Local Heart, Global Soul

November 21, 2018

There Was (Kind Of) A Sign Of Penguins…

Filed under: Uncategorized — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

Greymouth breakwater did not only have wonderful views of a churning sea whipped up by the strong afternoon winds… it is also apparently a favourite place for one of New Zealand’s many penguin colonies. Unfortunately for us the penguins were out catching their dinner and we missed them coming in to roost. I have no clues if they are here all year around or seasonally, but try as we might to scan the beach and sea, we didn’t even manage to see one. The sign is sweet though, so I got a photograph that turns out to be “kind of a sign of a penguin”….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 20, 2018

The Breakwater And The Waves…

Next on our tour of Greymouth on the South Island’s West Coast, is a drive out to the breakwater. The wind was too stiff for me to be steady outside so I rolled down the window and took photographs from the car. The wind was even whipping the crests of the waves into fluffy plumes of spray and the sea was stunning in it’s windy whipped up state. I take photographs for my “arty inspirations files” as even the car gets buffeted by the wind.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 19, 2018

Greymouth, We Are Not Missing The Havoc Elsewhere…

Filed under: GREYMOUTH,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,West Coast /Westland Province — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We have arrived back in Greymouth, where we will spend the night.

There is still enough time to go out for another look around, and we are suddenly treated to wonderful sunshine has we run out of the patches of bad weather that crept over to our side of the Main Divide from the really bad weather that has been causing havoc on the other side of the Southern Alps.

In Christchurch they had been contending with strong winds, a few people lost roofing panels and the like, the newly re-opened road to Kaikoura was closed again due to rock falls and safety concerns on the unfinished road.

Here in Greymouth the temperatures were in the high 20’s (82.5 F) and whilst there was admittedly a very stiff wind if you were standing in exposed places, there were no complaints about being warm enough.

The West Coast drought also continued, the few splashes coming over the Alps were not enough to even count as rainfall in many places, which is mind boggling in a place that should get 10-12 metres of rain per year! We are definitely enjoying the good weather and not complaining.

The kids want to chill out with snacks so Himself and I decide to take a drive around Greymouth for a better look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Below: This kind of wooden weather-board villa is a beautiful New Zealand “Classic”, but sadly a fast disappearing sight as more and more people opt for larger, modern, easier to maintain, homes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Above: This building still has it’s upper balustrade decoration on the roof. These are hard to spot these days because they have either to be secured to a high standard to meet earthquake safety code, or the decorations have been removed completely because they are at such high risk of falling during a quake.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Above: I have no clue what this little building is, but it captivates me.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Above and Below: This serious of photographs shows the renovation and update of the town center, excellent changes for today’s changing society.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Above: Port of Greymouth buildings: the addition of some paint can so change the character of a building and not just the look. I persona;;y prefer the plain brick though, it looks old because it is old, and it oozes character.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Below: another style of building that could be found all across the country. RSA (Returned Servicemen’s Association) Halls, old public libraries, primary schools.. the list goes on. They too are slowly but surly being replaced with more modern, easier to maintain and run, buildings. (A familiar story to the weather-board villas).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

These buildings ae of a type that used to have curved verandas over the footpath, but they too are dangerous in an earthquake because they tend to bounce and wobble off their supporting poles, falling onto people beneath. If they are to be kept, then major renovation needs to be done to anchor them independently of their supports to the building itself. It’s kind of the ‘belt and braces’ double-up idea. This double anchor idea is however by far the more costly option so many verandas  have been removed.

In this case “sail” type covers have been put in their place. This gives protection from sun and rain and goes a little way to hinting at the old style of the building.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 18, 2018

On To Hokitika…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,West Coast /Westland Province — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

The bad weather crept over on to our side of the Alps once again so rather than say that our journey between Ross and Hokitika was gloomy and dark, I will just say that it was “Atmospheric”, and “Dramatic”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 17, 2018

Pounamu, Jade, It’s All Greenstone To Me…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

On our way back from Franz Josef glacier we arrive again in Ross. This time we are not here to check our luck finding gold, but to hopefully collect another New Zealöand treasure: Pounamu , or as readers may know it: Jade.

Mountain Jade Company website tells us:  “Jade is a semi-precious stone that goes by many names, including nephrite, greenstone and pounamu.

Typically green or black in colour and often flecked with stunning hints of gold and cloudy milky hues, jade has been revered by cultures around the world for thousands of years.

New Zealand’s European colonists typically refer to jade as greenstone, while Maori people call it pounamu.

Elsewhere, geologists call the stone nephrite while gemologists know it simply as jade. Despite regional differences, these names all refer to same material

I already have a (cow) bone “Hei Matau” (fish hook) which I wear every day. For me this is a special piece first because it was a gift from an Aunt who is a member of the Kaikoura Ngāi Tahu southern group of Maori. The fish hook is the symbol of the “Mainland” (South Island) and in Maori legend Maui used a line and fish hook to drag the North Island out of the depths of the sea. Since I am South Island born and bred and now live on the other side of the world this symbol is my little piece of “home” that I wear every day.

I have always been on the look out for a companion piece in Jade to go with my bone Hei Matau but so far, places like the souvineer shop we visited in Picton just don’t have the simple style I am dreaming of finding. Their pieces are too tourist orientated for my tastes. Kiwi Daughter is also on the lookout for a special piece of Jade for herself so it’s to one of the jade /pounamu / greenstone carvers that we go.

The artist is Steve, who carves amazing pieces of all shapes and sizes. His workshop shows pieces in progress, the walls have photographs of native birds (one of his inspirations) and around the walls the jade is on display. Steve has lost a leg (I didn’t ask how) so we joked about having one working leg each, and he explained about how work on Jade is slow, delicate work where a design can not just be imposed on the stone, it has to be worked out gently around the imperfections and grain of the stone.

We also learn that there are different grades of Jade, the most “pure” being of course the rarest and most expensive. There are probably more than fifty pieces on show and I learn later that from those Steve had put out just a couple of the best quality.  Of course this not to say that the majority of the pieces were low quality, because they certainly were not. That would be like asking you if you wanted to turn down 18 carat gold just because it wasn’t 24 carat gold. Would you do it? Of course not. The Other jade is of seriously good quality, it’s just that it is possible, on occasion to find rare pieces of stone that are almost perfect. Steve had a few such pieces. It turned out that even though one display was higher up than the rest, and contained a mixture of styles, I was immediately drawn to one piece. It was long and slim, imagine a sword blade but with slightly softened edges. This was the piece I’d been looking for, for all these years. To my amazement I’d also picked out one of these rare pieces of Jade. Kiwi Daughter bought herself a beautiful small piece, also of very good quality, a simple, elegant piece of pounamu that she too wears every day.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Jade, with the grain clear to see…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Below: this piece was massive.. and so tactile, as Little Mr. could attest. We all wanted to touch this one. Little Mr’s had also for scale…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 16, 2018

The Other Tourist “Trail”…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,West Coast /Westland Province — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s a known fact that New Zealand roads are really unlike those in other parts of the world.

Especially in the South Island, as you will have seen from my many photographs the State Highway consists of just two lane, one in either direction. The roads are often winding and it’s a very far cry North American, Australian, Asian or European motorways that many tourists to New Zealand are used to.

Campers and smaller camper vans are one of the most popular vehicles of choice for tourists and so visitors are easy to spot on the roads. One thing is clear though, is that visitors are so focused on keeping an eye on the road in front of them that they sometimes forget to keep an eye on the road behind them.

Keeping a regular eye on the rear view mirror can help to avoid the “classic’ sight that’s often seen around New Zealand: an obvious tourist vehicle at the front of a queue of cars, creating a tail-back of sometimes fifteen, twenty or more vehicles behind them.

New Zealanders are not unsympathetic nor unrealistic: they know that there can often be whole stretches of road where it is not possible for cars behind to overtake, or even for the tourist vehicle to pull off the road. The etiquette is: as soon as you see a queue of half a dozen or more cars building up behind you, scout out for a good (safe!) place ahead to pull over, indicate to let them know you will be doing so, and let them all pass you by.

The visitor is after all on holiday: many locals who need to get from one place to another are not. Locals usually know the road really well too and regardless if they are locals or not, if a seriously long queue has built up then it will be vastly appreciated if you pull over and let them all overtake at once. I assure you, if you as a visitor do this, it will earn you many an appreciative wave as the other cars go by and a good dose of respect.

The best way to annoy other road users is to build up a massive queue of vehicles behind you and then ignore all possible spots where it is possible to pull over for kilometres on end. This, in the worst case scenario can end in a situation where someone behind gets so frustrated that they start an overtaking maneuver on a blind corner and either tragedy or a near miss is the result. Often it is the car coming around the corner, minding their own business on the correct side of the road who suddenly finds themselves faced with another vehicle on the wrong side of the road approaching at speed in an attempt to complete the overtaking maneuver, and little or no time or space to take evasive action. Of course it’s not just tourists who are guilty of holding up traffic like this, Kiwi’s can also be just as guilty but let’s just say that at the height of the summer “tourist season’ this is far from an unusual sight, especially in the South island. Safety is everything, so patience and care is essential for everyone on the roads.

November 15, 2018

A Backwards View As We Retrace Our Steps…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The one hundred and four kilometre journey (64.6 miles) from Franz Josef to Ross comes quite a bit darker than the morning’s journey had been, and not just because the afternoon is rolling on.

The bad weather on the other side of the Alps sneaks over for very short intervals so whilst it’s fighting to be sunny, we also get five minute showers or rain blown on wind gusts for maybe only a minute at a time.

It’s still seriously warm though so there are no complaints.

I took photographs of the return journey: there may only be one road to Franz Josef and back but the return journey gives you the opportunity to get photographs from a new perspective.

These are the photos that would have only been possible if you’d been looking in the rear view mirror on the way up, or photos that I didn’t get because I was on the wrong side of the car before.

Now the passenger seat is where the driver was on the way up so the journey up has photographs taken predominantly taken from left side of the car and the way back from the right.

It makes a subtle difference and can change the view substantially. As usual, eyes peeled and camera ready…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 14, 2018

“Offspring In The Firm Grasp…”

Just feeing in a silly mood. I saw this and immediately I thought of this commentary and the necessity to read it in the voice of Sir David Attenborough:
Here emerging from the lush fields of New Zealand’s West Coast, is the common hay bale. Wrapped in their distinctive green coverings, the adult hay bales are neatly aligned on the back of the trailer. However one unruly offspring has been collected in the gentle but firm grip of the tractor for it’s own safety as they cross the road. Destined to rest in an adjoining paddock, here they will stay until the onset of winter, when the possibilities of low level snows will bring them out of hibernation…”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 13, 2018

Glass Half Full… A Jucy Slogan!

Passing back through the small township of Franz Joseph, I get a photograph of one of New Zealand’s many rental camper vans. “Jucy” is a well known rental company, to my knowledge all of their campers are a brilliant shade of Granny Smith apple green and they have delightful slogans and sayings on the side. I think (but am not certain) that no two of the sayings are the same. I love theie sense of humour and so capturing this photo was a delight…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 12, 2018

Glacier: The Way Back…

Family Kiwidutch continue to take photographs as they walk back to the car park…

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Family Kiwidutch)

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