• Memorials large and small, many of them featuring poppies. The war memorial building is in Kaeo and the obelisk is at Mangonui (above)

The Eleventh Hour – Commemorating the Armistice

October 5th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , |

By the time an armistice between the Allied Forces and Germany was signed on November 11, 1918, more than 18,000 New Zealanders had died. During the four years leading up to that day, WWI – the ‘Great War’, the ‘war to end all wars’ – claimed lives and injured many thousands, physically, psychologically and in some [...]

  • Although this is not specifically a story about the Lindis Pass, it is central to part of the story. So let’s take a look at this spectacular drive through spectacular country

A Land Unseen by the White Man

October 5th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , |

A glorious early spring morning and I’ve got the nose of the Blue Streak (my Nissan Pathfinder) heading up the Waitaki Valley and into the Lindis Pass. This is one of my favourite drives. The Waitaki Valley with its three interlocking lakes, burgeoning vineyards, dairy and sheep farms all hemmed in with snow-capped mountains, is [...]

  • View from the top of Knuckle Hill (506m), looking south

Whanganui Inlet – Remote, Untouched and Natural

October 5th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , |

As a destination, Golden Bay has some very well-known attractions like the Abel Tasman National Park, Pupu Springs and Wharariki Beach; Whanganui Inlet is less well known but is well worth a visit nevertheless. The drive from Takaka to Wharariki is pretty spectacular in itself, so perhaps people can be forgiven for not seeing, let [...]

Poignant reminders of WWI sacrifices

October 5th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , |

Two dramatic and poignant symbols that testify to the human tragedy that was the First World War are on display at the New Zealand Army Museum in Waiouru. One is a sandstone grave marker from Gallipoli that in 1915 marked the resting place of a 34-year-old trooper of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, and the second [...]

Railway Springs to Life

October 5th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , |

Every time I go to Dargaville, I hear a whisper about some hidden discovery that would blow the collective mind if anyone got wind of it. Recently someone did. Unusual conditions on the coast revealed another shipwreck buried deep under the sand at Pouto, on the northern head of the Kaipara Harbour. Pouto is the [...]

Tsunami at 44 South – Chatham Islands Then and Now

October 3rd, 2018|Tags: , , , |

Unsurprisingly, one of the major threats to a small group of islands east of New Zealand is that of a tsunami. At 1am on August 15, 1868, tsunami waves generated the previous day by an earthquake offshore from Arica, Peru – some as high as six metres, nearly the height of a two-storey house – smashed [...]

  • Sculptor Susan Bahary and Nigel Allsopp (far right) (photo National Army Museum)

They Had No Say But Also Served – Commemorating the Armistice

October 3rd, 2018|Tags: , , , , , |

It was the donkey that did it. When I saw the image (provided by the National Army Museum) of that patient beast in its Red Cross headdress, exemplifying the way that a myriad animals joined military personnel in hell on earth for up to four long years, I wanted to pay a small tribute to [...]

River Deep, Mountain High

October 3rd, 2018|Tags: , , , , , |

Robbie Crickett, who with his wife Connie runs NZ Adventures tours, tells it how it is. If he says the road is steep, then it’s steep. If he calls it rough, women soon find out why; in the pre-tour information provided, it was suggested that we bring along support underwear. But the fact that people [...]

Style Never Sleeps

July 29th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , |

September/October 2018 marks 30 years since local sculptor Suzie (now Dame Suzie) Moncrieff first came up with the concept of wearable art in a marquee at Wakefield, just south of Nelson. Torrential rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of that inaugural show’s audience, many of whom came along in gumboots. In fact, the punters [...]

  • Te Papa sits on the Wellington waterfront near the heart of the city

Cruising the Capital’s Cultural Classics

July 29th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , |

Wellington is well suited for walking around its major cultural experiences. Several important museums and galleries are strung along the waterfront, adjacent to the downtown area, or are just a block or two back from there, while others are a kilometre or so further away. Start at Te Papa on the waterfront, not just because [...]