If you are addicted to taking photos of old buildings and ruins then the concrete jungle of Pātea Freezing Works will inspire avid photographers.
The derelict slaughter house is mirrored in the Pātea River, which leads out to an impressive breakwater at Pātea Beach.
The breakwater is an amazing artificial offshore structure which helps to protect the river from the huge west coast waves.
The Pātea Surf Lifesaving is currently looking for new members. They can be contacted through their Facebook page.
A walk though the town will take you past many historic buildings and features, including the Aotea Memorial Waka, St George’s Anglican Church and the building that houses the South Taranaki District Museum.
Aotea is a māori waka canoe that brought Turi and his people from Hawaiki, eventually arriving in Taranaki where they intermarried with the tangata whenua tribes.
Aotearoa means New Zealand – land of the long white cloud
ao -cloud, daylight, world
tea -clear, white
roa -length, long
Aotea Utanganui – Museum of South Taranaki is a noteworthy archive of district information, articles and items, offering a rich and varied history of the area.
utanga – burden, cargo, freight, load
nui -great, large, plenty
pā -village, bush
tea -clear, white
“If you use a commodity or recourse carefully and without extravagance you will never be in need”
We have started a new initiative in our household, where we are cultivating as much produce as we can, using the seeds from the food we consume.
I bought a couple of capsicums from the supermarket, and instead of putting the seeds and stem into the rubbish, I can either add them to my compost or chuck them in the garden, adding nutrients, feed them to our chooks or our guinea pigs, or I can dry them and plant them, creating new plants!
Another thing we are doing is utilising our plastic waste as seed propagating trays. Meat trays, yoghurt pots, margarine containers, biscuit packets and a cut down milk bottle make prefect trays. A lidded container I bought nectarines in can be turned into a mini greenhouse. I have pine seeds growing in one! Our kids bring home all their lunchbox waste and we try to find a home for it all. The seeds from their apples, watermelon, peaches, nectarines and apricots get dried on the windmill before being planted in the garden. I t could take years before they grow, but better to have good habits that could result in a plant growing, than just added them to our weekly rubbish collection.
I think schools should be encouraging this practice. Students could be propagating plants and selling them in recycled plastic pots for fundraising!
My husband and I get a little irritable every 6 months or so. Our marriage may be set in stone but the place we call home has been a little rocky.
Our first rental was a basement flat of the owners home in Auckland. Being ocean lovers, it didn’t take us long to find a quaint little one bedroom bach at Muriwai Beach, just north of Auckland. We loved that tiny abode, but unfortunately our family had begun, and a cot in the lounge was only going to work for a couple of months. So began the 6 to 12 month bunny hopping of properties including homes in Auckland, Gisborne, Tairua, Hamilton, Raglan and Whanganui.
Our most recent of irritations has landed us with what we consider our perfect location. Our journey hopefully ends, in the quiet little community of Waiinu.
Waiinu – ‘Wai’ being water and ‘inu’ means to drink
Ko au te awa. Ko te awa ko au
The river flows from the mountain to the sea, I am the river, the river is me.
The river gives to you and you give to the river by keeping it healthy.
The Whanganui River is the 3rd longest river in New Zealand, running from Mount Tongariro to the sea and is sacred to the regions Māori people.
Due to it’s importance the awa ‘river’ was granted its own legal identity in 2017, giving it the rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person.
Manu Bennett explains in a Radio New Zealand interview that this agreement makes it recognisable to those people that weren’t brought up with the river.
European settlers called it Petre (after Lord Petre an officer of the New Zealand Company) however the name reverted back to the rightful original name.
Every bend and rapid has a kaitiaki ‘guardian’, who maintains the mauri ‘life force’ of the awa ‘river’.
These waters are navigated by the historical restored Waimārie Paddle Steamer offering guests a leisurely river cruise. She is New Zealand’s last steam-powered and coal-fired passenger paddle steamer. Wai – water Mārie – fortunate, peaceful, quiet
Named one of the country’s top 10 swimming holes by the AA’s Directions magazine in 2015, Mosquito Point welcomes river travellers keen for a quick a thrill. Also accessible by road the mōrere ‘swing’ is a popular place for picnicking and swimming, even though Māori legend tells of a taniwha in the waters, which is a warning to swimmers of the dangerous rapids that can form at the river bend.
Being new to Whanganui I was wondering why this 4.5 hectare public space was more commonly known as Virginia Lake and not by its Maori name of Rotokawau. The answer to which I found in very small print on a rather large plaque hidden in a corner of the front entrance of the neighbouring Winter Garden.
Unfortunately the land was purchased for development by white settlers in the mid 1800’s. The Māori legend of the lakes origin can be found written on the plaque beneath a bronze sculpture of the beautiful Tainui.
The legend explains that the lake was formed from the tears of the grief stricken Tainui and the rain from the angry gods over the murder of Turere, Tainui’s love. Turere had been strangled by the jealous suitor Ranginui. Notice her tears as she gazes out towards the lake.
Rotokawau means ‘roto’ – Lake and ‘kawau’ – blag shag
Walking around the lake, the kids disappeared down a bamboo bush tunnel. Waiting at the end of the track I could hear a weird rather loud chattering. It sounded almost aggressive. I looked across the lake but couldn’t see the cause. The kids soon gathered around me and joined in the search for the sounds source. Then we looked up, and there in the trees were several nests with kawau fledglings. We watched as they continued their persistent squawks, calling out to their parents.
The lake offers a rich habitat for many bird species. Take your time and open your eyes
The rather large metal lily fountain sculpture was donated in 1970 by Mr Henry Higginbottom, a local philanthropist.
Don’t forget to spot the rather odd Peter Pan sculpture, who my kids found quite entertaining as it looked like he was peeing, complete with a puddle beneath him.
Wondering what to do while visiting Whanganui? The Winter Gardens offers an all year round colourful display of flora amongst sculptures and garden art.
Built in the 1940’2, the Winter Gardens were built to commemorate the Centenary of New Zealand.
A walk in aviary was developed over the 1960’s and 70’s. Birds to be observed include pheasants, parakeets, finch and rosellas, and of course, what aviary would be complete without a couple of talking cockatoos.
Local artist have contributed to the sculptural garden next door. Exhibited pieces include punga carvings, mosaics and glass works.
More art can be found by continuing your journey to Lake Rotokawau (Virginia Lake), a half hour woodland walk. You can join in with the leap frogging children created by sculptor Hamish Horsley.
Whanganui is home to over 400 resident artists, and hosts over 15 galleries. Whanganui’s dynamic art scene includes photography, painting, pottery, sculptures, textiles and glass.
One of these outstanding contributors is glass artist David Traub.
I was quick to book in for a glass tutorial at his studio in King Street, called The Glass Factory.
I joined 6 other amateur artists for an instructed class where we used David’s off-cuts to create 2 bowls, magnets or broches and a glass tile.
Using frits we created our design on flat glass disks, which later David slumped over stainless steel bowls, coated in shelf wash.
The kiln is fired over night and your completed masterpieces are packaged and posted home, for you to admire and treasure.
The tile was an interesting activity utilising chunky glass fragments from previous works. We could cut the glass to our desired size and used a metal mallet to crush and sieve pieces to suit. We lined metal moulds with fibre paper and set to work.
My tile was inspired by the Hen Island view we had from our old family beach house. I was really pleased with the result, and look forward to working with glass in the future.
World famous for its surf breaks, Raglan is a key destination for New Zealand tourists. But regardless of whether its pumping or not, Ngarunui Beach offers paradise to it’s punters. There’s definitely something very special to be found here, with Facebook page’s littered with requests for accommodation and work from overseas travellers, who have fallen in love with the place and never want to leave. The endless beach opportunities offer weather dependant entertainment. The harbour, tidal changes, estuaries and cliffs beacon to be explored. And being a firm west coast location we are graced each night by the most amazing and forever changing sunsets. Just you try to catch a green flash!
Can you see an ape in the rocks?
Bridal Veil Falls is a NZ must do, and a short detour when en route to Raglan from Hamilton. You take a left down Te Mata Road off State Highway 23, go thru the township and follow the signs until you come across the parking at the bush walk entrance. Be weary of thieves, taking valuables with you.
An easy pram and wheelchair friendly walk leads you to the viewing platform at the top of the waterfall, 55m meters high!
Continuing downwards to the base of the falls is steep and tiresome, but definitely worth it. With viewing platforms and a bridge, you get immersed in the enormity of the Waireinga falls. The waterfall spray has enabled an interesting assortment of vegetation to grow on the sandstone walls, creating a tropical oasis.
‘Waireinga’ means leaping waters, referring to ‘wairua’ the spirits which leap the great height of this waterfall. Waireinga is also spiritually known by ‘tangata whenua’ the people of the land, to be occupied by ‘Patupaiarehe’, Maori fairies who are kaitiaki, the guardians of the area.
A photograph can be captured at the second viewing platform, where the origin of waterfalls name Bridal Veil Falls comes obvious.
Tairua is host to the Wet n Wild event that runs over a summer weekend. It is an action packed couple of days with plenty to see and do! Tairua is a perfect location for such events as it has a great surf beach for those ocean flips and sprays, and a harbour which on full tide, hosts the jet ski races. These include circuit races, a slalom track and a public novice track for anyone keen to give it a go!
-unfortunately Tairua Wet n Wild is not running in 2016
There is even flyboard demonstrations!
The weekend is action packed with a good ol Kiwi water slide, and those brave enough can jump off the bridge scaffolding and onto the giant inflatable blobby! Fun for the spectators! I was continually laughing at the children being flung into the air, and the water sliders water entry attempts ; ) An awesome weekend!
NZ Jetski on Facebook
NZ Jetski WetnWild
This post includes photos from last years event.
For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions pop in and see the volunteers at
Tairua Information Centre
at 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580
Find them on Facebook too!