Archive for April, 2017

Little Spotted Kiwi

April 30, 2017

Last Saturday, the little Spotted Kiwi were returned to Shakespear Park.  These are the first Little Spotted Kiwi to be brought back to the greater Auckland Region, the second group to have a habitat on mainland New Zealand and are the second rarest Kiwi so it was with great ceremony that they were delivered to the Park.  Roy and I were privileged to be invited to view the proceedings and it was good timing as we had returned to Auckland for a few appointments the previous couple of days and were staying at our second “home” with my brother Steve & sister-in-law Leslie before heading back to the van at Uretiti. But back to the main event.

According to Wikipedia the little spotted kiwi or little grey kiwi, Apteryx owenii, is a small species of kiwi that in pre-European times occurred in both main islands of New Zealand. Around 1900, a population was trans-located to Kapiti Island for conservation purposes. Little spotted kiwis are the smallest species of kiwi, at about 0.9 to 1.9 kg (2.0–4.2 lb), about the size of a bantam. After they were released on Kapiti Island, they were also moved to Red Mercury Island, Hen Island, Tiritiri Matangi Island, and Long Island in the Queen Charlotte Sound. In 2000, about 20 little spotted kiwis were released into Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. This was the first time since about 1900 that little spotted kiwis could be found on the mainland of New Zealand. Now they have a second Mainland home ie. Shakespear Regional Park.

 The Kiwi were delivered to the ceremony site by selected personnel with the kiwi transported in specially made boxes which had been lovingly made by SOSSI (Shakespear Open Sanctuary Society Incorporated) volunteers over the previous few months. 

Kiwi being delivered in their special carry boxes

The Kiwi and guests were welcomed by local iwi with a powhiri.

Iwi representative delivering welcome speech. 

Then came the welcoming speeches from various dignitaries inlcuding Auckland mayor Phil Goff


SOSSI chairman Peter Jackson


 NZ Defence Force representative

The Defence Force, namely the Navy, share some of the headland and fence line with the Park and work together with park staff  in enhancing the area.

Unfortunately I missed taking a picture of the very moving and powerful powhiri and karakia given by the Kapiti Island iwi representatives as I was too busy listening.   And why were Kapiti Island Iwi present?  The 10 female birds being introduced were from Kapiti Island just off the Wellington Coast, and the 10 male Kiwi were from Tiritiri Matangi Island which is an island in the Hauraki Gulf just 3kms offshore from Shakespear.  The mixing of the birds ensures there will be genetic diversity in future offspring.

After all of the speeches the birds were returned to their shelter.  We were then told that a few of the birds would be brought out for us to be able to see close up, whilst ensuring they would be carefully handled we were asked to be very quiet so as not to frighten the nocturnal creatures.  We had presumed that the birds would be brought out in the boxes as we knew that perspex lids had also been made for the boxes.  

What a pleasant surprise we had when we saw that the birds were being carefully brought out by handlers, cradling them in their arms like they would a newborn baby.

Each bird had a handler, a volunteer umbrella holder and a Ranger to bring them out to see us.

This bird was brought out by Ginnie.  Ginnie is the organiser for the Junior Ranger programme run at the Park which we are very involved with over the summer months. 


The Kiwi were released into their new habitat later in the afternoon, away from the glare of onlookers.   We look forward to hearing their calls in the night next time we return. 

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I can see clearly now…

April 25, 2017

It only took ten days from ordering the windscreen replacement from the USA for it to arrive at Stieger Glass  in Takanini.  

This is how it is shipped from the USA.


Franz doing his thing, removing the rubber before he gets the old glass out.


Highlighted is the offending chip!


Windscreen removed, it’s a bit draughty now.


Old screen looking a bit sorry.

New one in, all tidied up.   The other half of the windscreen was reglued into place in the middle join as the old glue had deteriorated.

All taped up ready for the final seal


We can highly recommend Franz for his workmanship, work ethic and ability to source glass from anywhere in the world for any van, vehicle or caravan.  His Web site is here.  

A flying visit

April 22, 2017

When we get a call from friends Barry & Sandra asking if we will be around to join them for morning tea, we know that it will be a flying visit – literally!

As we are currently parked at the motorhome parking area at Ardmore Airport it was an opportune time for Sandra & Barry to visit from their home at Taupo Airport.  You see they have a plane with which they hop into to make their visits and sure enough just before 10am they landed at the airstrip in front of us!


We wandered down to greet them and spent the next couple of hours at the Airport Cafe catching up on all each other’s news before putting the world to rights.

It’s not the first time that they have visited, there was the time when we were in Takaka, Kaitaia and in Thames.  As well as us visiting them at their base in Taupo and here.

We were interrupted from our chatting by the roar of engines, sure enough there were 5  Harvard planes lined up ready for a takeoff.   These are part of the Warbirds collection that regularly fly at air shows and events around the country.  And with a roar they were all off in quick succession and were soon flying in formation over the city, we presumed as practise for ANZAC Day commemorations next week. 



Soon it was time for Sandra and Barry to head back home to Taupo.  It’s always great to catch up with them and we look forward to the next time.

Sandra, Roy & Barry

Auckland stranglehold

April 19, 2017

We finally managed to escape from the North Shore when the brakes were finally sorted with the new calipers fitted and everything finally completed and tested.  We made it as far as Papakura where we stayed at the Club for a few nights before heading to the NZMCA park at Ardmore.  Roy had an appointment at Ascot Hospital so we thought it would be convenient being here for a few days before we head north.   

Whilst we were at the club Simon called in with Maria for a visit…

Grandad and Maria
Antony only lives around the corner so he called in as well to catch up although I’m not so sure that Maria was impressed!Simon, Antony and Maria

Things seem to be conspiring against us at the moment as we now have a new issue.  There is a stone chip or two in the windscreen, very small ones mind you, however one is in the drivers sightline  and as part of the COF which is due at the end of the month, we needed to get them repaired.  The chips in question are only the size of my little fingernai.  We organised to have the windscreen looked at and hopefully get the chips fixed but guess what?  Yep, the stone chips cannot be successful repaired so we have to have a new windscreen which of course means it has to be ordered and shipped from the USA.  We are told that it will be a matter of just 10 days before it arrives into the country.  Meanwhile we are stuck at Ardmore until that arrives.  Of course to complicate matters there is Easter weekend and ANZAC day in amongst the time frame which equates to lots of public holidays but hopefully it will not hold things up too much. Meanwhile we wait…..patiently?! 

Both Antony and Roy have had birthdays in the past few days which the three of us have celebrated quietly with a meal or two out.  The years keep rolling around and the numbers inevitably keep getting larger, not that we are complaining!

The weather seems to have finally settled although last week we had the predicted storm Cyclone Cook bearing down on an already soaked landscape.  Fortunately the Cyclone deviated eastwards from its projected path and apart from the odd downpour or two we came off lightly.

Plans?  Well we are not making too many as as soon as we do, something seems to come along to scupper them so stay tuned folks. 

In a pickle

April 10, 2017

It’s that time of the year again when it’s time to get pickling.  After visiting the Mangere market garden for beautiful outdoor grown veggies including tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes, it was time to get a pickle on.

First up was zucchini pickle, a certain favourite of a London residing member of the family, and yes, I may be able to sneak a jar into the luggage if she is a good girl 😘.

Zucchini Pickle all done

Then it was time to deal with all the tomatoes, Tomato Chilli Chutney and Tomato Chiil Jam were the main ones to get done.

Tomato Chutney done

Then there is the Giadiniera aka Pickled Vegetables that we love

Vegetables in the brine ready to be pickled.

The bottled vegetables ready for winter eating.

And the rain kept a coming…

April 5, 2017

Tuesday and the rain had started, but first we had a couple of appointments to keep which meant fighting the incessant traffic.  For some reason the rain also tends to bring out silly driving habits with drivers not adhering to good wet road driving practises, but the  queues were long and time consuming. 

Back at Shakespear we were safely parked on the hard in the SCC (Self Contained) parking area.  There were a couple of campers in the main campground so we went to see how they were faring and also to warn them of the deluge forecast for later in the day however the Ranger was already there making sure they were OK.  The people in a tent  packed up what they could and decided to leave, the ones in a motorhome said they were happy where they were but at around 6.30pm we saw that they too exited the camp and headed for higher ground.  Another bus joined us in the parking area and we settled in for the night.  

It was a bit of a restless night though with not much sleep happening.  I was up at around 12.30am as I was woken by a noise which I could not quite figure out what it was.  I was up again at 1.45am shining a torch light around to see what was happening – note to self, remember to put on glasses to be able to see what is actually going on.  I could see a large streak of brown along where the stream is at the back of the parking area but in my sleep-befuddled-nonspectacle-wearing state, I could not figure out what it was.  I did rescue our door mats from floating away though as the water was ankle deep around the bus.  Back to bed where I was up again another couple of times before finally giving up at around 5.30am. Roy was already up and about and I could hear him sloshing around outside.  

As dawn approached we could finally see what had happened.  A slip had come down the hill behind us and had completely blocked the stream, with tye stream now re routed to flow out exactly where we were parked. 



By this time our neighbours were also up and as the morning lightened we could finally see that the whole hillside had given way.  


The slip snaking its way down a small valley.  Time to get on out of there.

You can see our van parked over on the right hand side.  We were very lucky that the slip stopped where it did.  

we were parked under these trees just the other week!

We have now left the park as the brake parts have arrived so are being fitted Thursday morning. From there we are not sure where we are heading as yet  as Roy has some further appointments to attend but it won’t be too far away.  Stay safe people.