Tag Archives: new zealand

2408. ANZAC Day 2022

Today is ANZAC Day in New Zealand and Australia when those who served and died in wars are remembered. Ironically the date is not the day of the most celebrated victory but the occasion of the bloodiest battle for these two countries in World War I: Gallipoli – Australia lost 8,141 and New Zealand lost 2,779.

About half a mile from where I live is a little school: Stanley Road School that began in 1895. It has now closed, but the school buildings are used and maintained by the local rural community (mainly sheep, dairy, and cattle farmers).

In the school playground is a large American Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera). Kids used to play and climb in it from the turn of the 20th century. Are kids still allowed to climb trees?

The original Tulip Tree

In the year 2000 the community decided to plant an avenue of trees along the road past the school using grafts from the original Tulip Tree. There are 25 trees in all that I could count. They form a lovely avenue as you drive along the road when going to town. Each tree was planted by the family of a former pupil of the school killed in the First World War. The deceased soldiers as kids would have played in the mother tree.

The avenue also reminds us of the extent of loss in each little rural community. Twenty-five to die is a high number of kids from a single-teacher little country school. The section of road is known as the Peace Tree Avenue.

2400. A country bumpkin

Happy Easter to the many who celebrate Easter!

By a happy circumstance this story, numbering 2400, is a nice round figure and occurs on Easter Day. Usually when a round figure arrives this blog deviates into some hitherto unexplored area. Hence, today I have boarded the Google Maps Bus and thought I’d show you photos of a few significant and insignificant places in my early life.

How time changes things! As you will see, memorial edifices have eluded me as there’s hardly a building in my past that is still standing. There is nowhere for adulating fans to erect a commemorative plaque apart from my birthplace.

1. Riverlea Private Hospital, 15 Helmore Street, Whanganui, New Zealand.

This is where I was born. Back then (1949) it was a private maternity hospital – presumably because that’s where the midwife lived. These days it looks like it is a private home. There was one amusing thing about getting to 15 Helmore Street in 1949. Mum and Dad were new to the city. It was 3 in the morning. They couldn’t find the street and had to stop and ask the milkman. Apparently the part the milkman played in my coming into this world was a bit of a joke in the pub my father ran.

2. Wakarara Road, Hawkes Bay.

This was the site of our house when Dad sold the hotel and bought a farm. I started going to school from this house. We would have to walk to the top of the hill on the right to catch the school bus as it passed.

3. Corner of Wakarara and Hardy Roads, Hawkes Bay.

Here at the top of the hill is where we waited for the school bus. There was no shelter so in the rain the school bus would come the extra half mile to our house. The teacher at our one-teacher school, Mr Allen, drove the bus.

4. Wakarara Road, Hawkes Bay.

There was never a building here but there was an old wooden gate obviously replaced by this one. It was while swinging on this gate that Sue Cullen (a year younger than me) told me that Father Christmas wasn’t true. A picturesque setting for dramatic news.

5. Wakarara Road, Hawkes Bay.

This is not far from where we lived. Back in those days it was a gravel road (unsealed, unpaved). By the little bridge (which back then was just a culvert) I skidded on my bike and fell off, and the car behind me stopped a fraction from my head. It was a blue Holden station wagon. The driver got a heck of a fright but from memory I didn’t seem to mind.

6. Springhill School, Wakarara Road, Hawkes Bay.

This is the site of my school. It no longer operates and the single old classroom has gone. The tennis court is the same, and that is where a nesting magpie chased me. Dad (a qualified plumber and chairman of the School Committee) put in the swimming pool the year we left the area (1960). There were usually around 20 pupils attending the school in any one year.

7. Main Road North, Waikanae.

In late 1960 we moved to a dairy farm hundreds of miles from our sheep and cattle farm. Here is a picture of where our house was. In fact my bedroom is now in the middle of the road!

8. Tongariro Street, Paraparaumu.

Here is a picture of where my new primary school used to be! The school has since moved and the land has been sold to a developer. These tennis courts are where Peter Lopez told me that Marilyn Munroe had been found dead IN THE NUDE!

9. Heretaunga Road, Trentham.

Here is a photo of the gates of my high school. The buildings (which you can’t see in the photo) are all new. Years later I was teaching there and germinated gum tree seeds in a little container on my window ledge. You can see in the photo one of the gum trees that sprouted. (It’s the big tree in the middle!)

10. Stanley Road, Te Popo.

Given the rurality of the pictures, you can probably see why I like living in the country. To conclude, here is a photo looking out my current window. I keep the binoculars on my desk, mainly to see if I can spy any edible field mushrooms!

Music 367: The annoying kingfisher outside my window

Today’s posting is a piece of music for piano called “The annoying kingfisher outside my window”. In all probability the New Zealand native Kingfisher is a distinct species and hence would have a different call from kingfishers of other varieties in other places.

If you listen to this piano piece you might get some idea of the “untunefulness” of the New Zealand Kingfisher which I hear repeated ALL DAY!

This LINK HERE will take you to another page with links to my compositions of 2021 – including the new Kingfisher piece. Go there if you dare!

Tomorrow’s posting (Valentine’s) will be not a true story of love but a story of true love!

Poem 38: New Zealand springtime

(The poetic form selected for this month is the Standard Habbie aka Burns Stanza. This is the last habbie for this month).

Spring has almost sprung Down Under,
Then summer will rip spring asunder.
But first the cuckoo ‘cross the tundra
Sings a lot.
Our cuckoos whistle! What a blunder!
I quite forgot.

Then let us think of little lambs
Cavorting round with new-born charms.
All hardened hearts are then disarmed.
What a clot!
They’re born in winter on the farms.
I quite forgot.

Let’s call to mind the blossom trees!
Their beauty brings us to our knees!
Pinks and whites in gentle breeze.
I’ve gone to pot!
The florets burst in frosty freeze.
I quite forgot.

Springtime comes all to and fro,
The ducklings hatched a month ago,
Mountains may still get some snow.
It’s ordered not!
The spring’s a messy dance you know.
I quite forgot.

To hear the poem read aloud click HERE.

1111. A gidday and a cheerio

Gidday. As some of you know, when it comes to a significant number, in this case Story 1111, I like to depart a little from the usual. However, I hope there is something here of interest.

I am a New Zealander, but lived, studied, and worked for some time in North America, namely Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Quebec. I don’t know much about what happens in other places, but there is a presumption that some words mean the same when in fact they don’t! We might read each other’s writings and presume we know what is meant by certain words. This posting will give a few examples.

1. Tea and Supper
Visitors to New Zealand from North America get caught out. Someone might say: “Tea is at 5.30 and we have supper about 9.30”. The guests can’t believe how much is devoured at 5.30. They politely nibble and await 9.30 for supper. Supper time comes and it’s a cup of tea! Tea is the main evening meal. Supper is a cup of tea or milk chocolate or even a wee nip of brandy or whatever before bed. A lot of New Zealanders would think that “The Last Supper” would not be a meal.

2. Rooting
One hears an American cheerleader declare that she is “rooting for the team”. “Rooting” in New Zealand is the colloquial expression for “having sex”.

3. Boots and Bonnets
In New Zealand:

A car’s trunk is a boot.
A car’s hood is a bonnet.
Gas is petrol.
A service station or a gas station is a petrol station.
Swiss chard is silver beet.
Rutabaga is swede.
A crib is a bassinet.
A diaper is a nappy.
A speed bump is a judder bar.
A rectory is a presbytery.
Ground meat is mince.
A chicken is a chook.
A bell pepper is a capsicum.
American football is gridiron.
Field hockey is hockey. Ice hockey is “ice hockey” and never simply “hockey”.
Rugby is football.
Football is soccer.
A woollen pullover is a jersey.
If you’re pissed off, you’re annoyed; if you’re pissed, you’re drunk.
French fries are chips.
Chips are chippies. A chippy is not a bimbo! A chippy is not a fish and chip shop! A chippy, if not edible, is a carpenter!
A baguette is a French roll. And on that note, most donuts and bagels made in New Zealand are horrible. Most donuts and bagels made in the States are to die for!
A dumpster is a skip.
Jello is jelly.

4. No and Yes
When I was in Boston I was known as the person who said “No” for “Yes”, and “Yes” for “No”.

Supposing I was dining at someone’s place in Boston:

Host: Would you like some more?
Me: Thanks.

And they would take my plate away because they took it to mean “No thanks”. Generally speaking, I found Americans say “Please” if they want a second helping. New Zealanders always say “Thanks” for more and “No thanks” for no more.

5. You’re welcome
The expression “You’re welcome” is creeping into New Zealand parlance. The more common (and older) expression in response to a person’s thanks is “No worries”:

“Thanks for doing the dishes.”
“No worries.”

Ending a phone call was always a bother for me when in America:

Me: Thanks.
American: You’re welcome.
Me: Thanks.
American: You’re welcome.
Me: Thanks.
American: You’re welcome.
Me: Thanks.
American: You’re welcome.

In the end I would hang up feeling uncomfortable, because “Thanks” in New Zealand acts as an ending. I never realised this until I got stuck on the phone!

6. Gidday and Cheerio.
“Cheerio” for “goodbye” is disappearing I think, but “Gidday” is still here! When I was in Boston everyone would say “Cheerio” to me with a slight plum in their accent! They were taking the mickey out of me because I grew up with “Cheerio” as an expression for “See you later!”

When I was a kid, “Hi!” was regarded as very American; sort of in the same ilk as “Howdy”. Then “Hi!” took over the world!

7. Cheers and Have a nice day.
These are expressions I never grew up with and am uncomfortable with them to this day! Cheers! was used as a toast before an alcoholic drink and that’s okay; now “cheers” seems to have the added connotation of “thanks” or “goodbye”.

What I don’t like about “Have a nice day” is the word “nice”. Nice is such a below average concept. If I say something is “nice” I really mean it is horrible but I’m being polite. “Quite nice” is even worse.

8. Salad and Main
When I first landed in LA, everything was exciting. I was on my own and hungry. I found a place to eat and ordered. The waitress asked if I wanted a salad. I said yes. The salad came out, and I waited and waited for my meal to arrive. In the end I ate the salad and then the meal came out. In New Zealand we pile the salad onto the plate with everything else. Sometimes the salad is in a separate dish but only if you want to have “a touch of class”. It’s not eaten first or separately. The first time I saw salad in a separate dish was at a restaurant with my elderly mother. She said, “How are meant to eat this politely?”

An entrée is served before the main course. It is not the main course.

 

9. Bills and checks
In America in a restaurant one asks for the check and pays with a bill. In New Zealand one asks for the bill and pays with a cheque. Of course these days one just waves a bank card!

10. Tipping
In New Zealand there is no tipping. In the United States, I would worry the whole time, trying to work out how much to tip – getting a haircut, eating a meal… In New Zealand, the tip is included in the bill (oops! check). So don’t pay twice!

11. Cookies and biscuits
The term “cookie” is not used in New Zealand. It’s called a biscuit. In North Carolina, say in Taco Bell, a biscuit was some sort of bread, shaped like a scone. I said, “I’m sorry but I ordered a biscuit and not a scone”.

 

 

12. Eftpos
Since the late 80s New Zealanders have paid by Eftpos (Electronic funds transfer at point of sale). Cash can still be used if you have any. Some parts of the world still use the EFTPOS system sparingly, but here it covers the entire country. I haven’t used cash money for maybe ten years. I think a different word other than Eftpos is used in some places overseas, but I don’t know what it is. In New Zealand everyone calls it eftpos.

13. Cornmeal, cornflour and corn starch
These days I get muddled with these terms. There was a time when I knew… Cornflour in New Zealand is the fine stuff, so if you’re in the Americas and using a New Zealand/Australian recipe to make a pavlova, then use the corn stuff you might use to thicken gravy!

Conversely, if you’re in New Zealand and making something from an American recipe, don’t presume that all cornmeal is the coarse stuff. If you’re in New Zealand and the recipe calls for corn starch, use cornflour!

14. Knives and forks
Until I went to America I’d never used a fork politely in my right hand. If as kids we used the fork bent upwards we would be told to stop shovelling the food. No! The fork was held in the left hand, the knife in the right. The fork was bent down which made it almost impossible to eat peas! We still usually use the knife and fork this way.

15. Pumpkin
Pumpkin is a vegetable, along with potatoes and so on. Pumpkin pie is beginning to creep in, but more as a novelty and a slightly exotic foreign thing to do. Most of my family wouldn’t touch pumpkin pie: “Yuk! It’s a vegetable!” Personally I love it!

In the long run, no one gives a hoot – the world has grown so small. But these are some of the words and phrases and doings that I have come across that lend confusion to our wonderful world. It’s probably enough until Story 2222.

Have a nice day! And cheerio for now!

Music 50: Interisland ferry

50interislander

This is one of the ferries that crosses between New Zealand’s two main islands. It’s a trip that takes about three hours. Here we see it entering the harbour of New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. I took this photo while waiting to catch it to cross over.

And yes! regarding the melody first heard in the music – it does have a bar. However, it is often not a good idea to use it. Once you’ve left the safe confines of the harbour, the strait between the two islands is regarded as one of the roughest in the world! Today’s music journey however, is a relatively smooth affair.

Listen to the music HERE.

687. She’s on the list

687gianella

What excitement! O what excitement! Seventeen-year old Gianella Lopez Fuentes from Chile had booked her flight to New Zealand. Her sister had married a New Zealander. They had a baby. They were paying for her trip. She would stay six months with them before beginning her studies at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Villarrica. She would see her niece for the first time!

Gianella had $104 dollars in cash. But that was enough for costs on the flight. Her sister and husband would pick her up at the airport, and she would live with them for the six months, and help look after the baby. Her niece! After all, her sister and husband had visited Chile last year and stayed with Gianella’s family for three months and paid not a penny! It was family. That’s the way it worked.

Upon arrival, the Custom’s official noticed something. One hundred and four dollars for a six-month stay? You must be kidding. You’re going to look after someone’s baby? Sounds like work to me, and your visa is for three months and it’s not a work permit.

Gianella was put on the first flight back home to Chile. She never got to even wave to her sister at a distance.

Back home, Gianella was interrogated. Clearly, she’d been sent home on suspicion of terrorism. Today she can’t travel anywhere. She’s on the list.