Sunday, February 28, 2010

The crippled crab takes a walk

 

I've just returned from an hour long walk.  Or, to be more precise, from a walk that took an hour to complete.  The loop around the farm usually takes about half an hour but today I was walking like a crippled crab, a bit hunched over and slightly sideways.   It might not have looked like I was enjoying the walk but I could feel my aching back loosening with each step.  

Looking around the farm it is obvious we desperately need rain.  There's still a bit of green on the flats but the hills are awfully dry.
Down by the creek the little stream that is fed by a spring up in the mountains is down to a slow trickle.


 And where it feeds into the creek, weed is flourishing.  It needs a good downpour to flush it all away.


 

A bit further along the creek, it looks more like a lake, there is so little movement in the water.

 Even the poplars along the creek bank look dull and dusty.

  

Weeds are flourishing amongst the grass too, but I couldn't bend down to get a close look at them. 

 

It's a glorious day.  Many Kiwis are being denied a day in the sun at the beach because of the tsunami surging around the coast.  But imagine being one of the people in the earthquake zone in Chile.  My sympathy is with them.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Friday My Town Shoot Out

I joined the Friday Shoot Out team at the end of May and haven't missed a week since, but I think I was visiting most of the original participants from practically the start.  It just took me a while to summon up the courage to participate.  I'm so glad I did.  I think my photography has improved and I'm enjoyed the weekly challenge immensely, even when I found them extremely difficult.  
My movements have been restrained by a very sore back this week and I couldn't get out and take any new photos. This week the My Town Blogger Team invited us to revisit our favourite topic.  Sitting is very uncomfortable for me right now, so I've decided to enter the link to my very first shoot out when the topic was Water. To visit the rest of the team and see their photos, just click here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Shoot Out - Town Plaza


This past week hasn't been my best ever.  The weather has been hot and very, very humid.  I don't mind a bit of heat but I don't like humidity.  And I haven't been feeling myself, been a bit out of sorts really.  Probably not drinking enough water. 

Not being in a good frame of mind, every time I thought about this week's topic I had a brain freeze because there is no town plaza around here.  Finally this morning driving to work thinking, "It's Friday.  Think, girl, think",  I was hit with an inspiration.  Let's not quibble about what constitutes inspiration.

A polytechnic college is a community.  Choosing the words that suit my purpose from Redlan's description, we have places at the polytech where crowds gather to celebrate special occasions. A small marae (maori meeting house) stands at the entrance to the polytech and it is here that people gather on special occasions. 

On Monday, we had the first day of the new semester and an Orientation Day for new students.  However, we knew there would be more people than the marae can accommodate so an area was set up in the car park for the powhiri (welcoming ceremony) and that area became, to all intents and purposes, the marae.


 I'm not going to try to explain the protocols because they are quite complicated.  Just share with you a series of photos taken at the powhiri.  Above, the karanga, a unique form of female oratory, in which the high pitched voices of women from both sides call to each other to exchange information to begin to establish intent and the purpose of the visit.


 The crowd comes slowly forward

Whaikōrero or formal speech making follows the karanga:


A waiata or song is sung after each whaikōrero by the group the orator represents. It is common to hear traditional waiata during pōwhiri. Above is the tangata whenua (home people).  Below gathered opposite them, and a little apart, are the new students.



After all the speech making is done with, the visitors come forward across the space separating the two groups to shake hands and hongi with the tangata whenua (home people).  The traditional hongi, the pressing of noses, signifies the mingling together of the sacred breath of life, and the two sides become one.  In this case, the new students and the polytech.  However, most Maori elders will greet their visitors in a manner that the visitor feels comfortable with. 
The sharing of food signifies the end of the powhiri.


Then, if you are a student and don't have a class, you can lay under a tree and contemplate your future.  Staff, like me, had to go back to work!

I'm happy now.  So, we don't have a town plaza!  We do have our own unique gathering places.  To check out other's photos just visit here.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Borroloola (Northern Territory)

I never did get to Borroloola.  In the sixties and early 70s, when I lived in Mt Isa, in North West Queensland (Aust) my ex and his mates used to go to Borroloola on fishing expeditions.  I always wanted to go but was never invited.  I guess when I said I'd like to go no one took me seriously.  Dutiful wives of the time stayed home with the children while their husbands went on hunting/fishing trips.  And I was a dutiful wife.  But I loved the sound of the placename, how it rolled off the tongue. 


My brother, Danny sent me these photos of a crocodile that was captured recently at Borroloola  After all these years I can finally accept, maybe it was for the best that I never got to Borroloola.



The pictures were taken last week at Borroloola (NT).  The cros measured 6.325 metres (over 20 feet) long and weighed 18,550 kilos (over 40,000 pounds) - that's a very big lizard.  It started annoying one of the local Barra fishermen by eating the prop off his outboard.  He reckons that it was circling the 5 metre tinny for 20 minutes before the decision to kill it was made by him and a very frightened decky (deckhand).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A bit random

I've succumbed to some sort of summer tummy bug.  You don't need the details. 

Too frazzled to collect my thoughts and just feel like being a bit random. 

  
A nice spot to sit...but probably too far from the bathroom.  (I know, I can be a bit indelicate!)

  
Carving on waka (Maori canoe) at Waitangi
  
Shop sign in Mangonui.  
We went back the next day.  Jen was a delightful young winemaker, Edie her cute little two year old.

  
Just an old building
  
Just another old building
Three tourists

Monday, February 15, 2010

Second favourite

There weren't many disappointments when that Hebridean and I went touring the north.  OK, the car spitting the dummy was not a highlight but the home my niece Paulette whisked us away to when she came to our rescue had a magnificent view.  And it was a beautiful moonlit night.



The disappointment for me was discovering when we collected the little hire car that there were some NZ roads on which we were forbidden to drive that car.  And one of them was my favourite drive in the north.  And believe you me, knowing the north reasonably well as I do, there are many worse roads than the coast road to Russell.  But rules are rules.  So I made sure that we had plenty of stops of my next favourite drive, the road from Tauranga Bay to Matauri Bay. 

 
Above and below is Tauranga Bay, quite crowded for a Northland beach really.

 

If you don't have time for lots of photos, give up now.  I'm afraid I got carried away and there are so many lovely spots, wild surf beaches and quiet little bays, that I'd love to share with you.

 

 

  
I've said it before - GB makes a great silhouette!  (This is the lovely big tree we found to shelter from the sun when we stopped for lunch.)

 
Sorry about the fence wires.  Sometimes you just can't get close enough to get a shot without the wires!

  
 

 
Matauri Bay

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Te Arai

Last Sunday I went with two girlfriends to collect shells at Te Arai.  We met for lunch at the Smashed Pipi in Mangawhai and I managed to get a few photos for my Friday Aquariums topic.  I had hoped to get a few more out at the beach but wasn't happy with the results.  


From Te Arai car park the beach stretches north to Mangawhai with a rocky headland on the southern end.  South past this headland is very rocky and it was here we were headed, past the solitary fisherman trying his luck off the rocks.  

 

It was mid afternoon by the time we reached the beach and quite hot despite the sea breeze.  A glorious summer day.


I could sit, watch and listen for hours to the surf as it rolls in and crashes against rocks, a sight and sound I love.


Heading back to the carpark we heard another sound I love.  The sound of kids laughing and having fun.  A group of lads were leaping into the sea from the high rocks on either side of what I think is best described as a gutway.  This was obviously not the first time they had entertained themselves this way.  And we three ladies were in no way fearful that they would injure themselves - they knew what they were doing!  Maybe they were showing off a little for the camera but not too much.  The lad who wasn't as confident from the highest ledge still climbed down to a lower jumping point.  Each lad timed his jump to co-incide with a breaker as it rolled in and swelled as it forced it's way through the narrow opening.


Gosh, it was wonderful watching them.  They were so carefree and happy!  One minute they were jumping from one side, the next they would be leaping from the other, scampering from the sea up to their launching site like happy rabbits.


A little later as we sat under a tree and discussed a possible camping holiday next summer the lads came past us and asked did I get any good photos.  I gave them the camera to have a look and was amused by the bunch of their young heads gathered around the camera.  When they handed it back I asked them to stay as they were so I could get a photo of them and they happily obliged.  (I promised to make them famous, too!)


Then the little sister of one of them appeared in front of us and they all went running off up the beach with her in hot pursuit.  


Even if I had not gathered enough shells to make the shell heart I would have been perfectly happy with my day at the beach. 

Whangaroa Harbour

Here's a traveller's tip!

If, while driving along the banks of a pretty harbour, you spy some sort of shell fish farming and you decide to pull over for a better view......do not pull into the little layby that the oyster farmers use to store their old nets.  I think this was the briefest stop of our trip!!  Old oyster shells and the hot sun are not a good mix.


I don't know anything about oyster farming so have no idea what the little floating shed is used for.

 

I liked the little general store perched above the rocks of the harbour.

  

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Waimamaku Stream


 I'm glad I took a photo of this sign or I would have thought I got the place name wrong.  Why Waimamaku Stream is on the east coast of the North Island and Waimamaku is on the west coast is beyond me. 

I wonder if GB remembers why we pulled over here.  It is certainly not a destination, doesn't feature in any tourist literature or maps.  I think this roof of an old boatshed, which is below the level of the road, may have caught my eye:
  

I love discovering little places like this.  There was a grass track from the road down to the stream.  Some places don't look their best when the tide is out, but I thought this spot was just perfect.  Little boats were pulled up into the long grass beside the stream.  It's obviously safe to just leave them there.  


Not much point in putting them in the old boatshed.  It had a chain, but there was no lock.


The little harbour into which the stream flowed:

 

These are some of my favourite photos from our trip.  To me they are typical of Northland.