Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Another Hokianga Church - Waireia Church, Lower Waihou

Shops and places to purchase petrol are few and far between in the Hokianga.  Just as I was beginning to get a bit concerned we came to Panguru with a small shop and an old fashioned petrol bowser beside it.  I had to guess how much I needed and the shop keeper programmed in that amount and then pumped it in for us.  Which provided an opportunity for a chat and to learn about a few more churches we didn't know about.  

He said there was one at Lower Waihou and we could see that on the map but had gone a ways past that point before we came to it.  It was the church a work colleague had told me about - looks like something out of the wild west was her description.  It certainly was different from the other little wooden churches we saw.

It was erected by a Dutch priest, Father Kreymborg, between 1917 and 1927 when he was serving at Panguru.

It was one of the few churches we saw that had a choir - oh darn, what's the name of the elevated place where church choirs sing? Loft?  Anyway, of the few we saw, this was the only one that was still accessible.

We found it unusual for the inside of Hokianga churches to be painted white.

It has that lovely blend of European and Maori cultures that are evident in so many of these churches.


 Further along the same road is the little church at Te Karaka, birthplace of Dame Whina Cooper.

Did I just say not many churches are painted white inside?  Oops, this one is, too.

I thought it was lovely in it's simplicity.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Churches of the Hokianga

On Thursday someone looked at me closely and asked if I was feeling OK. I told her I was fine, just fed up with this cold. But, I added, I was about to have time off in the Hokianga and if that didn’t fix me, they’d better starting digging a hole for me.

Digging can be deferred for a while. Despite driving around 820 kms in the past 5 days, I have more energy now than I had on Thursday. 

A couple of years ago I did a series of posts about churches in the north. This trip was more specifically about churches in the Hokianga. Apparantly there are 60 of them. I think we found just under 20. Some of them I’d visited before, the others were wonderful discoveries. My travel companion GB is a much more fervent blogger than I am and I think intends to blog about all of them. I’ll just post about the few that were new to me and where I had noticed any changes from two years ago. 

Last time I was at St Mary’s at Motuti, where the remains Bishop Jean Baptiste Francois Pompallier were reinterred under the altar in 2002 (he’d died and been buried in his native France in 1871), I’d wondered about the significance of a large rock sitting in the church foyer. Now there is a sign above it explaining it was unearthed during the $12 million refurbishment of St Patrick’s Cathedral (in Auckland) and was gifted to the people of the Hokianga on the 169th anniversary of Bishop Pompallier’s first Mass.

Outside the church are new Stations of the Cross. I’ve never seen them out of doors before and was quite taken by them. 

I thought each was a lovely work of art.

There was also a new outdoor crucifex.

Half the present church building was originally at Pompallier’s first mission at Purukau. It was moved to Motuti in 1922. We weren’t actively looking for the first mission site, didn’t even know it existed but a small sign pointed the way and we followed, despite thinking a few times we must surely have gone past it by now. I think that was the worst road we travelled on and wheel tracks indicated only one other vehicle had travelled the road that day. But we eventually reached it, and after following the not often treaded track, we came to the little clearing by the water.


The little building under the trees has nothing to do with the mission.  It looks like an abandoned hunter's hut.

Below is a picture of the same spot it in 1894.

Yes, I think I can detect it is the same church.

It's hard to imagine how these quiet little backwaters of the harbour could once have been such busy, bustling places.

Friday, 24 February 2012

FSO - Motion

Thank you, Rebecca for sharing your knowledge on how to capture motion.  This shot was just a lucky fluke as I took it back in November.    If I manage anything in the next couple of days, I will add them.  Otherwise this will be it for this week as I'll be away from Thursday until Monday.   But I'll be on the lookout for paths, etc for next week and hopefully I'll find a few welcoming doors for the following week.  I'll be in the beautiful Hokianga, which is about an hours drive west and a couple of hours north of here. 

I'll get around everyone's FSO when I get back.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Stormy weather

With all the hot, humid weather lately, a storm was a certainty sooner or later.  This afternoon it finally arrived.  Unfortunately it didn't quite arrive here - I love a good storm.  We were only about a mile from the edge of it.  Just before the school bus was due at 3.30 the thunder started rumbling and the dark clouds moved in to hang over the mountain.  

My son called in to ask would I pick up Georgia from the school bus if the skies opened and I was standing outside, listening to the thunder rolling around when the bus stopped at my gate.  What a nice bus driver she has.  Rather than drop her off at her gate, he'd stopped at mine so she wouldn't get wet.  I wasn't the only one who thought we were in for a drenching.  We talked about storms for a while and looked up the different colours of lightning on the net and when we next looked out, the sky was clear.

But not for long.  Two hours later the dark clouds were back - in the opposite direction.

We walked out into the paddock closer to the trees where the clouds appeared to be touching their tops.

Don't worry, we were safe.  The only two flashes of lightning we saw were miles and miles away.  I try to pass on to Georgia the things I love.  Just as when I see and hear a good storm I think of my grandmother and remember the happy times I spent storm watching with her, I hope one day she too will appreciate the power and beauty of nature and yes, that she will remember me.

Friday, 17 February 2012


 There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired.
- F(rancis) Scott Key Fitzgerald

This week I've been pursued to do things, I've pursued other people to do things,  been busy, busy, busy.  And I'm tired, tired, tired.  My recent years of laziness catching up with me?!

No, sympathy is not expected.  Along with the tiredness is a feeling of satisfaction.  But not much in the way of hearts.

As I usually do when I haven't been motivated to go looking around town for shots to fit the topic, I've prowled around the house knowing there would be little to be found in the hearts and roses line.  I give up and wander outside thinking perhaps I will find a heart shape provided by nature.  Nope!  Then I notice the shell heart shaped thing Georgia and I made a couple of years ago sitting on the barbeque table.

I'm seriously not a hearts and roses person. So imagine my surprise as I download the photo and lift my eyes to the photo of my departed father and a heart hits me in the eye.  It is right there about six inches above my monitor, a little jar holding pens, etc  I have to turn it upside down to see it clearly.

And so my thoughts turn to a place near to my heart and I am off on a journey to return there.  I follow this narrow road up the valley.

Past the old house of my paternal grandparents where I spent the first five years of my life.


 Past the fields of lush green crops.

And soon I see it, just before the road ends, in the distance, over the creek and up the lane there it is, the home of my maternal grandparents.

And guess what?  I feel rejuvenated, a little of the energy I had as a child running around those hills with my brothers and sisters searching for wallabies and avoiding snakes, has crept into my heart.   (We made so much noise we had little chance of seeing either.)

This place is not near my town, nor in New Zealand but it is the place that will never leave me.

To see how the other team members have interpreted the topic of Hearts, please pop over here.  

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Techno magic

It's not often I give thanks for someone else's misfortune although I have to confess this is the second time in less than a week. But thanks to GB proving he is a real mortal after all when it comes to tecno things, and his connections to even smarter techno people, I now know about and have Postvorta installed here. 

It's over there on the left below Followers.

Everything that happens in computer land is magic to me and this is pure magic. It indexes everything on the blog and then helps you find them.  I don't know if anyone else would ever want to use it except to check that I'm not using bad language, but it will be a great aid to my memory when I need to go back to find something, or to see if that something is even there.

Thanks, Mark.  You're a legend.

And the other instance I rejoiced at someone else's misfortune?  Can't say a lot but I see it more as justice and it involves a neighbour, the police and a crop.

Oh, yes, it's raining!  Rural people are so boring about the weather, aren't they?

Morning delights

I gave myself yet another surprise when I was putting together today's post.  It's not like me to work on a post beforehand, except for the Friday Shoot Outs when I occasionally get my act together if I'm not going to be around to post it on Friday.  I hit Publish by mistake, then immediately deleted the post.  Too late, it seems, it has been visible but not accessible.  Sorry if that puzzled anyone.

Morning seemed like a better time for a walk yesterday.  I didn't go far, just up the track a bit to see the cows enjoying their morning feast. They looked like they were playing Bingo - "heads down and looking".  They probably don't say that any more.  Hell, for all I know people may not even play Bingo any more.   

Good old Google knows!  This is my day for surprises - you can play it on line!   And I found three Kiwi Bingo supply shops with websites, so there is obviously a demand.  I wonder if it's still an event in retirement villages? 

I'm in danger of going off on a tangent and telling stories from the Bingo fundraising nights I used to help run for my ex's football club about 40 years ago. 


OK, back to my other morning delights.   I discovered carrot weed, which is such a jolly pest, looks quite beautiful before it flowers if you catch it at the right time of day covered in morning dew.

Around 9 am I checked the grass at the back of the house, where it is thickest, to see if it was dry enough to do the mowing  .  At the time the sky was nothing but blue with pure white fluffy clouds on the horizon.  But rain was predicted and I wanted to get the lawn done, so I could enjoy it when it arrived - we need it!  I did eventually mow it and still we've had nothing but a light drizzle this morning.

Back to yesterday morning ...I noticed a delicate web forming a tiny tent in the grass at my feet.

Once down there I spotted many of them.  A gathering of gossamer tents.

I'll be off on another tangent.  Can't even think the word gossamer without being back as a child, sitting on my grandmother's verandah (in those days a deck was on a boat) looking through her photo albums and newspaper clipping descriptions of wedddings.  Always seemed to me then that the best brides got a "gossamer" somewhere in the description of their gown.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Bathroom scales and a bath in the creek

A cooling breeze can be so deceptive.  Because the breeze was blowing things around inside the house, I thought it wouldn't be too hot to go for a walk just after lunch time.   From the top of the hell it looked nice and cool on the other side.

But when I got down there, there was no breeze on this side of the hill and along the creek banks. By then I was half way round the farm loop, so had to plough ahead.

But there was a distraction...something in the creek caught my eye.  Looked like a bathtub.  Really?  A bathtub.   I could only see it from one spot, and that was some distance away.

I walked past, trying to get another sighting of it, then decided I would just have to get down to the creek somehow.  I came to a spot where I thought I could scramble under the electric fence and slide down a fair way on my bottom.  Once I would have just dived in and done it but I'm a little more cautious these days, more aware of my lack of agility.  

Cell phone in pocket?  Check.  Coverage?  Check.  Description of where I am ready in case I have to be bailed out?  OK.  Good to go.

It took a while.  The sliding on bum in the loose dirt part went well.  But it did take a while plodding over very uneven ground through alligator weed that came up to my waist in places, testing each step with my walking pole.  I had to sit down and laugh when I finally saw what my bathtub was.

It's an old woolpak that must have been washed downstream during a flood and became lodged on an old tree stump.  I'm awfully glad there was a nice reflection or I might have become annoyed with all that effort for nothing.

Getting back up to the track wasn't as easy as going down.  Where I had simply slid down, it was hands and knees on the way back up the bank and pretty hard on them it was too. 

I had to rest a few times before I got home.  Gosh, it was hot.

I noticed how much the maize crop has grown.  When I downloaded my photos I realized I'd taken a photo of the maize a month ago today.  That's it in the first shot.  The colour of the leaves has really deepened and now the husks on the cobs are starting to darken.  Soon it will be ready.

Which reminds me, the cows are now grazing the turnip crop.  One day during the week when I got home I found my bathroom scales sitting out on the deck.  I idly wondered how they had got there but thought all will be revealed in due course, picked them up and put them away.  Not 5 minutes later my son came into the yard with two sacks on the back of the quad and said, "You've put them away already?"  I knew he meant the scales and when I put them back where he'd left them, I discovered he was using them to weight the turnips he had in each sack to calculate the crop return per hectare.  He seemed happy with the result and the cows obviously love their turnips.  

In this paddock you can see how they have chomped through them. The white tape keeping them from gobbling up the lot in one sitting is the electric fence. 

My little house on the right in the background seems a long way to walk to get home.  

Even when I'm closer, it still seems a long way!

It will be a while before I'm tempted to go for a walk in the mid-day sun again!

Friday, 10 February 2012

FSO - Scavenger Hunt

I haven't read anywhere that the original rules apply, but will stick to one of each - wood, metal, stone - straight off the camera.

Well, not quite, because the first has both wood and metal that my two creative friends used to create outdoor art. 

I was annoyed with myself and my faulty memory yesterday when I got home from work, and remembered I'd forgotten to go to the place I knew there would be some impressive stone.  Remembered I'd forgotten - that must be the Irish in me!  Not to worry, I told myself, I got a rock shot last weekend.  And then I remembered it was stone, not rock I was supposed to be looking for.  I think it's forgivable to get my stones and rocks mixed up.  So my stone is more like a rock in need of a haircut.

The rest of the Friday Shoot Outers will be posting their home town takes on this topic here.  I see the link is up already - well done to our hosting team.  I have a metal flower from a piece Twink gave me, so this is for you guys.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Aiden's 1st

The birthday boy gets to have all the fun.  The little girls get to do all the pushing...

And shoving...

and falling over...

Bailey didn't seem to mind that Georgia's gift to Aiden didn't move, the steering wheel did!

Thanks, Justine and Bill, it was a lovely party.

And the cake?   That was a masterpiece!  How did I ever get to have such a talented daughter?