September 2019

Ka puāwai ngā kōwhai he tohu tēnā kua aroaromahana. / When the kōwhai is in flower it’s a sign that it’s spring.

yellow kowhai flowers
a ewe and a lamb standing on the edge of a seaside path

Early morning run at Mauao. There were a few newborn lambs out and about and it was a beautiful morning. I am attending the Tauranga Start Up weekend and staying in our campervan at the foot of Mauao. So good to get out first thing in preparation for a day inside.

a bottle of wine and two glasses on a table

Ka inu māua te waina. This is a well-earned glass of wine!

young man sitting with legs out on the floorbuilding a lego model in a living room

Came home this evening to a boy building lego Starwars battleships. Some things never change. Kei te hanga ia tētahi kaipuke.

a cat in a basket looking uopn

That cat!

I can’t get enough of the landscape down in Te Rohe Potae (King Country). He ātaahua tēnēi whenua.

camellia blossom on the pavement

Camellia flowers adorn the trees and litter the pavements as I walk through Hamilton East.

sunlight streaming through pine trees in the Redwoods

I can’t get enough of this either. My happy place!

My last visit to Taumarunui to work with the most amazing educators. I will miss them and also this beautiful walk along the Whanganui in all its guises.

watwaterfall cascading over a cliff

I needed a break on my way home and since it had rained so much I called in at Omaru Falls to see what they looked like after the rain. Quite impressive. Needed my wellies though!

a drawing of a computer and a brain

I just couldn’t focus today and ended up drawing words! Roro = brain, hiko = electric so Rorohiko = electric brain or computer. I love languages!

It is local election time and this amazing young lady is standing for Mayor and for the Hamilton West Ward. I can’t vote for her as a councillor as I live in East Ward but I can vote for her as Mayor. She gets my vote even though I could have voted strategically. I believe in what Louise Hutt stands for and am inspired by her passion and integrity. Fed up of the status quo… it needs disrupting.

beer or coffee?

Beer or coffee? It matters not, it’s delicious! (It’s beer)

collage of images from a gathering

This week it was Te Wiki o te reo Māori and today I joined the start of the hikoi. I couldn’t stay for the whole thing as I had a meeting but I joined in with the waiata and bumped into old friends. Sad to have had to leave and not join the hikoi as there was so much energy.

cat in a box

That cat again in another box.

pink spring flowers on the azalea

Azaleas in full bloom.

cat on the back of the sofa in front of venetian blinds, tail in the air

I get visitations in my office sometimes!

It was a long, hard day and I needed these on the way home to keep me awake and alert on the road!

Singer with guitar in a venue.

Nivara Lounge is one of Kirikriroa, Hamilton’s iconic small music venues. Last night we went to listen to Tiny Ruins. Loved her music.

Whilst I often remind myself to look up when I am walking so as not to miss things (or bump into things), It’s also worth looking down too. These flowers are growing in the grass on the verge of the pavements. So pretty and a glorious splash of colour.

the word AKO drawn on apoage with other words made up from the letters around it.

I came across an article unpacking the word AKO as I was researching for some work today. AKO means learning and also teaching. The other words that are made up of the letters are all part of learning and teaching – challenge, enlightenment, enjoyment and deconstruction to reconstruct.

wavss rolling into the beach

First day at the beach this year after a long run along the railtrail from Waihi! Too cold and windy put poked our toes in – possibly warmer than Tiktapu!

yellow kowhai flowers

The blooming of the kowhai heralds the arrival of Tūī – it lifts my heart. I the UK I used to be lifted by the sound of the curlews but here it’s the Tūī.

cat asleep in a box

That cat in that box again!

voting papers

Voting papers have arrived for Local Elections. We have made sure this year that we know who we are voting for. Last time we were duped by the inadequate 150 word bios the candidates provided in the leaflet. Feeling much more informed having been to several events where candidates have spoken and been questioned on their policies and idealogy.

a plate of soup topped with green beans, toasted cheese and chorizo

Nigel is a master at creating amazing food from whatever happens to be in the fridge. This was the chicken soup I made earlier in the week from a roast chicken but he spiced it up with the ciabatta loaf, some cheese and chorizo and green beans. A whole meal in a bowl! Delicious.

two ducklings feeding on the grass

Double trouble! So many ducklings around at Rotoroa and in Hamilton Gardens. So cute!

a woman wearing a yellow coat , a striped tee-shirt and trousers standing on a soapbox, speaking

Soapbox politics! I have been to 3 out of 4 of these sessions and love the rawness and freshness of them. Two minutes to put your ideas across and then face questions from the ‘crowd’. There have never been many at these sessions but enough to challenge. I have been impressed by Louise in previous events but in this she was even more clear, her integrity was evident and she was coherent and eloquent. Got my vote!

woman striding across a beach in front of a lake in the early morning

This weekend was spent supporting Paula as she attempted to run/walk for 36 hours around and around Tikitapu. Personally, I have no idea why she would want to do such a thing! But here we are providing her with breakfast and walking with her. This was the first lap of the morning after AI had delivered a bacon and egg butty. She had been going all night! Bonkers!

ginger cat stretched out on a fur mat in front of a fire

Just a cat. Not mine!

lists of items to include on a survival  kit

Loved the variation of things that people deem to be important for survival!

August 2019

Still winter. But Spring is coming. The daffodils are starting to brighten the world.

tee shirt, glass and bottle with Brave Brewing Company written on

You’ve got to be in it to win it! Surprise when we got to Hamilton Beer and Wine this evening to find I had won a prize draw I’d entered a few weeks ago and won a tee shirt, glass and flagon from Brave Brewing Co!

giant geodesic cube lit up in pink in front of the painted wall of the library

Kirikiriroa, Hamilton is fast becoming a centre for amazing pieces of art. We already have an ever changing array of beautiful murals brightening up the city thanks to Boon Street Festival. This week was the unveiling of a temporary installation of 4 intricately-designed geometric sculptures that light up and change colour. Hybycozo is part of the Boon After Dark initiative;

“We want to help people engage with art throughout their ordinary lives. Our vision is ‘art everywhere, everyday’ and having sculptures in Garden Place is a significant way we can achieve this.” 

two rain jacket clad women wave through a rain spattered car window at someone inside

Training continues rain or shine!

cat climbing up a cat tower

Cat training continues!

flag and poster at a march

Nigel and I went along to the protest against Fletcher Building to show our support for tangata whenua at Ihumātao. More information can be read here, and here and here. There are heaps of other articles out there; a Google search will find them!

rainbow over a park

A rainbow over Steele Park. Now mainly used for sports fixtures for the local schools and sports clubs, it has an interesting military history.

a bearded man sits with folded arms on a settee in a living room

Nigel.

two people talk in a cafe

I love people-watching in cafes and stole this photo of this young couple. This was a break in their conversation. I have grappled with using this photo as one of my choices for this challenge after listening to this podcast from the Digital Human series from the BBC. It talks of how in the age of easy photo and video creation, twitter feeds and facebook posts we unwittingly or even wittingly use other people to create our own stories. What right have we to do that? What right have I to publish a photo of someone else without their permission or knowledge? I have convinced myself that this posting is ok because I am making no comment about them, nor building a story about them, but I am still uneasy. Don’t post it then, I hear you say! But the photographer and slightly artistic part of me likes the photo, the framing of it, the suggestion of a story, the beauty of two young people…..

graffitti on a water tower

On the trails again…. true words those!

cat drinking water

Why won’t our cats drink the water we put in bowls for them but tie themselves in knots to drink water from the bath?

cherry blossom in the rain

Back in Taumarunui and the cherry blossom is out. Love the brightness against the mistiness of the rain and a flooded river.

rainbow in cloudy sky over the hillside

Rainbow over

Rainbow over Te Rohe Pōtae – King Country. Another time I was down here, a good friend and colleague died and I saw a rainbow a few minutes after I heard. This time, only yesterday, I heard of the death of a friend I haven’t seen for a long time but who had a special place in my heart.

badge with 100% on a computer

The course I am doing at Te Wananga has an online component and it’s really hard to get to 100%!

beer in a beer glass on a table

Another Thursday evening at “Three Beer Thursday” in Craft Hamilton. Played a bit of cribbage too.

box on a shelf over a door in a cafe

Amazing what you see when you look up in a cafe.

pallisades on a hill with a range of hills in the distance

This week is the celebration for the Kingitanga and I spent the day at Turangawaewae in Ngaruawahia today. I was lucky enough to get onto the history tour. Our last stop was Puke i aahua pā site. The story of the place is told in this blog post. We didn’t get out of the bus here so I went back on my way home. The palisades have been reconstructed to show what they would have been like 150yrs ago. Remnants of originals lie buried in the ground. You can see from the view what a commanding position it was. I also took this 360º image from the hill just above the palissades.

pale green flowers

Winter Roses. Hellebore.

dark coloured fluffy cat lying on a bed, paws in front

A cat. Just that!

patchwork fields from the air

I love it when I get a window seat and a clear sky! There was a bigger story to this photo to explain why I didn’t fly directly to Wellington and had to go via Palmerston North. Moral of the story – make sure you aren’t a minute late to check in!

harbour with a row of yachts against a blue sky and gentle water

Another trail run after work. This one goes from Titahi Bay through Whitireia Park and back round. A beautiful evening run with great views.

twoi elderely ladies playing games on their mobile devices in a living room

The Aunties!

a gathering at a dining table

Haggis and a wee dram!

windswept ladies

A wee wander out to Eastbourne. It was a tad windy!

reflection of a grey haired smiling woman in a mosaic mirror

I needed a profile pic!

man holding a basket with a cat in it

Cat in a basket!

sunset at the airport

Time to go home – a long day at work. Christchurch Airport.

white blossom

Blossom on the plum tree. Hope it stays in the rain and wind and the fruit gets to set.

young woman on a screen in a room of people

This was the start of a very interesting weekend!

July 2019

Winter in Aotearoa. The 1st July saw me in Porirua and I took the opportunity to explore after work. I walk/ran up through the bush and out into open hillside on The Colonial Knob walk which is part of Te Araroa Trail. It was good to get up high and blow out the cobwebs after a day inside. I cut the loop short as the light was fading and the wind was increasing. The rest of the trail is there for another day.

Looking out over a gortse covered hillside across to a city nestled by the ocean
a grid marked in white on a blue carpet with cones blocking some squares. Instructions on cards at the front

Children in this classroom were playing games that help to develop computational thinking. I watched a wee girl work out the instructions to get from one square to another, checking her initial thining then debugging and trying again.

a grey cat on a blanket

A cat. That is all.

a glass of beer on a table

A glass of beer. That is all!

three bottles wrapped up nestled on paper straw

Our local beer and wine store is offering gift baskets for Dry July. They look pretty tempting.

a group of people sitting in two lines opposite each other playing rakau

As part of my te reo Māori class we have to attend some wananga days on Saturdays. We had fun today learning how to use rākau – definitely took quite a lot of concentration!

Looking out from the top of a hill across a flat plain batehd in mist to a mountain ridge in the distance

One of my favourite walks and the view is always different. Pukemokemoke yesterday and today the Waikato River trails for another regular.

Looking across a wide river to the bank opposite
a yellow crane looms over building in a city. White/grey clouds scud across the sky

This was the view from the building where we worked today. Facilitating a design thinking workshop with teachers today and tomorrow in this inspiring space called The Grid.

misty morning at the wharf

It was a cold and misty wintery start this morning. Early breakfast at Wynyard Quarter.

a glass half full of dark beer

It’s the weather for a warming dark beer!

a white leather jewellery box slightly open to reveal its contents

He waka huia – a treasure box. I have been working on a project with some colleagues as part of a course I am doing on cultural responsive pedagogy. We are looking at the idea of culture and history being a taonga, or treasure and the idea of time capsules holding the stories of the past, the present and the future as treasures. I thought of using my Mum’s jewellery box which contains treasures from different generations as an analogy.

a wee bird sits on a branch in the foreground. Behind is a lake surrounded by mountains

Crater Rim track, Christchurch. Taking the opportunity to spend the weekend with Moira and Terry before our facilitator hui on Monday & Tuesday. I hired a car and drove out to explore the trails. What a stunning day and the views were amazing.

Sunday meanderings with Moira and Terry; first the Old School Collective which is housed in the former primary school at Waikuku for a coffee and a browse of the shops, then on to the Brew Moon at Amberley for a wee beer! Grabbed a takeout to share tomorrow.

3 people on swings which are framed in orange squares

I just love how Christchurch has incorporated so much fun in the re-design for all! We had great fun playing on the swing #chchswing.

a blue, yellow and green circular weaving

Part of our hui over the last two days has been participating in creating a raranga (weaving) together. It was part of incorporating hauora (wellbeing) into our mahi (work). I spent half an hour working on it and it reminded me of the sense of calm that I experience when I am absorbed in anything creative.

two young men sit in a cafe

Home after a few days away so I took my boys out for coffee. I spend my life trying to get photos of them together when both are smiling. They know this and conspire to ensure I am never successful. One day, I’ll write a whole post just with photos of these two!

artwork showing fenceposts with the letters that spell out EGMONT

He Tirohanga ki Tai: Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery is an exhibition featuring both leading and emerging Māori artists, who have created a completely sovereign space, supported by Indigenous funds, to hold a conversation critiquing the Cook invasion, the ensuing colonial experience, up to and including the TUIA250 events.”

It is a powerful exhibition of confronting artworks and I spent my lunchtime browsing with Nigel up at the University of Waikato.

cocktail glasses lined up on a bar

Sometimes we end up at the WonderHorse – usually dangerous – and I love watching the cocktail masters at work!

limes and a lime meringue pie

Lime glut! I made lime meringue pie which was delicious! Also lime cordial and marmelade!

basket fungus

Went for a wander in Pukemokemoke with Nigel and there were loads of these basket fungus around.

cover of a book

Excited to browse this book – full of whakatauki and the stories that sit behind them.

two musicians on stage

I got really excited after I watched Horomono Horo playing at WINTEC – he is a master at playing traditional Māori wind instruments. He played alongside Jeremy Myall who creates music on the computer as Horomono plays. He also talked about the stories and skills that are passed down through generations and who has the mana to retell them. One of the other things he talked about was that we have to recognise that rangatahi might want to tell their stories in different ways – possibly digital and that given that storytelling has always happened in different ways over millennia, they shouldn’t limit them. I had so many questions then about how that fitted with tikanga, tradition etc… 

a page full of notes and drawings

Planning!

RiffRaff

We spotted these paintings all over the city – turns out it was from an art class that was run in the city somewhere! Love it!

tablet and coffee on a formica table in a cafe

Sometimes working in the cafe down the road helps me concentrate and the coffee is so much better than at home!

refelctions of hills in a clear lake

Trailrunning – training for Taupo 50km – I must have thought entering was a good idea at the time! Great to be out on the trails in such stunning scenery though!

sculpture in the sky

This sculpture is sort of hidden along the river trail through town unless you look up or out of the museum window!

green fields sloping down to the river. Fluffy white clouds in blue sky

Dodged the rain for a run along the Whanganui River. Turned around when I reached the field full of cows and calves. River level very high after the rain.

electric box with painting of eel on it

Art in the city.

boy playing computer games in the dark

Peeking! The life of a teenager with no responsibilities!

June 2019

Autumn Trees

Ko te Ngahuru tēnēi wāhanga. We dodged the Autumn showers today to walk around Rotoroa which is the wee lake in the middle of Kirikiriroa, Hamilton. It has struggled over the last 50 years as a result of poisoning to reduce the weeds that caught in the rudders of the yachts. A massive ecological disaster for a wee lake! But it is recovering slowly. Once upon a time children swam in the lake but now the water is too toxic. I wonder how long it will take….

blue sky over snowy mountains seen across a lake with white capped waves

Ko te Hōtoke tēnēi wāhanga. The mighty maunga of Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngarahoe covered in snow seen across Lake Taupo. It’s definitely winter here. I’ve been practising adding the te reo I am learning by adding text to photos. This says ‘There is snow on the mountains. It’s very cold”

blue lake with snowy mountains in the distance

Same mountains from a different spot on the same lake. This is just such a beautiful place to run.

sculptures of cats and dogs on the wharf of a seaside town

More te reo practice! Asking where things are…. This is the Hairy McLary sculpture in Tauranga. The characters created by Linley Dodd are much beloved around the world and these sculptures just capture the essence of them beautifully.

woam playing a red guitar on stage amongst bright blue lighting

A midweek trip up to Auckland to see Sharon Van Etten didn’t disappoint. Definitely worth the drive in the rain to get there!

sunlight shining through trees in a very green park

I’ve been working in a school over in Tauranga which is on Cameron Road – there is a story behind that name and much dispute about how street names glorify or remember colonial opressors and hide the real history of this place. Gate Pa is the site of a battle between Māori and the British in April 1864. It is now a park and information boards tell the story.

Looking through the gates of the marae into the atea and wharenui

This weekend is our noho marae for my te reo course at Te Wananga. We are at Poihakena Marae in Raglan. Here we are waiting to be called on.

Stone sculpture on Urupa with ocean and mountains behind

We had the privilege of listening to Eva Rickard’s daughter, Angeline Greensill, telling us the story of Te Kopua today.

Te Wananga noho team photo

And of course, the inevitable team photo! The Wednesday Night Champions! He Pī Ka Pao!

Looking up through tall trees to the blue skys

This proverbKua huinga te tōtara i te waounui-ā-tāne arohanui.” translates as a great tōtara has fallen in the forest of Tāne meaning that someone of stature has died. This week, a third friend and colleague this year passed away. Feeling very thankful for my health and my family.

orange rose

This is my favourite rose and it keeps on blooming. The plant only ever has one rose at a time but I love the colour.

a bowling lane with pins being scattered

We’ve reconnected the Wii! Fun and games as a family!

silhouettes of two trees against the setting sun and evening mist rising from the fields

The evenings are drawing in and I only just got a couple of times around Pukemokemoke before the darkness started to fall.

The variety of gin that is around right now is incredible. Indiginous is a New Zealand distillery that distils gins full of botanics and spice. The artwork is pretty impressive too.

an embroidered linen pouch

Tidying up my wardrobe, (definitely a wet weather activity!) I came across this handkerchief pouch which came from my Mum. I have no idea of its story. Did my Mum make it? She was gifted at needlework but I think that the sewing on this is machine worked. So it is more likely to have been a gift.

two plates of food and home made flat bread

This Sunday we had the privilege of participating in a cookery class organised by a group called Home Kitchen. Local immigrant communities are invited to share their culinary culture and teach us how to cook their favourite dishes. As we learned how to cook Afghani chicken and bread we also heard about the stories and cultures of the chefs. And we got to share some delicious food! Home Kitchen also works with Yalla Yalla restaurant.

“Home Kitchen is a social enterprise focused on empowering former refugees to flourish by providing work and training opportunities whilst showcasing the diverse cultures that exist in the mighty ‘Tron.'”

a grey cat peers around the pole of a grey covered platform

Aonghas bought me a cat tower for Mother’s Day. Grey cat has started to show some interest!

I went to my first Seed Waikato event last night. Some interesting speakers telling us their stories of failure, resilience and success.

early winter morning in town. a wintry morning sun brightensa blue/grey sky

I love that brightness of a wintry morning sky as the sun rises.

frost laden grass along a wire fence.

It is Friday 20th of June. It is winter. It is very cold today. There is frost across the land.

Winter is here! I think the landscape down in Taumarunui and its valleys makes me feel at home. This morning I drove down through foggy valleys but when the sun burned through, it revealed a beautiful frost and blue skies.

driving in a T2 lane in the city

Excitement today as we were able to drive in a T3 lane in Auckland as we had 4 people in the car. Though it was a hikoi that we really didn’t have the heart for. Heading north for the tangi of our friend and colleague, Hazel.

Clock tower

Another clock tower – the basin in Whangārei. A long awaited reunion with old friends Chris and Ross who are now living in the winterless north after leaving Wanaka to monitor and educate about plastic in the Pacific on their ketch Sula.

A young man with dark hair and wearing a beige sweatshirt, sid e on

My big son came for tea tonight. I always enjoy his company.

My boys have gone back to basics with gaming – race tracks and dodgems! They keep asking me to play and so I do. It wears me out – so much concentration and my hands hurt from gripping the controller so hard!

Pathway trhough a city decorated with railway signals

Evening training run around the lake and along the railway pathway. Cold but clear. Love these sort of winter evenings.

a feather floating on water
frost on limes

Lime season!

It’s like Christmas but it’s not! Winter in Tamaki Makaurau. Dad’s evening out to see the War Horse. What an amazing spectacle!

The things I love about trail running is being able to stop and take photos and have a breather. I always keep an eye out for opportunities for neat photos. Feathers and leaves and water….

seaweed and white rock, shadows and sunshine

My first visit to the Kāhui Ako I am working with down in Wellington. I flew down on Sunday and spent the afternoon with Chris. Our walk out at Eastbourne was in better weather than the last time we were there! Beautiful sunshine although there was a biting breeze.