Friday, 30 October 2015

I find some old photographic slides

In a Kaikohe junk shop I came across a box of old colour slides from the 1970’s. I find discarded social history of this sort fascinating - here are highlights of someone’s life, carefully, and probably proudly, recorded and annotated....then under different circumstances simply junked.
Thanks to for the soundtrack....
See the video:


In a Kaikohe junk shop I came across a box of old colour slides from the 1970’s. I find discarded social history of this sort fascinating - here are highlights of someone’s life, carefully, and probably proudly, recorded and annotated....then under different circumstances simply junked.
Thanks to for the soundtrack....

See the video:

industrial devastation

Visiting old, abandoned industrial sites is a rare pleasure. On this trip I came across a burnt-out wood-mill in Kaitaia opposite the cemetery.
On Sunday of Labour Day with no-one around I was able to explore the site quite thoroughly....

See the video:


2015 National Weaving Hui - Part Two

A visit to the National Weaving Hui at Ahipara, and a look at the local marae.

See the video:


Monday, 26 October 2015

flax weaving hui - part one

At Labour weekend I attended the 2015 NZ National Flax Weaing Hui at Ahipapa at the southern end of 90 Mile Beach.

There was an exhibition of the work of past weavers at the marae. Unfortunately, but understandably, photography was not permitted within the building. However I have included some pix of the meeting house and the church.

See the video at:

Tokerau Beach

Another beach walk in the Far North, and a found jandal....


road kill!

Although I have seen several instances of road-kill on this trip, they have so far been either too mangled, too old, or too large (a turkey and a goose) to salvage.

However, just outside of Tauranga Bay I came across a fresh, manageable rabbit.
As you can see the eye is still clear.

I wrapped the body in newspaper, and later skinned and gutted it at Whangaroa, then hung it in the van for 2 days - it was so fresh it attracted no flies!

At Taipa I met some locals who invited me to stay the night on their property, in return I shared my find with them - cooked in a can of tomatoes, with diced pumpkin and carrot, some ginger, and the Promite and beef stock I carry for making gravy.

See the video: 


jandal finds

Jandal finds continue: I found this pair broken and abandoned by the side of the road  just as I turned off Highway 10 onto the Taupo Bay Road:
...and this one on the beach at Tokerau Bay:

steve's yard

Deep in the backblocks of the far north I visit a new chum.....

hunting and gathering

As a freegan, I am always on the lookout for free food, and on the boardwalk at Mangonui I scored a feed of mussels!

After parking my van overlooking the harbour, I was enjoying the view of the water and the boats when a pair of divers appeared in front of me having climbed up a ladder out of the water onto the boardwalk. They had with them a large net of mussels, which they dragged to a ute parked next to me and heaved ......Then, wetsuits and all, they climbed into the vehicle and drove away - leaving behind half a dozen fresh mussels of various sizes!

I grabbed my bucket and scooped the seafood up.

That evening I enjoyed the freshest and tastiest steamed mussels I have ever eaten...


I thought this chap was a total dick-head with his headphones on:

After all he’s on the beachfront in Northland looking at this idyllic scene in Tauranga Bay!:

I encountered this same fellow and his female companion the day before at Matauri Bay. They were just ahead of me on the walk up to the Rainbow Warrior memorial at the top of the hill overlooking the bay.

When they arrived at the top she promptly sat down and consulted her cell-phone while he went to the cliff-edge and took 50 or so photographs of the western aspect framed by a pohutukawa tree with his large digital SLR (I could hear the shutter repeating).

After a perfunctory glance at the memorial they scuttled off down the hill again, no doubt eager to get out of Dodge as there is (thankfully to me, anyhow) no wifi available here.

more wildlife

I found this huhu beetle (tunga rere) on its back in the kitchen at the Waipapakauri Motor Camp in the morning when I went in to make a cup of tea.
According to John Early in “Know Your New Zealand Insects and Spiders” these critters are active at night and their attraction to lights causes them to crash into windows and walls. “They can give a nasty nip” - yes I can attest to that!!..this thing wasn’t happy about being rescued and clung to my hand with its spiny legs and tried to cut my finger off!!
These are the beetle form of the huhu grub - “a good source of protein and fats”.

 I think that this long-legged specimen is a species of the House Crane Fly.
I spotted it in the toilet at the Men’s Shed in Keri Keri. Many other unfortunates of its kind were hanging from the spider’s webs in the corners of the room.

some birdlife

I am not particularly knowledgeable when it come to identifying bird-life, but with the help of some books on the subject I can report that so far I have seen a pair of South Island Pied Oystercatchers at Opiti Bay, and a New Zealand Dotterel on the sand at Matauri Bay:

Several birds flew around my camp by the beach at Mautari, but were too quick to capture successfully with my camera, so I have included for you a rather charming woodcut illustration of one of them from “Native Birds - Nature in New Zealand” by Charles Masefield (1948)...
Below - a fantail:

Matauri Bay Beach

Come for a walk with me along the beach at Matauri Bay:

Arrival at Matauri Bay

A video showing the view from the road as its winds down to the beach and campground at Matauri Bay - resting place of the "Rainbow Warrior".

Friday, 16 October 2015


After leaving Browns Bay I stopped at Orewa for a cup of tea beside the beach.
A brief stroll yielded several finds for recycled artworks: a pair of broken jandals and a handfull of soy-sauce fish from the sushi shop:

a glimpse of the road

 After a night at the waterside campground at Pahi I headed north to Keri Keri along the backroads. This clip shows quiet winding gravel roads along the way..

Thursday, 15 October 2015

keri keri men's shed

I have spent that last three mornings with the crew at the Keri Keri Shed, helping them build their new storage shed......a slideshow of the activities and characters will follow shortly (I am limited by power and internet access while on the road).....

Friday, 9 October 2015

some local history - muskets and genocide

Our starting place for this roadtrip is my home in Browns Bay on the North Shore in Auckland. A temperate, fertile area bordering a protected harbour replete with sealife - but devoid of native Maori inhabitants when Auckland was chosen as the capital of NZ by Governor Hobson in 1840. The reasons for the lack of local Maori presence are chilling.

In “The North Shore - an illustrated history” David Verran’s version of events is brief: the local warring “tribes linked together to unsuccessfully combat Ngapuhi in the early 1820’s...[the] survivors then abandoned the district and the victorious Ngapuhi returned to the north, leaving the area abandoned.”

This terse, sanitized description is typical of the modern-day whitewashing/PC revisionism of early NZ history.

Readings of earlier texts (eg. CF Manning “Early New Zealand”, “The Musket Wars”) reveal the appalling truth: genocide, cannibalism, and enslavery of Maori by Maori.
In the early 1800’s the far-north tribe Ngapuhi armed themselves with muskets and marched south against stone-age tribes - annihilating, cooking, eating and otherwise enslaving all the members of  Maori settlements they encountered all over the North Island. During this process the inhabitants of the present-day North Shore area were overwhelmed, butchered wholesale and feasted upon or otherwise taken into slavery. This genocide explains why there were so few local Maori to resist the European land-grabbers who poured into the area in the mid-19th century.

a Maori war-party with muskets

assemblage exhibition

I have been invited to exhibit my assemblage work at a group show at the Depot Community gallery in Devonport, on the North Shore in Auckland.
On this trip I will be spending a lot of time beachcombing and trash trawling to source interesting discards for work for the show and to sell.
One of my favourite finds on the beach are jandals...I cut them into the shape of fish and make a variety of assemblage pieces with them....

Read my blog on this exhibition: