Making sense of my photography hobby in retirement

Northland

Fireflame Chillies

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.

Matakana Market, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

Fireflame, that’s on medium please!

Matakana Market, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

“Now you need to understand some of the finer points about chillies”

Matakana Market, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

“Which one would you like to try first?”

Matakana Market, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

You’ll need to visit Puhoi to see the “Big Cheese”

Matakana Market, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

“And now for a we spell to turn this into the perfect organic crepe”

Matakana Market, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

Why can’t I grow basil like that?

Matakana Market, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

“This, Monsieur, is the perfect pastry for you”


Now Closed … Sorry for any inconvenience

Matakana Market, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

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?

Matakana Market, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

How about some organic beans, or spray-free tomatoes?  This is a farmers’ market afterall, and we have t cater for all tastes.

Matakana Market, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

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?


Market Minstrels

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.

Matakana Market, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

Free Range Eggs

Matakana Market, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013


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.

Explorer, Manganui Harbour, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

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!


Do-up Job

Cutter, Dargaville Museum, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

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.


Puheke

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.

Puheke Beach, Karikari Peninsula, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

Puheke Beach

Mt Puheke, Karikari Peninsula, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

Mt Puheke, with trig station and a Maori carved wooden Pouwhenua (land post)

Close to the foot of Puheke is is the small reedy Lake Rotokawau.

Lake Rotokawau, Karikari Peninsula, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

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.

Tethered, Gumdiggers' Park, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

Tethered

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.

Faded Glory, Gumdiggers' Park, Northland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

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.