Author Archives: robeanne

Whiringa-ā-Nuku (October) 2019

a brown cup fullof rich dark, black coffee on a white saucer with brown floral pattern.

A great start to the month! A cup of delicious coffee in a wee cafe in Three Kings, Auckland. The Buckley Road Foodstore has a selection of locally made and antique bits and pieces as well as delicious cakes and food. Oh, and great coffee!

train tickets

It shouldn’t be an adventure using public transport but it really feels like it. It brings back memories of childhood going shopping with Mum – not clothes shopping – grocery shopping to Leeds Market. I am full of admiration now of how she managed to get three little girls into town on the bus and then back again with bags full of shopping as well. No mean feat! Then memories as a teenager travelling to and from school, to and from the gym taking two or three buses to connect across the city and then on outings with friends. Then as a student travelling to and around Europe. Then in my first two years teaching taking buses and the train to get to work in Huddersfield from Leeds. It was just what we did in a city, a country and a continent that had (has?) an effective and usable public transport system. Having said that, I was mightily relieved once I could afford to buy a car and dark, early mornings and evenings waiting at bus stops in all weathers became a thing of the past! Since my early twenties, I have really only used public transport for tourism and during short interludes when I didn’t have a car. One of those interludes was when we arrived here in NZ, to Kirikiriroa. Expecting a bus service we were used to, we were first of all surprised to find that buses didn’t run on Sundays, and then that pretty much all services went through the central bus station which required two buses for any trip across the city with a wait in between them. We soon worked out that we could walk to most places more quickly than we could get there on a bus!

Anyway, this is getting to be a blogpost of its own! So, these tickets are from the train from Wellington to Silverstream which seems like a very efficient system, clean, quiet and regular. Makes perfect sense to use it!

a low wall painted with flora and fauna gives way to a railway station behind it

Following the theme – this is the early morning view from the wee bridge over the stream (Silverstream, perchance?) looking towards Silverstream Station. Off I go into Wellington to Nethui19.

a panel of people sit on a stage with an MC at a lectern

This was a panel of awesome people at Nethui19 discussing how we can make the internet more inclusive. Very powerful korero. Watch the “Building an Inclusive Internet” debate here.

bright green leaves and the beginnings of fruit on a plum tree

These are wee podfuls of promise! Lachlan bought Nigel this plum tree for his birthday 2 years ago and after leaving it in its pot for 6 months while working out where to plant it, we decided to put it in a half-barrel so it had space to grow until we prepared a space in the garden. Looking forward to the fruit – just got to make sure the birds don’t get them first!

a father and two sons sit at an outside table of a cafe

October means birthdays and most importantly Aonghas’! Another milestone – no longer a teenager but I still can’t get them all to smile and look normal at the same time!

a young man smiles from behind a cake with lighted candles

Birthday caramello cupcakes!

close up māori carving at the gate of a marae complex.  The wharenui ios in the background against a dark cloudy sky

Our Powhiri for uLearn19 was held at Tunohopu Marae. It was highly emotional as this was where we farewelled my dear colleague Maria Tibble at the beginning of this year. I was unprepared for the raw emotion I felt as I walked through the door and into the wharenui. You can read more about her amazing mahi here. I had the privilege of learning so much from her.

Your openness to my voice laden with legacy and tradition is the one response that my heart will recognise, that my soul will rise to, that my being will open to as a mokopuna of iwi. Maria Tibble

view of a stage at a conference with bright coloured large letters spelling uLearn

uLearn this year is in Rotorua and it is magically MC’d by Stacey Morrison (@formerlydaniels) who keeps us all very entertained.

tall, straight trees rise from a pine needle strewn forest floor. A woman peeps out from behind one of the tree trunks

We love uLearn but it is hard mahi and so Anne and I decided to ‘escape’ for a wee bit of hauora in the Redwoods. I so totally take our environment for granted and hadn’t even considered that tree ferns here grow so much bigger than in Dunedin. Nor had I ever touched the bark of the young Redwoods and realised how soft it is. It’s always magic seeing the world through other people’s eyes.

two women inside the hole of a giant letter A

And when it’s all over – what else to do but jump into an A!? Two Annes in an A.

My first (only) 50km run. It was hard, I wondered many times why I was doing it when all I could feel was pain! But the end is always worth it! I am writing this two weeks after the event and already the memory of the pain is fading – it’s a bit like childbirth! I was pleased to finish in 7 hours – didn’t quite make it under 7 – I wonder if I could have pushed just a wee bit harder somewhere to make up those 55 seconds!?

a black bird with a white feather at its neck takes nectar from a flower in a tree. Blue sky behind.

A long soak in the hot pools at Wairakei was definitely the thing for our muscles after running yesterday. The tūī were out in force.

black and white head and shoulders of a young man from side on.

My wee man! Well, actually he’s my big son but he’s always been my wee man!

the yellow centre of a daisy and three quaters of its white petals spotted with raindrops

It rained today.

I was challenged to one of those challenges to take 7 photos of everyday life in black and white, post them but not give any commentary. I only managed this one! A view through the bus window as we wait at Christchurch airport to head into the city.

a hedgehog without any spines

This is quite sad – a spineless hedgehog. We spotted him on the way home from the pub, wasn’t sure what it was. Turns out it is likely to have mange and we should have taken him to the animal shelter but by the time we went back out he’d scurried away somewhere. I’m relieved – I’m not very good with sick animals, especially ones that I don’t own and have an attachment to. Just not that kind of person…. I feel a bit bad about that, but not bad enough to find it and take it to the shelter!

screenshot of a page in a book with sentences saying waht you shouldn't do in a marae

Okay, yes. I admit it. I didn’t manage to take any photos today so this is a screenshot that I sent to someone to show them what I was doing. Things you shouldn’t do on a marae…. learning te reo Māori means you learn so much about the tikanga or culture of a people as well. You just can’t separate the language from the culture…the language is the culture!

a group of happy looking people in a large kitchen. on the bench in front is food laid out for breakfast

Noho Marae is one of the essential ways of learning about a culture and its language. As part of my learning, we have had a couple of weekend noho and several day noho (stay). This weekend we had a cooking competition and this is Rōpu Rāapa (team Wednesday) preparing Parakuihi (breakfast) for 60 people.

a wee boy crouched down picking things up of the ground.

This wee poppet was helping his Nana pick up all the tinselly stars that had been shaken out of the tablecloths after dinner. It’s everyone’s mahi at the marae to clear up and keep the place tidy.

a red carved Māori pou stands in a field with grey clouds floating in a blue sky

Rangiriri is always a good place to stop to rest my eyes, wake myself up and just breathe on my way home from mahi in Auckland. It’s a place with a lot of history which is only just being remembered. It’s the place of a significant battle in the New Zealand Wars which had been conveniently ‘forgotten’ by the victors but which is now being given its rightful place in the history books and the awareness of New Zealanders.

golden buttercups in a meadow

Buttercups everywhere. Brighten up my day. There is something about buttercups that reminds me of my childhood – my Mum holding a buttercup under my chin to see if I like butter – the golden yellow that promises of summer….

red roses against a black fence

And I looked out and my Dublin Bay Rose has erupted! No matter how much we neglect this rose, over prune it or simply hack away at it, it just keeps blooming. Every year and often twice. I love it!

a band on stage. 3 members are sitting listening wjile a fourth is standing telling a story

The art of storytelling is in all our bones. I love going to listen to bands and hearing the stories behind the songs. We had the pleasure of hearing Shooglenifty this evening.

cityscape of Auckland from the harbour bridge

Heading north for Labour Weekend. The road was surprisingly clear. I love the cityscape view of Auckland from the Harbour Bridge.

beachscape. A man stands at the edge of the water and the golden sand.

So many photos to choose from today. Holiday weekend at the beach and it was a stunner. Golden beaches just an hour from the city – that’s the beauty of Aotearoa. We walked half the length of Pakiri Beach and managed about 10,000 steps!

We walked out from Ti Point around to this spot to have a picnic lunch and basked on the rocks in the sunshine as we watched gannets diving into the ocean to catch fish. The water called me and it was a bit hard to get into it off the rocks here so we wandered back round to a small beach where I floated, weightless in crystal clear water with starfish and sea dollars beneath me. Heaven! Tōku wahi harikoa!

a longhaired grey cat

When there’s been a day without photos, there’s always a cat!

a single chive flower amongst leaves

Chives. Simple really.

a young man on a roof cleaning out the gutters

My boy must have been really bored or he wanted something because I didn’t have to ask more than twice and he was up there, cleaning out the gutters.

Last day of the month. Tired, sick, hungry. I had to go to the information evening about my te reo class for next year. It ended up being great fun as Aroha showed us one of her teaching methods. “Te Ataarangi is well-known for the use of coloured Cuisenaire rods as a learning tool.  It’s  an effective language-learning technique that encourages you to speak.  It has supported more than 50,000 people to speak Māori in homes and communities.” When I looked further into it, I found that this is also a language teaching tool used by the British Council but more commonly used as a way of teaching maths. Fascinating!

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


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



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.

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.

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.…

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.


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
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?!


“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!


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!