A Tui in a Pohutukawa…

It’s that time of the year again, the time when it’s obvious where HG Wells got his inspiration from. Yes, the pohutukawas are in flower or, more to the point, are losing their flowers and turning the ground beneath them red, much like the Martians’ weed does in The War of the Worlds. To northern […]


A decade or so ago we’d just signed a binding contract to buy a house in Ohakune when the alert level for the volcano that looms over the town was raised. Last week, for the first time since such levels were introduced, it was raised for the volcano that lies under New Zealand’s largest lake, […]

Weathering: Part 2

(A lame title, I know, but I’m hopeless at naming things and my usually helpful assistant clearly has inspiration issues.) I realise this is my third post in a row about weather, but it’s a fascinating subject and I am English, therefore predisposed to talk about it. I’m also now a Kiwi, and Kiwis like […]


Here in Ohakune we’re on our fourth day of solid rain. We’re not alone – storms have swept across the country and I wonder if we should rename New Zealand the Soggy Isles. There have even been mini-tornadoes in some areas, trees being tossed aside like cocktail sticks and rooves ripped away. We’re paying for […]

Beasties: Part Two

WARNING: This post contains images and descriptions of pest animal trapping. If this distresses you, please do not read on. When the chunk of land that became the islands of New Zealand broke away from the great southern continent of Gondwana seventy million years ago, it wasn’t just the nasty beasties that stayed on the […]

Beasties: Part One

A friend sent me this picture the other day. The subject, one of its fangs clearly visible between two front legs, fell on her back whilst she was sunbathing. She claims the only reason it didn’t take a chunk out of her is that she was smothered in tanning oil rather than sun cream so […]