• Neil Dawson’s Other People’s Houses finally in situ after a 35-year wait for a home

The Cool Cats of Connells Bay

January 27th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , |

While it’s true there was a time when I would have followed Billy Connolly anywhere, I can safely say that in this instance I was way ahead of him; for a large part of the journey, at least. You see, when Billy Connolly did his epic televised road trip of New Zealand in 2004, he [...]

A Great Ride – 
Teasing Out The Past

January 27th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Karangahake Gorge is a gateway to memories of my childhood holidays, opening the door to the seemingly endless days spent on Coromandel’s white sand beaches. The long trips from the Waikato with my parents were shared with my sister who continuously teased me in the back of the family Datsun. As always on these trips [...]

  • View of Cape Maria Van Diemen from Cape Reinga

North of the Border

January 27th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , |

Captain Cook saw the mighty sand dunes and thought he was looking at a desert. About a century and a half later, in the 1920s a Minister of the Crown – demonstrating remarkably little foresight and even less tact – declared that the long, narrow Aupouri Peninsula at the very tip of the North Island [...]

  • Expansive views of Wellington Harbour from the cable car are truly memorable

Wellington on a Good Day

January 27th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , |

There’s an indescribable pleasure in revisiting one’s old hometown and bringing to mind youthful memories triggered by familiar landmarks and scenes. Our capital city at the centre of Middle Earth still manages to surprise me. I love the fact that when the weather is ‘trying’ in the sense of rain, hail or gales, the locals [...]

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 [...]