedom.

I think the fireworks are usually donated and it's nice to have a display like this that many many local people can turn up and have a safe enjoyable night. The fireworks are huge and run for a couple of hours, I do think that private sales should be banned and displays like this should be encouraged, far too many idiots out there, don't you think?

Linking up with Our World Tuesday.

Friday, 15 November 2019

Ngati Manuhiri - Iwi Guardians

It's been an interesting week so far. Yesterday I started at the new job, I found out it is only casual work over Christmas which suits me far more than permanent work. It means if and when we decide to move I'm not tied down.

Anyway I discovered this Pou Whenua (land post) on our last visit to Goat Island.  I have a thing for carvings and sculptures, I think they're extremely artistic. This one reminds me of a Maori Taniwha stands at the entrance and looks out over the protected marine reserve. I'm not sure who the artist is but it belongs to a local tribe of Ngati Manuhiri who used this area once upon a time as a good gathering place traditionally handed down from their Hawaiki ancestors.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

123 Grafton Road

See that lovely old villa on the left? Located at 123 Grafton Road in Auckland City it was once derelict, falling apart with rotting windows and joinery. Now it is being used by the Falling Apple Charitable Trust who purchased it in 2013 with the intent of promoting culture, art, music, education, health, sustainability and well-being in the community.

The restoration includes help from 250 volunteers both local and from abroad and according to my research the villa was built around 1882. It was owned by a George William Basley and his wife Frances - it is mostly made of Kauri. Originally governor William Hobson purchased the land in 1841 with local chiefs Kawau, Tinana and Reweti Tamaki signing the deed of sale.

Over the years the property was passed between different owners until in 1976 it was sold to Housing NZ where it was used as a boarding house, a drug rehab center and privately rented. In 2011 it was placed in Auckland City Council's heritage list and is now being tastefully restored.

I don't know if you've heard about the fires sweeping through Australia at the moment but apparently 1 of them was started by a 12 year old boy and the rest (over 50 of them) are the result of long dry weather with no rain, please if you can say a prayer for them.

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

Monday, 11 November 2019

Armistace Day in Paeroa

Today is our Armistace Day here NZ also known as Remembrance Day - this symbolizes our thanks for all the men and women who have fought in all wars but especially WW1. The coming of peace was on the 11th hour on the 11th day of 1918 and 2 minutes silence is normally observed in memory of the Kiwis who died while serving their country.

This particular mural in Paeroa depicts the branches of of the NZ military forces, a howitzer and a naval anti-aircraft Oerlikon Cannon.

Linking up with Mural Monday and Our World Tuesday.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

It's heatwave time

A couple of weeks ago we were exploring the Mahurangi Peninsula and stopped in Algie's Bay. It was already a warm day, it should've been an indication of what was to come.

I have very pale skin due to my Irish/Scottish/English ancestry so when I go out in the sun I have to put on sunblock, usually only particular brands work otherwise I end up red as a beetroot in a lot of pain.

At that point we were thinking of moving down this way but decided against it as the level of traffic that goes through Warkworth would be too stressful.

Anyway this week we've had record temperatures for this season. Usually Spring is temperamental, you get a mixture of rain and a bit of warmth. This week we've been in the early to mid 20s and other parts of the country have been up to 30. It really feels like Summer already.

I've had to finish my home help part time job I had, when I first started I knew the work wasn't regular but didn't quite expect it to be this bad. On average I've been working about 4 hours a week which really isn't enough. Because we live in a small town there really isn't much else and anytime a job becomes available everyone goes for it, it's really about who you know not what you know most of the time. So needless to say having no money has been quite financially stressful and I've been extremely bored. I was offered a part time retail job but the process of hearing about it has been quite laborious and slow, fingers crossed something comes up.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Monday, 4 November 2019

Pied Shags at Goat Island

Yesterday on a road trip we were out at Goat Island. My 19 year old who has his learner licence and is about to go for his restricted licence drove us there, it's nice to see him getting more confident and better with driving. Anyway, one of the first things I saw there after getting out of the car was this nest high up in one of the trees. I think these birds are Pied Shags (Karuhiruhi) and I see a baby in the top nest, they usually live in coastal areas.

Both parents take care of the chicks and they mainly feed on fish 6-15 cm long but also on shellfish. They were endangered but are now recovering. From what I've read their nests can be made of bits of rubbish, twigs, sticks, seaweed, grasses and foliage.

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

Saturday, 2 November 2019

The old Grafton Bridge

How did your Halloween go this week? It came and went for us, we had a few groups of children knocking on our door and we already had a bowl of sweets ready to give out but apart from that it was pretty quiet.

Anyway earlier this week we traveled to Auckland to pick up the other half's step daughter from the airport. On the way we explored parts of the city - now I grew up in Auckland and worked in the central city for many years so sometimes I miss it.

This iconic structure named the Grafton Bridge is on the outer fringe and opened in 1910. It links up Grafton Gully to Karangahape Road, Auckland Hospital and the Auckland Domain. At the time it was built it was the largest concrete bridge arch in the world. Originally the first bridge built was made of wood at 360 feet long and 85 feet high - this one was built in 1885 but as population grew people voiced their opinions about the safety of the structure.

In 1907 the Auckland City Council took tenders to build the new concrete bridge (still there today) which measures 296 metres long with a central span of 320 feet, rising 84 feet  with a height of 142 feet off the valley floor.

In recent years the wave shaped like cover was put over both sides to prevent people jumping over onto the busy motorway below. Underneath the bridge exists the Symonds Street cemetery, one of the oldest places in NZ which houses the remains of mostly early settlers in the 1800s.

(photo from

These days this part of the city houses mostly University students and only a handful of the old colonial properties still exist. 


Finally we have sunshine. This week the temperatures at night are low with the west coast getting down to 2 degrees celsius. But...the good ...