Thursday, 28 May 2015

Recycle again

I jumped the gun last week when I titled a post 'Recyled'.  This is a recycled fence.

I will be linking to Good Fences.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Little road trip

While I was in Taranaki I took a short road trip to Wanganui, sorry Whanganui.  But I'm not going to get into that debate about which is the correct name for the town.  I had a stern talk with myself before I left, telling myself no stops, no photos, I could do that on the way home.  And I listened!  I do love taking photos but I proved to myself that I enjoy talking even more.  No, that's being a bit harsh on myself - talking to special friends takes higher priority. 

When I arrived at my destination I couldn't help but notice the fabulous distant view of the town as I hurried to the front door to see my good friend, Renee.  I'm not sure exactly what year it was but I remember Georgia was a baby, so it must have been 2004/5 when Renee came to board with me for a few months while she did holiday work for my son.  Those few months turned out to be a great time for me, I so enjoyed her company.  We talked and laughed for hours/days/weeks/months on end.

Since then she has graduated from university, met her prince, married, had a baby and is expecting another.  Previous plans for visits have fallen through for one reason or another but at long last I met the little chap.  Cutest little bloke you could ever hope to meet.

I had a lovely time catching up with Renee and playing with Campbell and didn't leave enough time for photo stops on the return trip.  In the morning the town had been sparkling in sunshine, now the sun was gone and did not make near as pretty a picture.  Next time.

It was a gloomy evening and I only stopped once, at Patea where these buildings beside the river had caught my eye.

It is difficult to think of Patea without recalling the outstanding Patea Maori Club and its chart topping single “Poi-E” which swept to popularity in the 1980s and is still arguably one of the country’s favourite contemporary Maori songs.

Patea has a population of around 1,000 but like a lot of small New Zealand rural towns had once known grander days.  In the 1920s Patea was the largest cheese exporting port in the world.  Imagine!  As well as cheese, wool, meat and flax were exported from the port, which closed in 1959.

I remember when the town came to national attention in 1982 when the town's main employer, the canning and freezing works, closed.  It had been there since the 1880s but strategic reforms, inefficiencies and nationwide over-processing resulted in its downfall. It employed over 800 workers, with associated commercial and support industries.  You can imagine what that did to the town.  Patea has survived, I don't know how.  These days dairying and sheep farming are the main rural activities.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Back home

I hoped that the weather would be considerably warmer back at home but instead there's a polar blast.  It's as cold here as it was in Taranaki.  No snow on our mountain though.  Mind you, there wasn't much on Mt Taranaki either.  What was there when I first arrived was washed off and although we could see it was snowing up the top on Saturday, the mountain didn't come out to play again before I left. 


On Saturday my daughter suggested we visit the Poineer Village not very far from her home.  I'd like to go back another time when it's not so cold.   I can picture us having a picnic on the grass surrounding the lake.


We enjoyed a rather quick nostalgic wander through yesteryear.  Sadly some of the exhibits looked quite familiar to me, childhood memories.   I won't say 'remember these', I promise. 

Looked like copulating buggies to me.

Those lovely lacey pillow cases wouldn't make up for sleeping on a horse hair mattress.  
The bars wouldn't be needed to keep me from laying there.

The little bloke thoroughly enjoyed it all, especially the train ride.  Oh, and the cafe is excellent.  Right beside the highway, I'll be calling in there again that's for sure.

Thursday, 21 May 2015


A little while ago I showed you a few stone fences not far from here.  Driving up north near the Pukete Forest, out the back of Okaihau somewhere, not sure exactly where, we saw a fence based on the same principle but using much, much bigger stone.  These were big rocks, obviously moved from elsewhere around the farm as there were also random rock sculptures made of stacked rocks.  There is one of the far left in this photo.  If you enlarge it, you should be able to see it.   Obviously a farmer with a creative soul.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Out of the box

The upper echelons of management, they who are always encouraging their teams to think out of the box, just need to drive around the streets of small far north towns for some great examples.

There are plenty of examples, but it wouldn't be very proper to show the others.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Historic fence

I apologise in advance if anyone does not feel comfortable around cemeteries.  But here today I have a fence too special to not be featured.  It was built around the church and graveyard at the Waimate North Mission in 1878  and is made from totara, a lovely native tree.  Fences around graveyards are part of Maori tradition.

The above is looking right from the lynch-gate.  The next is looking left.  You will notice to the left of the lynch-gate the fence has the modern addition of a water tap (underneath 'Water' it specifies not for drinking).  In days gone by there would have been a bowl of water of some description.  A Maori cemetery is one of the most tapu (be sacred, prohibited, restricted) places in all of Maori society.  No eating, drinking or smoking is permitted within its boundaries since those activities are noa (the antithesis of tapu).  People leaving the urupa (burial ground) are expected to wash their hands with water and sprinkle some on their heads, to reduce the tapu to the safe state of noa.  

Here the fence separates the graves from a neighbouring paddock.

I imagine this fence would once have been very grand.  You can see the perimeter fence in the background to the right. 

Next door to the churchyard a similar styled fence protects the little blacksmith's cottage (I think that's what it was) from the paddock behind.

If you are interested in Maori customs surrounding death go to this site.  It explains well the customs practised here in the north and is my go to site when I need help to understand why things are done in a certain way.

I have no idea why there are different fonts appearing in this post.  One of Blogger's little mysteries.

I'll be linking to Good Fences and this weekend really will be around to visit other contributors.  

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Waimate North

Inside the church I mentioned yesterday the altar in front of the lovely stained glass windows is simple and quite humble.

But look to the left and there is a rather grand organ.  And I managed to find out a little of its history.  It was installed in 1885 at a cost (in England) of 240 pounds and then shipped out here to the colonies.  

It was paid for by the women of the of the family of the early missionary at Waimate North, George Clark, holding singing nights in their home to raise the money. It arrived in crates. The organ was carried in and installed by the women as the men were away at war. For three nights, they locked themselves in, piecing it together.  

I'm reminded of the "Girls can do anything" campaign of the 80s.  Seems they were 100 years behind the times! 

At the entrance the prayer books are lined up neatly in a regimental row.  They are printed in English and Maori.

The first child was baptized in this church on 10 July 1831.  I wonder if the font was there then.  It certainly looked very old but I couldn't find out anything about it.  I'm intrigued by the meaning of the words around the top.  It doesn't look like Latin or Maori to me.  Anyone know?

The church sits in a well cared for grave yard.  The last two shots are taken from the back of the church.

The church today is one of nine churches in the Parochial District of Waimate North.  The work of keeping them in repair is a heavy burden on the parishioners, and in 1964 when the steeple needed urgent repairs, the cost was beyond the capacity of the Central Vestry’s finances.  Thankfully, the National Historic Places Trust came to the rescue, renewed its damaged timbers, provided new shingles and a new Cross.  It's in beautiful condition. 

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


It's taken me a couple of days to download my photos from a great weekend in the north.  My friend Chris and I wandered many back roads and side roads, stopping whenever and wherever.
We probably spent more time in Kerikeri than anywhere else.  It's always a pleasant place to linger.  Chris was on the lookout for a specific material which she found at the old Stone Store, New Zealand's oldest standing European stone building.  It was built in 1832 and has been trading as a general store since 1870s. 
There's always something interesting to see inside the store, it has an amazing range of goods similar to those traded in the early 19th century, as well as a quirky range of New Zealand goods.   I wish now I had purchased one of those thick wooden rulers when I was there.  Next time.  If I remember.

We gave the country's oldest surviving building, Kemp House. which stands next to the store a passing glance but didn't explore further as we have both done so in the past.  
You'd think we were on a mission to visit historical places but we weren't.  It's hard to avoid places of historic interest when driving around in the north.  We didn't set out to visit the Mission House and church at Waimate North but noticed it as we approached and decided to call in.  The Mission House is the only survivor of three mission houses founded in 1830 and is the second oldest house in NZ still standing.   I didn't even get a photo that shows off its lovely, simple Georgian architecture.  You know me, I was more interested in the church.
Between the Mission House and the church is a modest cottage which I think used to be the blacksmith's home.    

I like the back story of this church.  The original church (built in 1831) had to be expanded to cope with the increasing number of worshipers that the early missionaries converted to Christianity (from 2,000 to 35,000 in four years).  The church seated 400 and as there had been congregations as large as 1,000 (in 1841), services were held in the churchyard.

The good times did not last; the faithful declined as the Maori congregation became disillusioned following the treaty war.  In 1870, when the church roof needed re-shingling, it was decided to pull it down and build a smaller one from the same materials.  I like the end result.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

The rest of a longer way home

It's over a week ago since I took the longer way home.  My hills of home come into view not long after turning off the highway west out of town.   They look the same although I'm seeing them from an entirely different angle.

I've been trying to get a shot of this old shearing shed for ages.  It's on a corner and on this day there was no other traffic so I could stop without being dangerous.

Much the same story with this old shed.  I stopped short of the corner and used the zoom.

Thursday, 7 May 2015


Something off in the distance caught my eye.  I could see a flash of green when the trees moved in the wind.  It mystified me so much I had to go and see what it was.   Only just over another week to see who the new owner will be. 

That got me going on signs on fences.

More For Sale signs.  Anyone would think houses are worth more than farms, the signs advertising them are so large.  But they do hide a really ugly fence.

Signs of summer at the beach.

I'll be away again this weekend but if anyone from Good Fences passes by, could you link me please.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015


Before I reached Mangawhai on Sunday I made a couple of stops but wasn't happy with any of the photos I took.  Isn't it funny, the ideas we get into our heads?  In my case it is, anyway.  Waipu has a lovely long beach with a creek running onto the beach at one end but I never think it looks good unless there is good surf and surfers riding the waves.  When the surf is flat, the whole place looks flat to me.

Langs Beach is the same.  To me, it needs action.  However, just around the corner, where the road goes up the hill and you can look down on this quiet little bay, no waves are needed.  I wonder where those perceptions come from?

Magical Mangawhai as it is marketed, was just that.  Sparkling and gleaming in soft sunlight.  No waves to speak of, hardly a soul around, the holiday makers have gone till next summer.

I suppose the many hooks and sinkers I lost while fishing off the end of that rock have long been buried.  I'd make a funny sight trying to scramble over those rocks to get out to the end these days.  Ah well, memories are good.


The estuary entrance is the other side of the rocks. 

 There wasn't much activity there either but a nice spot to sit in the sun and just enjoy being alive.

 Down by estuary I found a lone paddler and these two guys.  Do you think they have a problem?


For my next stop I headed out of town, down Black Swamp Road, then through the forest.  In one direction there was a lone surfer, outnumbered by the birds.

In the other a man and little guy were racing along the sand.  I was a fair distance away but could hear his triumphant shout when he won the race.  Happy sound.

I thought then that I'd pop in to see if my friends were at home.  But took one more detour to the end of Pearson Street where, with the tide so far out, even a little person could wade across the inlet with a helping hand.  I could just hear her happy chatter.

Happy sights, happy sounds, happy day.