Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The New Zealand Flag Vote

The Kiwis voted on their choice for a new flag. Turns out those that voted wanted to keep the old flag by 56% to 43%, most wondering why the government spent so much on the elections. The new flag was heavily pushed by the Prime Minister John Key. He’s been in office since 2008. The loss on flag vote probbaly doesn’t mean a lot for him as he’s pretty well liked and has a teflon coating.
The winner
The loser

Here’s an alternative that I thought would have had a decent chance if they put it on the ballot. Every Kiwi we meet eventually brings up the topic of the current American presidential primay election… it’s a source of endless fascination.

The Kiwi’s do not have a monoply on fern leaf designs. This is the recycle flag for Ferndale, Washington, just north of Bellingham.

We’re now back on the boat in Whangarei after a two-week land tour of the South Island with friends Diane and Ken. Back to the boat projects list.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Quick Tour Around the Northland

After completing the 5 state Tour de Family 2016 USA, we flew from LAX back to Auckland. Lucky for us we had a copy of our official Temporary Import Permit for the boat from New Zealand when we checked in, as they were not going to let us on the flight without a return ticket.  In the end the ticket agent ended up calling New Zealand Immigration in Auckland to get an OK. After a few days back on the boat in Whangarei our friends Di and Ken showed up from San Diego for a few week visit.
First up was boat drinks on the shore in Russell, the old whaling port in the Bay of Islands.
In ít’s hey day, Russel was known as the Hell Whole of the Pacific  because of the uncontrolled debauchery of the whalers, escaped Australian convicts and other shady characters. For me, I go by the ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans’. Unfortunately my traveling companions got a little tired of the bad behavior.
This is not official rusty stuff, but it is a pretty old printing press, circa 1800’s, used by the French church to translate into Maori and print Catholic prayer and hymn books. Much to the chagrin of the Protestant British missionaries across the bay.
We took the ferry across to the mainland and headed up to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Ken got promoted from his previous position as a Battalion Chief to Chief of the Pakeha (a non-Maori New Zealander) tribe. Here’s a Maori warrior testing Ken’s manlyhood during the traditional Maori greeting.
northlandIMG_4927 He passed and got to have some private one-on-one time with the Chief, aka Tiny. Not really a full bromance, but enough to help smooth over some of Trump’s comments.
The hakas are designed to intimidate the opponents – works for me.
A little chiefly lecture
You want to be careful when entering the Maori meeting houses
The Chief posing with Mrs. Chief.
We checked out the Stone Store in Kerikeri. Its the oldest surviving stone building in New Zealand. It was part of the first Church Missionary Society station in New Zealand built in 1832.
We spent the night at the Pagoda Holiday park just outside of Kerikeri. It butts onto this river that connects to the Bay of Islands. This is the old boat house guarded by white ducks.
Looking out toward the Bay.
The Pagoda Holiday Park official greeter and night security.
Why this RV rental company thinks it is a good idea to debate in public the age old question of What came first, the chicken or the egg is beyond me. And they say our politics is crude.
I still just don’t get the blame the victim signs in the carparks here.
Another very helpful sign in the petrol station (aka gas station).
We’re on to the South Island next.