Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Mr Pip... the Movie...

Mr Pip opened in Auckland while I was there. It was a
'must see' movie. It is the movie adaptation of the novel
by Lloyd Jones, a New Zealand author. It is named
 after the chief character in, and shaped by the plot of
Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations.
Set against the backdrop of the civil war on Bougainville Island in
Papua New Guinea during the early 1990's.
Andrew Adamson wrote a film adaptation of the novel
which he also directed. It is filmed in
 New Zealand and Bougainville.
The story follows the life of Matilda stunningly played by
Xzannjah. The Herald review gave it 4 stars **** 

No more... do go and see it. It's history as it happened.
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Monday, 28 October 2013

Auckland... Picnic at Coxs Bay

It was a lovely hot sunny Sunday.
We had spent the morning in the garden... Me repotting
and replanting all the pots and plants on the
back of my bus. Then it was off to the beach
with a picnic... Some yummy goodies we had bought
at Farro's... The most divine food and deli shop.

We ate our lunch sitting on the grass under the trees...

Then moved onto the sand to sun ourselves... I
promptly went to sleep it was so soporific.

Coxs Bay is on the Waitemata Harbour west of the harbour
bridge. The harbour trickles its way a lot further west and
 would end up being little sea water creeks and mangroves.
It's very tidal the further it goes. Here it's still quite sandy but the
tide goes out a long way. In the distance is the Te Atatu Peninsular
(for those who know Auckland).

It was a great spot in the sun. I wasn't tempted to swim...

 But a lot of children did.

The Pohutukawa Trees are lovely... My favourite tree.

Lying in the sand looking upside down through the branches!
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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Auckland... Pah Homestead...

I did lots of things while I was in Auckland and
went lots of places. At weekends when my friend
Janeen wasn't at work we did things together.
One of places we visited was this magnificent old
house 'The Pah Homestead', and the arts centre.

 Now owned by the Auckland Council it was built in 1877 as a
gentleman's residence... One of the largest and finest homes in
Auckland at the time. The house has been through various ownership...
Mr Williamson who it was built for, on his death the Bank of New Zealand
who leased it to the Anglican church. In 1913 it was purchased by
the Sisters of Mercy. More recently it was used as a temporary
residence for the homeless.

On 1 September 1983 it was registered by the New Zealand
Historic Places Trust as a Category 1 heritage structure . In 2002 it
was purchased by the Auckland City Council who have plans to develop
the surrounding Monte Cecilia Park into a premier park for the city.
It's now known as the TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre...
Which is why we went there.

The rooms and architecture inside is magnificent...

Wonderful for displaying art...

Toss Woollaston, Tasman Bay 1986, oil on board.

Philip Trusttum, Studio, 1974, oil on board.
Bill Hammond, Watching For Buller, 1993, oil on canvas.

 Sam Mitcher, Janus, 2010, acrylic on perspex.

Suji Park, Bu Bu, 2012, ceramic figures on wooden base.

It is surrounded by  Monte Cecilia Park... The lawns are
vast and the views incredible.

There are some magnificent and very old trees...

This is the biggest Morton Bay Fig in New Zealand...

A wonderful specimen of a Bunya Bunya Pine...
A native of Queensland Australia...
And first cousin to the New Zealand Kauri.

It's a great place to go, to look at the art and there is a good cafe.
We did both of those then wandered in the park
enjoying the sun and admiring the trees.

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Thursday, 24 October 2013

Next Stop... Auckland... City Of 1.6 Million

After the solitude of the Northland beaches and Motu Kaikoura
I decided to brave the city. I used a GPS to navigate  and got to
my friends place safely with no accidents despite the rather daunting
traffic in such a slow vehicle. I parked in the
street opposite her house and was welcomed into the
neighbourhood with great interest and enthusiasm.

It took me a while to juggle myself between the trees and lamp posts
and to get level, but eventually I was parked and 'at home' here
in the suburb of Westmere for the next two weeks.

I was in a short U shaped street, no through traffic so very quiet
especially at night. The only noise was the roaring lions and
chattering monkeys... the zoo was just down the hill!

It was a short walk along here to the corner to  get the bus
to wherever I wanted to go and I could walk to various
local shops and cafes. I had a great time exploring.

I had visits from the neighbours asking if I needed anything,
inviting me to visit them, calling out in the morning to see if I was o.k.
It was a very nice neighbourhood to be part of for a while.

These are some of the old houses all round this street. They were
built in 1927 for the local mill and meat works workers.
During the 1930's depression they were abandoned  because
people couldn't pay their mortgages.I suppose the banks
re-sold them and ownership moved on.
The local residents society are trying to find the original owners.

Now the houses have historical protection on them, the front's can't be 
changed but decks and patios have been added onto the backs. They
have been painted interesting colours and collectively 
make a very interesting street.

This house has been a 'clan lab' - where 'P' is clandestinely
manufactured... Known as a 'P' house... A property where
Methamphetamine has been manufactured.
These dwellings are so contaminated by
poisonous, explosive, corrosive, toxic and extremely flamable
chemicals used, that they have to be stripped back to a bare shell
and rebuilt. Even the water pipes and drainage have to be replaced. 
 Behind the fence and trees on the other side of the road
is the speedway and associated noise.
Despite all this, this property has just sold for $900,000!

It's been stripped, the back is being added onto...
It's on a tiny piece of land... But in the process of being
restored to another historical home in the street
and soon somebody will live in it again.
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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Motu Kaikoura... A Stormy Journey Home...

The storm that had been brewing for the last two days
arrived with a vengeance overnight and the day we were
to leave... Well we nearly didn't.
The boat skipper arrived in the morning from a bay where
he had been sheltering... Crashed into the wharf
in the process of tying up... And came to tell us the sea
was too rough and the forecast predicting worsening
rain and winds... So we were going nowhere.

By lunch time the forecast improved slightly... So give it a go
the skipper thought. So we loaded the gear... Climbed
aboard and for better or worse we set off.
These are photos I took on our way back.
I sat at the back in the fresh air, got cold and wet but it
was the best place for me.

It took 3 hours to get back to Sandspit... Double the time it
had taken us on the outward journey.
There were green faces and seasick people...

Dark skies... Wind and rain...

The waves were so high they crashed over the
whole boat... But we made it... An exciting end
to a fabulous four days.

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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Motu Kaikoura - A Botanical Day...

The weather had changed... A strong wind had come up so the
most sheltered place was in the bush. It was not good for fishing.
The wind was blowing with force into the wharf...
So off I went with my botanist friend Janeen...
to look at plants... And interesting things.
We took lunch and sat in the grass amongst the gorse...
In the sun out of the wind. It was a great day.


 This is native clematis... It has separate male
and female plants.

Coastal five finger ... houpara...
Grows to around 3m in sheltered sites but stays small and
shorn by strong coastal winds in exposed areas.

Pine trees... Provide food for the resident Kaka.
They rip the cones on the ground apart getting the pine seeds out.
Native forest regenerates below the pines.

Puriri seedling... This forest is regenerating to coastal
broadleaf forest. Puriri is found in more fertile soils.

Kawakawa... A small, densely branched aromatic
tree or shrub, grows up to 6 meters high. The flowers
are yellow golden spikes the female being shorter,
fatter and a brighter colour. They are edible and sweet...
Don't eat the hard black seeds inside... They are hot!

 Green fruit on the kawakawa these will ripen up around January.

Rangiora... In flower.

Typical of regenerating broad leaved forest, rangiora,
hangehange, punga, and mingimingi... All seen here
together in this area of the forest.

The felty soft underside of rangiora leaves...
 Known as bushman's toilet paper.

The knobbly twisted trunk of a kohekohe.
 The knobby bits can sprout flowers direct from the trunk.

The Five-finger - puahou...
One of New Zealand's commonest native trees, found
from sea level to 760 meters in forests and open scrub,
from North Cape to Southland.

Small leaved coprosma regenerating below a canopy of kanuka.
The forest is beginning to grow again since the deer
have been removed around 10 years ago.
Grows to 15 meters high with a trunk 60 cm through.

Sundew... Native carnivorous  plant that catches small insects and
digests them to obtain nitrogen and other nutrients.
A small herb growing no larger than 30cm.

 A young manuka tree...
 A component of the regenerating canopy. Manuka grows to 4 m
 high all over New Zealand in forests and shrub-land.

Lindsaea linearis... A tiny creeping fern common
in poor soils.

Bush lawyer... Covered in hooks that will tie you up if
you walk into it. In the front a tiny leaved version of' Gumdiggers
soap - Pomaderris amoena.

This fallen tree trunk  gets ripped to pieces by the Kaka...
A native forest parrot.

It's looking for protein...

Finds Huhu grubs and Weta and other insects...

In the soft rotting wood.

Motu Kaikoura has a recurring rat problem. They were
eradicated but can swim long distances... So swam back the 80km from
Great Barrier Island and re-established themselves.
There is an ongoing program to control them. These are rat motels,
they are attractive to rats. The rats will go in and investigate
 as they are an enticing environment...

A combination of poisons and/or traps can be used in
the motels to kill the rats.
 They are laid at all landing sites and track networks.

Rats will always be a problem for Motu Kaikoura and even
if Great Barrier Island becomes rat free there will still be a
need to have the 'motels' which provide both detection and control
functions should rats jump from a visiting boat.
For further information on rats and the Hauraki Gulf look here.