We were without power today. The power board was doing scheduled maintenance so there was time to fill up the buckets and hot water flasks. I foolishly went out into the garden and got my hands all dirty before remembering no power means no water as my water is pumped into the house. I had water to wash my hands of course but the thought of six hours of total inactivity was too much for me so when Heather stopped in on her way to town I decided to go with her. It's unusual for me to go to town just for the heck of it, I don't enjoy shopping but it was better than the alternative today. I bought a few craft supplies and some vegetable plants. Yep, the last of the big spenders, that's me.
Out of nowhere, on the way home, Te Kuiti came to mind and I remembered I'd taken a number of photos there when my friend, Chris and I went to Taranaki after I got back from my Australian holiday. It's roughly 200 km before where my daughter lives when travelling south, so a good place to stay the night if you are planning on a slow trip and a good look around.
It's not a very big place, population just over 4,000, with an excellent Information Centre and public toilets right beside the railway station. The railway line runs through the middle of town with the state highway on one side and the shops on the other.
Between the shops and the railway line is a long grassed area with picnic tables, lots of trees and a number of things to see as you walk. The lovely lady in the info centre gave us a brochure with all the attractions listed but of course that is nowhere to be found now, a couple of months later. This is Tuwhakahekeao (I dare you to pronounce that) with an inscription saying something something carved with many pieces of totara (timber) as it takes many races to make one people. Chris thought he looked rather fine!
The public facility building behind the statue had lovely stained glass windows depicting the history of the town which started as a railway copnstruction town.
and also a couple of lovely frosted glass windows.
This was my favourite artwork. What a great looking bunch of five year olds!
It was a cold and gloomy, grey day, hard to get a shot of the pekapeka (bats), New Zealand's only endemic land mammals. Both long and short tailed bats are found in this area, these are the more common long tailed sort. They are about the same size as mice and weigh 8 to 10 kgs (17 - 22 lbs) which seems quite heavy to me. They are now on the endangered species list.
Not far from the bats was this guy - Mahoenui Giant Weta, which are only found in one place, a 180 ha (444 acres) patch of gorse about 30 km (18 miles) out of town. Because of them that patch of gorse is the only legally protected gorse in the land. (Gorse is a major weed pest here in NZ.) Weta are closely related to grasshoppers and crickets, they are the largest insects in the world weighing up to 70 grams (2.5 ozs) and can be up to 8 cm (3 ins) long. Looks a bit fearsome, huh?
At the back of the shops was a neat little stream, not much bigger than a drain.
I've often stopped in Te Kuiti to eat in the past but had never before lingered and wandered. I was pleasantly surprised. Chris and I had a chuckle when we overheard two Maori guys talking in the street and we couldn't understand a word they were saying although it was clear they were speaking English. They must have their own lingo down there.
We stopped at the top of the hill on the way south out of town. I'm pretty sure the town would be a bit too cold for me.
South of town Chris stopped the car as soon as she saw me lift the camera. She knew what had caught my eye. We agreed this is a typical NZ hill country farm scene.