Friday, August 30, 2013


As a nation New Zealand tends to be a great sporting nation and we succeed way above our weight if you consider our population. When I was younger the description Rugby, Racing and Beer was synonymous with being a Kiwi, perhaps less so nowadays. The racing referred to is horse racing and there will not be many Kiwi's who have never placed a bet. Of course our friends across the ditch in Australia were sometimes better than us but there are a few arenas where we have excelled above anything that Australians can do. Rugby Football is one of those sports.

On Saturday our All Blacks secured the Bledisloe Cup. This is a rugby football competition between Australia and New Zealand.

If you're starting to take this All Black dominance of Australia for granted, banish those thoughts.
New Zealand's vice-like grip on the Bledisloe Cup - and Wallaby rugby minds - is now so absolute it should be considered a national treasure.
Steve Hansen's All Blacks tonight secured the Bledisloe Cup for an 11th consecutive season as they despatched the Wallabies for the second straight week with another very impressive performance, winning 27-16.  NEWS ITEM 

 On Sunday, 25th August, we finished off the Louis Vuitton Cup and the Team New Zealand boat lines up to do battle with Oracle for the America's Cup starting on September 7th 2013.
Here is a link to the first race with a very dramatic moment 45 minutes into the video.
Today's race was in fog and must have been quite a challenge in light winds. Luna Rossa, the Italian competition got lost more than 3 minutes behind to the finish..The Presentation.

And 15 year old Lydia Ko has shown her remarkable golfing prowess again.

Golf: Lydia Ko wins Canadian Golf Open

Newstalk ZB - August 26, 2013, 9:59 am
Kiwi amateur Lydia Ko has romped to a successful defence of her Canadian women's Golf Open title at Edmonton.
She's won by five shots, finished with a stunning birdie putt on the 18th to card a final round six-under 64.
The 16-year-old finished on 15 under for the tournament.
Frenchwoman Karine Icher finished second.

Motor Racing is a sport both Australians and new Zealanders tend to excel in. For a few minutes we thought Scott Dixon was well on his way to winning another championship with a win at Sonoma Raceway. A controversial ruling when he hit a crew pit member from another team put paid to his chances. Sometimes it's tough to be an elite sportsman. NEWS ITEM
Valerie Adams, four times world Champion with Shotput was robbed of her gold medal at last year's Olympics when the Belarussian drug cheat made an incredible throw. Since then the wrong has been righted and Valerie has been showing Europe that she is definitely the best. This event was actually two weeks ago but who's counting when Kiwis are top of the sports ladder. NEWS ITEM Incidentally her younger brother, Stephen has been selected to train with  the NBA

None of these people got where they are without hard work. They all were persistent at working toward their ultimate goal and at times they became single minded in their pursuit. Money plays an important part in getting to the top but guess what? New Zealanders do not begin with big budgets. They get there with persistence and a 'Never Give Up' attitude.

In New Zealand we are proud of them. I am not terribly sports orientated but these people make me proud to be a Kiwi.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Every now and then I see something I that belongs right here.

Sadly this blog has been seriously neglected but I will come back to it full time one day in the future. For the time being my energy is going into my weight loss and family life. There are not enough hours in the day to do justice to my NZ Diary.

In the meantime take a look at this video which captures the spirit of Wellington. Here is the link to the website at Vimeo.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Go to Growing Old Gracefully to see photos and a little comment on houses. The photos are all holiday houses but you can find similar dwellings in most towns. The beach does bring it's own flavour of architecture.

Friday, September 30, 2011


Friday evening.

We began our drive to Christchurch about 11 am yesterday. The weather stayed fine so we were able to get our last minute laundry, sheets and towels, on the line early and dry enough to fold and leave in the hot water cylinder cupboard to thoroughly air. We steadily worked at all our last day tasks and I was happy we left the house in good order for guests who have booked the house for Labour weekend, 23-25th October.

We did have a few more things to do than was ideal but we'd spent the previous day with Mum, not arriving home until after 8 pm.

Packing the car is an art and John did a great job considering there was so much stuff we thought we would need. We expect to be away 6-8 weeks so need clothes for snow or freezing, swimsuits! ... and everything in between. It's a pity our bus is not roadworthy. That would have made packing a lot simpler. We even have the breadmaker!!! I promise we did not pack the kitchen sink but I did fill the back seat of the car with a heavy case of books which my daughter-in-law is going to help me sell on TradeMe.

We stopped briefly at Mum's to drop off a couple of forgotten things then stopped again at Colenso, a roadside cafe with awesome food and coffee. It was just on 4 pm when we got to Rotorua and found Greg at the Community Centre where he has recently become a volunteer. We met some of his friends and had BBQ sausages, steak and pork with a variety of Korean style salads. The only thing I liked was a pickled vegatable which might have been cucumber and onion salad in a sweet sour dressing spiced with chilli. We were tired when we finally were able to go to bed at Greg's in a comfortable bed.

Crossing the Thames at Kopu on the old one way bridge controlled by lights. This bridge is 500m long, built in the 1920s. The centre span pivots to allow tall boats to navigate. The new bridge alongside is almost completed.

Greg and his Chinese flatmate

We stopped briefly at Mum's to drop off a couple of forgotten things then stopped again at Colenso, a roadside cafe with awesome food and coffee. It was just on 4 pm when we got to Rotorua and found Greg at the Community Centre where he has recently become a volunteer. We met some of his friends and had BBQ sausages, steak and pork with a variety of Korean style salads. The only thing I liked was a pickled vegatable which might have been cucumber and onion salad in a sweet sour dressing spiced with chilli. We were tired when we finally were able to go to bed at Greg's in a comfortable bed.

This morning there was more time to talk to Greg before he headed off to an appointment with his ACC, Accident Compensation, case manager. Today it's 19 years since his motor bike accident when he sustained a serious back and less serious head injury. I'm guessing that in another 10 years injuries such as Greg's will be repairable. He had a crush and fracture at T12 and is termed a partial paraplegic because there is some muscle recovery and some nerve response but apart from being able to stand with crutches he is for all intents and purposes a paraplegic living from a wheelchair.

First we went to the supermarket and bought salad and rolls for lunch. There was enough for our tea tonight and still salad for tomorrow. It was about 11 am when we left Rotorua. It's been a beautiful day following a good frost, only a few fluffy clouds in the azure sky. We enjoyed driving on good roads with light to medium traffic. It was a pleasure after our narrow winding Coromandel roads. The mountains, Ruapehu, Ngarahoe and Tongariro were well dressed in gleaming snow, as were the Ruahines to the east of us. The atmosphere was so clear the mountains seemed almost close enough to touch. I think it was one of the nicest drives I've had across the Central Plateau. We had intended to stop along Lake Taupo for lunch as there are so many beautiful scenic spots but we were making such good progress we decided it was too soon to take a break. Finally we stopped at the Waiouru Military Museum. Plenty of parking. beautiful timber tables and seating, sunshine, mountain background and conversation with an English Rugby World Cup follower/tourist all made it a good stop for lunch. Our rolls were fresh and crunchy and yummy as we filled them with our personal choice. We didn't have time to go into the Museum but we have been before and can recommend it as it covers all of New Zealand's military history from the first settlers to now. This is our National Military Museum and being a small country other museums only have snippets of stuff.

We continued our drive and finally stopped for the night in Palmerston North where we booked into a Motel in Fitzherbert Street. There is a group of Georgian Rugby tourists and anther smaller group from Argentine. New Zealand is in the grip of World Rugby cup fever and although we are not "Rugby Mad," we aare lying on our comfortable bed watching Samoa play South Africa. It's a hard game but the score is all going South Africa's way.

This is a great way to end a wonderful travel day. We've had a soak in the spa bath and showered washing hair and now it's nearly time to go to sleep. We still have 2 hours to drive to Wellington tomorrow to catch the Ferry to Picton. It takes about 3 hours to cross Cook Strait and we are hoping for more good weather. On Sunday we will complete our drive to Christchurch. We haven't driven down for four years so while very familiar it all seems very fresh. Spring is springing and the green paddocks are decorated with ewes and lambs, so cute, and cows and calves. Willow trees are delicately green and blossom trees show off in pinks and white. Other seasons can be stunning but I think spring is the prettiest.

I never travel in New Zealand without being in awe of our landscape. We are truly blessed. It's been wonderful that our weather has been mostly good whily Rugby World Cup followers are touring. Makes one feel proud to be a Kiwi.

I'm sorry this is not up to my usual editing standard. It's taking too long to sort out.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


That will sound odd to some folk but we live in a mainly sub-tropical climate with the odd frost between late May and October. New Zealand has been subject to an icy blast and Auckland experienced a flurry of snow for the first time since 1939. There is a dusting on the high spots of the ranges but nothing down here on the coast.

Christchurch is a different story. There was a video on the news of someone skiing in the snow on Sumner Beach. Our daughter-in-law is supposed to fly to Wellington today. I don't fancy er chances. We have so little snow disruption that it's not cost effective to be fully equipped with anti freeze and snow equipment. We use grit trucks and sweepers on the most likely to be affected busy/essential roads but where snow is a rare occurrence the roads are simply closed.

Snow in Wellington is also unusual. Enjoy the video link.

Friday, July 1, 2011

To date there have been 7760 shakes in the Canterbury region. 25 were 5.2 and stronger with 3 major quakes. Based on the Richter scale there was a 7.1 on September 4th, 1010. 6.3 February 22nd, 2011, and another 6.3 on June 13th.That's a whole lot of shaking.

It has been a trying time for residents, city administration and everyone involved in infrastructure recovery.

This week the official Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, Cera, has released a map depicted the zones where people can rebuild or must demolish. The Red Zone has 5100 houses which are to be demolished in the next two years and the area will not be rebuilt on for many years if ever. Houses in the green zone are repairable The orange zone is still to be decided as is the white zone. Both areas need further investigation by scientists and engineers.

It's hard to see the damage in this photo but the ridges have slipped and there was a big slump in the roof making it no longer waterproof.  The roof has been covered with tarpaulins twice. The first time wind ripped them loose. While we were there, late May, two heavy duty tarps were delivered and put in place, all done under EarthQuake Commission, EQC, a Government organisation  working with individual property insurance.When we take out property insurance a portion of the premium is paid to EQC. It works for us although it does mean another layer of red tape.

Our city son and his parents-in-law are in the green, less than 500m from the red zone. We expected this. Wayne and Amanda have a new roof courtesy of EQC. The tiles have been replaced with grey colour steel and looks very smart.

Many older buildings are being demolished. It's so sad and there will be gaps in once busy streets for years to come.

Christchurch and some other Canterbury civic Councils are having trouble renewing their Insurance. It's proving almost impossible and is very costly when they do find limited insurance.

The following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Key's address when the official earthquake damaged zones were announced.

"To put this in context, Treasury has estimated the combined cost of the first two Canterbury earthquakes to be equivalent to about 8 per cent of New Zealand's GDP.

Damage from the 1995 Kobe earthquake in Japan was just over 2 per cent of Japan's GDP, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 cost about 1 per cent of US GDP, and March's Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster was an estimated 3-5 per cent of Japan's GDP.

This has been a major event and the government is committed to getting things right for the people of Canterbury. We're moving as quickly as we can to give some certainty to those affected," Mr Key said.

"Based on conservative assumptions, Treasury has estimated the net costs to the government to purchase all of the around 5000 properties currently in the residential red zone to be between $485 million and $635 million."

The earthquakes have been compared to eight or 9 Hurricanes Katrina. That's a huge impact, socially and economically on a small city, by world standards, and our nation.

But there's lots of good news too.

There are many heartwarming stories. The SPCA is re-homing pets, many are going outside the quake hit area to live in peace again. There have been some substantial donations. The latest is 5 million dollars to be used exclusively for the benefit of children in the hardest hit areas.

These women are having soooo much fun.

Ballantynes, an iconic Christchurch department store, a little like Macy's has found a fun way to keep it's customers happy. They have a shopping bus twice a week transporting people, mostly women, to their Timaru store, about 100 miles or 165 km from Christchurch.

Read more here