Bush Fairy Dairy2

After our walk yesterday on and near Honeymoon Valley Road in Peria we stopped at the Bush Fairy Dairy for coffee and hot chocolate (which were excellent by the way). There we bumped into Martin, who is contracted to trap predators in the landcare trust area where we had been walking. He explained that the last count he made there indicated 45 kiwi. This is not a complete population but gives an indication of a relatively high density of birds, which is great.

Martin had just returned from a day out monitoring kiwi on Mahinepua Peninsula, a place we visited in May. The photos here are from that walk in April. But please watch the video made by WWF which includes Martin holding kiwi. Martin enthusiastically shared a little of his knowledge regarding New Zealand’s national bird. The link to the YouTube clip is here.

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Kiwi are remarkable birds, being nocturnal burrow dwellers. Their egg size to adult size is the largest of any bird and the males incubate. All in all, these endangered birds are quirky and worth all the effort people make to protect them.

The follwing photos were taken at Mahinepua in May.

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Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com 

In Search of Simplicity is now available as an eBook here.

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit:http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

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Manginangina

Last Wednesday six of us were tourists in our own part of the world.

We first visited the giant kauri grove and swamp forest traversed by the Manginangina Kauri Walk. Who would not be inspired by the majesty of the magnificent arboreal sentinels towering overhead? These trees are repositories of the history of this land and their fervent whispers can be heard (or felt) if one listens with an open heart.

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Mangingagina walk

 

Next stop was the Puketi Forest recreation area and the one hour nature trail circuit. Alongside more giant kauri are equally majestic specimens of totara, rimu, kahikatea (New Zealand’s tallest tree) and other citizens of the Far North’s podocarp forest. Many of the trees are labelled so it is an opportunity to learn a little every time one visits. I was particularly taken with gorgeous leaves of ramarama.

Pat, Richard and Kauri

Pat, Richard and Kauri

The growth and form of the mountain neinei pictured below (a photo I took in the Waipoua Forest a couple of years ago) makes me wonder if Theodore Geisel (Dr Seuss) visited these forests as inspiration for his depiction of trees in his widely read illustrated children’s books.

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After a most civilized lunch at a picnic table in the campground (entertained by Bill, his unique travel-anywhere-coffee-maker and the tent-erecting antics of four young European visitors) we entered another rugged back-country Puketi Forest track.

Bill's Camp Coffee

Bill’s Camp Coffee

Afterwards Richard went off with Pat as she needed to get home as soon as possible to shower and eat before heading off for a Bay of Islands Singers practice.

That left Bill, Brian, Lucia and me to meander home.

The last time our Wednesday Walkers visited Puketi Forest (the Waihoanga Gorge Kauri Walk) we finished the day with blueberry ice cream at Blue River Orchard in Waipapa. That late summer visit took place just two days before the orchard’s cafe was to close for the season. Fortuitously yesterday’s visit came just two days after the cafe reopened for the new season of blueberries!

There’s something special about eating an ice cream or a pure blueberry sorbet alongside blocked plantings of the very bushes the blueberries come from. And it is equally special to watch the young people (WWOOFERs?) sorting the fruit on conveyors as we made our purchases.

But it was what happened next which demonstrated that in New Zealand we experience only two degrees of separation.

We joined two women, Betty and her daughter Pauline, already seated at a shaded picnic table. Betty McPherson (nee Murray) recently celebrated her 80th birthday and moved back to the Far North from Auckland. She was born and raised in Whangape and as we worked our way through our delicious cones Betty regaled us with tales of her youth.

“We had none of those big water tanks to catch rain water like houses have today and the winter stream would dry up when the rains stopped.” Each year summer droughts (I wonder if the earlier deforestation contributed to this) drove local Maori families over a daunting hill to the coast north of the Whangape Harbour where permanent fresh water cascaded from the cliffs. Summer shelters (whare) were constructed of nikau palm fronds. Betty’s brothers fished and everyone gathered shell fish. A red frilly seaweed, Pterocladia lucida, was picked and sold for agar production.

There were no cars. Everyone walked or travelled on horseback. There was little reason for theft as everyone worked together and shared. As Betty explained, that beautiful way of life withered and disappeared with the urbanization of Maori beginning in the 1950s.

Betty grew up with the Lunjevich family (Lucia’s brother’s relations). That’s part of the two degrees of separation. The other part had to do with some connection Betty had (which I can’t quite remember) with Boy Yates, Bill’s neighbour in Parapara.

Back in her training college days Betty was part of a contingent sent to China. That three week trip in the Chinese summer of 1976 coincided with the earthquake that struck Tangshan, a shoddily built mining city, and killed half a million people. That same trip coincided with the death of Chairman Mao. How’s that for timing on your only trip to China?

We warmly bid farewell to Betty and Pauline and made a final stop at the Kahoe Farm Hostel past the Otangaroa turnoff on State Highway 10. Here we bumped into (2 degrees of separation?) Mike Johansen, a font of local knowledge and the man owning the farm we walk through when visiting the Kahoe Rock Pools. He told me of, amongst other things, a cold water volcano situated on the roadside just at the turnoff to Whangape after having passed through Broadwood. Whangape again. Mike said that geologists from the University of Auckland regularly visit this unique example of tectonic activity. I’d like to investigate this.

Many thanks to Bill Guthrie for the photos.

 

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Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

My thanks to George and Pauline for the beautiful photos from a walk we all agreed was a highlight of this year’s walking. It’s a long drive to Cape Reinga from whence this walk began and it was blustery and cool at the beginning. But before the day was out I’d had a couple of dips in the sea and waded in a creek to keep cool. The landscape is extraordinarily varied and there is a sense of being away from it all in this, the very north of the country. I trust you enjoy the photos of which I’ve only chosen to show a few. The complete album can be found here:  https://picasaweb.google.com/109798694876493156288/CapeMariaVanDiemenWalk

Cape Reinga. The meeting of two oceans.

Cape Reinga. The meeting of two oceans.

Ready to begin

Ready to begin: our destination is behind us in the distance.

For your information

For your information

Near beginning

Near beginning: Te Werahi below

Flax readying to bloom

Flax readying to bloom

Two Johns by the steep early cliffs

Two Johns by the steep early cliffs

Relentless seas.

Relentless seas.

Alma, John and Tom on the long stretch of Te Werahi. It's warming up!

Alma, John and Tom on the long stretch of Te Werahi. It’s warming up!

The climb up from Te Werahi

The climb up from Te Werahi

Flax Snails

Flax Snails

Dunes down to the beach below Cape Maria van Diemen

Dunes down to the beach below Cape Maria van Diemen

Stunning landscape.

Stunning landscape. Looking out to Motuopao Island

Skyscape

Skyscape

Windswept formations.

Windswept formations.

A dip at midday.

A dip at midday.

Cape Maria Van Diemen Lighthouse

Cape Maria Van Diemen Lighthouse

It is a working lighthouse.

It is a working lighthouse.

Motuopao. Where the lighthouse and lighthouse keeper used to be.

Motuopao. Where the lighthouse and lighthouse keeper used to be. Note treacherous currents.

Creek arriving at the sea.

Creek arriving at the sea. We followed it up.

Down the dune

Down the dune: It’s a sudden stop at the end.

George coming safely down the steep dune.

George coming safely down the steep dune.

Windswept formations

Two steps up and one step back.

Some of the crew enjoying ice cream at Te Paki.

Some of the crew enjoying ice cream at Te Kao. A just reward for a long day.

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives andBeyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com  In Search of Simplicity is now available as an eBook here.

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit:http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

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The Wairakau Stream track leading to Lane Cove is one I do every possible Sunday in the summer. A couple Sundays back I guided friends from Kerikeri on a new loop I’ve recently discovered thanks to a chance visit with Anita in the Kaeo Library. Thank you Anita, should you happen upon this post. And my thanks to Dennis for the photos of our day together and for joining me for the warmest swim one could imagine in November.

Canyon. Part of the diversity that makes this such a great walk.

Canyon. Part of the diversity that makes this such a great walk.

The first lookout after the long climb to start the walk,

The first lookout after the long climb to start the walk,

Totara North from the above lookout.

Totara North from the above lookout.

Towards Taratara from the lookout.

Towards Taratara from the lookout.

Dukes Nose

Duke’s Nose

High above the canopy.

High above the canopy.

Looking south from Duke's Nose

Looking south towards Whangaroa Harbour entrance

Lunch stop at the stream.

Lunch stop at the stream.

Another stream crossing.

Another stream crossing.

Beautiful tree.

Beautiful tree.

Looking down towards Lane Cove, yachts and DOC hut.

Looking down towards Lane Cove, yachts and DOC hut.

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com 

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

 

Some of us ended up walking for two hours after our lunch and ending up back at where we had eaten lunch. It shows how easy it is to get lost in this ever-shifting dune landscape. It is a truly beautiful place to walk.

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Looking to the west coast from the dunes

Looking to the west coast from the dunes

So many interesting eroded formations.

So many interesting eroded formations.

 

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Remnants of the old forest.

Remnants of the old forest.

 

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

 

 

puketi 010 puketi 011Primrose was kind enough to guide us on a walk in a section of Puketi Forest that a group she belongs to, Puketi Forest Trust, pays particular attention to. The efforts of this group of dedicated volunteers has led to the reintroduction of North Island Robins and, more recently, Kokako. There is a stunning kauri grove and we were treated to a delightful conversation with Robins.

Mealworms are used to attract Robins

Mealworms are used to attract Robins

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Getting to the forest

Getting to the forest

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Just one of many kauri

Just one of many kauri

 

In search of the elusive robin

In search of the elusive robin

 

 

More kauri

More kauri

 

An intriguing kind of fungus

An intriguing kind of fungus

 

The forest

The forest

 

Life on a tree

Life on a tree

 

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

 

 

 

 

 

Lucia and I have recently returned from a wonderful vacation on the South Island. More on that later.

In the meantime the following photos were taken on March 20th, the day before my birthday, at this beautiful spot close to home I had never visited before. George, who made the photos, added a comment to the photo of me about to dive into one of the pools. He was right. I wasn’t 55 when the picture was taken. I was the next day.

This Wednesday walk to Kahie Rock Pools provided a poignant picture of the beauty of the Far North. Enjoy the photos.

Ron couldn't resist this natural bridge.

Ron couldn’t resist this natural bridge.

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CLICK BELOW TO:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101