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"To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower; Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour." William Blake


Airport Service and Special Needs

December 26th, 2006 by sunflowers

Gaylene and Meoung SoungDriving down to AucklandDriving down to Auckland
My sister and her husband flew back to Korea on Boxing day to start work on Wednesday so we were up at five to drive the four hours down to Auckland to get them to the airport by ten in the morning. After dropping them off we returned my new shoes that I had bought and taken the heel off of by jumping around dancing the night before. On the way home we stopped in Whangarei and I saw where my sister looks after nine guys with special needs. I have always felt a bit uncomfortable around people with special needs but my sister said that you just need to treat them as though they were children so say hello and chat for a little while but you don’t have to try and have adult conversation. It was quite helpful and as I love being around children I managed to cope quite well.

Posted in New Zealand | No Comments »


Christmas and Crafts

December 25th, 2006 by sunflowers

Merry Christmas to all my friends and anyone who has come across this website.

Russian DollsCrafts On Christmas day we opened our immediate family presents and then headed over to my grandmother’s but as we had our family day on Christmas Eve one of my aunt’s families took the opportunity to spend Christmas day with her husbands family so it wasn’t the entire family. My family does a lot of crafts and I received a paper mache bracelet from my sister and some ear-rings that my cousin make that both matched the Christmas t-shirt that I had made at my aunts. My sister’s husband works a lot in Russia so we all also received a set of Russian dolls. After opening up the presents we worked our way through some more of the left over food, finished cleaning up the hall and then headed to the beach for the reminder of the day as it was a gorgeous day.

Posted in New Zealand | No Comments »


Food and Photos

December 24th, 2006 by sunflowers

Putting down a hungiPutting down a hungiPutting down a hungi
Today I rode out to my grandmothers on the bike in order to help clean the hall and putting down a hungi for my sister’s wedding ceremony. I gave a couple of my cousins a spin around the spare lot next door. Putting on a hungi is the traditional Maori way of cooking food. A pit is dug and it is filled with tinder (newspaper) and then a platform of wood is built and the rocks are placed onto of the wood. Then when the fire has burnt through the wood the rocks drop down to the bottom of the pit. Once the rocks are on the bottom of the pit the food is placed into the pit with wet manuka sticks between the crates of food and the steam from the wood steams the food and the whole pit is covered by wet sacks and then the dirt is put back on it while the food cooks for a couple of hours.

Once the hungi went down we went to the family church at Waimate North for a half an hour wedding vows ceremony between my sister and her husband. Afterwards we had a photographer come to take photos of the extended family and then each family grouping separately. After dinner we watched the videos of my sister’s Korean wedding and the proposal that my brother-in-law did at a concert of my sister’s favourite band getting up on the stage to sing a song to my sister with the band. After a few glasses of my punch we had some dancing and karaoke.
Family photosFamily photosFamily photos

Posted in New Zealand | 1 Comment »


Cape Reinga and dune boarding

December 23rd, 2006 by sunflowers

Cape ReingaNinety Mile BeachEvery year that I come home my godson Fyfe and I do an adventure activity. This year we went up to the northern most point of New Zealand to Cape Reinga where the state highway one starts as a gravel road and the Tasmania Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. One the way back we went dune boarding where I taught my godson that gravity alone would mean that I would be beating him down the hill on the boogie board. Even though I have been up to Cape Reinga a few times but have never driven on ninety mile beach which is actually an official recognised road (the beach is actually only sixty four miles but by the time that they measured it the name had stuck).

Driving on beachFyfe and kauri treeFish and chipsWe walked through some native rainforest. New Zealand has a large proportion of endemic species (native to only one land) as New Zealand broke away from Gondwana very early so has almost prehistoric foliage. Cabbage trees are my favourite. On the way home we stopped at the best fish and chip shop in New Zealand. They are also a fish mongers so the fish is really fresh and the chips are home cooked.
BuggySea and ocean meetingCabbage trees

Posted in New Zealand | No Comments »


Who’s who

December 22nd, 2006 by sunflowers

CrayfishI have three sisters and this is the first time we have all been at home for Christmas in the last ten years and only the second time we have all been together in that time period. I am the main culprit as it is too expensive to come home at this time of year – and the weather is much, much better in February. As we are all together my sister, Gaylene who lives in Korea and got married in Seoul in a traditional wedding in April of this year has decided to hold a wedding vows ceremony in our family church is Waimate North on Christmas Eve.

ScallopsCrayfishMy youngest sisters are twins. Rhonda is the one with three children and lives in the Bay of Islands and Dawn lives in Whangarei and works with disabled people. Today Gaylene and her partner, and Rhonda’s boyfriend went out on the boat with my father to collect oysters and mussels for the dinner tomorrow night and for some reason they came home with crayfish and scallops which we already had. I took a couple of pictures of them as they were all still moving about which was a bit freaky.

Posted in New Zealand | No Comments »


Lights, camera, action

December 21st, 2006 by sunflowers

Posing with bikePosing with bikeI rode Daisy up from Auckland this morning. I am going to look into getting a camera attached to my bike. Nigel said that he knew someone that had mounted a camera on a swizzle mounting. I would like to do something similar as I drove past some of the most beautiful scenery. Once I got up to the Bay of Islands I dropped off my bag before heading into town to show off my bike to my mother and then my best friend. My mom said that she thinks I ride with feminine style – I am not quite sure what that means but it sounds good.

Flashing vestAt my friends place we took some photos of the bike out in front of her place and me standing by the bike so I could update the photo on the front page. I bought some batteries for this electric orange fluorescent vest that I bought and tried to take a picture of it with the lights flashing. I am looking forward to wearing it on my bicycle in London.

Ps. The tree I am standing in front of is a New Zealand Christmas tree called a Pohutakawa.

Posted in New Zealand | No Comments »


When is a desert not hot during the day?

December 20th, 2006 by sunflowers

When it is the desert road in the middle of New Zealand’s North Island. This region must be the most desolated, miserable place in the North Island which is why the New Zealand army training is based there. When I left Palmy in the morning it was raining and my trousers turned out not to be waterproof and due to not zipping my waterproof liner up I got a wet chest. So by the time I hit the cold bleak plateau of the desert road I was freezing and the constant drizzly rain meant I had no visibility so I just hung on and followed a big truck though the windy road. Coming into Taupo it started to warm up slightly but it was still a pretty cold ride to Auckland. ps. I don’t know why the you tube videos are just showing the first 4 seconds rather than about 30 seconds. It might be because youtube says that it takes 100mb videos or 10 minutes and they took ages to upload?

Posted in New Zealand | No Comments »


New Zealand National Anthem

December 19th, 2006 by sunflowers

Pacsafe and TessaThere are two ways to Palmerston North (Palmy) from Wellington. One goes up the west coast along the number one highway and the second way is the number two highway up and over the Rimutaka Range. My mate, Bruce, after seeing me struggle in Wellington said I wasn’t ready for the Rimutaka Range but that I could turn off before Levin and go up through Shannon and Linton coming into Palmy passing by Massey University for a nice bendy road which I did. Plus I was tired of following cars on the number one doing 80kms/hr. I found the bends ok – but I was a bit disconcerted by my bag shifting due to the heavy side winds I was getting. I also freaked out when I saw a room sized swarm of bees just over the road that I had to ride through. I let out a little scream as it felt like I was being plummeted by marbles and I was quite worried afterwards that some live ones were still one me.

CaitlinLambsLambsI had a great time in Palmy staying with my old uni friends Tessa and Hayden. I went to their wedding just after university and now they have two kids, two dirt bikes and a four wheeler for the six year old. I stayed an extra day to spend more time with them and I ordered the upgrade kit for my jacket which included a thermal lining, CE armour and a water bladder. I also got a pacsafe to lock my bag to the bike and an extra thermal top. As an added bonus we stopped at Hayden’s parents to look at the spring lambs on the way to the Milson School Prize-Giving for Caitlin’s school awards where they sang the New Zealand national anthem in Maori and then in English.

God Defend New Zealand

God of nations at Thy feet
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific’s triple star,
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.

(Maori version and clip of it being sung – tune is the same for both versions).
E Ihoa Atua,
O nga iwi matou ra
Ata whaka rongona
Me aroha noa
Kia hua ko te pai
Kia tau to atawhai
Manaakitia mai
Aotearoa.

Posted in New Zealand | No Comments »


Horokiwi Horizon

December 18th, 2006 by sunflowers

View from Horokiwi

Monday in Horokiwi dawned with a beautiful clear blue sky which is quite unusual for this area so before heading off to my next stop in Palmerston North I went up and took a panoramic shot. This photo doesn’t really give justice to the sky line as you are actually able to see both coasts and the South Island but it is hard in the photo to distinguish them.

The road down the hill from Simon’s is really steep and twisty – so much so that Janet said that friends of their refused to drive up it – and this is in a country where we have a lot of 25km/hr (15 mile) corners on our number one highway. Slowing down to change into first I stalled in the middle of the road in a tight bend only to look behind me and a 4×4 was sitting on my tail. That has happened a couple of times on this trip and is the scariest thing so far.

Posted in New Zealand | No Comments »


Where Kiwis Run

December 17th, 2006 by sunflowers

View from HorokiwiSimon and JanetFixing the fenceFinished FenceMy old university friend lives on a lifestyle block twenty minutes north of central Wellington. The views from the property are amazing and look out towards both coasts. Unfortunately the weather in the Wellington area is pretty pants and it has been hard to get any decent photos. They also have three cows and some chickens. So I stopped in for a visit and got to help with some fence mending and then had home grown cow for dinner. The name of the area they live in is Horokiwi which means ‘where kiwis run’ in Maori.

Posted in New Zealand | No Comments »


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