Sunday 30 August 2020

Slightly Askew

This mural in Tauranga is one of my favourites. Painted by Askew One aka Elliot O'Donnell who is from Auckland this is typical of his style which is either flamboyant graffiti or large abstract portraits.  He describes his genre as post-graffiti Pacific and he also does a huge amount of studio work in Brooklyn, New York.

Tauranga is one of those places like Mount Maunganui where there are massive amounts of murals on the sides of buildings and personally I think it's great - our world needs more colour.

Covid news - as of tonight Auckland City goes down to level 2 out of level 3 and people are being urged to wear face masks, these are mandatory on public transport. Personally I think with up to 11 cases each day on average it's too soon and it's hard to know whether people will still be aware or whether they will just live every day as normal. I hope you're staying safe - kia kaha.

Linking up with Mural Monday.

Friday 28 August 2020

Temperance meeting in Russell

 In Russell last week while the other half was investigating the tattoo shop there I walked around some of the shops trying to dodge the rain and spotted this wooden illustration next to one of the post boxes. A Victorian lady is holding a piece of paper with the words "Temperance Meeting" probably trying to recruit new members.

The above painting was completed by Captain Clayton in 1845 of the area which has since grown. According to history word had spread about the place also called "Kororareka" being called "a most noble anchorage" with it's good deep water harbour by Captain Cook. Foreign ships started arriving and whaling was a popular industry.  Life on this waterfront was rough and sometimes violent which earned it's nickname as "the hellhole of the Pacific".  

Russell became a place that was useful for the Maoris trading with the Europeans with things such as pork and potatoes.  Some of the Maori worked on the ships and made regular trips across the Tasman. No doubt many Christian missionaries touted for temperance/abstinence from alcohol but somehow with the land being covered in bush and with Russell being a tiny town at that point there wouldn't have been much else to do but drink alcohol and visit brothels. I wonder how many people she recruited for her meeting?

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday 26 August 2020

Finding Flagstaff Hill

On Monday we drove over to Russell in the Bay of Islands.  We drove through many roads and just as we were about to return home I spotted a signpost directing up a long driveway to the Flagstaff Hill Reserve on top of a high hill - this was the view over Russell from the top and was a very very windy Spring day.

On one side of the hill was this large sculpture and mosiac floor of the Bay of Islands with various plaques explaining what once happened.  This whole area is classed as a historic place as the union jack was first flown here in 1840 before being chopped down 4 times until 1845 as a symbolic gesture against the British rule.


One sign at the entry says "In 1834 the chief Hone Heke presented a flagstaff to James Busby, a British resident at Waitangi. It was to fly New Zealand's first flag, the Flag of the United Tribes. 11 years later the flagstaff had become a focus of protest and bloody fighting between the Maori and British."

In 1832 Flagstaff Hill was made a historic reserve under the management of the Bay of Islands Maritime and Historic Park. Today the flagstaff and the reserve are under the care of the Department of Conservation.

Linking up with My Corner of the World.

Monday 24 August 2020

Bluegum Cottage Mural

While in Totara North recently visiting the cemetery I noticed at the entrance to the driveway that there was this old shed, I don't know if you can see it but next to the gate on the fence is the words painted "Bluegum Cottage".  I wasn't sure if this was the right entrance or not or someone's private driveway so I asked a passerby and she confirmed there is also a cottage at the end next to the cemetery.

Once I reached the end there was a fork to walk left (to the cemetery) or right (onto private property) I noticed this shed which had this mural painted on the side featuring a small old cottage with a pukeko or a takahe, a punga fern and a deckchair on it.

  I'm not sure who the artist is, I have tried to research it but with no luck. It's very kiwiana though. 

Here in NZ our government held another press conference today in regards to the return of covid and they decided that Auckland is to stay in level 3 for another week until Sunday night. For a few days we had 1 to 2 new cases a day but today it was back up to 9 but at least we can take comfort that they have for the most part been part of the same cluster - the rest of the country is in level 2 with 1 being the lowest and 4 being complete lockdown.  Now apparently it's mandatory to wear a face mask on all public transport because they had 2 cases who caught Covid on a bus who didn't know each other. They are also trying to encourage people not congregate in large groups but there are those who just don't care and flout the rules. Who knows how long Covid is going to go for?

Linking up with Mural Monday and Our World Tuesday.

Saturday 22 August 2020

Waiting for Summer


For a while now we've been wanting to buy an outdoor table and chair set so last week when we saw they were in sale we were able to snap one up in our local Bunnings store. We originally thought we would have to drive to Whangarei to buy one but it turned out the one in our town had 1 left. They were 2 chairs short so we had to order them and hope to pick them up next week.

The idea is to be able to sit outside in warmer weather with a book and coffee along with eating lunch outside on Christmas day. My flowers in their plant pots will be blooming by then so it will be quite a colourful spot.

Thursday 20 August 2020

Stormy Spring


This photo taken about 3 years ago in Whakatane with Whale Island in the background seems to be the epitome of life at the moment. Stormy days, windy nights - typical Spring weather and yesterday the Northland region had 60mm rain

My parents had planned to come up here this week and stay with us in their camper for 3 days but they ended up postponing their trip. We are due for more rain for the next week so I'm guessing Spring is here.

Stay safe, kia kaha. Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday 18 August 2020

Testing time


While I was out on my walk last week I was surprised to see a testing station down next to our local event centre with a few cars lined up. The lady you can see looks to be taking down names and details while wearing a face masks and I can see a white tent to the left where the testing is taking place. We are still in level 2 so while we still have our freedom for the time being it's mostly Aucklanders who are in level 3 who have been getting tested but I guess it's there in case people are worried and wish to get themselves tested. 

As of yesterday:

  • the labs processed 26,014 tests and the total to date is 597,956.
  • we had 9 new cases, 58 are connected to the one cluster and the rest are in managed hotel quarantine.

Each day there are health updates screened on tv and to say our reporters are dense is an under-statement, we are quite often wondering why they ask the same question multiple times in different ways. But on the flip side we are blessed to be in the situation we are here, rather than having thousands of deaths ours is still low.

Stay safe wherever you are, kia kaha.

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

Monday 17 August 2020

Kaeo History


Another mural from Kaeo this week, this one is on the wall of the Farm and Fuel shop - I did try to find some background on it but apart from the artist being J. Marsden there was no further information, I'm assuming that it pays tribute to the town's farming history.

So a bit more about the the 2018 census there was a population of 1,191 people so it's a very small settlement.  The town takes its name from the kāeo or New Zealand freshwater mussel, which is found in the nearby rivers. Kaeo is built on the flood plain of the Kaeo River and has experienced destructive flooding. It came to national attention in 2007 when it took the brunt of three major floods within the space of a few months - in February, March and July. Water flooded homes and shops and destroyed the primary school's pool complex. The local rugby clubrooms also suffered, and the club received support from the whole country as it raised funds to lift the clubrooms off the ground to minimise the risk of damage from further flooding.

Linking up with Mural Monday.

Thursday 13 August 2020

Back to level 2


I don't know if you have been keeping an eye on our news here but it was announced yesterday that there are now 4 new positive Corona infections spread through community transmission in Auckland. To say that New Zealanders are angry is an under-statement. One of the 4 people apparently travelled to Rotorua and visited several tourist spots knowing they had tested positive so officials are scrambling to  do contact tracing and they announced that Auckland is to go back into level 3 lockdown effective midday yesterday while the rest of the country is in level 2. Because we live surrounded by alot of elderly people I was out yesterday on my daily walk wearing a surgical face mask - should've seen some of the strange looks I got from people. There are alot of people like myself who think the borders should've been closed from the very beginning.

Edited to add: This morning's news said another person tried to get into a quarantine hotel through a faulty security door *facepalm* and was arrested and 3 friends on my facebook think that wearing masks restrict oxygen to your brain *double facepalm*, one of them even said that they cause organ damage. After 5 years of working in dentistry where I had to wear these 5 days a week I'm sure that I would be in hospital if that was correct.

We also have our national elections due to happen in September and as you can see by the promotional sign above parties are out in full force with their promises. This won't be the only one that will be seen around town.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday 11 August 2020

Raindrops on Roses


For the last 6 weeks or so I have literally been a caretaker for Roses. At work we had a huge order come in of at least a hundred different varieties, some had been ordered by customers and the others needed to be repotted and placed in groups out in the yard.  

We have sold quite a few and although I bought one for myself named "Catherine" which has lovely big pink flowers and I planted some Golden Marjoram underneath it for  some contrasting colour.  That particular name is in our family - it's my middle name, my daughter's middle name, my grandmother's name, her mother's name and her grandmother's name so it goes back a few generations.

Can't wait until it starts blooming. Linking up with Our World TuesdayMy Corner of the World and Wordless Wednesday.

Sunday 9 August 2020

Ina Te Papatahi

In 2018 before we left Tauranga I spotted this mural along The Strand near the waterfront. Named "Ina Te Papatahi" by an artist named Owen Dippie who has painted walls in New Zealand, Brooklyn and Los Angeles. He is also involved in Suicide Awareness Outreach and Breast Cancer Research.

This one originally created by Charles Goldie in 1902 shows her traditional facial moko and smoking a pipe.  He painted 17 more portraits of this Ngapuhi Chieftainess and from 1902 until 1941 Goldie continued to immortalise the images of Maori Elders.  His work is featured in several New Zealand art museums.

How has your weekend been so far? As usual I've spent my Saturday and Sunday at work and I'm loving being able to spend alot of that time outside in the garden centre that employs me.  Earlier this week I spent one day cleaning our fishing rods, they were quite dirty and the rods were sticking and not running smoothly. 

I also made the boys a kiwi Pavlova which didn't last long and we have been planning our holiday next year to Napier by thinking about places we would like to visit along the way.

Arohanui to you.

Linking up with Mural Monday 

Thursday 6 August 2020

Samuel Marsden Memorial Church

When we first came up to the far north on holiday in April 2018 we drove through Matauri Bay and just before the road to the beach and campground there is this small church with a Maori urupa attached to it.

It's named after Samuel Marsden, the first missionary to New Zealand who came here in 1814 to minister to the Maori people. Accompanying Marsden were missionaries Thomas Kendall, William Hall and John King and their families; John Liddiard Nicholas (author of Narrative of a Voyage to New Zealand”) and Ruatara, Hongi Hika, Korokoro, Te Nganga, Tui and Maui.

The great Ngapuhi war chief, Hongi Hika welcomed Marsden and his colleagues with haka (war dances), inviting them to a feast. They spent the night with Hongi Hika and his people at Putataua Bay before continuing to Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands to establish the first mission station.

The small Anglican church beside the road, some 400 metres before the beach, is the Samuel Marsden Memorial Church, named in honour of the missionary's arrival on these shores. The lettering above the gate to the churchyard and urupa (cemetery) reads Te Tou O Taki”.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday 4 August 2020

The Rainbow Warrior Debacle

Yesterday the other half and I decided to travel the 15 minutes to nearby Matauri Bay so we could visit the Rainbow Warrior monument. We entered through the caravan park which had quite a few campers but still relatively quiet over Winter.

Past both sides of the beach around the coastline - the waves were very choppy. We were in 2 minds as to whether to go out on our boat or not but good that we didn't.

Walking up 2 quite steep paths to the top - I'm not the fittest person so I stopped a few times to catch my breath. You are probably wondering what's the story behind the monument. On 10th July 1985 the Greenpeace ship The Rainbow Warrior was moored in Auckland ready to confront French nuclear testing in the Morurua Atoll in the Pacific.

The captain and other crew members are fast asleep but a few others including the photographer were still up chatting with each other. Suddenly the lights went out, glass is broken along with a huge roar of water and 2 explosions heard.  Those who were already on deck managed to leap to safety onto the wharf but the photographer Fernando Pereira had been caught in a wave and drowned.

In an attempt to neutralise the ship ahead of it's planned protest French secret service agents in diving gear had attached 2 packets of plastic wrapped explosives to it, 1 to the propeller and 1 to the outer wall of the engine room. At first the French Government denied all knowledge of it but it soon became obvious that they were involved. Eventually Prime Minister Laurent Fabius appeared on the television and admitted that their secret service agents had sunk the boat and were acting upon orders. Shortly after the Defence Minister of France resigned.

The 2 agents stood trial, Dominique Prieur and Alain Mafart had posed as Swiss tourists pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter and wilful damage and were given sentences of 10 and 7 years but they were released with 2 years. A UN negotiated settlement meant they were transferred to Hao Atoll a French military base in French Polynesia.

The spy who infiltrated the Greenpeace NZ office ahead of the bombing Christine Cabon evaded arrest in Israel and hasn't been seen since. The whereabouts of the combat frogman with the alias Jean-Michel Berthelot - one of the 2 divers believed to have planted the bomb are unknown.

The Rainbow Warrior was named after a North American Cree Indian prophecy "When the world is sick and dying, the people will rise up like warriors of the rainbow".  On it's bow she carried the dove of peace carrying an olive branch and around the hull was painted the rainbow.

After the bombing the ship was given a resting place here at Matauri Bay where it became a living reef attracting marine life and recreational divers. Greenpeace replaced her with a new vessel and for 22 years the second Rainbow Warrior has campaigned for a safer future.  In 2011 the newest Rainbow Warrior the world's first purpose built environmental campaigning ship readied herself to carry on the original Rainbow Warrior's spirit.

I was a teenager when this happened, I was 14 and remember the huge public outcry of fellow kiwis as the 2 French agents got off their sentences with a slap on the wrist.   The memorial monument itself was the world of kiwi artist Chris Booth and was commissioned by Ngati Kura along with NZ China Clays.

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

Sunday 2 August 2020

Dan Mills at MOTAT

Last Summer we visited MOTAT - the Museum of transport and technology in Auckland. You might remember previous posts I've written about this interesting place. Anyway one of the many murals  there are these ones. Painted by Dan Mills the above one is a tribute to the blacksmith, an occupation popular in the Victoria era (and older eras) but still around today here and there.

This one is a nod to New Zealand agriculture with a farmer holding a pig and a farmer's wife milking cows.  I can't remember which is where but one is on the back of the vintage tractor shed and the other is on the back of one of the tram sheds.

I hope you're keeping well wherever you are. We have another rainy wet weekend so we will be staying warm and keeping dry. Kia kaha.

Linking up with Mural Monday.


  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...