Archive for the ‘Shakespear’ Category

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. 

Another week of visitors

February 25, 2017

We received a phone call on Monday from Andrene & Lyall, these are friends we met when both of us lived in Oamaru, they moved to Christchurch around 11 years ago, which was probably the last time we caught up.  They were in their motor home having a look around the north island and knew we were at Shakespear so they came to stay with us for a couple  of nights.  It was a though time had stood still with the conversation flowing freely and into the night,  besides,  we haven’t changed a bit and none of us have aged at all!! 

The afternoon started with a few drinks with some fellow motorhomers who kindly took a photo of the four of us.L-R: Roy, Bernice, Andrene, Lyall

It just so happened that we had some fresh snapper ready for our dinner, caught by Roy and Steve the previous morning, as well Lyall is a keen whitebaiter and had whitebait in their freezer which resulted in a fabulous shared dinner with Whitebait patties for entree and snapper for our main and I made some focaccia bread.  Along with a salad or two it all washed down with a suitable beverage or three, a meal to savour.


We sat outside until it bacame too dark  then continued chatting in our van until it was time for bed.  

The next morning it became eveident that Andrene and I have very good tasteSome of the more observant of you may notice that the previous day we both had a liking for blue and white stripes! 

We offered Andrene & Lyall the use of our car so that rather than taking their van off to do their shopping they could nip around in the RAV4.  Lyall had ordered an inflatable boat so they were off to pick it up.  Of course on their return we had to have a trial run at putting it all together.

Roy having a dry run!

We left them to their own devices Tuesday evening as we had arranged to rendezvous with Steve that evening for a fish off the beach with Steve’s torpedo.  Once we had set the line out to fish we sat on the beach watching the sun go down as we ate pizza accompanied by a suitable beverage. Bliss.   The haul of fish was not great, we did manage to bring in four fish but only one was a keeper but we also managed to drag in an awful lot of weed so we will not be fishing off that beach again in a hurry! 

Wednesday evening we headed into Torbay to Steve & Leslie’s place for a meal and get together with Leslie’s two sisters and all the extended family.  Leslie’s youngest sister Gill & I were best friends right through primary and secondary school so it was great to catch up again with her and her daughters who were over from Perth.  Although it was only a couple of years ago since we last met.  This time was a little more restrained however it was great to have everyone together.

Steve was heading north for a couple of days for work, so Roy went along for a ride to keep him company and they just so happened to take the fishing gear with them so that they could have a fish in the evenings.  By all accounts a few fish were caught and a good time was had by all.  

Meanwhile I stayed at the van at Shakespear, helping out a few stray travellers and in particular those who do not read the signs about how to unlock the padlocks! Some people.  I even had a visit from the Jehovah’s Witness…they got the short sharp shrift and were quickly sent on their way.  

Blooming lovely

December 19, 2016

Oh how I love the drive into Shakespear, you drive up the hill to the pest proof fence and wait for the pest proof gates to open and let us in, once through the gates a little further along toward the  brow of the hill we catch a first glimpse of a sign mown into the paddock.


The number 5 denotes the fact that Shakespear has now been 5 years pest free, a great achievement especially for all who continue to work hard to maintain the park.  Early 2017 will see the reintroduction of Kiwi to the sanctuary, congratulations to all those hard working staff and volunteers who are making this happen.

Once over the hill we get a good view down over Te Haruhi Bay and we see the first glimpse of the pohutakawas in flower, it is truly a delightful sight.   

The entrance to the  campground  is lined with the trees and many of them are in full bloom. 

We have a Pohutakawa flowering at the front and rear of where we are parked within the campground, for some reason the trees are putting on a particularly grand display this year.


My favourite tree in the park is this one which is half red and half yellow


Who knew that there was a yellow Pohutakawa? 

In fact there are many colour variations, from almost a pink, through orange tones to red to crimson and there is one that is almost a browny/red.


Whatever their colour, they herald the start of summer and are glorious in all their colours. 

On our way

November 29, 2016

It’s time we started our journey south ready for us to take up our camp hosting duties at Shakespear park for the summer.  We were due to leave Rarawa this week, however on Monday we were told that we had to leave that day as DoC were about to start their latest assault on the Argentine Ants (See previous post).  But before we left we thought we would have one last fish off the beach.


And just along from us are Pat & Sue


Not too many fish were harmed in this exercise.

From Rarawa it is a short 60km journey into Kaitaia, as we had also heard that our brake parts had arrived.  However through mutual agreement between Roy and Kaitaia Tractors, they are not fitting the part this time.  We have ordered a matching part to come from the USA, and the pair will be fitted early next year after we have finished at Shakespear.  Meanwhile, we are assured everything is safe and we are good to go.

So now we shall meander our way down to Auckland, stopping off at a few selected  places along the way and endeavour to get ourselves into the Christmas spirit.  Thanks Northland for a wonderful few months, we shall be back soon. 

Rarawa – Auckland – Rarawa

November 25, 2016

We left Matai Bay on a Sunday afternoon for Kaitaia as the van was booked in for the final bit of work to be done on the brakes as the parts had arrived from the USA, as well,  a couple of other jobs  were being completed.  However, things never seem to go smoothly, the parts that we had had sent out were not the right ones.  As you were folks, put everything back together then spend the next day researching and checking on hopefully getting the right parts.  It would be so much easier if there were part numbers, or if the size matched what was supposed to be on the van.  Anyway, in the end  it was all sorted, more parts ordered and we were sent off to return at a later date.

Off we went to Rarawa and the DoC camp there, where Pat & Sue were already parked, we set ourselves up, this time in another location, tucked into a corner on the upper level. 


The weather has been pretty good, although we have had a lot of wind with some of it even from the right direction for some kite fishing. But more on that later.

A large part of the camp is roped off as they had recently closed the whole camp whilst they dealt with an infestation of Argentinian Ants.  Who knew that these tiny creatures could create such damage.  

According to the DoC website Argentine Ants  are one of the world’s most invasive and problematic ant species. They are very aggressive, and although they are not poisonous, they do bite. Unlike other ant species, Argentine ant colonies cooperate with each other, and can combine over winter into super-colonies. They reach enormous numbers, which means they have a huge appetite. It also makes them more aggressive towards other insect populations through their sheer numbers.

The best way to tell Argentine ants from other ants is by their colour and trails. Argentine ants are small (2-3 mm long)and honey-brown in colour, while most other common household ants in New Zealand are black.  

Argentine ants can have a massive impact on the natural environment. While they are one of the major household and garden pests, they pose a serious threat to the conservation values of our reserves and natural areas. These threats include:

eliminating other species of ants

competing with kiwi for food such as insects and worms

competing with other native birds and lizards for nectar

displacing and killing native invertebrates

Argentine ants are now known for many parts of Auckland and Northland, as well as Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Nelson 

The camp will be closed again from next week so that DoC can do a secondary bait laying process to make sure they are all dealt with.

Meanwhile, I (Bernice) have been to Auckland and back for a few days.  A trip which is around 5 1/2 hrs driving time each way, plus of course you have to allow more time for stops for refuelling both the car and driver as well as the odd traffic hold ups.  An interesting sight on the way down to Auckland was this convoy of three four wheel drive vehicles which were absolutely covered in mud.  

A muddy convoy which I followed from north of Kawakawa to where I turned off the motorway at Albany, a distance of over 200kms

Why was I doing this trip? Well, our son Antony had had a bit of a mishap whilst playing bubble soccer – yes, it is a ‘thing’ – with a group of mates on a weekend away in Queenstown.  Bubble soccer

Actually, it was a bit of a serious oops as it seems he has torn his MCL and ACL ligaments in his left knee. Ouch.   I went down to give him a hand with a few things and also to provide moral support when he went to see  the surgeon and make sure we asked all the right questions.  His leg is very swollen and bruised from above the knee right down to his foot, and of course rather painful.  But what I didn’t realise was that before he can have surgery to repair the damage, he has to have regained the full range of motion in his knee.  So today he starts physio.  

Meanwhile Mum did her thing, by washing, cleaning, tidying, cooking, shopping, transporting.    Oh and even a bit of ironing…some of the 17, yes that right, 17 shirts I ironed!!

Once I had done as much as I could it was back up to Rarawa. We have been fishing a few times off the beach with some success as well as a good failure when on one outing our line got caught on something and we lost all our traces, sinkers and hooks.  Luckily this all happened before I went to Auckland so I was able to call into the store to replace all the lost gear. 

But with days like this in the picture below, what could be nicer than spending an afternoon on the beach?

Somewhere out there is a kite, and of course some fish on our line too.
Next week it is back to Kaitaia to have the last bit of work done on the van before we move southward ready to start our camp hosting duties at Shakespear for the summer.

From Shakespear to Shakespeare

February 26, 2016

 

  “Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.”  

Those words by William Shakespeare sum up our time at Shakespear Regional Park, however these words are even more fitting as they are from Romeo & Juliet which I went to experience last evening at the Pop Up Globe in Auckland.

Edwina and I were going to see the show, we both have our own experiences with the play which have special meaning to us both. For me,  I was introduced to Romeo & Juliet at school  when studying Shakespear we went to the movies to see Roman Polanski’s version of the Bard’s work!  Then some years later I saw the ballet Romeo & Juliet (probably 20 years ago) in Auckland and was very very good.  Then on our trip through Italy, Alex & I went in search of Guillietta’s statue, tomb & balcony in Verona, which you can read about here.  And of course there was our visit to the Globe theatre in London which you can read about here.   So it went without saying that I was keen to see the play in Auckland and especially at the Pop Up Globe.  

Fist we went off to have a bite to eat and a drink before the show… 

  Well, a girls got to have a drink or two!

Then it was time to head over to the Pop Up Globe which is just off Aotea Square in central Auckland  

  View from the front
  And from the lovely bar at the back!

  This is looking across the stage
  Showing a little of the construction

  Edwina enjoying the atmosphere

The play itself was really well done, a great interpretation with a little bit of modernism in terms of props and costumes mixed with the original words along with being exceptionally well put together and acted, I can highly recommend attending a performance.  Now if only this sort of thing was around when I was studying Shakespeare at school, it would have been so much more fun.

And to end, another quote from Romeo & Juliet…

“Go wisely and slowly. Those who rush stumble and fall”
 
 

The final hoorah

February 25, 2016

The last week as camp hosts at Shakespear seems to have disappeared very quickly with not a lot to show for it.  Pat & Steve were with us in the camp all week with Roy & Steve managing to get the kite out off the beach and caching a few snapper.  This was done during the week when no one else was around to annoy with the kite and fishing lines.  It was rather quiet through the week with only the odd tourist or two popping in to the camp, besides the weather turned rather nasty by Thursday when we had torrential rain accompanied by spectacular thunder and lightening which left the camp ground with some small lakes and some very boggy ground in places, not great camping weather.  By Friday afternoon it was drying off nicely and we had a full house again for the weekend.

Steve & Les came with their grandsons Ben, Asher & Finn for the day, mainly to pack up their tent and gear for another year, and for the boys to enjoy a swim or two and some fun with Aunty Bernice & Uncle Roy.  Sunday dawned another stunning day which meant we could start packing up all our gear ready to move the following day as a school had booked out the camp for the week, but by midday the school had arrived a day early to set themselves up ready for the influx on Monday, a bit cheeky of them especially as there were other campers booked in, but we decided to pack up straight away and head on out……to the Self Conatined Motorhome parking area at the front of the Park!

He we stayed for a couple of nights whilst we attending to the never ending list of chores.  However, we did have a visit on Tuesday from Caroline, he daughter of dear friends Wade & Lindsay  from our Tokoroa days.  Caroline brought her 8month old son Luca to meet us, a delightful wee man who is obviously well loved.  

The end to our three months at Shakspear, but I’m sure it won’t seem long until we are back again in late November.

Final week

February 13, 2016

Where oh where has the time disappeared?  It’s our final week at Shakespear this week, we have made the decision that it’s time to move on even if the Rangers here would ideally like us to stay on until after Easter.  We have things to do and places to see!  So if any of our regular readers  and friends want to visit us then this week will be your last opportunity.  Steve & Pat (we kept running into them up north) are arriving tomorrow and they will stay a few days, as well Steve & Les will be back again next weekend for a final stay for the summer along with all three of their grandsons this time.

We have a few things to attend to before we finally get underway on our travels, not least repairs to the rear of the van.  Oh did we not mention before that on Christmas Eve we were hit by a German tourist  whilst we were parked up?  To cut a long story short, we were only trying to be helpful, these tourists had just arrived in the country, they had picked up a rental motorhome and driven straight here.  When they arrived at the park (right on dusk) their house battery was flat and no matter what we did, even following the written instructions that came with the motorhome (which bore no semblance to what was actually there), we thought that we would be nice to them so we offered for them to plug into our vehicle and we would charge them up for an hour or two or at least until their fridge started working.  But when they were backing up, they hit the accelerator instead of the brake and whammo, they reversed into the back drivers side end of the van with such great force, we thought we had been shunted off our hydraulic stabilisers.   

Then followed the Monty Pythonesque scene of apologies, tears, and trying to translate via rudimentary schoolgirl German and frantic hand gesticulations we finally got their insurance and rental details.   I shall not get into here about the slack and idle (well known) rental companies who rent out vehicles to people who have just stepped off a plane after a 36+hr flight, who admit that they are exhausted, who then have to contend with driving on the opposite side of the road, in a strange vehicle with instruction booklets that are written in English -it would not take much for them to have other languages available – and with instruction booklets which bear no resemblance of the vehicle they actually have!   We are now in the midst of sorting out insurance repairers, panel beaters & painters, and of course accommodation whilst the van is being repaired. 

Where are we off to?  The Wairarapa and Hawkes Bay,  we had good intentions to get there this time last year but circumstances conspired against us, this time!

Meanwhile, we will enjoy our last week here at Shakespear and yes, we will be back again at the end of the year.

Busy Waitangi weekend

February 10, 2016

 The weather forecast for the weekend was not looking good and it obviously scared off a number of campers as noted of the 160 booked in, we would have been lucky to have in 70 people who eventually braved the forecast.  We did have some rain on friday evening and Saturday morning but by 10am. It was clearing, hot and the sun eventually poked out its head.  Steve & Les arrived on Friday evening, and an evening of food, wine and lively debate ensued putting the world to rights.  As Saturday morning cleared, Steve went back into Browns Bay to pick up their middle grandson Asher 7,  for a weekend stay.  

Ash kept us well entertained for the weekend,

  
  Enjoying  a “dippy egg” for  breakfast
  His favourite Bacon & Egg pie for lunch

We had lots and lots of fun, with plenty of laughs along the way and of course lots of swimming as well. He was a pleasure to have around however you tend to forget how exhausting the constant chatter is but one very happy young man went home on Monday afternoon, and one very exhausted Great Aunty Bernice and Great Uncle Roy had an early night!!!

There was a little excitement in the park when a large part of a Pohutakawa tree at the entrance to the campground came crashing down on Saturday.  Apparently this was the largest Pohutakawa in the park.  Bruce (head Ranger) was quickly on the job clearing away some of it before arborists come in to finish off the task later this week.

    

And if any of you were wondering what happened to my swimming pool, it was given to Ben, Asher and Finn for use at their home.

 Gone to a good home!

Looooong weekend

February 2, 2016

It was Auckland Anniversary weekend this past weekend and it also was the last weekend before schools start for the year which meant a full house in the camp ground. Most of the campers were made up of family groups with many of them intergenerational. It makes for a fun and entertaining weekend watching the comings and goings, the games played, children learning to ride bikes, grandparents trying to keep up, soccer games, cricket games – with a very serious match being played by a very competitive Indian family group one evening.  We joined in their competitive fun by playing the third umpire role which resulted in much hilarity and some serious discussions about rules and interpretations but all good fun.

Steve & Les were back for the weekend, Roy and Steve went out fishing a number of times but only had success on their first foray out  returning with some very nice snapper and a good sized kahawai which was smoked.  The snapper was shared with some other campers and we had a lovely meal of snapper with some of Steve’s home grown green tomatoes. 

  Steve, Roy and Lelsie enjoying the meal

We also had a few other visitors over the weekend.  Roger and Ruth came for a visit as it has been a little while since we have caught up with them both.  This friendship goes back a long way, Roy and Roger started school together at Cockle Bay (just a few years ago) as 5 year olds so they have known each other quite some time.  Roy and I spent a lovely few weeks with Roger and Ruth cruising the waterways on their canal boat in France which you can read about starting at this entry.  After catching up with  all their news and generally chatting,  we had a lovely shared lunch before we all retreated to the beach to cool off with a long swim in the sea.   Before too long it seemed the day was disappearing and Roger and Ruth had to head home but not before promising we catch up again soon. Once again, I forgot to take any photos – too busy enjoying the moment! 

Our next visitor was our son Antony who came up for the day and we also went swimming to cool off after lunch.  It helps that high tide has been around midday over the past few days and we have been able to get a good couple of swims in each day.  Antony had to go home in the late afternoon on Monday along with most of the campers, so we go from a full house of  160 down to 37 last night and only 19 tonight before we are back to a full house again this weekend for Waitangi Day. 

Over the last weekend we noticed a strange light in the evening sky, after a bit of investigation we discovered that  the light was part of an installation to mark the Tamaki Herenga Waka Festival over Anniversary Weekend.  The light beam was intended to echo the form of traditional hitching posts or mooring for waka (Maori canoe) and would only be switched on for the three nights over the weekend. 

 Light from Rangitoto