I love street markets, no matter where in the world they are. Its the combinations of colors, activity and people that make them so fascinating. Here is a selection of images taken at the Matakana Market, a farmers’ market held during the summer at Matakana Village, an hour’s drive north of Auckland.
Now Closed … Sorry for any inconvenience
Well, that’s what the sign said! Clearly this wasn’t the case on the day of our visit to the Matakana Market. Perhaps the sign had been turned around?
How about some organic beans, or spray-free tomatoes? This is a farmers’ market afterall, and we have t cater for all tastes.
Baby Royal Gala apples as well, you know, the ones on the bike! Or is the man on the bike chasing the apple? But, I’ll take some special capsicums, please. And is that pumpkin $4, or is it Number 84?
Because I haven’t had much time lately to get out and photograph anything, because of packing our house full of belongings into a storage unit, so I have revisited my library of images to get inspiration for posts. The next few posts will contain images taken at the Matakana Market located about an hour’s drive north of Auckland. The farmers’ market runs on Saturdays through the summer months and attracts large numbers of visitors from Auckland and the surrounding district, especially from the holiday homes at the nearby beaches.
One of the features of the market is the small group of musicians who play there during the opening hours to entertain shoppers. Occasionally they leave their “stand” and wander through the market. Here are a couple of images of the market minstrels.
There are some evenings when you just have to go for a walk. The day on which this image was taken had improved markedly after a late summer storm so we decided to take a walk around the rocks and along the base of the cliffs at the end of Takapuna Beach, near where we live. An added incentive was the expected departure of a cruise ship from Auckland which carried some friends as passengers. We hoped to watch the ship sail out through the channel that lies between the beach and nearby Rangitoto Island. Fortunately the tide was well out that day, because after waiting until well after the expected departure (the ship didn’t sail because of engineering problems) we had to make our way back to the beach in far distance before the tide would force us ti climb over the rocks. As we turned to head home we were presented with this view to the Takapuna township and beach, and the evening sky reflected in the wet sand.
Purakaunui Falls Revisited
Some time ago I posted an image of the Purakaunui Falls that I took on a trip to the Catlins in the Southland region of the South Island of New Zealand. That image was taken on my second visit to the falls, the first visit being when in the early 1980s we took our (then) three young sons on a touring holiday of the South Island. Both visits were prompted by a photograph we had seen of the falls that appeared in a calendar, I think, which was taken by the well known New Zealand landscape and nature photographer Craig Potton. The striking thing to me back then was how Craig had captured a silky looking waterfall in his image. At that time I had no idea how he had made the image, but over the years I too learned how it is done.
Since that first post I have been wanting to revisit the image and render it differently, and maybe add another view of the falls as well. So, here is take two.
Explorer – Definitely not a do-up!
On the opposite coast and further north than Dargaville, that featured yesterday’s post, is the Manganui Harbour (or Harbor if you live in North America). On my morning walk on the day after finding the “do-up” at the Dargaville Museum I saw this beautiful craft being readied for the day’s voyage.
The launch “Explorer” was immaculate, and the owner clearly very proud of his vessel. It had lovely classic lines and was painted in appropriate colors to match the style. For me it was love at first sight! The other more modern and “flasher” designs in the harbor didn’t stand a chance. This was a vessel to be loved and cherished. It took all my efforts to drag myself away from admiring this thing of beauty. I have no desire to own such a craft, but given half a chance I would leap at an opportunity to go aboard and take a cruise. So much for dreaming. It was nice while it lasted!
Behind the pioneer museum in the Northland town of Dargaville is a yard that contains a number of projects awaiting attention.
The Dargaville Museum has exhibits that tell of how the district has developed through the years, from a 16 metre long pre-European Maori canoe through to the newly built replica gumdiggers camp, from shipwreck relics recovered from the coast to the masts of the ill-fated Greenpeace protest ship Rainbow Warrior. It makes for an interesting visit to get a flavor of the Northland district before venturing further north.
The “exhibit” that caught my attention though was the old working boat “Cutter”, clearly in need of a bit of TLC (tender loving care). She looked quite forlorn sitting in the back lot among miscellaneous other discarded items. For all that, she still had a worn dignity that comes from years of honest hard work.
The Karikari Peninsula is at the northern end of Doubtless Bay in the Northland region of New Zealand. Doubtless Bay was named by Captain James Cook who said, apparently, “Doubtless a bay” in 1769. It’s a large sweeping bay with a 14 km white sandy beach, a holiday makers’ and anglers’ paradise. The beach ends where the Karikari Peninsula begins.
Almost directly opposite and on the northern coast of the peninsula is a pimple of a mountain named Puheke. Because the surrounding area is flat, this tiny mountain takes some prominence in the landscape. The short climb to the top produces wonderful views of the surrounding area, including that of another sweeping white beach bordering Rangaunu Bay to the northwest. Appropriately, this is named Puheke Beach.
Close to the foot of Puheke is is the small reedy Lake Rotokawau.
For years the Karikari Peninsula has been a favorite holiday spot for many New Zealand families who seek both beauty and solitude, with plenty of fishing, of course! During the 1950s and 60s many of the holiday “homes” were mere cottages, often unlined and without electricity, a connected water supply, or formal sewage system. Tank water sometimes ran out in long hot summers and a new toilet pit had to be dug every few years, necessitating a moving of the “little house” to a new location. That’s how it was when we first holidayed in “The Far North” in the early years of our married life. In more recent years the holiday home have acquired a few more comforts, along with electricity.
Old Work Horses
Well, not the kind you were likely thinking of perhaps. Outside the entrance to Gumdiggers’ Park, just north of Northland’s northern-most town Awanui, are two old mechanized work horses – a tractor and a truck. Gumdiggers’ Park is a small museum and outdoor display dedicated to the digging of Kauri gum.
Kauri gum is formed when resin from Kauri trees leaks out through fractures or cracks in the bark, hardening with the exposure to air. Lumps commonly fall to the ground and become covered with soil and forest litter, eventually fossilizing. Prior to European settlement the indigenous Maori used the amber-colored gum for chewing, fire lighting, jewelry, and as the basis for a pigment used in tattooing. European settlers soon found that the gum mixed easily with linseed oil to make an excellent varnish, and from 1910 Kauri gum was used extensively in the manufacture of linoleum. A lucrative trade started in the 1890s and continued until the 1930s when synthetic substitutes came into use. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries transient workers fossicked in areas where old Kauri forests once stood, often in swampy ground, seeking out hidden gum deposits which they sold at quite low prices to gum merchants. My own grandfather worked in the gum fields of Northland when he first landed in New Zealand in the first decade of the twentieth century.
Getting back to the mechanized work horses. Although they are outside Gumdiggers’ Park, they are unlikely to have been used in the gum digging industry described above. Because of their age, they are more likely to have been used in the recovery of “Swamp Kauri” i.e. old fallen logs which are hauled out of the swamps where they had been preserved by swamp water for use in furniture manufacture and souvenirs of Northland.
For me, these two vehicles were as interesting as the exhibits inside the park, especially because of the late afternoon lighting.
“King Bill’s” Hall
Just south of Rarawa Beach is the small settlement of Houhora. When I first visited Houhora in my youth I was able to visit the Wagener Museum, which housed an eclectic collection of artifacts relating to the early settlement of the district in an old stables building. Sadly the museum burned down In the 1980s and some of the collection was lost. The remainder of the museum closed in 2003, but a down-sized version has since reopened. The old museum was a great place to visit and was known to many Kiwis of my age (that’s telling you a bit!).
Not far from the old museum, and next to the Houhora Pub, are several old buildings that have fallen into disrepair but have a strong local historical interest.
One of them is the old hall which was owned by “King Bill”. “King Bill” Evans was a trader, publican, land owner and general entrepreneur in the 1890s. The local hall was a centre of activity in those days and was variously used for meetings, dances, weddings and church services. Today it is slowly rusting away in the field near the pub.
These images were taken in the late afternoon as the sun was sinking towards the horizon in the west. Click on images for a larger view.
There has been a bit of a lull lately. After 32 years living in our present house we are now packing our lives into boxes as part of the moving on process. Consequently, there hasn’t been a lot of time for making new posts. So here is something to keep the flow going.
Several years ago we took a short break with some friends in the far north of the North Island of New Zealand. The Northland region is all that area north of and including the City of Whangarei. Apart from Whangarei and a couple of other small regional centres, Northland is sparsely populated. Industries in the region are mainly farming, forestry , fishing and tourism. It also has some wonderful beaches that attract campers in the summer holidays, but are left in solitude for the rest of the year.
Rarawa Beach is one.
Rarawa Beach is a 55 km drive north of the second largest Northland town, Kaitaia. The white sandy beach is about 2 km in length between rocky headlands at either end. A small stream cuts a meandering path across the beach to the surf . It’s not hard to find that you have the beach all to yourself.
And that’s how we found it on the day of our visit. Just an idyllic place to be. Click on images for a larger view.
No, it’s a dog!
It’s interesting how we humans try to see shapes of things we know in the features that nature present to us. Does that cloud look like a bird? Or, that mountain looks like Queen Victoria lying in state, you can tell by the nose. Here at Punakaiki the shape that nature presents to me is a dog, but you may see something else.
Punakaiki is on the road between Westport and Greymouth (or is that between Greymouth and Westport, because it is closer to the former?) and is a geological feature of stratified rock formations created more than 30 million years ago. The feature is known as the Pancake Rocks. That’s not unusual really. There’s that shapes in nature thing again.
Punankaiki is actually the nearest village to the rock formation at Dolomite Point in the Paparoa National Park. The pancakes are formed from minute fragments of dead marine creatures and plants that landed on the seabed some 2 km below the surface. Immense water pressure caused the fragments to solidify into hard and soft layers. Gradually seismic action lifted the limestone above the seabed and mildly acidic rain, wind and seawater sculpted the bizarre shapes seen today.
In wild weather, which is very common on the West Coast, the blowholes that form part of the Pancake Rocks are said to be spectacular. Unfortunately in all the visits I have had to the area over the years I have never seen them in action in any serious way.
The rocks rare are a very popular West Coast tourist attraction and on a good day the walking paths provided and maintained by the Department of Conservation are busy with people trying to get the best views.
I still think its a dog!
It is hard to envisage in 2013 that the Westland town of Hokitika was once one of the most important towns in New Zealand. Today its economy relies on the surrounding dairy farms that feed the Westland Cooperative Dairy Factory, and tourism-based ventures. In 1866 however, Hokitika was the second biggest town in New Zealand after Auckland. Gold had been discovered on the West Coast in 1864 and the town grew rapidly as people flooded into the area to seek their fortunes. On one day in 1867 it was reported that 41 vessels were tied up at the Hokitika wharf, with more waiting off shore. How times have changed.
Ever since my first visit to the town way back in the 1960s I have been fascinated by the connection of the town with Andrew Carnegie. How could this rich American philanthropist have become aware of and have an interest in this far-flung isolated town in a distant corner of the southern Pacific Ocean? On a corner, one block away from the main street of Hokitika, is a grand building with “Free Public Library” emblazoned across the frieze above the columns at the entrance. It’s in that sign that the connection is made.
Andrew Carnegie made his fortune in the iron and steel business. While still a boy working in his father’s cotton milling business, he and other boys working in the mill were granted free access the library of a local businessman. Carnegie became an avid reader devoured most of the 400 books in the collection. After he sold his steel milling business to banker J P Morgan in 1901 for $200 million, he set out on his philanthropic endeavors. In recognition of the help received from free access to books in his youth, Carnegie established a grant system to assist towns and cities in the English-speaking world to build library buildings on condition that access to and lending of books was free. Eighteen such libraries were built in New Zealand, including the one in Hokitika which was opened in 1908.
The building ceased to be a library in April 1975. It was later restored and reopened in May 1998 as home to the West Coast Historical Museum. So that’s how Andrew Carnegie came to be connected to the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand.
In researching for this post I discovered another interesting fact about Hokitika. It has a digital 3D cinema, in a town with a population of just 3,078 (2006 census), plus another 828 people in the surrounding district. The Art-Deco Regent Cinema was built in 1936 and has served the town ever since. When in 1975 it was threatened with demolition due to its state of repair and lack of patronage, a group of concerned citizens lobbied for its retention and formed a trust for its preservation. Funds were raised to refurbish the building back to its Art-Deco heritage style and it has been turned into a successfully functioning cinema again – a digital 3D cinema to boot.
So there you have it, a boom town of the 19th century is booming again in the 21st century (albeit in a much different way).