Thursday, 31 December 2020

Fire season in the Far North

The above photo was taken in Ahipara about 2 years ago on a Winter's day. The whole of the far north of NZ which is where we live has just gone into a total fire ban, you can't even apply for a permit. This includes fire lit barbeques, fireworks, incinerators etc. Earlier this week there was a major fire in Ahipara, a small town about 90 minutes from us that started from someone burning scrub/rubbish. It got so major that residents had to evacuate their homes. 

With New Year's eve being today for us we are hoping it will be quiet but won't hold our breath. It is tinder dry here and our siren has been going off at least twice daily. Last night we heard someone lighting fire works which is idiotic, anyway Happy New Year to everyone, thank you so much for following me and commenting on my posts, hopefully 2021 will be easier for everyone.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

The Waitangi Flagpole

See this flagpole? Looks kinda boring right? Well this flagpole has an important history to our country. Located in Paihia on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds it marks the spot where the treaty was first signed on 6th February 1840. The flags that fly today are the 3 official flags that we have had since 1834 - Te Kara (the flag of the United Tribes of NZ), the Union Flag (from 1840 to 1902) and the NZ Flag (from 1902 to present day).

The first flagstaff was gifted to James Busby by Ngapuhi chief Hone Heke Pokai. This was later shifted to Kororareka (Russell). In 1834 a flagstaff was erected by the Royal NZ Navy, replaced in 1947 and the Navy remains the caretaker of the current one to this day.

New Zealand's first flag was chosen at a meeting of chiefs at Waitangi on 20th March 1834 to ensure that ships built and owned by people in this country would be recognized by other nations.  British resident James Busby invited Maori leaders to choose 1 of 3 designs for the flag which later became known as the flag of the United Tribes of NZ (Te Kara of Te Whakaminenga o Nga Hapu o Niu Tireni). 

Britain's acceptance of this flag showed the country was now internationally regarded as an independant nation and started a drive from James Busby to form a government. The Declaration of Independance was created in 1835 followed by the Treaty in 1840.

Linking up with Our World Tuesday, Tuesday treasures, Through my lens, Wordless Wednesday, My Corner of the world.

Monday, 28 December 2020

Kokako by Erika Pearce

 Another mural I spotted on the side of a building recently in Paihia. This one is also painted by artist Erika Peace (like the one I shared on the side of a cliff) and it's called "Kokako" as part of the Focus Paihia Project. "Kokako" is the maori word for our Blue Wattled Crow, a species which was endangered but is now slowly recovering. These birds live in various parts of the north island of NZ such as Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Little Barrier, Tiritiri Matangi Islands etc, they have a blue grey body, a striking black mask over their face and blue wattles under the throat.

Also on the mural is a depicting of fish which live in the Bay of Islands along with red Pohutukawa flowers and green Kawakawa leaves.

Linking up with Mural Monday.

Saturday, 26 December 2020

After Christmas...

We are now on our country's boxing day. Yesterday we had a very very relaxing day with my parents who came up in their camper - they are here for about the next 2 days.

B made a yummy pork roast with crackling and veges. I made a lettuce salad but added finely chopped onion, cherry tomatoes, soft boiled eggs, cucumber with a balsamic vinegar dressing. Dessert was an apple and pear cake with custard and cream.

A few days ago B had bought a large umbrella for our deck outside so that came in handy as it ended up being a very hot sunny day.

As for gifts we don't normally spend up large for each other, we mainly buy each other lottery tickets and chocolates so that if someone wins we plan to share it around with family members. 

The only gifts I made a bit different this year was for B's sisters. I had spent most of the year finding bits and pieces here and there like specialty soaps, hand creams, lip balms and put it all together in gift boxes for them. What we got back in the mail was a plastic drink bottle for him and a hand towel for me so not sure what happened there but to say we were a bit disappointed was an understatement but they both went into the bag destined for the local op shop - I'm sure someone will appreciate them.

I thought it was back to work today but when I turned up all was quiet, a text to my boss said she had forgotten to tell me we were closed this weekend, I'm not bothered really it's nice being at home for once.

Apart from that everyone is happy and full - hope you all had a good day, leave a comment to say what you got up to. 🎄

Linking up with the Weekend Roundup.

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Motuotau Island skies


For us in the Southern Hemisphere today is Christmas Eve - depending where you are in the world we are about a day ahead. Traffic has been bumper to bumper and very slow, supermarkets have been chaotic and people are out and about doing last minute shopping. 2 of my elderly clients (a couple) presented me with a beautiful sheer Summer scarf as thanks for me helping them - made me feel very thankful and I will definitely use it.

While searching for some calm photos in my archives I found this one from when we lived in Mount Maunganui about 3 years ago. This is one of the many paths to the beach and in the distance is the Motuotau Island which was once the scene of a massacre. Confiscated from local iwi after the 1864 Battle of Gate Pa, the island was returned and then later purchased by the Crown. Today the island is a wildlife sanctuary and home to 500 little blue penguins.

I hope you have an awesome Christmas wherever you are, stay safe, kia kaha.

Linking up with Wordless Wednesday, Timeless Thursdays and Skywatch Friday.

Monday, 21 December 2020

Karetu School Mural

 I was in Kawakawa last week with my 2 adult children. In Summer if you don't get to your destination by at least 10am the temperature tends to rise to the point where you really don't want to be outside and most of the car parking is taken.  The 3 of us have very very fair skin so we have to wear sun scream whenever we can as we don't tan.

While they were off getting lunch I spotted this mural down an alleyway. I have to say I think it's really really clever artwork with all the different Maori imagery. Painted as part of Karetu School mural project in 2011 and measures 10 x 2 it apparently started off as a backdrop to a school play but ended up winning a "Keep NZ Beautiful" award before being scaled up then painted onto a treated plywood panel with ceramic, wood and metail details. 

It was blessed by Kaumatua (Maori elder) Bill Cherrington followed by a waiata (song) from the children, an explanation of how it came about and a haka.

Linking up with Mural Monday.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Reflections of Bad Habits

Outside a bar/restaurant named "Bad Habits" in Paihia my daughter and I stopped to admire all these Christmas decorations.  I checked out their menu online and it looks very impressive. 

This weekend we have been watching the yacht racing between Emirates Team NZ, Lunar Rossa Prada, Ineos Team UK and American Magic.  They've had perfect hot Summer weather - oh to be out on the water in Auckland. Bliss!

And lastly i was in the cafe next to my work today buying my favourite iced coffee with chocolate sauce and couldn't believe the amount of people not scanning the apps on their phone with the Covid qv code along with no social distancing - they are meant to be 2 metres apart here and there are signs up everywhere but because we don't have any community cases people don't care.

Linking up with Weekend Reflections and The Weekend Roundup.

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Giant Marlin in Paihia

 I've seen this sculpture of a Marlin in Paihia many times but after taking this photo of it last week I thought I would do some research into it. Apparently a family named "Fuller" of the "Fuller's Cruises" here in NZ donated it in 2017 and pays homage to the fishing industry here in the far north. 

Marlin are a type of big game fish up here and you need a really big strong rod with lots of patience to reel them in. I've never caught one but New Zealand ones can get to between 70 and 220kg with a length of up to 4 metres. The heaviest ever caught was 224.1kg here in the Bay of Islands.

btw that's my daughter in the photo 😊

Linking up with Timeless Thursdays and Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Free library anyone?

I have so many photos from our day in Paihia last week so herewith 2 in particular that interested me. Apart from the information centre which is the white building above the little old fashioned red telephone box caught my eye. Apparently it's a free book libary - I don't know about you but I think every town needs one of these. See that red tree in the background? That's our Pohutukawa tree also known as New Zealand's Christmas tree because of the colour of the flowers. The saying here is that if the tree blooms before December we will get a good Summer.

 You don't see many of these old phone boxes around but I remember when I was growing up these were everywhere. What impressed me the most though about being here was wherever we went people kept their distance. Unfortunately in the town we live in people aren't so careful, in fact over the weekend I was in one of our local cafes buying an iced coffee and although there were signs on the floor telling people where to stand no one seemed to care - I gave a backward glance at the person who was next in line very close to be and everyone else behind her was the same. Along with that (excuse my griping) hardly anyone seems to scan their QR codes from their phones or write their details on the notepad that all shops provide. I don't get it - we may not have any community cases  now but with people travelling around the country who knows when Covid may crop up again?

Linking up with Our World Tuesday and Through my lens.

Monday, 14 December 2020

Te Hononga

 I've been wanting to take a photo of this particular mural for some time and finally last week I walked to the edge of Paihia Beach where I was able to find out more about it. Located on a hillside, painted on the bricks of a retaining wall this mural was painted by kiwi Erika Pearce as a "Focus Paihia" community project. Named "Te Hononga" it means "The Connection" in Maori language - click on the photo  below for a larger image.

Linking up with Mural Monday.

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Christmas letterboxes

On my travels this week I drove down a road filled with festively decorated letterboxes. These are just a few of the ones I got photos of. Enjoy...

 Linking up with Timeless Thursdays and Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Views over Paihia

 I was in Paihia with my daughter yesterday and after we parked the car we climbed to the top of this hill - this was the view over the lower part of the town. 

We are now into early Summer so it was a stinking hot day, we stopped at one point and treated ourselves to Movenpick ice creams. 

Linking up with My Corner of the World and Wordless Wednesday

Monday, 7 December 2020

Hospice Christmas trees

While I was in one of our local supermarkets a few days ago I saw in the foyer they had 3 Christmas trees set up with volunteers raising money for Hospice NZ.

 Now the Hospice organization do a wonderful job here. They get their funding from the government to help those affected with cancer and those needing personal care from illnessness such as Multiple Sclerosis, lung failure, dementia, motor neurone disease etc.

Many op shops around the country are Hospice based and the proceeds from selling their items which people donate go to them.

Linking up with Our World Tuesday, Through my lens and Tuesday Treasures.

Saturday, 5 December 2020

Rawhiti Reflections

 We were in Rawhiti travelling through a few months ago and stopped at a small beach to look out over the water and numerous islands in the area. 

Rāwhiti or Te Rāwhiti is a small beachfront town about 27&km from Russell in the Bay of Islands of New Zealand. Most of the land in the area is owned by Māori. There are two marae — Kaingahoa and Te Rāwhiti.

Linking up with Weekend Reflections and the Weekend Roundup.

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Christmas tree competition

Last night I drove down to one of our local real estate offices where they have a Christmas tree outside on the pavement covered with lights, apparently our town is holding a competition for all local businesses to see who has the best decorated tree. I'll try and take some more photos of what other shops have up.

We have had alot going on here, 2 days ago on the 1st of December was officially our first day of Summer and I'm wondering what this season will bring. I'm hoping that our neighbour Australia doesn't have bush fires this year as bad as last year. 3 of us have been down with a nasty flu and we've had to take time off work. I heard through a friend that her baby has it and the place I use to work has alot of their workers still at work sniffing sneezing with the same thing. It makes me wonder why people insist on going out and about when they are sick, surely in this age of covid you would expect them to be a bit more conscious. Our government is planning on extending the annual amount of paid sick days from 5 to 10 - I'm pleased about that. 

One thing that has been a surprise is that B and I have been talking about a possible move to Perth in Australia. His daughter has been living there for about 3 years and has just bought her first house. The house prices here are astronomically high, the average 3 bedroom house in our town is about $600,000 and you have to have a decent deposit to buy something like that whereas the one she bought is roughly half that amount and it's very nice. We will see what happens with Covid over the next year but we will still look into the logistics of it even though it would be a major move...

Lastly I have to introduce you to an animal friend of mine. One of my clients that I visit weekly has a Black Labrador named Cleo. Recently Cleo's mum was in hospital having an operation and when she came home I bought a soft toy whale for her to play with (Cleo not her mum). Each time I go there she insists I throw it around for her outside and gets very excited.

Kia kaha, linking up with Skywatch Friday and Timeless Thursdays.

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Christmas in Motueka

 It's nearly been a year since we were in Nelson looking around each area to see if we wanted to move there.When I first visited there in 1981 I was 10 years old - I had travelled down there by plane with my nana and grandad to see my aunt and cousins for a week. Back then the Nelson region was alot smaller than it is now - this time it had grown considerably and it was obvious that it was on it's way to becoming the next Auckland. Many people are moving out of the major cities to buy cheaper properties elsewhere around the country, however the average house price in Nelson is just about what you would pay in perhaps Wellington or Whangarei.

On the 2nd to last day of our time away we drove through Motueka and really liked it. It's just over 30 minutes out of Nelson and although there were quite a few shops and businesses there it had a sort of small town feel to it. As we drove through the main street of course I had my camera in hand so I could take any on the go photos and this one caught a few street decorations that were up here and there along with residents going about their daily lives. 

Although we didn't end up moving there, B's sister and her family live there so we will definitely be going back at some point for a visit.

Linking up with Our World TuesdayThrough my lensTuesday Treasures and My Corner of the World.

Monday, 30 November 2020

Mangawhai fence mural

This mural sits on a long fence in the town I use to live in - Mangawhai. In Maori language it was named this as meaning "stream of the stingray" as the rays frequently swim in and out of the local estuary and harbour.  Pronounced as "manga" and "fie" with the "wh" being said as "f". I haven't been able to find out anymore about the artist of this mural except his name is "Marty" but having lived there for most of my life I can explain each portion. 

From the far left is a person with a paintbrush painting what looks like a Maori art design - the town has alot of artists and an art gallery.  The next one is a rock which to locals is named "head rock" and is joined to the beach by a line of smaller rocks - people frequently go fishing from there. The last one is surf boards - the beach is very very popular with people who surf. There is a local company who teach people how to surf named "Aotearoa surf school and hire".

Linking up with Mural Monday.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Traditional fishing at Quince's Landing

Along a very narrow bumpy track on the outskirts of town is this space - Quinces Landing as it's called was a small bay once used by both Maori and Pakeha to catch fish. From what I saw the ground was littered with oyster shells so I'm assuming there is an oyster farm somewhere out in the water.

 In 2017 Heritage NZ organized an event for people to enjoy a live archaeological experience which involved not just using a traditional stone fish trap but also learning other skills such as making a knife out of obsidian to cut and scale the fish which I think would be mostly Snapper.

Linking up with Timeless Thursdays and Skywatch Friday.

Edited to add: because I receive a regular amount of anonymous spam comments I've disabled anonymous people being able to comment.

Monday, 23 November 2020

Kaeo identity murals

On the side of the Kaeo 4 square (for those who don't know what this is, a 4 square is like the local store or dairy where you can buy groceries in small amounts) there is this mural I've had to photograph in 2 pieces because of it's long length. 

 This one was painted by local Whangaroa High School students depicting the town's local history and identity. From ocean life to people through to the Maori culture of the area the mural is 2.4m high and almost 15m long. 

Linking up with Mural Monday.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Wooden you know it?

 I was out with my daughter walking through town yesterday and we spotted this wooden type Christmas tree outside the local Florist shop, someone has created this version which is probably easier to put out on display and bring back inside again. I've been trying to figure out my own Christmas lights, I've put up 2 lots, one of each of the backyard fences but I have a really really long one that I accidentally broke so B fixed it for me but it still won't work. Seeing as my lights are about 2-3 years old and I didn't really pay that much for them I might just order a new set next week.

So masks have just been made mandatory on all public transport here in New Zealand but because our town is a bit too small, we don't have a local bus service so I wonder how bus drivers will monitor people wearing them or not. I feel sorry for them. 

Lastly I don't know if anyone else has been receiving spam comments about boomers, I've been getting them for quite some time and I have to say they make me roll my eyes back into my head while laughing. I think whoever is leaving these comments needs to do their research a bit better into what a boomer actually is. The phrase was created by one of our kiwi politicians, Chloe Swarbrick about people who were born anytime before 1965. Since I wasn't born until 1971 that makes me a Gen-X so the comment that is being left is a bit redundant and stupid anyway. I've been marking them as spam and deleting them. I think the person needs a hobby.

One for Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Lights are going up

 Earlier this week I put up some yellow lights along our back fence along with a light up owl that I'd bought online - both are solar powered. I still have another set of coloured lights to figure out where to put up but might look at the front of our house. Here in NZ alot of people decorate their front yards and houses with coloured lights including novelty ones like light up Santa, candles, kiwi and other animals.

Last weekend we had B's sister and her husband up for 3 days on holiday as they are travelling through the north island and we had my parents here for 2 days at the same time. I don't know about you, I like people visiting but it's nice to have our house back again once they leave.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Revisit to Puketi Forest

When we first moved up here to the far north we visited a well known Kauri forest named Puketi Forest or Manginagina native Kauri walk

Kauri trees here in NZ are highly thought of and protected so most walks like this that contain them have cleaning stations at the entry.

The walk runs around in a 15-20 minute loop from start to finish with many native plants and trees plus vegetation on the forest floor. It's very quiet and luckily while we were there yesterday we were the only ones.

Native fern fronds are also known as our silver fern (Ponga or Mamaku) and can grow up to 20 metres high.

At various turns around the walk there are signs up detailing the history of the area and of the trees. When the first settlers came here in the 1800s many Kauri trees were sadly cut down and used for building but the gum was used for trading.

 As well as Kauri other trees also grow here such as Taraire, Kohekohe, Towai and Northern Rata. Birds such as Fantails, Kokako, North Island Brown Kiwi, Kukupa, Pied Tit, Tui, Grey Warbler, Shining Cuckoo and Kingfisher also live here so it's very important for our wildlife.

Linking up with Our World Tuesday, Tuesday Treasures, Through my lens and My corner of the world.

Sunday, 15 November 2020

Kaeo Connectivity

 Is anyone else having problems with Blogger at the moment? It all started with me trying to add a new blog link but for some reason the widget I'm using within the theme won't save or do anything. Until I get it sorted out I've had to remove my blog links and will try putting them up again shortly, so if you don't see your blog in my favourites don't worry I'll still come visit everyone.

Anyway, my contribution for this week's Monday Mural is this illustration I saw in Kaeo just after Winter this year.  Someone has painted these colourful words on the side of a public loo next to the local playground. I haven't managed to find who the artist is but the words are about family connections, whanau (family), coming together and connectivity. It certainly brightens up the small town.

Kia kaha.

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Sitting quietly

 Lately since the beginning of Covid Ive wondered what the world is coming to. What happened to common sense, it doesn't appear to exist anymore. It seems we have a few cases here this week one of which a person apparently was feeling unwell and after attempting to call in sick to work was told by their manager to come in anyway, despite having being tested and awaiting results. Boggles my with tomorrow being a day off I'm going spend my day in my garden putting new plants in and enjoying the colours and scents. Anything to get away from the world's stupidity.

Kia kaha. Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Monday, 9 November 2020

Letterbox mural

 While out on a walk I spotted this letterbox outside a house that's been creatively painted with a mural of a town and country scene.  I have no idea who the artist is, probably someone with an artistic talent. 

One for Mural Mondays.

Saturday, 7 November 2020

QR codes everywhere

 Here in NZ in every single business/taxi service/public transport the new law is that a printed out QR code for that place must be clearly visible at the entrance. The idea is for people to download the App onto their cellphone and scan the code so that if there is a Covid case at that business then the people who were there that day can be easily traced and contacted if there is a need to get tested and self-isolate. Apparently it's helped alot when positive cases have arisen. I've seen people not bother to scan themselves in but I try to do it whenever I can. If people don't have a cellphone, the business is also meant to have a printed out form that people can fill out with their name. Most businesses also have hand sanitiser at the door too for people to use. We don't want Covid back.

Linking up with Weekend Reflections.

Thursday, 5 November 2020


 This is our forecast for the next 3-4 days with a heavy rain warning included so I guess there will be no boating on B's day off which is Monday every week.  

The photo above is probably the last rainy day shot I got in Spring 2019 of a maize field in Wellsford. Maize is usually a very popular product to grow here in NZ by farmers on dairy farms adding value to the farm's feed supply as well as extracting soil nutrients from high fertility effluent paddocks and it's used as a break crop in the pasture renewal process. After the maize has been harvested the farmers sometimes let the herd in the pull up and eat the leftover roots.

Last night we were watching the American elections and feeling sorry for the people - what a shenanigans. I can't believe people want to riot if their candidate isn't elected - I guess I better stop complaining about our political system. I was talking to some cousins and we are wondering why someone younger with more modern ideas doesn't step up and run for president, why not a female? Why does it have to be 2 old men? 

And it's our Guy Fawkes here today but due to the rain I think it'll be very quiet which is a good thing, I'm all for public displays - there are just too many idiots around. We don't bother buying fireworks anymore, most of them are pretty cruddy budget ones being sold.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

The teapot tree

I discovered something quirky on my travels recently. About 15 minutes out of town I spotted this tree, looks ordinary right?

Well on closer inspection as I drove past I saw that it was literally covered in different kinds of teapots.

I don't know why but I think it's a really neat idea and I think the person that owns the property is some sort of artist as they had different artwork and sculptures in their yard.

 Linking up with Our World Tuesday, Tuesday treasures, Through my lens and My Corner of the World.

Sunday, 1 November 2020

Halloween been and gone...

 We had out front yard set up with bits and pieces, my daughter had set up the front door but wouldn't you know it, once it rained all went quiet here. Mind you Halloween here in NZ really isn't that much of a big thing as it is in other parts of the world. How did yours go?

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Visiting Mapua Wharf

 Last November during our holiday in Nelson, the other half and I drove out to Mapua Wharf which is about a 25 minute drive out of town. Unfortunately we were there in early Summer while it was very overcast and drizzly so it wasn't very busy there but usually the shops in and around that area are active with visitors. There are cafes, a bicycle hire shop, a boat club, a real estate office, a wine bar, a maritime museum, an art gallery, a homewares shop, a restaurant and a hat shop. 

We were 2 of the very few people around that day so we each took turns standing behind the sign while the other took a cheesy photo. The creature artistically decorated on the bottom right of the sign is what's known as a Taniwha. Up until February this year I had long hair so this was just before I had it all cut into a shorter style.

Pretty interesting really. Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

More Spring flowers

  Linking up with  Through my lens ,  Ruby Tuesday ,  Tuesday Treasures ,  My corner of the world  and  Wordless Wednesday .