April 2019

We had a few adventures in April! The first day of April is my happy born day. It used to be in Spring but now we are in Aotearoa, I get to have my birthday in Autumn. I quite like that I have had the chance to have birthdays in two seasons! This year, unfortunately, I was all alone in a motel room – one of the drawbacks of travelling for work.

a plate of food, a bottle of wine -  a birthday meal
wooden 5 bar gate overhung . by a tree with red berries. Blue sky in the background

On the other hand, I get to see some beautiful spots on the road for work. This is the gate that leads up to Nevin’s Lookout on . the road between Tokirima and Ohura on the Forgotten Highway. On a good day you can see right out to Ruapehu. It was just a bit too cloudy on this day. There is something about a wooden five bar gate that reminds me of Yorkshire and I love the red berries against the glossy green leaves.

ahh! coffee!

Another bonus of my job – when I’m not on the road I can have the best coffee in my local cafe, Grey Garden.

boy in a garden running while playing football

My wee boy is 19 years old. Today he came and asked me if I would play football with him. At first, I said no as I was trying to finish some work. A few minutes later, I saw him out in the garden so I closed my laptop and headed outside. I’m glad I did.

long haired brown cat lying in the sun under a table
Cats find all the sunny spots
making poi

I am learning Te Reo at the Wananga o Aotearoa. Today we spent the day together learning a whole heap of things but one was how to make poi.

Pink flower showing stamens in the centre

I love all the stages of tulips from the tight bud right through to the final petals dropping.

I use lots of images for my work. Sometimes, I can’t find what I want so I create my own. This was to introduce the 20 Questions game that I was using as an activity to illustrate how it helped develop questioning skills for kids and computational thinking.

undulating green field with 5 pou ranged up the hill. Clear blue sky with a few white fluffy clouds

On the road again. The dangers of so much driving and early starts is falling asleep at the wheel. I stopped at Rangiriri Pa on my way home today – just needed to blow away the sleepy dust and also take some deep breaths of fresh air. It’s a good place to walk and think and reflect on the wrongs that were visited on Maori 150 years ago and what we can learn from that.

Autumn leaves and acorns
Star Wars "Who is it" game

Props for work – 20 questions for computational thinking.

collage of magazine cuttings and text depicting my whakapapa

Another of my creations to illustrate something for work. I have also been working on developing my pepeha for my Te Reo class and so this just sort of evolved. Think a degree of procrastination might have played a part.

a young man crouched down examining a puddle

My big wee man came out for a walk with me today. We climbed up to the top of Wairere Falls and looked out at the world. Then we followed the river back into the bush and found a quiet place to have lunch. It makes me happy to spend time with him. He used to spend hours examining water and rock pools when he was a wee wee man!

Rolling hiils, turbines and herring bone clouds in a blue sky

Up high again. The wind turbines at Te Uku are quite impressive and the trail is easy-ish so its a good place to get 15kms in with some elevation. Views are spectacular too.

A tree festooned with colourful knitting in a grassy town square. Fountains can be seen in the background

Kirikiriroa in the sunshine. This is Garden Place, (Te Kopu Mania o Kirikiriroa) much maligned, it has had several makeovers in the 11 years we have been here and there are ongoing discussions about its role in the city. My view is that it is a fantastic space in the centre of the city and should be a place where people congregate, share food and drink and conversations. A place that is safe and welcoming for families, with community activities for all ages. If this were a city in Europe, there would be cafes and restaurants all around instead of dairies, Vape stores and touristy souvenir shops. It does have the newly revamped library which could be a real focal point.

Reflections from a workshop I ran today about Place-Based Learning and digital technologies.

Boys playing football in an underpass

We are never too old to play football! This evening both my boys were at home, it was a lovely evening so we wandered along the river to Hamilton Gardens. Took a football with us. This is the new underpass beneath Cobham Drive – I hope that the beautiful mural doesn’t get grafittied.

two cats sitting in the sun
Cats always find the sunny spots
a foot sticks out of the corner of a hot pool set in the bush. The sun is setting over the mountains in the distance so the clouds are tinged with pink

Easter. Nigel and I headed south in our campervan. First stop Mangatutu Hot Springs in the Kaweka Ranges. What a privilege to soak in natural hot water fed from a stream, birds singing as the sun goes down over the mountains.

sunlight shines through saplings in a forest

The next day we walked into the springs at Mangatokaina. It was a beautiful walk with stunning views into Te Puia Hut, then on to the springs and back again. For more photos of this walk have a look at our Flickr album. This was my favourite photo of the day.

mountain ranges tinged by the pink of a setting sun. Below the photographer is a mountain hut

The weather forecast was poor; rain and winds. So we planned to travel south towards Wellington after stopping in Napier for breakfast. But the weather seemed to be holding so we decided at the last minute to divert to the Ruahines and tackle the ‘easy graded’ track to Sunrise Hut. So glad we did. Despite the sustained steepness of the track – 800m over 6km the view from the top was just incredible. Definitely want to go back and continue along the ridge to the next valley some day. We descended in darkness (with torches) to the sound of Ruru all around us.

detail of metalwork of roof stays on an old railway station.

The weather came today as we travelled south. In the pouring rain, we explored some classic Central North Island townships all of which have seen better days. Ormondville (probably best known for the Ormondville Murders) and Norsewood were settled and thrived in the late 1800s and 1900s. This railway station is still serviced and the station itself can now be booked as accommodation.

a man and a woman walk along a road in the rain next to the ocean.

Dodging the rain in Eastbourne! Nigel and Chris.

statue of a man looking as if he is about to dive in the water. The lights of the city shine through the mist and darkness in the background

One of the reasons for heading south to Wellington was a surprise that Nigel had planned for me. So Wednesday evening found us parked up in a campervan park in the centre of Wellington and then walking along the front to the TSB Stadium to watch Norah Jones! I love this statue and especially so through the misty rain with the lights of Wellington reflected in the water.

yachts and reflections in a glassy harbour

The rain stopped overnight but it was still misty. The harbour was as still as could be as we went to get our morning coffee.

a man and a woman wearing wet weather gear smile despite the wet weather

Onwards and northwards. We went for a very wet walk in the Ruahines. Rangiwahia and Dead Man’s Track. Not many views but we enjoyed ourselves and not being able to see anything outwards meant that we focussed on what was at our feet. Lots of plants (see album). Another place to go back to and explore further especially in better weather.

a shag sits on a rock in a lake. Shafts of evening sunlight fall onto the lake from the clouds behind him.

On the way home we stopped for a break by the side of Lake Taupō. We sat for a while and watched this shag. He out sat us!

a long haired tabby cat
Tonks – being a cat
a young man looking at his phone
Always good to see my big son…
lego bricks

The last day of the month – back at work!