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.


  Photo taken last time I was in Westport. I do like brightly painted buildings, especially old ones like this. I personally prefer to make ...