A Summer Holiday – Napier & Hastings

Our last three nights of our holiday were spent in Napier. Travis was also in town having spent the last few nights our tramping so we met up in Hastings at the weekly night market for some good food. There were a few craft stalls and a dozen or so food stalls from which we chose kebabs and for myself nachos, and very nice it all was too. There was a bouncy castle that Alayna was very interested in and she also enjoyed exploring some sheep statues that were just the right height for looking over. Back at the motel once Alayna was asleep we all spent the next few hours playing cards over a few drinks, something we haven’t really done in decades.

Sheep seats

Sheep seats

Exploring

Exploring

The next day was blue skies with fluffy clouds, warm with a gentle breeze, the perfect summer day. We had a look around the Arataki Honey shop and information centre and then drove to a favourite place from a past visit, Birdwoods Gallery. The gallery is stocked full of interesting artwork and outside is a large back yard lined with sculpture brought in from South Africa. We looked around the shop and then ordered some food to eat outside in the shade of a couple of large trees. The food looked wonderful and tasted better and Alayna entertained our fellow diners as she was walked around the back yard.

Yummy scones and desert

Yummy scones and dessert

The garden door

The garden door

I took Alayna to explore some of the sculptures and she loved climbing into a steampunk-style set of chairs and a bench made out of old car parts. There were also more sheep, these one metal and covered in ivy, that Alayna took a liking to and then a short crawl over to a large ball constructed from horseshoes. In the more formal field at the back of the property where there was a gate covered in flowering honeysuckle (a noxious weed perhaps but it looked pretty and smelled really good) and more stone sculpture. There was also an adjacent field which was home to a couple of horses. Alayna was very keen to see the horses but then kept a wary distance as we fed one some grass.

Alayna on her throne

Alayna on her throne

Having a ball

Having a ball

Alayna and the ivy sheep

Alayna and the ivy sheep

Over the next few days we walked around Napier and introduced Alayna to icecream (which was liked very much).

Beach swimmers

Beach swimmers

Playground contemplation

Playground contemplation

We drove out to Pekapeka wetland south of Hastings and wandered the boardwalk and looking at the birdlife including a family of swans, numerous swallows, a pair of dabchick and some little shags. At the wetland lookout Alayna took an interest in one of my cameras, she’s ovbiously been watching me as she knows to put her eye to the back of the camera (even if she hasn’t yet figured out where the eyepiece is or what it does).

Pekapeka wetland

Pekapeka wetland

Friendly swallows

Friendly swallows

Taking after her dad

Taking after her dad

We walked along the coastline at Ahuriri and had more icecream before walking to the small lighthouse where there were a number of people fishing off the point. Alayna spent some time crawling on the grass and then playing in the rocks on the beach.

Afternoon fishing

Afternoon fishing

Boardwalk walking

Boardwalk walking

After Christmas tree

After Christmas tree

Here, have a rock

Here, have a rock

There was a good playground nearby and we helped Alayna swing (a favourite activity), go up and down the slide and crawl around the other equipment.

Swing!

Swing!

Slide fun

Slide fun

Playground adventure

Playground adventure

Our last morning we took a short walk around part of the Ahuriri Estuary and took a couple of family photos as a last momento of the holiday.

Final holiday family portrait

Final holiday family portrait

Our drive home was down SH2 and we had a good lunch in a sweltering Greytown before wandering the shops. I’m pretty sure James Cameron now owns a slice of the town so it was a appropriate that we passed him on the street. The final hours drive to Porirua was without incident and it was good to get back home to some welcoming cats. Summer has been good to us so far, long may that continue.

The 2011 NZI Wellington Sevens

Beware, photo overload follows.

Friday and Saturday were spent at the Wellington Seven’s tournament, a sporting event that is really just an excuse for a huge costume party. Keryn and I are generally far too reserved for dressing up (unless we’re on holiday with like minded people) so it was just as well we were going with four others who were both more willing and better organised than ourselves.

Travis and Sophie ended up buying most of the costumes which you’ll see later on. Any reservations I had about heading into down dressed up as a colourful yet clinched Hawaiian were thrown out the window at Mana station where we caught our train in to the city, a bunch of Tui boys and two tennis players the start of what turned out to be a weekend of costume invention.

We arrived at Wellington Station and headed out the front to catch the end of the Sevens fashion parade, and the photos started being taken. It was then on to the stadium concourse where we stopped for a while to watch and photograph the people walking by.

MG 6363Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Straight away the tone for the day is set.

MG 6427Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Pohutukawa girls on the catwalk.

MG 6461-2Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Hmm, the costumes often bordered on the strange.

MG 6472Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Plenty of beautiful people.

MG 6481Photo by Brendon & Keryn

One line from a foosball table.

MG 6494Photo by Brendon & Keryn

There were kids as well.

MG 6504Photo by Brendon & Keryn

And gingerbread men.

MG 6534Photo by Brendon & Keryn

An array of characters.

MG 6546Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Often referencing culture, some Black Swans.

MG 6562Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Everyone watching.

Inside the stadium there were plenty of things to keep people entertained outside of the sport and the people watching. There were AirNZ staff giving out necklaces of beads for kisses (and plenty of people, usually guys, going around exchanging beads for more kisses), a few action events including dodge-ball and giant hamster wheels. Of course there were plenty of places to buy food and drink. I had thought that wandering around inside the stadium would be the way to get good photos of all the people but in the end it was much simpler to stay in one spot most of the time at our seats and watch people from there.

MG 6520Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Beads.

MG 6574Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The flash runs on the wheel.

MG 6581-2Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Still early, the games on the pitch have started.

We watched people, wandered a little, talked, ate, drank, cheered and occasionally watched some rugby. This was pretty much the recipe for the next day and a half. Keryn, Lydia and Will arrived in the evening after work on the first day and we we all arrived within a half hour of each other on the Saturday. New Zealand won the rugby tournament which put everyone into a great mood. We also caught up with Marty and Bevan who we used to work with all those years ago at the Warehouse. The rest, you can just look at the photos.

MG 6626Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Each team had a set of cheerleaders who were in a public vote to win $7000. We were sat in the Canadian section.

MG 6631Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Next door were the Kenyan supporters.

MG 6724Photo by Brendon & Keryn

It’s a pity there wasn’t an Italian team.

MG 6731Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The New Zealand cheerleaders (and many others) were dressed as Crazy Horse gang members from the movie Boy.

MG 6736Photo by Brendon & Keryn

As you’d expect people were largely happy to have their photo taken.

MG 6778Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The rugby wasn’t all going NZs way on the first day, but they still won all their games.

MG 6786Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The crowd gets enthused.

MG 6801Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Taking a call.

MG 6826Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Happy.

MG 6886Photo by Brendon & Keryn

It’s not every day you see Wolverine talking to Zorro and his missus.

MG 6838Photo by Brendon & Keryn

They’re not talking about food.

MG 6920Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A troll needs his club.

MG 6970Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The Argentinian team took a shine to one of their cheerleaders during the parade of nations.

MG 6991Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Cheerleaders during the parade of nations.

MG 7026Photo by Brendon & Keryn

There we are ready to go in for day two.

MG 7090Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Supporting team England.

MG 7099Photo by Brendon & Keryn

My favourite costume.

MG 7136Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The lads and a friend.

MG 7166Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A costumed relay race that was hilarious.

MG 7240Photo by Brendon & Keryn

I think she had lost her casino friends.

MG 7337-2Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Bevan, Lydia and Marty.

MG 7448Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The England team head in to get their runners up medals.

MG 7465Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Celebrating victory.

MG 7550-2Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Seven hakas were performed to thank the crowd.

There are plenty of photos on Flickr, you can check out our here: 2011 Wellington Sevens photos on Flickr, or click through the gallery below:

Photo walk in Devonport

We were up in Auckland for Keryn’s Mum’s birthday and this coincided with the 2010 Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk. Last year I joined the Wellington walk and as we were up north I joined the walk taking place in Devonport. Keryn, Sophie and Travis all came along as well and the day was beautifully clear and quite warm.

The walk was starting at the North Head Tunnels in the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park to the east of Devonport before heading down into the town. We arrived second after the organiser Brian Foose (prompt arrival earned us a spot prize later on in the day which Travis and Sophie got to keep) and stood in the sun while others arrived. Brian laid down the guidelines (take photos, have fun) and everyone scattered to take photos. I briefly met Ollie Dale who is editor for the NZ Photographer magazine, it was good to meet in person after out numerous email conversations.

Subterranean ?Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Looking for shapes, patterns and different viewpoints

The golden daysPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Looking over the harbour

There were a number of historical points of interest in old building, gun emplacements and a series of tunnels running underneath the hilltop. The tunnels were where I had the most fun. We had been advised to bring a torch and between Keryn’s LED head torch and Travis and Sophie’s lantern I was able to play with some interesting light trails – long exposures with the camera on a tripod and someone running around waving a torch around.

On target IIPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Target practice

Electric AvenuePhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Electric avenue

Electric Stairs IIPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Tripping light

Loops IIIPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Loops

Messing with the lightPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Messing with the light

After leaving the hill we headed down to the Devonport township and had a little wander around before heading into a restaurant for a drink and chat with Ollie, Brian and some others. We decided to get lunch a little later so once we’d had our drinks we were off to find some food which we ate sitting in park under the blue sky. Then it was back to the car and off for another adventure.

TPOTY shortlist & Travis visits for the weekend

Got a nice email the other day to make up for Photo5 disappointment. One of my entries for the UK based Travel Photographer of the Year competition has been short listed (i.e. down to the final 25 entries). This is a big international competition and even if I don’t get any further at least it shows I’m doing something right. I’m short listed in the TPOTY New Talent Category and these are the photos that make up the portfolio:

Traveller's Tale: Flat tyre, flat landscapePhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Flat tyre, flat landscape.

Traveller's Tale: Camping in PatagoniaPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Camping in Patagonia.

Traveller's Tale: Campfire under the moonPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Campfire under the moon.

Traveller's Tale: A new dayPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

A new day.

The weekend just gone saw Travis fly down from Auckland for a short two day visit. This coincided nicely with the All Whites “One shot for glory” match vs. Bahrain, so that sorted out Saturday night. After picking Travis up at the airport we drove out to Island Bay and found somewhere for some brunch. We ended up at a seaside place called The Bach and had some good food while watching the waves crashing. It was a windy day that just got windier, our post-brunch walk along Owhiro Bay watching sets of waves swell up and crash against the rocks.

Owhiro Bay WavesPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Owhiro Bay Waves

Heading home to Epuni we had lunch and played on the Wii. We had been thinking of getting the train in for the football but a review of the timetable (unhelpful not changed from a normal Saturday evening) and the thought of waiting a hour for a train after the match quickly changed our transport from train to car. So we drove in and parked by Catherine’s place, turning up early for our pizza dinner with Catherine, Paul, Keston, Jon and Greg. Once the pizza was eaten we (being Catherine, Jon, Travis, Keryn and myself) wrapped up and headed out to join the crowds walking to the stadium. There was quite a buzz and while it was cold and windy no one seemed to mind, the mood buoyant. Many people were dressed in white, a surprising number in boiler suits or coveralls.

Keryn and I had not been to an event in the Stadium before (the home show held in the concourse doesn’t count) and it was nice to see how minimal the fuss was getting past the gates and inside to our seats. We had good seats facing east pretty much in line with the 18 yard box for the home end in the first half. The good crowd mood continued inside the ground and the yellow seats of the stadium were soon enough almost gone behind a sea of white (with the occasional black) clothed people.

Westpac StadiumPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Westpac Stadium packed for the World Cup qualifier

The game itself was great, the crowd really getting into the spirit of things with chanting and the obligatory ohs and ahs whenever the ball went near a goal. Bahrain started the better team in both halves but after weathering the storm the All Whites came back into the game more assured and looking the more dangerous. The crowd quickly cottoned on to the Bahrain play acting; the first foul resulting in a Bahrain player writhing around on the ground only to spring up and race away as soon as the free kick was awarded.

The All Whites goal came after a period of pressure on the opposition goal, a number of corners coming across and finally the perfect ball meeting the rising head of Rory Fallon and flying into the net. The crowd went nuts and with only a few minutes until half time the atmosphere was perfect at the break.

Fallon gets to the ballPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Rory powers the ball home

There were anxious moments in the second half, especially when the All Whites conceded a penalty. Thankfully Mark Paston was up to saving the admittedly weak shot, another massive roar from the crowd and despair for the Bahrain team. The kiwis held on, near the end almost scoring again, and the referee called full time to send the All Whites on their way to the World Cup next year.

We Won!Photo by Brendon & Keryn

White is the new Black?

Sunday morning we took Travis out to Kaitoke for a short walk. The weather wasn’t the best but thankfully the rain stopped as we started walking. We had the track to ourselves (most people were probably drinking at Toast Martinborough) and the sun even came out a couple of times. At the end of the walk we went own to the river and watched some ducks and a solitary duckling searching for food at the waters edge, all very peaceful.

IMG 6735Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The Rivendell set for the Lord of the Rings movies was built around the bend of this river

IMG 6741Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Ducks of Kaitoke

Heading back towards Wellington we had some lunch at a bakery in Upper Hutt and then relaxed at home before heading into Wellington to meet Amanda and Jocelyn at the Parade Cafe. Jocelyn is getting married next year and Amanda had suggested I be considered as the photographer so we talked about requirements and also about Amanda’s forthcoming move up to Auckland.

With time to kill before Travis flew out we drove around Miramar and took photos at Hallswell Point and Seatoun with a flying visit to the Weta Cave (which I didn’t think would be open, but was) in between.

IMG 6798Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The Hallswell Point Lighthouse

IMG 6806Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The Seatoun Marine parade Wharf

Travis was dropped off and flew out safely and we went home to again relax and watch a movie. Another busy weekend completed in windy Wellington.

A flying visit

Last weekend we flew up to Auckland to visit Travis and Sophie. We flew up with JetStar and had no problems, there were more issues with Air NZ on the return due to a delayed previous flight. Arriving at the house in we got to meet the cats for the first time. Tikal and Denali are rag dolls and for less than a year old they’re large, almost as big as our beasts. We had a lot of fun watching them run around, chasing toys and playing on their tall climbing platform and crinkly cat tunnel. Being rag dolls they tend to not fight being picked up and their think fur is very soft adding to the cuteness factor.

On the Saturday we were driven out to visit the Muriwai gannet colony and it was an impressive sight. Unfortunately our visit coincided with what appeared to be a University field trip as there lots of students crowding the viewing platforms and they were all filling out observing the birds and filling out forms. Thankfully the students were moving around so we were able to get up to the railing to look down on the gannets below, nesting on the broad rocky hilltop.

IMG 5316Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Up close with a gannet.

A Muriwai gannet coming in to landPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Coming in to land.

We could also see some fisherman braving the surf and casting from a rocky promenade that projected out from the base of the cliff. It was mildly distressing to watch as a fisherman failed to deal with a gannet he caught on his line, by the time the line snapped he had dragged the poor bird close into the waves breaking over the rock and it appeared that the bird damaged its caught wing. The bird slowly drifted out to sea, unable to take off from the water and struggling fitfully to escape. We saw another bird get hooked later on, this one being freed much earlier and still able to fly away.

IMG 5508Photo by Brendon & Keryn

caught on the line.

There was constant activity in the colony and gannets were always flying in, out and around. There was a colony of terns around the corner from the viewing platform and they decided at one point to all take off, circle around a bit and then head back to roost, filling the sky with a mass of moving white.

There were also lots of people surfing out in the distance, the waves being quite large and regular in the breeze. We stayed for an hour or so in the end I think, definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area (though the gannets are only here August – March generally, hiking off to Australia as the weather gets colder).

We then headed for a coastal drive towards Piha. The weather was pretty bad, raining and windy, only improving as we reached Piha. The journey was slow mainly due to an exceptionally slow driver who we couldn’t pass, and who missed a number of opportunities to pull into slow passing lanes. Very frustrating. As the weather had cleared we parked and walked along the beach for a while. The black sand sparkled in the sun

The beach at PihaPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

On the beach.

IMG 5670Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Keryn and Sophie.

Keryn’s parents had come down from Whangarei and in the evening we all went out for dinner to celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary. We drove into the city and had our meal at Wildfire, a restaurant styled on a Brazilian theme. Rather than have a menu at this restaurant you wait at your table and the waiters bring around skewers of meat and you have whatever you wish whether it be slices of ham/beef/chicken, portions of salmon, sausages, pasta (only there to fill you up so you eat less I reckon), calamari and other selections. I think we suffered for being close to the kitchen, some of the meat being sliced for the first time at our table and leaving some pieces more edge fat and gristle than lovely tender fillets. Still, most of the food was tasty and we had a good time.

This was the day Telecom released their new logo (“Make of it what you will” I read one Telecom marketing person say – sounds to me like they don’t know why they chose it, I don’t know either). Part of the release was a show down at the Ferry Building on Quay Street. We went down after eating (and after a walk up queen street for some Giapo gelato) and I was quite unimpressed. The projection parts at the start of the loop were quite impressive, bold video being projected onto the facade of the Ferry Building including such things as an ice storm slowly covering the building in ice and a giant breaking through the building walls before lowering himself into the water below. The later interactive sections were not so successful, the movement of people in front of giant light boxes not obviously translating into the seen projections. It was diverting but I wouldn’t bother seeing it again.

On Sunday Keryn’s parents left before lunch and dropped us off at a retail park where we met Janet. We went for lunch at a nice cafe which backed onto an orchard and ate while outside the weather went from wind and rain to sun in some sort of random cycle. It was good to catch up and we ended by doing a bit of shopping at JB Hifi and the Warehouse.

Back at Travis and Sophie’s we played on the Wii to kill time before heading back to the airport. All in all a quick but pleasant weekend away.