Sunday, January 11, 2009

End of Another Chapter

Well faithful readers, I have decided to end this blog here, and start a new one for my travel to the UK and back. The address for this is:

You will also notice below there have been several entries added in quick succession recently to this blog.

Thanks for your readership, and see you on the flipside!

2009 & Beyond: Party like its 2009!

Well, we finally made it out of 2008 - not sure how I feel about 2008, because I don't look back on it with bad feelings, despite it being a roughish year, having my Grandfather die, and my car getting broken into etc. I guess I have developed the ability to roll with the punches, which is a good thing.

So since last time, I read a couple of books - N.O.W.: No Opportunity Wasted - by Phil Keoghan, and Screw It, Lets Just Do It- by Richard Branson.
N.O.W. was good, it was kind of motivating, although I probably didn't get heaps out of it as I tend to live my life that way anyway, just on a more casual scale.
Screw It, Lets Just Do It was also good, gave a good introduction to the story of Richard Branson. It was written for a reading age of about 12, however I didn't mind this as it meant I read the whole book in one sitting pretty much.

So I guess the main event since my last entry was my New Years adventure. On the 31st I headed down to Flaxmere in the Hawkes Bay, for a New Years Party. I pitched my tent on the back lawn, and had a reasonable night. On New Years Day I finally got to tick off something that has been on my list for almost 4 years: Going to Splash Planet (Phil would be proud of me LOL). It was nice, very busy, but nice to just lax back in the pool. That night I stayed with my brother-in-law Bevan's parents, in Hastings, and went home with a car load of vegetables.

On the way home I visited my old school friend Andy, and his wife Kirstie, who were staying at their Uncle & Aunties bach in Taupo. It was good catching up after probably about 4 years.

From there, I headed back to Papamoa for a couple of days more, and then had to return home for 4 days more of work.

Mid-week I found out and got confirmation that I/we weren't required after Thursday, which is a little bit of a shame financially, but good in the sense I can have a holiday and have time to sort stuff out before I go. Friday I went into work as they have a BBQ breakfast every Friday, and ended up gettting a days work, tidying up the stock from the Truck and Trailer that tipped over near Tirau this week. After work I had a fairly productive afternoon, getting a new alarm remote for my car, checking that a cellphone from New Zealand will work in the UK, and provisionally booking a ticket to London (via Tahiti & L.A. - I also already have one provisionally booked going via Hong Kong)

This week, Im doing some work for Mum & Dad, and catching up with several friends. In the weekend I may be going to Lake Waikaremoana, or Bowentown, and/or Rotorua.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Back in the City of the Future.

So finally I was back in Hamilton. I was pleasantly surprised to discover in the 5 months I had been away from home that Hamilton’s traffic problems had been solved by the changes and improvements they had been doing on the roads. The only thing left to fix in Hamilton’s infrastructure now is the access between the Eastside and the City, but I don’t live on the East side of the river, so Im not so fussed.

So of course it was back to business, trying to find some temporary work, looking into my visa for the UK, and sorting out finishing off my Te Reo course.

I ended up after not having much luck with other recruitment agencies, finding some work at a Meat Works in Te Aroha through Allied Workforce. And I managed to get hold of someone who could help me at Te Wananga O Aotearoa, and resumed my classes.

After about 2 weeks of doing my classes, one weekend, on the Friday night I spent at the Marae on the campus, in which time I managed to catch up the lessons I had missed. Early the next day, my teacher and I headed out to Kawhia, where we learnt about the Marae (Maketu) that is where the Tainui Canoe landed, and is currently buried, which was pretty cool. So we stayed the night there, and then got home about 11am on Sunday. When I got home, I decided that I had enough time to shoot up to Auckland and go to Big Boys Toys, because I really wanted to go, and had promised myself I would this year (I hadn’t been since 2005) after not going last year. It was alright, but not the same as last time. Noticeably less girls and freebies.

Working at the meatworks took a little bit to get used to – mainly the 4am wake ups. The first day I wasn’t sure if I could stomach it, but I think it was because I didn’t get to eat much breakfast, or get lunch until I got home. Anyhow, I ended up quite liking it. I ended up with a bit of a cold, but didn’t think much of it until early one Saturday morning I woke up with really sore glands under my arms, so I went to the A & E once it got to a decent hour, and mentioned that I was working at a Meat Works (in our induction they said we should mention this so they test for Leptospirosis) so they sent me for a blood test.

The following Thursday, once my cold seemed much better, the clinic called me and mentioned that I had tested positive for Leptospirosis. It is a notifiable disease, which basically means the Ministry of Health contacts you and asks you some questions, because it is quite rare, and possibly quite harmful. I was lucky, as it turns out I mustn’t have got a bad case of it. However, I ended up having 3 days off work anyway, which allowed me to sort out my visa application for the UK, and get a UK bank account sorted too, and finish my Christmas shopping. When I went back to work it was kind of nice, as word had gotten around that I had got it, so I was semi-famous. I wasn’t quite so positive about working there as I was before, knowing that I had contracted a potentially harmful disease from it. Anyhow, I’m all OK, so no need to worry.

So, we worked Monday, and then Tuesday I went to Auckland and got my Biometrics done for my visa application (fingerprints scanned, and photo taken) and sent the application off the next day.
Christmas day was had at home in Hamilton, we had to go and pick up my Grandmother up from the hospital, and when we got home my Cousins had arrived, so it was all good. After a good NZ BBQ Christmas lunch, we headed off to Papamoa, where I am now.

Boxing day was basically spent shopping, as I made the most of the Boxing day specials, including getting a full-body wetsuit for cheap. Other than that I’ve just been walking, and doing a bit of reading.

From the North, to the South, to the East, to the West-ish.

So I spent a night at home in Hamilton, and then the next day I hopped in the car with Suzanne and Bevan (my Sister, and Brother-in-law, who were home from the UK, while they were getting their visas renewed) and headed down to Wellington. On the way we stopped for tea in Palmerston North and caught up with one of their friends.

We carried on, and got to Wellington, I stayed with Beth, a friend from my time in Japan, and her partner Aeneas. Beth & I headed out (back) to the Pub with her workmates, and later on grabbed some pizzas before calling it a night.

The next day, I think we went for a bit of a walk, got some groceries and some DVDs, and then that night some of their friends came and we went to the pub and watched Wellington play Canterbury on the big screen, before we went back to the flat and played Poker (I had to be re-taught, as I had only played it once before).

The following day (Sunday) I got up and went for a walk down to Te Papa (the Museum of NZ) getting some breakfast in Transit. It was OK, but the highlight for me was seeing and being spoken to by Suzy Cato – the former children’s presenter, who is still a fox.

On Monday, Suzanne came and picked me up and we headed Northwards, stopped for brunch at Subway. We had decided that we would go to Castlepoint, on the East coast, Suzanne had been there once before. So we went there, very isolated, but interesting, and plenty of people considering. There is a lighthouse, and a bit of a lagoon, amongst some big rock formations. Suzanne and I then carried on north and spent the night in Napier. The next day we headed further North to Gisborne, as I had only been there once, by plane, and Suzanne had never been there. We had a bit of a look around, and then went to our old friend & neighbour Isaac’s house, where we had dinner, played Scrabble, and stayed the night. The next day we caught up again with Isaac, and his brothers, before heading off, Northwards, to go around the East Cape. It was an interesting journey, we saw Tolega bay, Tokomaru bay, and went to the actual East Cape, although that was most disappointing as it was a 21km drive, and you didn’t end up at the beach, or the lighthouse, or access to either, rather just a dead end with a set of toilets. So I did what any good person would, and used them. So following this, we drove back to the main road, and carried on, to Opotiki, Whakatane, and eventually Papamoa, where we met up again with Bevan and their friend Ray (both who had been snowboarding during our excursion.) The next day, Bevan & Ray went to the Mountain again, and Suzanne & I went to Hamilton, and then Suzanne carried on to Hastings to meet up with Bevan again, and they stayed a few days with his parents. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos to show from this journey as of course my camera had been stolen.

Screw You Guys, I’m going home: The Far North Farewell

My Apologies, its been a while since I last updated this, obviously. It hasn’t so much been because my life has been boring, rather the opposite, I’ve been a bit busy, and have left it until I can sit down and do it justice. As I sit and write this, Im outside our house at Papamoa, on a lounger, listening to The Feelers – The Best, ’98 – ’08, after this I will be listening to Elemeno P – Elemeno P, this time last year both bands were down here playing together, with Atlas, at the Papamoa tavern, a great night.

But I digress.
So since the last entry, I finished up at work in Kaitaia. A little sad, due to leaving all the friends I had made, but at the same time, I had pretty much conquered Northland, done all I had wanted to do.

Before coming home I decided I would go and camp at the places I hadn’t yet got around to camping at, such as Rarawa, Spirits Bay, & Tauputaputa Bay (which is right up the top, near Cape Reinga. So I packed my car with my camping gear and took off. The first night I decided to go to Rarawa first, as it was closest, and I wasn’t sure if I’d have enough daylight left to put up my tent if I went all the way to the top.
So, I settled in, and slept with my head facing the stars, which was nice. The next day, after a bit of breakfast, I went for a snorkel. However, when I came back, I discovered someone had broken into my car, (hence the name – Far North Farewell, the other part is from Southpark, what Cartmen says when he gets annoyed with the others) which put a dampener on it, as I couldn’t continue camping with a broken window, and they had taken my clothes bag (including my camera), so I had to spend my last days up north back at the Backpackers (where I had been living) sorting out my insurance, and getting my window fixed. Once I had it all sorted, I headed home to Hamilton.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Back for some more

Below I have put several take-offs of the Budweiser Beer "WASSUP?!!" ads, from Youtube. If you aren't so familiar with the ad, you might not find them as funny as I did.

Anyway, since last time...

Last Saturday night I went to the pub with my landlords and several Backpackers to watch the Karaoke Competition, surprised at how long I stayed before I got bored with it, but that was more to do with the fact I was talking and hanging out with a German girl. Unfortunately by the time we left all the other pubs (which are a bit more classy) were closed. Anyhow, tonight we are supposed to be having a drink together again, so that'll be nice.

Other than that, I won a copy of the Lonely Planet Guide for New Zealand, should make some interesting reading. I thought I would be in for a good chance of winning it because I figured the general public wouldn't be too fussed about trying to win a tourist book about NZ.

This morning I went to the market, got some breakfast, and then went to the 2nd book store, which I've tried to avoid, because I always end up with some more books, and at one point I wasn't getting through them.

Transformers WASSUP

Teletubbies WASSUP

WASSUP Star wars

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Outer Paihia

Hey, just a quick one.

Last weekend I went to Paihia to get away from Kaitaia for a change (one of the few places Kaitaia is close to!

It worked out well - I had intended to stay in a dorm room, for $20, but since they were quite full, I got charged $23 - however it all worked well, because the room I was going to be in, which was a shared room, there was a girl who didn't want any guys in her room, so they put me in a two-bed room, and lucky for me there wasn't a second person. But for Saturday night I was moved to a single room with a double bed, because they wanted to use the two-bed room for some other people. No complaints here!

Anyway I went over to Russell for a couple of hours, but the weather turned bad, so I could only do indoor things, like the museum, so I came back after about two hours. Other than that I read most of a new book mum had sent me, and caught up with a friend.

Anyway, below is the last scene from the last play I was in - The Lover by Harold Pinter. In this scene are the two main characters, played by Paul Andrew, and Magda Cotman. Im not in this scene unfortunately. Enjoy, now I know how to do this I'll upload some more! (Just be warned there is some potentially offensive language)

The Lover - the finale

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Well, its been a little while, but Kaitaia isn't exactly the hive of activity.

Went to Kerikeri that following weekend - it was Ok, but now its checked off the list, theres not much more up here for me to see LOL. The Laughing Samoans were OK, I think I didn't enjoy them as much because I was tired, and had driven for an hour to see them.

A few weekends later I went to Kerikeri again, for a night, and came back Saturday - the day the big storm came through - almost got flooded out, but was OK - at one point the water was over the road, but shallow enough to get through.

Since then the last 3 weekends have had my Saturday's at working bees at the Little Theatre for the Dramatic Society. Not exactly fun activity of the century. However last weekend I went with my mate Matt to a quiz night - a fundraiser for his Parents to get back to Tanzania - it was a lot of fun. Our team came third - pretty good considering we only had three people, and other teams had about7-9 in them.

Not much else to say. Although a funny observation for the week is this- I found out my Sri Lankan flatmate is a Buddist - as I was cutting up some beef on my Pig-shaped chopping board, ie chances were that I would have been unintentionally offending him, but as it turns out I wasn't.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Show Must Go On

Those of you keeping an eye on the website will notice I have finally changed this entry. As you probably expected, I was rather busy with my plays, (and work of course) so I never got around to updating it.
So lets start with the long weekend - which would have been the start of June. I went with my church out to a marae at Mititmiti, a small community on the west coast, just above the Hokianga Harbour. It was a nice change to go and relax for a weekend (rather than drive all the way to Hamilton yet again - which I had done the 3 weekends in a row previous). I managed to finish reading a couple of books, and caught up on some sleep, despite being in a room full of other people, namely kids who wake up at 6am. It was all good. In true Maori fashion it was also good in terms of Kai (food) with a Hangi one night, fry bread, and plenty of it.
I think the following weekend was when my flatmate Roz had her leaving party - which was great, although sad to have her go as we got on really well.
The following weekend I ended up with ear infections. Not fun.
The subsequent week was then my play (of which the photos are about)- it went well, a few dramas (no pun intended) such as one of the characters who was acting injured, actually getting injured in one of the scenes. All in all it was fun, and the cast got pretty close.
The following Wednesday my second play opened, by this stage I was a little over being out every night. As it happened the subsequent performances had to be postponed for a week due to a powercut and the lead actress getting sick and almost losing her voice. So this week we performed it twice, and were going to perform it tonight and tomorrow but have now cancelled it.
However I made the most of the (last) weekend that was freed up with the postponing, and went down to Auckland for a night out, dinner at a Japanese restaurant, comedy at the Classic, and then a bit of dancing. All good.
Next weekend Im heading down (everywhere is down from here) to Kerikeri to go to the Laughing Samoans show on the Friday night, and to some Toastmasters training on the Saturday. Should be fun.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Alexander the Great

I know those of you who know both me & my sister, will think that I've just followed her lead and put something up about our Grandfather, who past away last week (Thursday, 1st May 2008) however, I had actually thought about doing it myself, before I saw her entry. I guess you can say great minds think alike, or that he obviously had a deep impact on our lives, enough for us to both write about it.

Anyhow, the below has been extracted from my speech, that I did at his funeral.

One of my earliest and fondest memories of Popa is going for walks with him. From about the time I could walk he used to take me walking, around Huntly when we visited, or when we used to stay together at Mt Maunganui we would often walk around the mountain together. In fact the first time I ever climbed Mt Maunganui after having a heart operation as a kid, was with Popa, Dad and Uncle Bruce. When we visited them in Huntly walks around the block were common. These walks lead to my interest in exploring and investigating new places.

Popa of course was a keen sportsperson, and he taught me about several sports, like golf, cricket, pool and darts. He encouraged my own sporting endeavours, and also was a loyal attendee of our school prizegivings, and keen reader of our school reports.

I loved the fact he spent such quality time with me. This also included taking me for drives to wherever he was going at the time, to the wreckers, to the Golf Club, etc.

During these times he of course imparted his experiences, and wise words to me, such things as Never do drugs, Look after your sister, work hard, if you ever need help, ask a police officer, and the fact that if you need to find the address of someone look in the phonebook. He also told me that I should sell sheep manure, which when I did actually made me a decent amount of money, helped by his good marketing within Huntly.

Of course as I got older his knowledge and advice came in handy in regard to cars too, when I got my first car he took me down to Repco and bought me a spare fan belt, which eventually came in handy when mine broke one day between Hamilton and Huntly.

I guess there is probably no better way to sum up Popa, other than saying he was the best Grandfather one could have, spending time quality time with his Grandchildren, imparting his knowledge and experience, and living a life that provided a good example for his descendents. I love you Popa, thank you for your input in my life, and I hope that I can live a life that you would be proud of.

To read Suzanne's entry click here.
Note other recent blog entries are below this one.

Finally an entry about a girl- and 1 wedding & a funeral.

Sorry its been a long time coming, but I've been a mixture of too busy, or tired or down to write. Looking at the date of the last entry, this is kind of obvious. Anyhow, lets start at the following weekend, which would've been the weekend of the 14th,15th, 16th. I can't remember what I did on the Friday night, but on the Saturday night I went to a BBQ for my friends farewell, as she was heading off to Perth. I couldn't stay there too long (ie I had to leave before the food came out) as I was going to the St Patrick's Day street Party in Whangarei. Now the reason I was going to this was because it was a second date... Anyway when I got down there I found her, and we hung out, had some drinks (mainly water) talked etc. and after some Jamie moves- we kissed. So yeah, we've been going out/seeing each other since then. The next weekend was Easter Weekend. From my last entry you will read that I had found out that I had to move. So I spent Good Friday packing/tidying up/doing housework, and headed down to Whangarei, via State Highway 10, as I wanted to have a bit of a snorkel. Funny thing was, where I was snorkelling was some topless sunbathers on the rocks, not that I got a good look though. So anyhow, after that I went to Whangarei, put my stuff in the Backpackers, and met up with Nikki (the above mentioned girl) and her friends. The following day I headed down to Auckland for a childhood friend's wedding. The day's weather was really hot & fine. I met up with Mum & Dad in Howick, where we had lunch. From there we went to the Wedding, which was cool. After the wedding we went home to Hamilton. I spent Sunday at home, and then decided that I should go head north again, (to spend some time with Nikki.) I got as far back as Waiwera, before it got really dark, and I lost motivation/was too tired to carry on, so I decided to camp somewhere. Anyway, just past Waiwera I discovered a place called Mahurangi Regional Park. I found the phone and talked to the ranger. Apparently all the campsites near where I was were full, but up the road there was a place - Mita Bay (part of the same park). I still wasn't clear on the instructions how to get there so I flagged down a car going past, and asked them where to go, and they gave me a ride to the track that lead down to it. So I had to wander for about 10 minutes in the dark in the bush, with only my cellphone for light. Anyhow, once I got down to the campsite, it was really nice, in a secluded bay. There was only two or three other tents there. I was helped by 3 South African people to put up my tent, which was cool. After setting myself up I went and had a swim in the dark. The water was nice and warm.

The next day I woke up, and really saw how nice it was. I had an early snorkel, and then packed up and made my way back up the track. Once I got back to the road I discovered how far up the road it really was. Lucky for me, once I was about half-way back someone in a Nissan Patrol (or similar vehicle) stopped and offered me a ride - but they didn't have any spare seats, so I stood on the kick-bar at the back, and held onto the roof rack.

Once I got back to my car I headed for Whangarei, and meet up with Nikki. We went out to Tutukaka, and around a bit further to another nice beach. I had a swim, and then we had dinner at another beach - fish and chips. Nikki helped me pitch my tent at Tutukaka, and then we went and had a hot chocolate, before Nikki went home.

The next day was Tuesday, Nikki had work, but I had the day off, so I went and met her for lunch.

The following weekend was non-eventful I believe.

The weekend after that I went back down to Whangarei for Nikki's birthday.

The Next weekend my parents came up to help me shift (as per previous entry). I am now currently residing at the Main Street Lodge. We successfully moved my stuff, and then Nikki came up from Whangarei and so we all went out for dinner (Dad's birthday present from me). That Sunday Nikki & I went up to Cape Reinga.

The following weekend I stayed up here, I had planned to go to Hamilton and see the V8 racing, but figured it was too far, and the V8s will be there for 7 more years anyway. The other reason I was keen to go down was for my Grandfather's 80th Birthday. As it turned out he was in hospital for it.

The following weekend was Anzac weekend, and at that point I was told that my Grandfather's time was limited, so I went home. During the following week (on the Thursday) he died. And so I went home again the following weekend for the funeral on Monday (just been). It was blur of a weekend, but good family time. The funeral was sad, but a good tribute to him. The church was on a hill above the Huntly Lake, which was a very nice view. Then I headed back up to Kaitaia, via Lunch with Nana, and Tea with Nikki. It was a sombre journey, more real than the trip down, having been to the Funeral, and experienced it.