Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sailing free

I've been sailing!! Brought the new yacht down the coast from Kerikeri over 3 days, about 300kms. Little wind the first two days but a nice 15 knots to bring us home before a 40 knot storm with 200mls of rain hit us. Mate John helped me which was a bit like the blind leading the blind but we bumbled our way through it, learning as we went along. Caught tuna and kahawai on the trolling lines so it was fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yeah!!!
So Chica Bonita (lovely lady) is sitting on the mooring below the house beckoning me like a siren. Might wait until the big swell dies down before taking Denise sailing!
Photos pending (not of Denise, of the boat!)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Man what have you done!


Eagle attacking moa

New Zealand is unique in the world in that it has no native land mammals (apart from 3 species of bat) but has/had a prolific bird life. It was home to the moa, the worlds largest bird which weighed up to 180kg, the worlds largest eagle weighing 15kgs (but with a short wingspan and tremendously strong flight muscles to manouvre amongst tall forests) and many more flightless birds such as the iconic kiwi. Flightless because most of the food was on the ground and with no land predators why fly? Then man came 1000 years ago in the form of the Maori people and brought with them rats and dogs. The rats competed for food and dogs and man killed and ate many species into extinction. The moa, developed over millions of years, was thought to have disappeared in a century. The kakapo, the worlds only flightless parrot, is also one of it's most endangered bird species (after careful breeding by the conservation dept. there are 62 left), it's only defence (from the eagle) was to freeze which made easy pickings. So the moa went and so too did the eagle with no large prey left.

Over time the Maori people developed stratagies to preserve species but then the Europeans came with Cook in 1769 and it started all over again.

The small outer islands provided some protection for species such as the tuatara, known to be 220 million years old, and now are predator free sanctuaries as we try to atone for the damage we have wreaked.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I wish I was a more wordy nerdy

Damn you wordy blogger friends. I find I approach New Post with dread, hoping I'm not going to let the high standard slip and trying to find something IMPORTANT to say.
Is it possible you could talk about something mundane just occasionally. A new kitten is good for me or maybe that brown is your favourite colour. I feel like a small child struggling to keep up with older siblings and always falling short, although I think my poem about the dead mullet had a lot of merit.
I mean it's not as if I chose you as friends is it? You latched on to me as a lesser mortal so your mewsings would sound so much better and if you don't behave yourselves I'm going to ditch you and find lesser mortals than me.
Alright I have to admit I've tried but there is not that many lesser mortals lying around so I'll stick with you until I get a better offer.
Did I tell you the fragipani is flowering for the first time this year.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Music Festival

Been organising a music and wine festival for the 7th March on our outside stage. Don't know if I need any permits but I guess we will soon find out. I've booked seven acts so now have to sell enough tickets at $20 to pay for them which shouldn't be too difficult. 200 would be good.
Topping the bill is a rhythm and blues band from Tauranga called Brilleaux plus locals Soul Sax and Josh Olsen, good friends Avocado Oil, soul singer Kiri Eriwata, touring from Canada Andrew White and tabla player Subhash Gaur.
It's part of an artists open studio weekend which I am also helping to organise to keep our artists living and working on the Coromandel.
I'm good at thinking up ideas but not so good at the continual grind of keeping them running!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mamaku Project

We hosted the fabulous Mamaku Project on Friday night and they preceeded to blow the audience away with their unique blend of bohemian roots and pacifica dub. All six members are great musicians in their own right with Tui Mamaki vocals, Monsieur Escargot bass/guitar/keys, Craig Denham accordian/keys, Finn Scholes trumpet, John Ellis, saxaphone/bass clarinet and Simon Walker drums. Here is a video of their performance at the Womad festival last year.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Damn, only got 2 kilometres and one engine didn't sound right. Hardest decision to turn back. Owner is getting it fixed next week.
Some pleebs have been attacking my treepee sculpture on the main street of Hamilton so off there today to bring it home.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Just finished Bill Brysons 'Short History of Nearly Everything' which I enjoyed but I am amazed at how often the experts get it wrong! Not necessarily in the exact sciences like how many atoms there are in a sugar cube (I guess when you count to a trillion trillion no one wants to count again to see if you are out by one!) but in sciences like palaeontology it's amazing how each fossil find seems to fit each 'finders' theories. In other words it is coloured by their interpretation and there really is so little concrete evidence of where we came from. All the discoveries of old 'human' bones in our history would only fill the back of a pick up. The conditions for a fossil to be laid down had to be so incredibly right very few have survived.
So now when I hear of the discovery of a 'Mongolese man' or whatever, I will take it with a grain of salt until they can get it right. Or do we want to know?
Off to get my yacht from up north today. I'll be flying down the coast with a good nor wester. Na, na, na, na, na....

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Two great friends called in to see me today. Both wandering free spirits who keep my feet well off the ground.

Joshua on the right from Venezuela is a spiritual brother who I connect with without the means of a cell phone (thank god!). We just seem to bump into one another when something needs to be said.

Michael from Philidelphia, a big hearted peaceful man, walks the world playing a bit of conga and telling stories.

I love them both and they gave NZ a big compliment in saying that with all the strife around the world they think NZers have the right attitude and values to be able to pull through the crisis and could even be a leading light in a new world system.

Heavy stuff. All we want to do is go sailing!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chica Bonita

The boat is paid for and now we have to get it from Kerikeri in the north to here. Will need at least two days good sailing so will take some tuna lures and a few beers and hope we know what we are doing. Which we don't really but we are fast learners! There is a mooring in front of the house here we can use which will make it easy to keep an eye on her.
So I'll have to trade my dog for a parrot and find lotsa 'pieces of eight' to pay for a transient lifestyle.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Do lines
Or merely
Give volume
To the essence

Monday, February 2, 2009

Andy Goldsworthy

Image from previous sculpture day


Fibonacci spiral Lonely Bay
Andy Goldsworthy ice sculpture
Every year I organise an Andy Goldsworthy day down at a local beach called Lonely Bay. Goldsworthy is an artist who goes into the landscape and uses what he finds to make artworks which only last a short time before being accepted back by nature. He records the sculptures with photography and video. My favourite is Rivers and Tides.

Lonely Bay suits it's name because you can only reach it by walking Akio Hizumes' Democracy Steps through the Shakespeares Cliff Reserve and it is remote and beautiful, perfect for temporary sculptures which use the landscape but don't change it.

It's amazing how your view of the surroundings changes when you start looking for materials.
Must do it again!