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Old 04-05-2004, 16:14   #16
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Re: Come on lettie

Before leaving the Rotorua area, I decided to have a gander round the New Zealand Maori Arts and crafts Institute. Here, they teach young Maori traditional skills like wood carving, there is a song and dance show put on for the visitors and the women show you how they make their traditional dress using flax, which grows just about everywhere in this area, despite the sulphorous conditions. Here are some photos, there's one of the carving workshop, female Maori dancers with the little white poi balls made of flax fibres and stuffed with reeds. These things are swung around quite skillfully during the dancing. It's a good job they know what they're doing because they'd have your eye out if they hit you with one. Male dancers performing a traditional 'haka' and one of the intricately carved wooden canoe type boats.

I'm hoping to re-visit this area, as there's so much I didn't get to see. I was only in the Rotorua district for 2 days and tried to see as much as possible, but time was limited.
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Old 04-05-2004, 16:20   #17
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Re: Come on lettie

Re: the piccy, second from left - above:-

WHICH ONE'S YOU?
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Old 04-05-2004, 16:31   #18
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I'm the one taking the piccy... I know I'm not a brilliant photo taker, and most of these piccies are totally boring (which I warned everyone of in an earlier post), but I remember exacly where I was when I took them, and most of the details to explain them. I did write a lot of stuff down on postcards/receipts etc. in the evenings before going to bed. I reckoned that if I'd gone all that way it would be worth remembering, and I knew my step-mum would want every detail cos she loves NZ and lived there for a few years when she was younger.
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Old 04-05-2004, 17:10   #19
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Re: Come on lettie

Did you add Mount Cook to you tick list whilst in New Zealand, Lettie?
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Old 04-05-2004, 18:22   #20
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Was desperate to do South Island, everybody there says it's the most scenic of the 2 islands (and North Island is gorgeous) didn't have time to do South, but am aiming to go back in march next year, provided I can get 2 weeks off in April as well. Hoping to have some time on South Island then. Would love to see Mt Cook area and Arthurs Pass. There's a driving tour you can do in that area, stopping over at villages and then out walking/climbing for the day before moving on. Due to the gradient on some of the roads and the altitude, some of the roads close after snowfall, and many are unsealed anyway. The weather is very unpredictable here. While I was there in December, Dunedin, on South Island had a blizzard in the morning, followed by a heavy rain shower then the sun came out at about 3pm and it was about 70 F. The weather forecasters were laughing their heads off on the news that night, as none of them had predicted that!
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Old 04-05-2004, 18:34   #21
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Re: Come on lettie

where is the pic of the fridge door you took lettie ? hehe
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Old 04-05-2004, 18:40   #22
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hehehehe, my 6 year old nephew took that one, he was messing with the camera. Meant to remove all those odd ones before I brought the photos to your house Mick, but typically, I was in a hurry and forgot.
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Old 04-05-2004, 18:54   #23
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Re: Come on lettie

A simple 'yes' or 'no' would have sufficed. I'm as jealous as... It sounds worth doing...go for it!
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Old 04-05-2004, 19:05   #24
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On leaving Rotorua, I headed north. An old school friend had contacted me while I was in Auckland, and invited me to stay with her for a night, so off I went to the Coromandel Penninsula. This place has very rugged coastline, it's great for fishing. Tramping through Coromandel forest park and it's multitudinous trails is a very popular pastime here. Coromandel was once famous in the mid 1800's for its gold mines. Some lucky beggar struck gold and the small town of Thames became a boomtown. The mines were soon emptied and closed, and mining moved further south. Thames is the principal town in the Coromandel area and is where my friend lives. About an hours drive up the coastline from Thames (and a very steep, bendy, nauseating drive at that) lies the pretty town of Coromandel, obviously taking its name from the penninsula. Abot 5 miles or so from Coromandel town, along an unsurfaced and sometimes bumpy road, I found the brilliantly innovative Waiau Waterworks. The guy who made this was originally an engineer and his wife an artist. Together they made this fun little park in which all the features have moveable parts and are all powered by water. I was there alone, and it didn't stop me from having a go on all the little bikes, various jets and fountains. You can play on everything here, and there's a full explanation of how things work. Got all the brochures for my step brother to take my nephew, as he'd love it. On the pics, there are a couple of views of Coromandel coastline overlooking the Firth of Thames, Thames main street (this was taken friday morning 9am rush hour, dead innit??) Coromandel Town visitor centre and courthouse, the same building funnily enough, town picnic area, and some of the water features of Waiau Waterworks.
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Old 04-05-2004, 20:57   #25
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Re: Come on lettie

Keep em coming Lettie - enjoying the views and the geography lessons! Almost feel like I was there myself!
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Old 05-05-2004, 09:49   #26
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After Coromandel, I took the Firth of Thames coastal road and headed back to Auckland for the weekend, I'd promised my nephew video and chocolate night, and as I hadn't seen him for nearly 2 years it was the least I could do. On the Sunday, I then set off north to the beautiful Bay of Islands. There was a christmas parade taking place in Auckland city centre that day, so I set off at the crack of dawn in order to miss the city traffic crossing the harbour bridge. There are only motorways through major cities here and they are awful to drive on. Exits in Auckland can come off the left and right lanes, undertaking is acceptable, road rage common and if there is a space between you and the car in front, someone will cut in at 100kph. My only advice is, if you are ever travelling through Auckland to go up north stick to the middle lanes. These lanes will take you through the city and straight over the bridge without incident. I was given this advice by just about every New Zealander I met. Once out of the city, the road suddenly becomes dual carriage way, then one track roads with passing places. Well signposted and lovely to drive on, barely any traffic. After about 3 1/2 hours I arrived in Paihia. The first thing I did was go to the wharf and booked a boat trip. It's the best way to see the Bay of Islands. There are well over 100 small islands here, the locals reckon 144 islands, but some guide books say 150, so who knows?? The first photo is of Cape Brett, taken from the bay end, as you round the Cape, there is a massive hole in the rock, big enough to get the boat through. Unfortunately, as we went through the rock, my camera film ran out. Some of these Islands have lovely beaches, which are all public beaches. some islands are privately owned, but NZ law states that beaches have to be public, so even on the private islands, you can moor your boat and use the beach. Some views of the islands, and Pilot Whales playing in the area are in the pics.
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Old 05-05-2004, 10:51   #27
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Re: Come on lettie

Lettie - you should be a travel writer! Forget Peter Mayle (A Year in Provence) or Bill Bryson (Notes from a Small Island)....you should write a book, quick. In fact, you could become more famous than that Lesbian writer who comes from Accy...what's her name? Never mind, it's not important.
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Old 06-05-2004, 11:28   #28
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Thanks Tea, got my eye on Judith Chalmers job....
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Old 06-05-2004, 16:50   #29
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While in Bay of Islands, I took the ferry from Paihia to the charming little town of Russell. The ferries run approximately every 20 minutes between the 2 towns, and are quite cheap. To wander around Russell looking at the old colonial style houses, little tea shoppes and lovely little church, it's difficult to believe it's history. At the turn of the 19th century, the town was called Kororareka (hope the spelling is right). This town was the main shore station for the Whalers, and was a rowdy, lawless town. It was nick named the ' Hell Hole of the Pacific' It was re-named Russell in the mid 19th century, to honour the British colonial secretary of that time. It's a beautiful peaceful little town and I fell in love with this place. Russell is also the home of the oldest church in NZ called Christ Church. The oldest industrial building in NZ, Pompelier House can also be seen here. Originally opened by French Roman Catholic Marist missionaries to house their printing press, Pompelier has been extensively restored and still houses a printing press and book bindary. Here are some pics of Russell, a view of the wharf from the ferry, Pompelier House, and the lovely little Christ Church.
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File Type: jpg 25A pompelier.jpg (49.2 KB, 31 views)
File Type: jpg 23A christchurch.jpg (38.5 KB, 22 views)
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Old 07-05-2004, 09:11   #30
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On my last day in the Bay of Islands, I decided to take the short drive to what must be one of the most historically significant places in NZ, Waitangi. In 1840, concerned about increasing lawlessness and violence amongst rival Maori tribes, leading chiefs asked Queen Victoria to provide a framework for law in NZ. Concerned that the French or Americans would step in and lay claim to NZ the British did just that, and drew up the Treaty of Waitangi. This was signed on 6th Feb 1840 at James Busby's house (the British resident at that time) 50 Maori chiefs signed the treaty and it gave sovereignty of NZ to the British and allowed all Maori people to have rights as British citizens. In 1936 James Busby's house (the Treaty House) became a national landmark. This Treaty is heavily flawed, the translation into Maori lost some of the meaning that it has in English. The Maori had no concept of what sovereignty meant and therefore legal issues concerning Maori land rights are still raging to this day. Every year on 6th Feb, Government bigwigs and Maori chiefs visit Waitangi Treaty Grounds to celebrate Waitangi Day. At the Treaty House there is an audio visual presentation which is excellent. This tells you the story of how the Treaty came to be. James Busby's house is a small museum and depicts the life of the Busby family and locals at that time, a copy of the signed Treaty is there for you to see. You can walk round the grounds and see the large ceremonial canoe, carved out of the wood of 3 Kauri trees, and the flagstaff, which is supposed to be on the actual spot where the Treaty was signed. Just up the road from the Treaty house is a lovely little walk which takes you through the Mangrove forest to Haruru Falls, at the end of the Waitangi River. As it was a nice day, I did the walk. Some of the paths are good along the way, and some not so good. I didn't see another living soul during this walk and as part of the walk is through heavily forested area it was quite spooky at times. It's about 5km to the waterfall, and of course, I had to walk back too, as I'd left the car at Waitangi. All in all a great way to spend the day. Pics here of the Treaty House, the Maori Meeting House, the boardwalk over the mangrove swamp and Haruru falls.
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File Type: jpg 11A hururu.jpg (49.6 KB, 21 views)
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