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Saturday, April 23, 2011

ANZAC Day - 25 April

ANZAC Day is a special day for two reasons:
  1. Its my wife's birthday !!
  2. Its a national day of remembrance
ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance in both New Zealand and Australia, commemorated on the 25th of April each year in both countries to honour those Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallopoli during World War 1.

For more information on this special day for each and every New Zealander click here.

ANZAC Biscuits
During World War 1, mothers and girlfriends of the men fighting in the war, baked nutritious Scotch Oats biscuits and sent them to their loved ones around the world.  These biscuits became famous when the soldiers fighting at Gallipoli ran short on food supplies and these biscuits became part of their staple diet.

Quick Recipe:
2 cups rolled oats.
1/2 cup sugar.
1/2 cup coconut.
1/2 cup flour.
Melt together 125g margarine and 2 tablespoons golden syrup.
Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda with 2 tablespoons boiling water.
Add this to the melted margarine then pour into the dry ingredients.
Mix well.
Place spoonfuls on a greased tray.
Bake in oven of 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.
Cool and store in an air tight container.
Eat and enjoy !!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


More to follow but this is a link to the main Albany Shopping Mall, Auckland North Shore.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


The following are a list of primary and secondary schools as well as colleges in the East Coast Bays area (on Auckland's North Shore).  In due course a summary of each will be added to update this blog with the key information needed to better understand the schooling and education system in New Zealand as well as learn more about the quality and availability of education providers on Auckland's North Shore.

Primary Schools
Glamorgan Primary
Kirsten Junior
Pinehill Primary
Sherwood Primary
Torbay Primary

Secondary Schools
Northcross Intermediate
Kirsten Middle School

Kirsten Senior
Longbay College
Rangitoto College

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Paradise on our doorstep - Kayaking, Fishing, Sailing and Boating

A perfect day on a sea kayak
The weather forecast was zero wind, sunny and warm - the perfect setting for another wonderful day on the water.  I headed down mid morning and launched my kayak from Waiake Beach (map) - my Favourite favourite - its not easy to pick the best beach from such a wide range of stunning beaches on Auckland's North Shore.  The following are some pictures taken from my kayak as I paddled from Waiake Beach to the Tor, across Winston Cove then down to Browns Bay Beach before setting off over to deeper water by the Browns Bay reef.  My final hour was spent at Waiake Beach watching the young 8-10 year old sailors from Torbay Sailing Club setting off on a final regatta for the season.

A family preparing to launch their boat from the beach before heading off to one of many excellent fishing grounds just a few kilometers from the shore.

Cliff top glass walled pool
I found this amazing site just 5 houses away from my favourite beach -  a glass walled swimming pool protruding over a cliff at least 20 meters above the sea. This is only visible from the ocean.

Fishing from the rocks
There are numerous great spots along this coastline for keen anglers to cast from in the hope of catching a tasty dinner.  The first picture shows anglers on the ledge on the northern point of Browns Bay beach.  The second is a distant glimpse of anglers at the northern point of Winston Cove - around the corner from the Long Bay Marine Reserve.

With the calm seas and great weather, young and old enjoy the water all year round.  A father and daughter about to set off on a paddle.


Boating and water safety
This boat - on its maiden voyage with its new owners - provided much spectator value for beach goers.  First, the owner got his car stuck in the soft beach sand.  Then his boat got stranded on the sand as the tide retreated before he could launch.  However, this may have been a blessing in disguise - we discovered the boat had taken on lots of water and after some investigating found that there was a missing plug - and a 20mm diameter hole - below the water line.  This boat was going nowhere except back to the shop where it was purchased.  A reminder to those heading out on the water to double check their equipment and safety gear before heading out and to be extra careful when setting off on an unfamiliar boat.

All in all, another great day out and another reminder of the wonderful scenery and plentiful activities for families, all right on our doorstep.

More photos...

Friday, April 8, 2011

National Anthem of New Zealand

What our National Anthem means for me personally
In the first week or arriving in New Zealand back in October 2005, I watched an All Blacks rugby match on TV and for the first time in my life heard New Zealand's national anthem.  For some strange reason, halfway into the first verse, I felt my throat tightening up, my breathing stop and my eyes blurring as they filled with tears - this for me was a very weird feeling as in my entire life I can probably count on one hand the number of times I became emotional to the point of shedding tears.  But this was strangely different - I quietly left the lounge, composed myself and returned to watch an excellent game of rugby - and yes the All Blacks won the game !!

A year or two passed and one morning I attended my little girl's school Assembly.  Then it hit me again for the second time - the entire school stood to sing the national anthem. The exact same feelings washed over me once again and I had to leave the hall quietly, holding back the tears and forcing myself to breathe.  A few months later I attended another school Assembly with the same results.

Then in April 2011 we were invited to our Citizenship Ceremony at which we had to sing the national anthem - I thought I was prepared but once again, halfway into the first verse I was so chocked up I could not even mumble the words let alone sing them.  So, sadly, to this day I have yet to sing our beautiful national anthem.

Click here to hear the New Zealand National Anthem

New Zealand's National Anthem

God of nations at Thy feet
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our Free Land.
Guard Pacific's triple star,
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.

Men of ev'ry creed and race
Gather here before Thy face
Asking Thee to bless this place
God defend our free land
From dissension, envy, hate
And corruption guard our State
Make our country good and great
God defend New Zealand.

Peace, not war, shall be our boast
But should our foes assail our coast
Make us then a mighty host
God defend our free land
Lord of battles, in Thy might
Put our enemies to flight
Let our cause be just and right
God defend New Zealand.

Let our love for Thee increase
May Thy blessings never cease
Give us plenty, give us peace
God defend our free land
From dishonour and from shame
Guard our country's spotless name
Crown her with immortal fame
God defend New Zealand.

May our mountains ever be
Freedom's ramparts on the sea
Make us faithful unto Thee
God defend our free land
Guide her in the nations' van
Preaching love and truth to man
Working out Thy Glorious plan
God defend New Zealand.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

New Zealand.... what and where is it?

When looking at most world maps, you will "usually" find New Zealand in the bottom right hand corner - I say usually because I have come across some world maps that stop just short of New Zealand - half way across the Tasman Sea !

I like this world map picture because it has New Zealand almost in the centre.

New Zealand is far from being the smallest country in the world even with its total land surface making up just 0.18% of the total land surface area of the earth.  In fact its land surface area is greater than that of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).  Or for those more familar with the United States of America, New Zealand is ever so slightly larger than the USA's 8th largest state, Colorado.

New Zealand is situated in the south western Pacific Ocean just to the east of that massive land mass called Australia.  New Zealand consists of 2 main islands, the North Island and the South Island along with several other smaller islands.  Learn more about New Zealand's geography.

The indigenous Māori name for New Zealand is Aotearoa, commonly translated as land of the long white cloud.  New Zealand is, by European standards, a relatively young country although the first people to settle here originated from Polynesia.  This link provides a more indepth account of New Zealand's history from the first settlers through to modern day New Zealand.