16 January 2012


Sorry I haven't posted much since arriving in New Zealand. As a mean Yorkshireman, I don't really like paying extra for internet access.

We enjoyed four lovely days at Whangarei, about a hundred miles north of Auckland. It was a human-scale city with spectacular coastal scenery nearby. I swam in the ocean twice but as the water was not bath temperature Shirley only deigned to paddle. We saw two captive brown kiwis at the Kiwi North project. How salutary it is to recognise that these precious birds became endangered just because of Europeans' introduction of dogs and stoats and earlier the Maoris' introduction of the Polynesian brown rat.
Maybe it's just me but I feel a sense of sadness when I think of how New Zealand must have been before human beings ever happened upon these remote islands. It was surely a Garden of Eden with unique flora and fauna. Some of that still survives but much is lost or compromised by the things that man brought here. The towering kauri forests - containing trees five centuries old - must have been a true wonder to behold.
Anyway - here we are at Miranda - the NZ Shorebird Centre. Unfortunately we missed today's high tide with its promised excited conglomeration of shorebirds but in the late afternoon we walked upon the shoreline and saw some interesting birds pecking around in the mud flats - including white-faced herons, godwits and by an electric fence we found the sad corpse of a dainty yellow hammer.
Miranda - a picture by Katherine de Chevalle who we hope to meet tomorrow.


  1. Looks a special place and sad that so much has been lost.

    I was surprised to read that kiwis are kept in cages though. I know they can look a bit fierce with that haka thing, but imprisoning the rugby team seems a bit harsh.

  2. Ha ha Parrots :-)

    See you soon YP, and I must say I am especially looking forward to meeting the woman behind the pudding.

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  4. Miranda - a picture by Katherine de Chevalle who we hope to meet tomorrow

    It's a little like carrying coals to Newcastle to find oneself correcting an English teacher, and an English English teacher at that, but you should have said whom we hope to meet tomorrow -- I'm just trying to remain objective.

    Probably having crossed the Equator (south of which the toilet bowls all swirl in the opposite direction) or the prospect of meeting Katherine de Chevalle in the flesh is what has turned your otherwise impressive Yorkshire brain to mush.

  5. If I remember rightly there is a wonderful small island near Whangarei - or somewhere on the east cost north of Auckland - called Tiritir Matangi. All the introduced pests such as rats and cats have been eliminated and it has been re-populated by native birds and mammals. We made a day trip and it was a real delight - so much animal and bird life there compared to the 'dead' mainland. It shows that NZ probably was a kind of natural paradise before the men in boats arrived.

  6. I went to Manchester this week. AND Blackpool. So I'm not full of bitter and twisted envy at all. Oh no. Not in any way. Just making this clear.


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