Tuesday, 31 March 2020

The old Grafton Bridge Flats


See that building on the corner? It's known as the old Grafton Bridge Flats - 5 years ago they were up for sale and despite looking it's age some of the flats are still being lived in by tenants, probably university students or nurses who work across the road at the Auckland Hospital.

According to the Timespanner blog, the land that it sits on use to belong to the Wesleyan School that shifted to Three Kings but kept the land as an endowment asset. This makes sense as my dad's great grandparents were of the same religion and they lived in the city as well in the late 1800s.

I haven't been able to find the exact age of the buildings but from my research I've established that there have always been shops below the flats from this advertisement in the NZ Herald 1927:


And this advertisement from the Auckland Star 1927 wanting a tenant for one of the balcony flats which would've overlooked the entire city:



The only other photo I've managed to find of it is this one from when it was for sale through Bayleys Real Estate but you can see parts of Parnell, Ponsonby, Sandringham etc behind it.

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

Monday, 30 March 2020

Mangawhai Sushi


My youngest son and I are huge fans of Asian food - usually sushi is our go to. Back in Mangawhai, where we've just moved from there is a sushi shop that has this Japanese type mural on the wall complete with painted fish and a cherry blossom tree. They make the best sushi I've ever tasted so whenever we are in town we always try to visit them.

Linking up with Monday Murals.

In other news now that we are moved up we are unpacking bit by bit. The other half visited the local supermarket yesterday and said the line outside was very long, no doubt people weren't practicing their 2 metre rule. I am hoping to get an interview at my old workplace this week and we are so far taking advantage of the click and collect service where you can order shopping online and then pick it up outside in lockers. Our Coronavirus level now is up to 514 and we have had our first death with it.

I hope you are staying safe.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

The beat goes on...


We are finally moved in and are gradually unpacking in bits and pieces, no point stressing. Now that we are at the new property we are basically staying put until the other half starts work next week and I have a job interview at my old workplace. We've had no internet for the last 2 days but it's been quite nice not having the distraction of it other than that  we can't go for nature walks, can't go sight seeing, can't explore new places, can't do much at all but it's for the best really.


Our Coronavirus count has gone up to 451 as of today and mostly spready by kiwis coming back from overseas and a few tourists here and there but I suspect there will be more of people who weren't tested who were no doubt self isolating at home. Sadly there are still some other people though who are out and about, swimming at beaches, going for unimportant walks and drives - these people concern me as we are all meant to be in lockdown only going out if it's absolutely necessary.

Anyway hope you are all ok, I will go blog visiting later today until then I'll get back to opening a few more boxes...

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Moving on....


New Zealand today is in lockdown, that means everyone, unless you're on essential business has to stay at their property for the next 4 weeks. As of yesterday our level of infected people rose to 205 (I think) so we made the very quick decision to fill 2 cars with boxes and various possessions to take to the new property 2 hours away. We ended up getting stopped by cordons of officials who were giving people healthchecks, we were ok so we were waved through but it was a bit of a scary experience.

We do however have clearance from Northland's mayor to move because the other half and I are considered part of our country's essential services that have to keep working. He fixes peoples phone lines, internet etc and I am going back to my old work which is allowed to stay open.  So today and until our internet is connected at the new property we won't be online very much - stay safe and we will see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

A slow moving shipwreck


Last year we visited Shipwreck Bay (Te Kohanga) in Ahipara. Usually a perfect surfing spot it is well known for still containing some old wrecks that are visible at low tide and was featured in the 1966 movie "Endless Summer".

So our infection level is up to 102 as of this morning and it seems our prime minister has moved our country to alert level 3 and then straight onto level 4 on Wednesday. What that means is that all schools, restaurants, bars, public places have to close - the only places that are allowed to remain open are essential services such as hospitals, doctor's surgeries by phone appointment, technicians (such as my other half who fixes phones, broadband etc), supermarkets and shops etc.

Unfrotunately even though people have been told numerous times not to panic and stockpile they have ramped it up another level. Some supermarkets have police and security services there to only let in certain amounts of people at a time. It's quite ridiculous really. We had a hiccup here, we had a moving truck pre-cooked a month ago, they phoned us today to cancel as they have been told to close and go into lockdown. In the end we managed to find another removal truck in another town that we can hire for 3 days over the weekend.

So for the next 4 weeks everyone has to stay home and only essential travel is allowed. We are hoping this blows over quickly but it's the retailers I feel sorry for - so many businesses will probably go under.

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

Monday, 23 March 2020

Murals at Cabbage Tree Cafe


I spotted these colourful murals in a Whangarei cafe over Summer. The name of the place is called "Cabbage Tree Cafe" and it's a little bit hidden and out of the way down a side street but once inside I felt like it had a cosy feeling.


I've tried to find out who the artists were but sadly can't find anything not even on their Facebook page. Oh well, my daughter loved their food and she reckons they make the best chocolate cakes she's ever tasted.


We are up to 66 cases of Corona Virus here now and most of the cases seem to be people who have been overseas coming back into the country. Not everyone is taking it seriously still, we've had reports of tourists who are picking up camper vans and travelling around having contact with others. It's a worrying time and fingers crossed it'll be over soon. We have been cleaning out our freezer over the weekend and giving away frozen pre-packaged meals to people who are housebound, there's no point holding onto stuff when it could benefit others.

Linking up with Monday Murals.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

One week to go

Cyclists at Mount Victoria, Devonport

One week to go until we move. I've completed about 3/4 of the packing and only have last minute things to do mostly in the kitchen.

We heard this morning that NZ has 53 cases of Corona Virus now with the number rising mostly this week. The borders have been closed at our International Airports to non residents and anyone currently here on holiday from overseas is meant to be self isolating but many tourists have been ignoring that. It's hard for me to imagine someone deliberately flouting health rules that are meant to be there for everyones safety and I don't know whether to say it's rude, selfish or both. My parents are both in the 70s and they have been staying at home.

People are also meant to be staying at least 2 metres away from others with a limit of 100 people in public indoor places but there are still restaurants that again are ignoring this, people really don't seem to be that concerned which I find a bit bizarre.

Back to sorting out kitchen drawers...

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Whangarei District War Memorial


With the Corona Virus still doing the rounds it looks like our annual ANZAC day has been cancelled. Today we heard that in total we now have 28 cases and mostly from people who have travelled back here from other countries, one person was tested in Australia and still chose to come here without waiting for the results - the way people think boggles my mind.

This District War Memorial in Whangarei was opened in 2015, pretty recent I know. It was relocated from another place in town and now incorporates 1st world war and 2nd world war veterans.  The wall is made of black marble inscribed with names of an additional 470 men who also died in the South African, Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan wars.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

It's allergy season


This week I am down with the usual Autumn hayfever allergies, probably just as well I'm not working right now. In the weekend we caught up with an old friend of the other half's from school days, he had his wife and friends with him who were all travelling north on holiday. We met them at Langs Beach, about 15 minutes north of here and pretty much baked in the sun but this morning we had a good downpour of rain that was well needed. Still managed to get this photo of a Black Shag showing off in the sun along with the obligatory seagulls and godwits on the other side of the sand.

Here we have been hearing 24/7 of the spread of the Corona Virus around the world - are you worried about it or do you think not alot of it. I can't believe in other countries people have been stockpiling in supermarkets and shops - here we manufacture toilet paper and our own produce, meat here so people haven't really been going too nuts. Here people who come into the country are meant to be self isolating for 2 weeks but when we watched the news last night there were some people who had a blase attitude about it as they commented they couldn't be bothered doing that - it just amazed us really. This morning apparently a tourist got sent back home after arriving last night and going to a backpackers instead of self isolating.  Thoughts?

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

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Back to Te Arai surf beach


Last weekend the other half and I drove out to our local Te Arai surf beach. We've been here many times over the years but this was for something to do - since I'm not working at the moment it's easy to get a bit of cabin fever sometimes.


The waves weren't really very surfy but it was good to see on most of the sand dunes near the carpark signs saying no dogs allowed (due to endangered bird nesting areas) and other signs warning people not to step on the vegetation which is currently being re-planted, unfortunately I did see people walking all over them which dismayed me somewhat.


For a long time local activists have been protesting the council developing the land which edges onto this coastline, somewhat for the endangered birds and for fear that public access to the beach will be closed off.


A billionaire from the USA was allowed to build a luxury golf course which covers 600 ha and also will eventually include 40 house sites and an airstrip. People such as Barack Obama and John Key have stayed here. The development has been a bone of contention in our town for the last few years. If you want to know more check out this link.


Some of the birds that nest along this shoreline include Oyster Catchers, Dotterils, Fairy Terns and Godwits.  Although in Summer this is a popular surfing spot most visitors here are pretty clued up about what not to do but when the area starts to quieten down it goes back to being a very restful spot.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Last of the Summer rays


Yesterday we had an agent showing people through our house so I took my daughter out for an appointment anyway, while we were out we stopped off at the local surf beach to catch the last of the Summer rays before we move, looks like other people had the same idea as us, was a perfect day for it.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

First time at Pouto


Temperatures are really starting to cool down here and places that are normally busy over Summer have now quietened down.


Mondays are normally the other half's day off so we drove out to the Pouto Peninsula which is about an hour or so from Dargaville. Now Dargaville is about an hour and a half from where we live so it's a long way to go and mostly dirt/gravel roads through forestry areas.


Pouto is at the northern end of the Kaipara Harbour, and the catchment area includes around 50 dune lakes over 1 hectare in size.


If you walk a further 7kms around the beach you can reach the Pouto Lighthouse, unfortunately the tide was too high, but where we did walk the sand was scattered with driftwood, seaweed and shells. It's probably one of the cleanest beaches I've visited in a long time.


Can't forget the obligatory Variable Oyster Catchers who roam the shores in Northland and Auckland - there also was also a fenced off area for nesting birds which was nice to see and we were pretty much the only ones there. These guys breed in pairs from September through to March but they are over 5 years old before they begin the process.  They have been a protected species since 1922.


Pouto is also a place where various historic shipwrecks are and it's known as "the graveyard". The views from the lighthouse also include a large pine forest, views of the Tasman sea and the remains of a 63,000 year old fossilized Kauri forest.  Apparently from what I've heard the fishing is fantastic and if you look at the land in the distance in this photo above it's of South Head near Helensville.

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

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Opening up by Gina Kiel

If there's one thing I like doing it's exploring towns to see what artwork, if any is painted on the sides of buildings.

This mural in Whangarei is located on the side of one such building in James street and is titled "Opening up, Sharing the Colours, Communication is is connection" and was part of the Manaia Street Prints Festival of 2019.

Painted by Wellington local Gina Kiel who has said it fits well with the "Tuia te muka Tangata" or "Weaving the threads of humanity" theme. It encourages the idea of peaceful communication being a connection with people everywhere.

Gina is an award winning illustrator who exhibits at group shows around the world, creating work in her home studio for clients nationally and internationally, tattooing and painting murals.  Judging by the work on her website I'd say she is one clever cookie.



Linking up with Mural Monday.

Friday, 6 March 2020

Abandoned house in Maungaturoto


Out on the gravel road about 15 minutes out of Maungaturoto my daughter and I spotted this abandoned house on the side of a hill. When I see houses like this I wonder who lived in it, how old it is? From what we could see it was completely burned out inside.

21 days until we move up north. More stuff has been getting donated but I do wonder why people say they want something if they aren't going to pick it up. Our town has a local Facebook page where people give things away for free and people say they want it, then a name gets drawn and that person picks up the item. Sometimes people just don't pick the item up, which I think is rude and I had that happen to me on Wednesday. I do think if you give someone a date and time to meet them and you don't turn up then that's kind of like bad manners, the least you could do is to tell them you can't make it. Is it just me or is there just a lack of common courtesy these days?

Oh and we've had rain - yay! Not alot but just enough in bits and pieces and it has been so much cooler at night.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

The Moa and the Kiwi


This week I have been busy at home starting the packing process, going through my linen cupboard to decide what we kept and what we really didn't need. There was no need to be ruthless we really did have alot of stuff. In the end I put things like sheets, pillowcases, duvet covers, dvd movies and kitchen appliances on local Facebook pages for people to pick up - let's just say each thing went very quickly.

Anyway last time we were in Waipu I spotted this wooden carving outside the local vets. Apparently in 2016 two gum trees which had grown too big were due to be cut down. One of the trees was carved into a dog but this one was carved into a large moa bird and a smaller kiwi next to it.

A chainsaw sculptor named Peter Hardie was responsible for the handywork and the locals of the town were very happy with the end result.

Linking up with My Corner of the World.

Monday, 2 March 2020

Rame Yoh - Robot Fish


I was going through some of my photos from a few years ago when we lived in Mount Maunganui, I had forgotten about this mural I had snapped a photo of which was painted on a building along the main street.

Robotic Fish (as I call it) was painted by Rame Yoh as part of the Street Prints Mauao Campaign from 2015 - 2017. Apparently there was more around the back of the building but I didn't realize this hence me only getting this side.

I love the idea of artists painting buildings, I think it discourages untidy graffiti and allows them to show off their talents.

Linking up with Mural Monday and Our World Tuesday.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

We have a property!


We heard yesterday that we have finally scored a property so we should be moving by the end of March - it's a big relief and we are looking forward to starting again.  Here's a piece of Kerikeri history...it's what remains of the old hydro-electric station which began to produce power to 17 customers on 11 July 1930 and it is stuck in the middle of the Rainbow Falls river walk.

A Mr George Alderton with a land developer and some of his customers were British civil servants that were wanting to settle in town. Alot of them were use to having a privileged life along with servants and maids etc, the wives were not impressed at having to do the manual work themselves which is why having electricity would be essential.  George set up his company so the settler's wives would be happy and want to buy the land.


He then employed Lloyd Mandeno to investigate the potential of a hydro station on the Kerikeri River. He said that it should supply at least 300 horsepower but because of low seasonal flooding the water should be diverted from the Puketotara River.

At the end of 1929 George Alderton's company began constructing the dam as well as the open water race for water diverted from the 2 rivers and in 1930 the power was turned on.  The surviving machinery of the powerhouse has been restored (above) and placed where it originally was so visitors can walk along the track and see inside.