The Past, and the weird feeling of being so close to it, yet so far away

I remember a trip to a river when I was muuuuch younger. We used to camp a lot growing up, and this one place we frequented for a couple of NY’s was set well off the beaten track. It was the mid nineties. A time where parents were a bit more free and trusting with kids wandering off and disappearing for half a day at a time, and my parents were no exception, bless ’em. I was certainly a wanderer. I remember climbing up this pretty densely forested hillside up to a ridge line and following the ridge along for a few hours.* Finally I emerged from the ridge onto this vast grassy plateau. It was the most BIZARRE feeling. A feeling of connectedness,and history rolled into one. I felt like I had been there before, but, I mean, how silly, it was literally hours and hours from anything or anywhere I had ever been.

Anyway, it turns out that it was an old Maori Pa site. NZ is a fairly new country in comparison to others, but there are still times when you feel like you have stepped in a time warp, and you are about to emerge into some crazy battle or some such.** This, was one of those times. I remember clearly the feeling, walking along feeling like I probably shouldn’t be there, but at the same time, finding these ancient food pits and terraced land so enchanting and mysterious.

I guess I hope my children feel the same connection to their history. Although its fairly tenuous now, we have connections to a tribe called Ngati Kahungunu in a tiny wee place called Wairarapa, and I feel a very real pride when I think about the history of our iwi and it’s people.

Woah, where am I going… Oh yeah. So, there is an old Pa site less than 2km away from our home in the Hawkes Bay. Otatara Pa. We have lived here for nearly three years, and I have wanted to visit the site many a time, but never really acted on the impulse.

Finally, one blustery Wednesday evening, I felt the need to drag the kids up there the other day to experience something a little older than they can even fathom. Well. We basically got blown off the hilltop, but it was still a spectacular experience.


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Egad, its so obvious to me that I haven’t bothered with picking up a camera or documenting anything for a while, sorry, but you get the general idea yeah? The site was situated so that the tribe could clearly see where any potential threats may be approaching from – Thus the view over the entire Hawkes Bay.


My little Gandalf, trotting happily up the track. Unlike his wee sister, grumbling along at my heels.



*I was young, it was probably only twenty minutes.

** A wrinkle in time was mos-def my favourite book growing up, so I guess otherworld-ness (not a word, I know) was never really far from my mind.


Fifty Shades of Bay

When I was young and brave I tried living in Australia for a while. Aside from the ridiculously good weather, even better health system and pay bracket, I still struggled with how pleasant everything was. The animals, insects and wildlife in general were of a scale that nearly blew the mind. When you found a spider inside on the table, it wasn’t just an ‘Oh Dear’ moment, it was jaw dropping expletive moment. Of course I have no proof of any of this, it just happened okay?

Anyhoo, the point I am meandering to is I really missed the changing of the seasons.

In Australia the summer is nearly, literally endless. Gelato stands can happily trade throughout the winter with no drop in sales. The beaches are still full, albeit with Aussies wearing wetsuits for some strange reason. The morning starts out before sunrise hot, and ends up in a big melty frazzled puddle.

Here in NZ at the beginning of Summer, you breathe a sigh of relief that the nastiness that is Winter is now behind you. If you are based in Wellington, then you look forward to the one day that is Summer. It’s gone in the blink of an eye, but by the gods it is good! Everyone is out and about, the streets are filled with cheery folk, and the beaches are full of the beautiful people.

Here in Hawkes Bay, the summer dawdles on and on forever. It’s bliss! But after a couple of months of it, the thought of Autumn lurks tantalisingly on the horizon. Here we are then. Finally Autumn feels like it has arrived. The weekend has, of course been insanity, but between all the madness, there have been some pleasant moments.



Looking for the perfect tree…Image

Juniper looking pensive


Excuse the angle, I was biking and attempting to multitaskImage

Again, Juniper finding her own dribble hilariousImage

Sharing Ice Cream at the market. Lucky lucky smalls.x


Independence Day.

Can I hark back to the 80’s again? I know it’s been well thrashed out by the media and advertising agencies, but what happened to the independence of youth. I don’t want to get too deep into this, but I was the quintessential child of the 80’s. Catching crawlies, making my own lunch from the age of 5, my mum didn’t use glad wrap, so her lunches were always a bit soggy and cross contaminated (farm bake cookies rubbing up against the classic marmite sandwich), walking myself to and from school, neighbourhood wars, etc…


Castle Point, Wairarapa – 19Ancient History. And the rad gentleman to the right was my Uncle Richard. Also, don’t laugh, I had a thumbsucking issue which meant my teeth protruded at every which angle.



So how come my kids can’t really do any of the above?

Seriously, no one can be trusted anymore, my child can’t walk the 500m to the school gate without supervision until he is 8. There is fear at every turn. I must admit, it is all a little exhausting.

I want, for my kiddies, what I had. Complete, blissful, rose tinted youth. Thus the compulsory berry picking and river swimming escapades. I have enrolled my son in the only Primary School in the Lower North island that still allows Bullrush. The only school BR rule being, that if your clothes get ripped, you don’t tell tales.

Again, it is hard to deliver the message accurately with words without sounding a little harsh, but I am VERY keen for my kids to grow up without the cotton wool padding that is all too prevalent these days. A little bit of learning things the hard way. Like me warning off my son cutting up hot chillies for his potions, not once but twice, before the message became clear through lessons learnt.Image



Ahh, I don’t know. Probably doing more harm than good, but parenthood is a constant cycle of this. A learning curve for all involved parties.




My small ones.


Me and my sister – circa the brownest decade ever. The 80’s. Look at the marvel that is my bowl cut!

I have never felt the sense of solidarity and understanding that I feel with my little sister. She is hands down the best person I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She is honest and kind and basically the most generous person on earth.

That, for me, is one of the main reasons we decided to try for a second baby. I feel very lucky to have two lovely children and even luckier still that they get on so well (most of the time.)

I know that in the years to come, there will be squabbles and fights galore. Underneath it all though, I always hope there will be that indelible tie that bonds them and holds them together. When we as parents (inevitably) embarrass them, or tell them off, that they will be able to turn to each other and groan/roll their eyes/ sigh etc, and know that the other understands what they are thinking.

I’m hoping to encourage this bond in every way possible, which isn’t always an easy task when both children are so dissimilar. So, I guess I’ll grit my teeth and try my best to bear it when the eyes do get rolled, or when I overhear them talking about something I did that made me look totally uncool, and understand it is for the greater good.

hmm. Hoping that I can get a few more years under my belt before this time, but I suspect my daughter already knows how to roll her eyes…