From Tragedy to Triumph

December 1st, 2017|Tags: , , , , , , |

It’s 25 years since Jassy Dean’s life was tragically cut short when she died from meningococcal disease just as her teenage years debuted. Jassy was, by all accounts, a sunny, intelligent girl who made an impression on all who met her. Living as she did in a close-knit community for most of her young life, [...]

Carving Up Matakana’s Sculpture Trail

December 1st, 2017|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Little Barrier Island appears to loom over the landscape, even though its formidable dark silhouette is 22km across a shimmering sea. Like an ethereal Bali Hai island this unique predator-free sanctuary is clearly visible from every corner of the region. It’s an especially riveting view from the spacious lounge of Takatu Lodge & Vineyard, an [...]

  • Riders on the stony riverbed at the track end. Photo: Steve Knowles

Pakihi Adventure

December 1st, 2017|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Over a sinuous 20km, the Pakihi Track twists from high on the Motu Road to a road-end south of Opotiki, in the eastern Bay of Plenty. The track was reopened after a mammoth effort in 2012. It’s part of the Motu Trails, one of 23 Great Rides on the New Zealand Cycle Trail. While the [...]

  • Large rock stacks dot the beach at Tongaporutu

Monoliths in the Sand

December 1st, 2017|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Friends of mine have a classic Kiwi fibrolite bach from the fifties overlooking the Awakino River mouth. This bach is a suntrap and the perfect spot to stay while I’m on a shooting recce of the Three Sisters, Mokau and Awakino. When I say shooting I do mean with a camera as opposed to a [...]

  • Waiwhapuku Bay, at Moturua Island

Cruising Captain Cook’s Bay of Islands

October 7th, 2017|Tags: , , , , |

The Bay of Islands is a slightly unimaginative name for a bay of islands on the east coast, 250km north of Auckland, a bay made famous by Captain Cook who, earlier in 1769, stepped foot on Aotearoa promptly claiming it for the Crown. The whole area is outstandingly beautiful and gets incredibly busy during the [...]

  • John Leslie, middle row far right and James Leslie, middle row far left – photo Whangaroa County Museum and Archives

Passchendaele – A Long Way to Go to Die

October 7th, 2017|Tags: , , , , , , |

“My poor boys, my poor boys!” Young Tom McGee stopped short in the doorway, bewildered and afraid at the sound of his big, strong grandfather’s plaintive crying and the sight of tears coursing through the weather-beaten fingers supporting his bowed head. Coming, as it did, in an era where males learned early in life not [...]

  • Rotorua’s most famous building – no longer in use

The Art and Soul of Rotorua

October 7th, 2017|Tags: , , , , , |

I’m constantly amazed at the amount of history that’s virtually lying around on the side of our roads. En route to Rotorua from Tauranga, we stopped at Mangorewa Kaharoa Gorge. We’d seen the impressive pouwhenua at the gorge on previous trips and wanted to find out about them as well as to get a look [...]

  • Toromiro Station on the Kanakanaia Road

Toromiro Gisborne – Shear Hard Work

October 7th, 2017|Tags: , , , , , , |

Kevin Williams wasn’t very happy with his wife Donna when she entered the Westpac Business Excellence 
Awards. “He doesn’t like the limelight,” says Donna, his partner in the K Williams Shearing partnership, which ended up winning the Māori Business Excellence Award, much to Kevin’s horror. “Kevin would rather put on his gumboots and go to [...]

  • The 10km (return trip) Greytown-Woodside Trail is a dual purpose track that follows the route of the Greytown-Woodside branch rail line which closed in 1953

Cycle Trails – Have two wheels, Will Travel

October 7th, 2017|Tags: , , , , , |

As a different way to explore a new region, there’s nothing better than pedalling your way around. You can make the most of hidden gems along the way and take time to enjoy those incredible views. It’s also another way to connect with the land and its people. The Wairarapa, a large geographical area located [...]

  • New arrival at the Thames Butterfly Garden, Honey the lorikeet. Other exotic finches there include Red Faced Parrotfinches, Firefinches, Orange-breasted Waxbills and Gouldians

A Butterfly Treasure

October 7th, 2017|Tags: , , , , , |

The Butterfly Garden in Thames was the first in New Zealand, started in 2000 by a Swiss couple, Roger and Sabina Gass. Now owned by Colin Anderson, it is a ‘must-see’ for visitors, who can wander amongst a stunning variety of winged colour darting, fluttering, exploring and landing in a humid exotic-planted garden house. Colin, [...]