May 2019

Yellow doors wide open lead to a garden beyond

These are my favourite doors. They lead to my favourite garden in Hamilton Gardens. The Concept Garden has been inspired by two traditional Whakatauki and an old land use map. 

 Whatungarongaro te tangata toituu te whenua
 As man disappears from sight, the land remains

brown mushrooms nestled into  green moss and ferns

Autumn means mushrooms! These are nestled in amongst ferns and moss in the forest on the way to the Waihohonu Hut just off the Desert Road.

light clouds hang around a mountain both are reflected in a lake

Lake Tikitapu – Blue Lake. When I started running the lake was completely covered in cloud but an hour later the clouds had lifted. Just. A bit of a cheat – Northern Hemisphere 3rd May, Southern Hemisphere 4th May!

Day 2 of a weekend away with running buddies. Same lake, almost the same view! That’s Autumn for you. Actually was 4th May!

glassy lake with clouds and blue sky reflected in it. Bounded by pine trees

Day 2 of the weekend away again! The beauty of time travel. This is Rotokakahi or Green Lake. It is tapu which means no swimming, fishing or boating. https://www.rotorua-travel-secrets.com/blue-and-green-lakes-rotorua.html

ginger cat sleeps on a sheepskin rug

McCavity, McCavity….. cats just rule the world!

Boy holding a paper star

Working in a school to support teachers and students to learn about digital technologies. This boy adapted an origami activity to create this moveable star.

sculpture with māori symbols stands proud in the night sky

Every Wednesday I have my te reo class at Te Wananga in Glenview. This is one of the sculptures outside the building.

a pair of ice skates inside a glass of beer

Haven’t had a beer picture for a while! Being arty with skates and almost empty beer glass.

Praying Mantis camouflaged in feijoas

It’s feijoa season! Unfortunately, they all fell from the tree on the same couple of days and so we have a glut – frantically baking, eating, bottling!

Runner running along a path strewn with autumn leaves

There is something about the noise leaves make as you run through them. Though they can also be lethal – newly fallen leaves hide the slimy, wet, slippery old ones underneath!

a Mum flanked by her two sons. Laughing

Mother’s Day! Me and my boys – it took many photos to get one where we all looked remotely normal! They make me happy.

Grassy hills looking out to the ocean. A heavy bank of cloud across the sky with a tinge of orange sunset

After work hauora. It’s always good to blast the cobwebs of a day inside away with a hikoi up high. This is Papamoa Hills – it might become a bit of a haunt when I work over that way this year.

Two women in a restaurant with wine! Caption is Well behaved women seldom make history
No Comment!
Green eyed, grey haired fluffy cat staring imperiously from its sunny spot.

The most photogenic cat in the world. And she knows it!

Coffee and scone

The beauty of a day at home is the opportunity to venture out for the best coffee in Hamilton. Demi Urgos

Whakatauki in visual form on the wall of a school.

Ko te manu e kai i te miro nōna te ngahere, Ko te manu e kai i te Mātauranga nōna te ao. The bird that feeds of the miro berry owns the forest. The bird that feast of knowledge owns the world.

limes on a tree with blossom

I love how limes fruit and at the same time blossom is blossoming!

waterfall in forest

I’ve driven past the turn off to this walk countless times and today I decided to stop and take the time to walk to the Omaru Falls. Just as I got out of the car the heavens opened! It’s only a short way through winding forest tracks along a stream until you come to an area that has been felled after having crossed the stream on a swing bridge. A turn around to the right brings you to the edge of the river which you follow for a while. Then turn away from the river and climb to a viewpoint where you see this impressive waterfall. It can be heard from a way off but is still a surprise when you see it. It’s a shame that there seems to be no way down the the pool at the bottom.

Street in a small town in New Zealand. A street sign points the way down a road in front of a red brick building

Why is there a street named Chanwai Lane in a Central North Island railway town? After some digging I found that this street was renamed in honour of the Dong family who were Chinese fruit and vegetable growers and sellers, for their service to Taumarunui. Fascinating history.
www.facebook.com/fruitshopsnz/photos/a.1807393342892844/2…

rainbow over a grey rural landscape

There is said to be a connection between rainbows and angels. I received a phone call as I was driving along the road from Taumarunui. I pulled in to take the call. It was a from a friend to let me know that another friend and colleague had just died. It was expected but still a shock. I sat for a while thinking and crying and then something made me look up.

double exposure photo people and special effects
Editing photos with kids – great fun

I spent this afternoon working with some students using photo editing apps. They had a great time playing and creating images.

pink painted fingernails

We decided to paint our fingernails pretty pink in honour of Alannah.

Dark cloudy sunset sky over the plains of Waikato

After a big week of travelling and the sad news of Alannah, I needed to rebalance. Getting up high is my go to to find my wairua and balance hauora. Pukemokemoke is a favourite. Not far from Kirikiriroa and a short circuit gets you to this beautiful view.

Afternoon sun shining on a repurposed church

This old church is now a quirky Craft Beer bar! There’s something about Beer and churches….

View out over the ocean across vegetation and green fields

The Centre of New Zealand... so named because it was a central survey point in the 1800s. It isn’t actually the centre of Aotearoa but it is a pretty cool spot! It has an impressive trig point, and given that it is the most central and possibly the most important trig point, I did have to do a handstand. I asked a passerby to take the photo and he didn’t quite get it but here it is as a bonus photo for May.

woman doing handstand at a trig point
cover of a book

We had the pleasure of listening to Vincent O’Malley telling us the story of Wiremu Tamihana this evening at the University of Waikato. The history of Aotearoa is an interesting commentary on the evolution of British colonialism. Vincent talks about us needing to own our history, facing up to what happened, acknowledging it, accepting our role in it in order to move on and rebuild relationships.

young man behind a counter in a coffee shop

Boy at work. Aonghas has been working at Starbucks for the last 8 months or so. Chris and I went in to see him at work today.

wooden bricks of different colours on a table

This week at Te Wananga we have been learning about counting and numbers and colours.

Two sisters standing in front of ocean and a sculpture of a dog

It’s always good to catch up with the Aunties. Chris stayed with us and Moira stayed over at Tauranga with David and Keri. I took Chris over for the day and we went to the Hairy McLary sculptures.

Trionimoes
Trionimoes

Another family game to play!

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
Autumn
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!

March 2019

On the first day of the month, we made a last minute dash to see Eddie Izzard’s show, Wunderbar. Despite a horrendous jourtney up ther, we had a great night.

Still summer – breakfast on a sunny Saturday morning in the garden.

A chance for a long overdue catch up with a friend. Our conversation on that morning was a topic that warned of tragic events that happened later in the month.

Summer evenings in Kirikiriroa. Making the most of late summer. The changing face of the view from the trig – earthworks for the new road layout at Cobham Drive.

Only in Aotearoa….

Ararimu – working with a new school so I like to have some photos of the landscape to get an idea of the place where their feet are. Ararimu means ‘pathway through the Rimu trees’ – it seems that there was no Māori settlement here but it was on the road between Tamaki Makaurau and the Waikato. The documented history here seems to start with European settlers.

The Mighty Waikato river – evening trailruns. Enjoy them while they last!

Tap takeover at @Crafthamilton. A smorgasbord of Garage Project beers with accompanying food tasters. Ended up being a bigger night out than we had planned! The dangers of wearing an ‘iconic’ Garage Project Tee-shirt when the brewers were in the bar!

Early morning on the Waikato river – the Kirikiriroa marathon is run by some friends of ours and so I spent the day volunteering as a marshall.

The nights are starting to draw in and card games and whiskey seem to be in order! This evening Victor Hugo seemed to get turned over more often than usual. Quite serendipitous for my hand this time!

Autumn skies

View from a teenager’s bedroom door…….

It’s not often my 19 year old will come out for a walk with me – especially at midnight! But I needed some fresh air after a long day at the computer and Nigekl was in Oz. So, we took a football and played footie on the way – maybe it;s not often that a 56 year old Mum will play footie with her 19 year oild son?!

Values….

“The darkest day…”

We were travelling down to Taranaki to the WOMAD festival when we heard about the events in Christchurch on the news. We were in shock as we listened to the radio. All around us was the beauty of the New Zealand landscape. How could such a thing be happening in Aotearoa?

Campervan life – got to have a tea cosy!

Aging hippies!

Aonghas received a parcel in the post….. a trophy! Something to do with his online gaming – signs of a misspent youth!

I had the pleasure of attending a meeting about the Tainui Education Plan (Kawenata) at which Ann Milne spoke. Inspiring and challenging.

Technology projects at schools in NZ…. design thinking, authentic contexts, problem-solving. Some way to go methinks!

Full moon at Ohope beach. This time on Saturday we’ll bve walking along here on our penultimate leg of the Oxfam 100km!

One week on … #headscarfforharmony. There has been a lot of kōrero about the rights and wrongs and appropriateness of this gesture and Jacinda Arderns’s choicve to wear one in the last two weeks, but at the time, it seemed like the right thing to do to support our Muslim community. I still think it was the right thing to do.

Those stop banks! Much easier in the daylight and they had been mown! But there was some long grass and uneven ground for us to wade our way through – this was about 30km into our 100km walk for Oxfam.

We made it! It was a long last leg; we were hurting but we kept going and made it home in well under 20 hours. For a while, we thought we might make it under 19 hours but it wasn’t to be!

Back to work with a bang!

Sunrise.

This week we have been running Local Curriculum Workshops for Principals. Fascinating conversations. Love my job!

Three Beer Thursday at @CraftHamilton

Caught the cat just sitting there …. Autumn nights.

It was one of those gardening days at the end of the summer – tidying up the overgrowth and came across this – rose thorns on steroids!

Last minute prep for workshops tomorrow! Looking forward to the kōrero with a group of Principals.

February 2019

February is a hard month. Mum and Dad’s Birthdays and the anniversary of Mum’s death. It’s 36 years ago but it still hurts. I aim to do something positive and personal on 25th February now to remember but not mourn.

It’s also been a busy work month with lots of travel which means some familiar places to visit and some new ones too. And it’s the last few weeks of training for Oxfam which is on 23rd March. A couple of big walks to boost our training included 66km as Tail End Charlie for the Tarawera Ultra Marathon. That was a long, hot day out on my feet but not as long as for these guys. Big ups to them.

2019 – a new challenge

A new year, a new venture. Keeping it simple this year so back to a photo a day but am posting to a Flickr group which has been going for 12 years set up by our friend Alan Levine aka @cogdog

It seems like a more sociable way of sharing photos – I felt a little out of my depth with the Dogwood Photo challenge, though I’m glad that I gave it a go.

Anyway I thought I would try to write a post each month and share the photos I uploaded to the Flickr group. Just not sure what the best way to do that is….

I could just post the link to my own wee album which I have set up so that I keep track of the photos I share into the group. It’s OK, but you’ll see the whole album and not just the photos for one month….

1/365 Immersion

Or I could make a collage – but iPiccy only seems to have set grids – the biggest is 5×5 and the default frame is square…

Alternatively, I can upload all the photos into WordPress and create a gallery – that took an age! And I just get thumbnails and not the whole picture…. Anyway, this was January – in reverse!

…and now I just need to add the alt text!

Week 52: Self Portrait

Ha! You might have noticed the slick transition from Week 36 to Week 52. The year got busy and the weeks got away with me, and to be honest, I didn’t have the creative energy to set up the photos for the topics each week. Some were really hard to get my head around especially the ones that required an understanding of photographic techniques and thus something more than a phone camera. I had good intentions of catching up but it is time consuming going back through my photos to find ones that might retrospectively fit the themes. I could spend the next few days out and about seeing if I can exercise my mind and get those creative juices going – and I may keep some of the themes in my head and if I see something that works, I may well fill some gaps!

But Week 52 then. Isn’t the world today the world of the self-portrait – there are people taking ‘selfies‘ everywhere. There are even blogposts giving us top tips for taking the best selfies. Not to mention the medical journals jumping in to analyse why we take selfies.

Now I know that a selfie isn’t a real self-portrait but they’re fun and it’s the 21st century and that’s what we do!

I do take a fair few selfies although in reality they are nearly always ‘grelfies‘ (group selfies) as we take them when we are out on the trails as a group or out and about with Nigel. And hardly any of them are flattering in the slightest!

Problems with ‘selfie’ taking:

Not being able to get all four team members in. We used to solve this problem by standing in an offset line behind the person at the front taking the photo. But we have recently discovered the ‘wide angle’ selfie setting on our phones which means that we can now easily get all 4 team members in the photo as well as some of the scenery!

Being old and shortsighted so you can’t see the camera settings as you take the photo. Result – a puzzled or face of concentration rather than a beautiful ‘natural’ smile! Or getting your fat finger over the lens!

It’s just not cool Mum! The reluctance of a teenage boy to be in a selfie with his parents. It’s so embarrassing having parents that take selfies! Although, they do grow out of the embarrassment by their mid-twenties.

I do occasionally take ones of me, myself, I with nobody else in the photo if I find myself in a beautiful place and the mood takes me, though mostly I just take the photo of the beautiful place. Why spoil it by putting my mug in it!? Oh and just for proof that I was there for Strava! (Although if I took the photo, I must have been there, mustn’t I?)

Getting parts of the scenery growing out of your head…. sometimes turning the camera around and taking the shot at a jaunty angles helps… maybe?

Or trying to take a photo facing the sun… squinty eyes!

Getting everyone to smile, face the right direction or not pull faces at the same time! Particularly difficult with a teenage boy!

Week 36: Ordinary

Find beauty in the ordinary.

I’m unsure what ‘ordinary’ means…. is it the things we do everyday that are unremarkable to us simply because we are accustomed to doing them? Or the places we are so familiar with that we don’t ‘see’ them any more?

It is easy, when we are busy, bogged down in the minutiae of everyday life, to forget to look at the beauty of the world around us, every aspect of our world. Sometimes, it is enough to look up, to stop for a moment and smell, breathe, wonder…

I drive past this gate on a winding road in the middle of King Country. On the other side of the road just a bit further on there is a viewpoint that on a good day gives a fantastic view of Tongariro and Ruapehu. On this particular day it was raining, the cloud was low and this ‘ordinary’ view struck me with its atmospheric beauty.

I run through Hamilton Gardens quite a lot and it is not always easy when I am pushing myself to appreciate my surroundings…. I stopped to take this photo when I noticed the shadows I was running through. I’m glad I did!

Kumara field… ordinary but extraordinary. I love the lines, rows, even spaced mounds. Beautiful in their simplicity and practicality.

What could be more ordinary than the sky? But yet every sky is beautiful, different, unique.

Week 35 Creative Loneliness

One is the loneliest number….

On my way to visit a school on a grey morning on a lonely road I came across this wee guy….

I often walk alone when I am out and about with work – it’s always good to get some fresh air after spending the day thinking, talking and teaching. I enjoy that time to myself and don’t feel at all lonely but it’s good to have a shadow at times!

Week 34: Technical – The Wild Side

“Capturing a captivating wildlife photograph requires knowledge of your camera settings and the behaviour of the animal. Capture a compelling wildlife photograph that has proper subject alignment (e.g., no “bird butts”) and exposure. For an easy introduction, urban critters (e.g., squirrels) are easy targets. For an advanced challenge, a bird in flight could be considered.”

Not so many wild animals that aren’t birds around here and they move far too fast to catch them! Insects might work – plenty of bugs around and I have managed to get a few good shots of spiders, butterflies and other critters in the past.  I consider this week’s challenge pretty much a failure but here we go! A spider that we saw at the river in the Kaueranga Valley, a strange insect crawling on our front door, and a Monarch butterfly on flowers in Hamilton Gardens.

large spider on a rock

red insect on a white door

butterfly on yellow flowers

 

 

Week 33 Composition: Figure to Ground

If camouflage is designed to make things disappear, Figure to Ground is designed to make the subject stand out. Light on dark, dark on light.

I only have a couple for this. The opportunities haven’t really resented themselves to me and I have been so busy. This first one is of Tami Nielsen at a recent concert in Hamilton. It is always difficult getting photos with the bright lighting at concerts without completely burning out the subject. Especially if all you have is a phone! I was quite pleased with this though.

a female singer wearing a very pale blue dress at the microphone singing. The background is an inky blue and you can just see one of the band members in the haze of the lights.

The second photo is in Hamilton Gardens in the Concept Garden. This is currently my favourite garden. I tried to get my husband to stand out against the white wall. I fear that the tree to is right might be a distraction but somehow the photo didn’t seem balanced without it.  The whakatauki on the wall says:

He peke tangata, apa he peke titoki’

The human family lives on while the branch of the titoki falls and decays.

man standing against a white wall with the words He peke tangata, apa he peke titoki’ written on it. That means "The human family lives on while the branch of the titoki falls and decays.