Sunday, May 24, 2009


Sunny this weekend, so out to the beach and sandcastling... this was one made earlier, sadly not by us ..just AmaZing!

This was our favourite!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


We seem to come across 'kiwiana' all the time.. the buzzy bee is just one example, so it deserves a blog.. although we have seen some unusual versions around the country, that were quite disturbing..

"How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour
And gather honey all the day
from every opening flower!"
Isaac Watts, Divine Songs for Children (1720)

The Buzzy Bee is a really popular toy in New Zealand.
It resembles a bee with rotating wings that move and make a clicking noise while the toy is pulled along the ground and it was designed and first produced in 1948 by Hec and John Ramsey.
Hec was a travelling sales man who took the Buzzy Bee to his brother’s wood turning business in New Lynn. He developed a design made originally in a small workshop in St Benedicts Street in Newton, Auckland by toy and wood craftsman, Maurice Scheslinger.

The Buzzy Bee became popular during the post-war baby boom, with its bright colours and clicking call, a fond childhood memory to many New Zealanders.
It is one of the most well-recognised items of Kiwiana.

Since then the Buzzy Bee has 'popped up' all over New Zealand,in books, jigsaws and clothing at our 'kiwiana day' in Howick, I lost count of the number of toddlers trailing one behind them..the girls and I found this Queen Bee in the town centre!

Lucky for the Buzzy Bee, it got a "free promotion" when the Prince and Princess of Wales visited New Zealand in 1983 with Prince William, who played with one.

As an iconic New Zealand symbol, the Buzzy Bee caricature was used on the keel of NZL84, one of Emirates Team New Zealand's entrant yachts for the America's Cup held in Valencia, Spain, in 2007.
It has appeared as the subject of paintings, sculptures, television advertisements, postal stamps (twice), magazine covers, school murals and parades.

Buzzy Bee™ is now often presented by New Zealand dignitaries to VIP’s with children who are visiting New Zealand, besides Prince William it's been given to Princess Aiko from Japan and the Spanish Royal family.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


As I said before, it's all a bit unreal over here - even the news on television doesn't mention what has happened to the H1N1 virus - you have to go searching for information.
Jokes about the infection are the only comments I ever hear, and then it's dismissed as trivial and hysteria by the rest of the world.

Typical New Zealand.

However, what is happening in the world beyond our island?
101 cases in England and the government has signed a contract for 90 million more vaccines (do they know something we don't?)

Japan has 176 infected people.
Mexico has 3103 cases of infection, including 68 deaths.
The U.S. has 4714 confirmed cases, including four deaths.
The outbreak worldwide has extended to 8,829 infections in 40 nations.
Health officials from more than 190 countries are meeting for the World Health Assembly in Geneva this week.
There have been three flu pandemics in the last 100 years.. did you know that?

Monday, May 18, 2009


We had fun playing with our food today!

Makes you look at sun-dried apricots in a different way!

Brie mountain, with a stripe of blue..

Broccoli is really having 'trees' for dinner

Skiing on sprinkles ( or as they call them here, 'hundreds and thousands?')

Saturday, May 16, 2009


This is Auckland Town Hall which was the focus of our visit to The City last night! This is what it looks like in the daytime..
It is a historic building in the main street of Auckland, a five-storey building was specially designed to fit the wedge-shaped piece of land that had been bought for it.

The Town Hall looked different when we got there..

It turned into a kaleidoscope of colours last night! Stopping traffic and attracting hundreds of spectators, us included..
It was to celebrate the official launch of a 3G network, XT.

While we stood and watched it was transformed into: a giant house made of multi-coloured liquorice allsorts,jelly tot windows and candy cane pillars. It looked almost edible and the colours were vivid..

Transformed into a gingerbread house..

Sweetie heaven

Then, it changed into a huge sandcastle on a beach, and in the windows you could see animated people putting seashells on for decoration. The way the lights used the windows and the tower was very clever..

Next, it became a light house,the tower flashing like a beacon and at the base the waves crashing and seagulls flying by!

A striped lighthouse...

You can see the rocks and waves crashing...

A touch of culture next with the London Underground platform, complete with commuters and train windows full of people. Followed by a recognisable British icon..

A taste of London with Big Ben..

Big Ben all around

It became an Italian villa, but so that you could see the inside of the rooms and people dancing and furniture, like a dolls' house, opened up.

The inside of an Italian villa

Italian house from the side

The mathematical mountain was strange and slightly disorientating, with numbers floating up into the sky. A bit Matrix like. The greens and blues were effective..

It looked like an Angel Falls at one point, the waterfalls beginning at the top of the tower and them running to a gentle trickle once they reached the lower rooms.

Waterfall close up..

Really impressive, was when a rocket appeared on the tower and blasted off into space. Planets appeared and astronauts and then the world, seen from the ship and far, far below, we could see New Zealand!

Space, above and beyond..

We even had a version of the Pink and white Terraces, with colours dripping down the sides of the building..

Quite an impressive display of technology!
We voted for the sweetie one!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


This is Mount Manganui, where we went at New Year! Covered in snow..
Well, the weather has turned unusual over here!
A storm has hit the Bay of Plenty with heavy rain, waterspouts and hail stones!
The wild weather has churned up massive offshore twisters and a Shopping Centre had to be evacuated!
There were five waterspouts, lasting about 10 minutes.

After the hailstorm the beach looked like it was coated in snow.The hail was the size of our 20c coins!

The storm was so bad that Papamoa Beach school was shut down, and the kids went snowboarding, on the beach!

One of the local farmers found four of his cows dead. He thinks they may have been struck by lighting.
The weather's gone wild!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Have to say, this is all a bit unreal and I'm getting slightly panicked by this new influenza A,called by the friendly name of H1N1.
It is a new flu virus of swine origin (so we call it pig-flu). It seems to have come from Mexico and people are dying!
It was first detected in April, 2009 and is infecting people and spreading from person-to-person.

An increasing number of cases are being reported internationally as well.
Well, when a group of students from Rangitoto College (down the road) got it - that was it - we are now ready to stay at home for weeks if necessary - having stocked 'the Doomsday cupboard'.

What puzzles me is the way people here just seem to ignore it all!

Friday, May 8, 2009


Outside the marae

The Treaty of Waitangi was first signed on February 6, 1840, by Maori chiefs and British ambassadors.

Opening ceremony at the Waitangi Treaty House

So, we went to find out where this historic event had taken place and visited the Treaty Grounds and House.

Tiki in the marae

It's interesting that there are 8 different versions of the treaty, signed by different chiefs, which were taken round the country by people paid for each signature.

The Treaty is a topic of heated debate, even these days, and is often used in tribunals in cases of land loss and ownership.
William Hobson wrote the treaty with the help of his secretary, James Freeman, and friend James Busby, (neither of whom was a lawyer.)

The entire treaty was prepared in four days.
The men realised that a treaty in English would not be understood,or agreed to by Maori, so Hobson instructed missionary Henry Williams and his son Edward to translate the document into Maori.
This was done overnight on February 4.

The roof inside the marae

On February 5, copies of the treaty in both languages were put before a gathering of northern chiefs inside a large marquee on this lawn in front of the house at Waitangi.

the waka

Maori speakers debated the treaty for five hours.
The following morning 45 of them were ready to sign.

Entrance to the marae

A further 500 signatures were added to the treaty, later.
The anniversary of the signing of the Treaty is now a New Zealand public holiday, Waitangi Day, on 6 February.

Figurehead above the marae entrance