Auckland Anniversary Day

As promised, photos from the Auckland Anniversary Day celebrations, which was Monday 29 January.

Auckland Anniversary Day is a public holiday in Auckland, New Zealand.  The whole long weekend (because the holiday is Mondayised) is a celebration of Auckland, and that usually means a pretty heavy focus on the harbour.  After all, Auckland is ‘the city of sails’.  The Auckland Anniversary Regatta is the largest single-day boat regatta in the world (according to Wikipedia).

We started at the port, which was partially open to the public.  They had helicopter rides (which were a little beyond our budget), boat rides, etc.  They had water cannons spraying the crowd with water, which was very refreshing.  It was damn hot!  They also had free sunscreen and drinking water available, which was much appreciated and we made liberal use of.  I even ended up tipping water over my head just to cool down. Despite all the sunscreen I did a little burnt, but thankfully not too bad.

There were food stalls everywhere, with everything from seafood to hot dogs, to traditional Maori or Pacific Island food.  The kids got frozen ice treats with the little bit of spending money I gave them.

There were buskers everywhere, playing music, frozen still like statues or performing magic or acrobatic tricks to entertain the public.  My daughter and her friend liked the acrobatic ones best.

There were, of course, plenty of boats out on the harbour, including traditional Maori and Pacific Island canoes and boats.

So there you go.  Happy anniversary, Auckland!

Auckland City Walk

I did the Auckland City Walk today, with my mum, my daughter and my daughter’s friend.  It’s on the edge of the Waitakere Ranges, and is part of a bird sanctuary called Ark in the Park.  You don’t see many birds on the walk, as they’re spread out and tend to stay away from the public paths, but there is an abundance of native plants and trees.

It’s not a difficult walk.  The path is well maintained and it takes about an hour to walk the loop (if you don’t keep stopping to take photographs).  We took a detour and went uphill (and upstairs) for a better view, so we took a bit longer.  There are a few tracks that branch off the Auckland City Walk, and I’ve done some of them previously.  The Montana Heritage Trail takes about four hours, and I’ve done that before.  The detour we took was a small portion of that track.

It was so good to be out and about with my camera.  I’ve missed taking photos.  Been too long.

It was really too hot to be bush walking today (it’s New Zealand’s hottest January on record), but it was nice to be out and about, and good to be taking photographs.  It’s Auckland Anniversary Day tomorrow (yay, no work!) so we’re hoping to head into town to capture some of the festivities.

Tiritiri Matangi dawn chorus

Before a sleepy, disheveled sun even thinks about poking her nose over the horizon, the first calls go out. A cheery wake up song to start a day of industrious productivity. As the sky lightens, first to a dull charcoal, then slowly, persistently, to a stunning, vivid blue, the chorus of melody grows stronger and louder. Sweethearts are courted with flirtatious serenades, and materials are meticulously gathered for the construction of homes in anticipation of future families.

Spring

Today is the kind of spring day where the grass looks clean and fresh, inviting you to kick off your jandals and discard your worries, and run barefoot, scattering lambs and pukeko before you as peals of laughter ring out.

Instead, I have to work in an office with no windows, and on Friday they’re turning the air conditioning off to install some new system.  Days like today, adulting sucks.

Beautiful armour

Prompt: Hidden scars

I looked at the carefully blended eyeshadow,
and the eyebrows that held the perfect arch…

The long, thick, dark lashes that held
the perfect amount of curve…

Cheekbones subtly highlighted, and skin
so soft, so smooth, that it seemed impossibly,
improbably youthful…

And a sweet cupid’s bow mouth in a shade
that made me think of the heirloom rose
Mother used to tend so carefully…

And I marvelled over artistry so clever
that no one would ever look at her and
guess at the scars she hid beneath
the elegance and sophistication.

The edge of the Coromandel Peninsula

The distinctive cry of gulls
provides a familiar counterpoint
to the low murmur of
salt-scented waves.
Splashes of white decorate
water that leans more toward teal
than the Pacific Blue that
carries its name.
We steal a mental snapshot
as State Highway 25 carries us
around the next corner,
and the next,
imagining
this is how it will remain,
preserved as in our memories,
yet it changes
even as we watch.