Local Heart, Global Soul

July 28, 2018

One Way Or The Highway (In This Case One And The Same)…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One of the wonderful things about New Zealand roads, and South Island roads in particular, is the State Highway system.

I adore that the main highway running the entire length of the island is for the vast majority of the way, one lane in either direction.

South Island roads have yet another gem too: one lane bridges, (Remember, this is the biggest and busiest road on an island that’s three quarters the size of the UK).

These are, as the name implies, bridges with only one lane; traffic takes turns but one side has priority via marked signs.

The black arrow is larger, and has priority, the red one smaller and doesn’t.

If you are on the side that doesn’t have priority and there are no vehicles on the bridge, or are so far away that you could reasonably get across in good time before the opposite vehicle could reach the bridge, then you may cross.

If an opposite vehicle is close enough to the bridge that they could enter or be on the bridge anywhere at the same time as you, then you wait and give way.

If you are a tourist and have priority, get onto the bridge and decide you need a selfie with the beautiful river, and there are other cars waiting then this is not the time to get your to ‘do the insta”.

Waiting traffic are to be polite and patient, cars on the waiting side queue with good manners.

If you have been waited for, it is customary to raise one hand in small wave of acknowledgement to each of the cars who waited for you as a “Thank You”. If you want to act like a friendly local then you raise one hand quickly back as a “You are most welcome” (or in Kiwi speak: “No worries mate”). Some One Way Bridges have passing bays, maybe on one side, maybe both sides as with this bridge. These are NOT meant so that traffic that should have given way, dive in and forgo taking turns, they are meant so that an emergency vehicle with flashing light and sirens blaring can get past quickly. In the unlikely event of this happening, you then dive into the passing bay (no matter which direction you are travelling) and let the emergency vehicle pass as quickly as possible. The passing bay is also meant so that vehicles that experience mechanical trouble on the bridge can be pushed out of the way and not block traffic flow. It’s not meant as a tourist stop.

Years and years back I heard a story which may well be just urban folklore… or not. Apparently a farmer lived near a One Way Bridge on a public road and needed to use the bridge more in one direction than the other (or maybe move stock, feed etc). Unfortunately that direction involved him needing to give way to oncoming traffic and his waiting times mounted. He grew increasingly impatient until he decided in the mid of night to go out with his tractor, dig up the priority signs and switch them around so that his side was now the side with priority. His “problem” was now solved. I do know that priority is not just given with a flip of a coin, the terrain is taken into account, view to the bridge so that drivers can judge if they can cross or not, I am sure the list goes on. However, true or not, Kiwi’s have a bit of a reputation for begrudging authority and rules so this would bring a smile to many a Kiwi, including me.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This photo of the river was made as we drove over, no passing bay used.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 27, 2018

Sea Here…

Filed under: Kaikoura & Region,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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The sea has many faces and styles, even in the same area the weather can change the sea from one day to the next. From an artistic point of view I find this fascinating, mesmerizing. Along the Kaikoura coast of New Zealand I photographed many images that show the sea in it’s many guises…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 26, 2018

…Will Never Know Normal Ever Again.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our journey south continues, It’s strange for us to not be taking the turnoff after Kaikoura onto the “Inland Route” that comes out on State Highway 7 leading to the West Coast and Nelson.

The road to Hanmer Springs is a small detour from that road, and our favourite little house just a short walk from the Hot Pools.

The house was already booked for Christmas / New Year, so we are booked to get in instead on the 2nd of January 2018, and take the opportunity to visit more friends and family in Christchurch before (literally) heading for the hills.

The road is busy at times but we are taking our time, pacing ourselves and in no hurry.

I first thought that what I was seeing along the coast was mist thrown up by the fairly stormy waves, but it can’t be co-incidence that this “mist” is particularly massive around the big landslips, so probably I am wrong and this might be dust from the slip, even over a year after the 7.8 quake that hit in November 2016. It can’t be dust being generated by work crews either because they are sleeping during the part of the day the road is open to public vehicles, and will be working only later during the closed hours and during the night.

As we drive we are slowing heading away from the worst of the earthquake destruction so the long lengths of traffic cones become fewer, as do random work crew sites and heavy machinery waiting for the night shift to mend everything from small bridges, culverts, road edges and barriers: cracks of all sizes in the road and height differences the quake generated have long since been filled in, evened out and paved over. The vista of a less scarred landscape takes over and projects a feeling of normal to an area that will never really know normal ever again.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The white structure is the outside of a train tunnel: the blue signs on the side say ” Thank you for your support”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 25, 2018

Police With Tunnel Vision…

Filed under: Canterbury & Region,Kaikoura & Region,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Little Mr. is police car spotting again, this one spotted south of Kaikoura by one of the tunnels ‘reminding’ holiday traffic to keep to the speed limit. Photographs requested and duly made…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 24, 2018

Friendship Ending When The Food Ran Out…

Filed under: Canterbury & Region,Kaikoura & Region,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Those of us who suffer from car-sickness (or any moving vehicle, so more “motion sickness”) know the drill of frequent roadside stops.

Kiwi Daughter and I are both in this group of green travelers so our trip from Blenheim to Christchurch, New Zealand was never going to be a fast drive.

I always listen slightly in wonder when friends and family tell that they made a longer distance journey in what seems to be record time, I have always had to add the bare minimum of an hour to journeys, and if the road is particularly high / winding, then two to three extra hours is very much the norm.

On this roadside stop we encountered one of the friendly locals… of the feathered variety.

We had a chili-bin (eskie /cooler) in the back of the car, in which sat the remnants of a bread roll, and Little Mr. had taken a few French fries from his Kaikoura lunch plate to: “finish later”.

If you have kids you instantly know that this means about a 70% chance that said doggy-bagged item will end in in a rubbish bin later, the excuses ranging from:

I’m not hungry” (read: “I have found something better), “it’s squashed, it’s been in the sun and it smells funny, hot thing is now cold, cold thing is now hot, something leaked over it,” the list goes on.

Our local friend was a gull, who standing on a post close to the car was giving us some serious attention. The gull flew down to the ground as close as he dared, then back to the post. This action was repeated several times in quick succession with some measured squawks as if he was trying to tell us something.
Message received the scraps of bread roll in the bottom of the bag were quickly devoured, I then asked Kiwi Daughter to hold up one of Little Mr’s cold chips so that the gull could come to her hand and get it. This request was met with various amounts of “eew” and “eek”, so I did it myself. Cradling a DSLR camera and taking photographs with one hand whilst keeping the other hand level and steady in the air is not the easiest of ways to get a close up shot of wildlife, but I persevered and later surprised at just how sharp the photos turned out.

The gull was both wary and determined so this took a few minutes but with patience and keeping as still as possible I got the shots. I am certain that post being fairly tall was the secret to this success; the post being higher than me meant he felt safe with a quick getaway route into the air. There were several unsuccessful attempts for him to come and collect the fry and I though the clicking of the camera may be putting him off a little so I stopped taking photos for a minute or so and he came and collected the fry pretty much immediately. It did however mean that I didn’t get any shots of the successful pick up from my fingers. I know that feeding bread and fries to birds is not ideal and that it’s their form of junk food, but I suppose a little treat now and again is permissible. Sadly but not surprisingly, our friendship ended as soon as the food ran out thus giving an indication that our break was over and we needed to be on our way.

(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)

July 23, 2018

Seal Mystery And Watchers Watching The Watched…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Travelling south from Kaikoura, New Zealand at the end of December 2017, we were pleased to see that the local seals had taken up residence on some of the newly uplifted sea bed that rose up to six meters after the massive earthquake of 2016.

When we stopped for a break and breath of fresh air at the Hikurangi Marine reserve there were not many seals to be seen but for me it brings up  questions:

Were the seals going to traditional places where they knew the landforms to be best suited to their needs?

Were they coming ashore anywhere at random that had these qualities?

Do they adapt as landforms change or might it be a mixture of all of these?

As far as the “seal nursery” at what used to be Ohau point it is definitely the first option, but now that baby seals have been sent back there, maybe the seals have adapted too. There were seals on rocks too far out for my telephoto lens, they had been spotted by other visitors who walked further out on the rocks in order to take photographs. I could zoom in on them, but the seal they are taking photos of are a bit harder to spot: they are close in between the pair but closer to the lady on the right. I have heard that seals can move surprisingly fast on land, so what these two are doing seems rather foolhardy.

I kept my lens on the two closer to us and whist the shutter was clicking on fast shutter speed on the “sport” setting, did not notice anything special. Looking at the photographs on the computer later though I saw something I did not expect: the apparently sleeping seal suddenly raises it’s tail flippers, and a large round,red protrusion can be seen at it’s rear end, it’s not possible to see if it is relieving itself but a Nano second later the tail is back down, it lifts a front flipper to scatch it’s back and resumes the position it was first in, apparently without stirring much from it’s sleep. It’s the wrong time of year for pups so this can not have been a birth… I have no clue what I have seen here. Meanwhile the tourists on the rocks were still taking their pictures leading me to further wonder exactly who was being watched here?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

KaikoraSeals 2

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 22, 2018

Kaikoura Heading South…

A Photographic post today. It was the end of December 2017, Kaikoura heading south…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Photographs of the sea whilst in the queue waiting our turn on one of the single lane stretches…

(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)

July 21, 2018

Fed, Watered And Ready For The Road…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Visiting Kaikoura in the last days of 2017, and seeing how the town is recovering from the earthquake that shut down State Highway One to both the north and south, it hit home that when things are easy and we only have the “little stuff” to worry about, we should be grateful indeed.

There has been financial hardship, some people have left for good, there is still a way to go with the rebuilding process.

For all of the negative things that have happened here though, the overwhelming feeling I got during our visit is one of positivity, a strong sense of community and a resilience that even a 7.8 earthquake could not keep down.

The tourists are flooding back and speaking to family and friends they all intend to take rest stops here when they travel so that visitor money goes back into small businesses and the Kaikoura community.

We have appointments in Christchurch so can’t stay longer, our route out of town was via the (for me) familiar tree lined waterfront road along the bay.

We go over the hill that links the peninsular to the mainland and head towards the airport.

This tiny aerodrome has good memories for Himself and I regarding a trip here when we had Mark’s mother with us:

Whooo Whooo …catching a train, and dolphin (with a car and a helicopter!) https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2010/04/03/new-post-testing-links/

When we passed here in 2017, things were busy, lots of planes and a few helicopters on the strip. It’s good to see. Now we are fed and watered and ready for the road…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 20, 2018

Acknowledging The Friendly Wave…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One thing that I miss when I leave New Zealand is their level of friendliness.

It’s customary to give a quick wave of acknowledgement when passing other vehicles on country roads, to road workers as you go pass them in speed restricted areas, to waiting vehicles when you have had priority on one lane bridges, to someone in the city who lets you into a busy stream of traffic from a smaller side street, the list goes on.

It was therefore interesting to see that all of the Kaikoura workers on the newly reopened road were also acknowledging the drivers as they went by.

In some places it was hard to photograph, others like here easier, but all gave us a wave and a grin.

We remarked that this was only the first three weeks the road had been open, and wondered about the heavy summer holiday traffic and if they would be adhering to this unwritten “code of acknowledgement” in three months’ time, or longer.

What’s lovely about the situation in these photographs is that the road worker not only gave each of us on his side of the road a friendly wave once his “Stop” sign changed to “Go”, but in the meantime also gave a friendly wave to each vehicle passing in the opposite direction. (it’s a bit hard to see in the photographs because he is waving with his left hand, but this is a proper wave, not just raising his hand in a stiff manner.) We saw by the smile he gave us when we passed by that this is a genuine friendliness too, there are subtle ways of telling when people are just “going through the motions” and when they are not.

If we crawl past a road worker with a sign in the Netherlands, and I lift a hand in acknowledgement, both my kids will let out an exasperated “Mammm, No one does that here!”, or “ ew… stop that, it’s embarrassing!” and more often than not the road worker will give me a puzzled stare. Old habits are hard to break though, and if anything I think that anything that gives a touch of friendliness to strangers sharing our roads, city life and public spaces should be encouraged rather than rejected as a waste of time. Make someone smile, start a trend, whenever the moment is right, why not just acknowledge someone with a friendly wave?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 19, 2018

Showing Local Businesses Some Love…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I neglected to mention that before Family Kiwidutch visited the main shopping area in Kaikoura, New Zealand, we had already had lunch on the main road a bit further out.

Kiwi Daughter had given us one wish (read ultimatum): to go back to “Beach House Café”… “Kiwi Daughter Finds Food Heavenhttps://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/new-2830/… so that she could get another one of their amazing Caesar salads that she had discovered and loved so much.

We made a short stop before that though so that I could get a pie from the Kaikoura Bakery.

I know that the town has had a rough time, the road to the north has been closed for more than a year, the one south was only recently cleared, so access to the town has been via two smaller inland roads, the second of which was a gravel road until about a decade ago.

I also know that it wasn’t only our family who expressed a wish to specifically stop in Kaikoura in order to spend some money whilst having a rest stop from our journey, and at the same time do our bit to help a struggling community and many businesses on the financial brink.

I don’t know if it was this kind of wish that brought so many people to the bakery, or if it was just extra busy with the New Year’s public holiday imminent, but the bakery was almost beyond packed.

The shop is decently large and people patiently waiting were packed in right to the doors. Inside was what might be called “organized chaos”: staff rattling off orders, filling bags and ringing up final figures for purchases at the cash register, then calling “Next please!” for the next customer.

With at least half a dozen people working behind the counter, it was noisy and the closer I got to the counter the more people came in behind me. This was the New Year rush; it was people showing some love for a local business too. I had no hope at all to take photographs inside, but can attest that my meat pie was delicious and I think that the lolly cake and sandwich I got for Little Mr. passed his fussy inspection.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

New Zealand’s native “Pohutakawa” tree flowers with distinctive blossoms in December, earning it the nickname: “New Zealand’s Christmas Tree”, it’s included in the painted festive decorations for the bakery window…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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