Although media reports led us to believe that Titirangi was overrun by marauding gangs of rats, some as big as small cats, others the size of cocker spaniels and probably by now as large as your average German Shepherd, we didn’t see a single rat at all. Well that’s not quite true. At Titirangi’s monthly Sunday market, Colin Heath from NZ Coin Works was doing a lively trade in small brass ornamental rats, selling to those who like myself were entertained by the prospect of a new Titirangi icon. That’s not to say that there’s not a ratty issue, and if so, judging by local warning signs it has obviously concerned the local authority enough to take steps to rid itself of the predicament. Titirangi’s renowned for its chicken population, but we didn’t see any of those either, although we could hear roosters crowing in the bush. People enjoy the chickens and like to feed them, which together with a mild autumn has largely contributed to the rat problem.

The view from the roof of Lopdell House looking towards Auckland Airport in the distance

What we did see was a pleasing number of native birds including kererū (native pigeon) and pīwakawaka (fantail) as well as several tūī darting among the trees like fat black arrows. That wasn’t too surprising, as in many parts of Titirangi an astounding range of mature native trees grow right up to the footpaths, and if it weren’t for the number of houses among them, and the sight and sound of traffic, you’d swear you were in the country instead of only 13km south-west of downtown Auckland.

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