• Bronze statue of a mare and her foal outside the Town Hall in Cambridge was unveiled in March 2004

Cambridge Connections

November 11th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Cambridge is way more than a one-horse town. As the centre of New Zealand’s equine industry, the Waikato town is surrounded by prosperous-looking stud farms, a number of training tracks and arenas, and the Cambridge raceway. There’s a life-size sculpture of a mare and foal outside the town hall, and the town’s pavements feature an [...]

  • Mission station house

Waimate North, Bay of Islands – Placed by an Enchanter’s Wand

September 10th, 2018|Tags: , , , , |

While returning to England from a trip to the Galapagos Islands in 1835, naturalist Charles Darwin – who had broken his journey at Paihia in the Bay of Islands – was invited to visit the Waimate North mission station by missionary William Williams. The property’s English-style rural landscape, laid out in the nature of a [...]

  • Narrow entrance to Constant Bay

Tales of Long Ago and a Hidden Valley on the West Coast

September 10th, 2018|Tags: , , , |

Plenty of people have drowned here.” Mickey Ryan of Outwest Tours was showing us Constant Bay, a small rocky bay where a huge sea crashes on the rocks beyond its extremely narrow entrance. Constant Bay, west of Charleston near Westport, is named after the first ship to enter its small confines. Charleston, where gold was [...]

  • Cornish pumphouse – a well-photographed building

Windows into Waihi

July 9th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , |

It takes about 2.5 hours to hike the steep mountain track to the summit of Mount Karangahake from the carpark. It took me a little more than that, sweating and grumbling, but the view from the peak was worth it, and at least I can now look up from the road and say I’ve been [...]

Last of the Summer Wine

July 8th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , |

It’s five days before the Mangonui waterfront festival, and there’s a hole in the road just north of the venue. Well, to be accurate, big tides have underscored the footpath and part of the road, and repairs are underway. Obviously, repairs to a tidal area are tide-dependent, especially when using heavy machinery, and it’s not [...]

  • It’s looking like a good year for nectarines

Do You Remember the Taste of … Fresh Fruit (to Misquote J R R Tolkien)

May 4th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , |

Seventy-year-old John Wooster seems surprised that people ask him about his retirement plans. “I don’t intend to retire – why would I retire?” he asks. “I love what I do, and I love meeting people.” Orira Orchards, near Umawera on the upper reaches of the Hokianga Harbour was founded by John’s grandfather, also named John, [...]

Loving our Northern-Most City

February 28th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , |

Long-time Whangarei resident Mary-Anne Barlow seldom finds herself at a loss during weekends, that begin with a visit to the Saturday growers’ market. “I can be home by 7.30 with a nice bunch of flowers, my week’s fruit and veg, and an early morning walk under my belt ready for whatever else may turn up [...]

Hastings – Heart of Art in Hawkes Bay

October 27th, 2017|Tags: , , , , |

Long before we reached Hastings we couldn’t fail to notice the number of cyclists whizzing along the proliferation of trails adjacent to the state highway. Hawkes Bay has really geared up for cycling as a leisure activity. It has more than 200km of mainly limestone trails not just near the highway but with loops and [...]

  • What a welcome – Whitianga’s entrance signage

Whitianga – A Great Escape

June 26th, 2017|Tags: , , , , , |

Three days after the hugely successful Whitianga Summer Concert in which Bonnie Tyler, Alan Parsons and Icehouse played to a sell-out crowd of some 15,000 on Anniversary weekend, the town billboards had already been changed to promote the Queen’s Birthday weekend Mercury Music Festival. So, when the town entrance sign says “Whitianga – enjoy”, that’s [...]

  • This leafy tunnel leads travellers towards Otaki Gorge

How Green is my Valley

June 25th, 2017|Tags: , , , , , |

It’s not a huge distance, but it’s a world away from Otaki village famed for its retail outlets, nor is it far away from the recently completed Paraparaumu motorway where vehicles zip past day and night, but once again, it’s a world away The Otaki Gorge, tucked away in the foothills of the Tararua Ranges [...]