Firstly – sorry for the long silence – 3 months away from  home also mean 3 months of catching up – and ultimately no time or indeed nerves to write.

So many things have happened here and around the world – where to start I wonder?

Perhaps the one thing that took our attention and a good part of our sleep for 3 weeks – the Americas Cup. What a disappointing end to a great campaign by our kiwi team. We can lament as much as we like (some more than others) but on one thing most of us agree – good effort from Emirates Team New Zealand.

View from Kokomo Retreat over the Bay of Islands
View from Kokomo Retreat over the Bay of Islands

We spend  a few mornings at our friends place Kokomo Retreat overlooking Tapeka Beach watching these races – at least the location to watch them made up for the losses…

Early morning fog over Russell
Early morning fog over Russell

The other thing that has (hush, hush)  happened here recently in good old Russell – Bay of Islands , was the filming of an episode (or two?) of season 5 of New Zealand Master chef. I think half the town was invited to dinner that night at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel – and as an added twist – I am working there now as well.

Duke of Marlborough Hotel - Russell
Duke of Marlborough Hotel – Russell

The Bay of Islands will also soon be hosting some Tall Ships (7 in total plus our own R Tucker Thompson) on their way from Sydney to the Tall Ships Festival in Auckland. This will bring back memories of times long past when sailing ships where the only mode of transport and Russell was the main port for them into New Zealand.

For those of you who don’t know – Russell, the town was New Zealands first capital (actually Okiato)  – back in the day. Russell was also known as the “Hell hole of the Pacific” – and I am sure for good reason.

Sunrise over Long Beach - Russell
Sunrise over Long Beach – Russell

These days Russell welcomes tourists to the Bay of Islands with plenty on and off water activities. Being surrounded by water we are never far from great vista’s and plenty of fresh seafood (gathering it is half the fun). The bush here is also home to Kiwi and Weka (yes in the wild!) and plenty of other native birds. So if any of you are stuck for ideas where to spend your next weekend or holiday away – consider the Bay:-)

Tui feeding on a banana flower
Tui feeding on a banana flower

However – as much as I like Russell – there is another part of Northland that I am very passionate about – the Hokianga Harbour – on the opposite side of the North Island – the Tasman Sea. Maori believe that the great ancestral explorer Kupe made first landfall there. With its massive, golden sand dunes and the mighty Waipoua Forest (which includes New Zealand’s biggest tree by girth – Te Matua Ngahere – a 2000 to 3000 year old Kauri Tree) this place has a certain magic about it.

There are not many places to stay but we usually manage to get a room at the historic Copthorne Hotel Omapere located right on the beach. Most tourists bypass this area for some reason – which might be a good thing  some people say – but I would always put this place on my list to visit.

Hokianga Harbour - view from Cophtorne Hotel
Hokianga Harbour – view from Cophtorne Hotel

Apart from travelling and generally living in Northland – there is of course also some weaving happening in my life (again). Piupiu and Wahakura keep me busy – so do some more arty projects and the usual regular orders of kete and pikau. Work ticks along just nicely I might say with the National Weavers Hui in Kawerau fast approaching – a staple on every weavers calendar every two years.

However – even before that I have a trip to Wellington and the World of Wearable Arts Show and a wedding in Sydney/Australia to look forward to….


1 Comment

  1. Whew Rita – I’m exhausted just reading about all your travels!!!! Hopefully a bit of downtime at the weavers hui! Give me a call when you finally get your head above water.

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