Tuesday, December 31, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

The end of 2013 has come and it have been a great year for us. We look forward to 2014 where new adventures wait us all. This is my last picture from New Zealand. Next year (tomorrow) takes us to the Kingdom of Tonga.

Monday, December 30, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

Russell had a number of "fun" signs. Here are a few.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

Here is another cool Maori carving from Russell. Happy Boxing Day! Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts, known as a "Christmas box", from their bosses or employers.  It is observed in the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and some other Commonwealth nations. In South Africa, Boxing Day was renamed Day of Goodwill in 1994. In Ireland and Italy, the day is known as St. Stephen's Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Stiofáin) or the Day of the Wren (Irish: Lá an Dreoilín). In many European countries, including notably Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and those in Scandinavia 26 December is celebrated as the Second Christmas Day. So enjoy it for any and all those reasons.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

These Maori art pieces were shot in Russell. With Christmas around the corner I put these three together in homage to the Three Wise Men.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

These guys were decorated for Easter when we were there.

Monday, December 16, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

Our last stop in New Zealand was the Bay of Islands. Wherever you are in the Bay of Islands, there are plenty of recreational activities in the scenic world of island and beach: charter a yacht or launch, dive or snorkel, paddle a sea kayak in and out of the islands or swim with the dolphins. We spent most of our time in Russell. The first capital of New Zealand is also a world-renowned game fishing port. Zane Grey famously described Bay of Islands as ‘an angler’s El Dorado’ when he caught his first marlin here in 1926. Tuna, broad bill, kingfish and shark are other potential game fish catches.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

This store display reminded me of something that Andy Warhol would create.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

Here are some Hanging Lobster Claws Heliconia rostrata Musacae.

Friday, November 29, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

While in Auckland I visited the Wintergarden where they had two huge glass houses. Inside one they had Victoria amazonica  which is well known for its huge circular leaves, which are often pictured with a small child sitting supported in the center as a demonstration of their size and strength. The species is highly prized as an ornamental, despite having somewhat particular requirements for successful cultivation. Native to tropical South America, Victoria amazonica was first discovered in Bolivia in 1801 and named Eurgale amazonica. It was subsequently moved to a new genus named in honor of Queen Victoria (originally as Victoria regia). In South America it grows in the backwaters of rivers in the Amazon basin, the Guianas and the Pantanal. The enormous circular leaves, which grow to over 2.5 m across, have upturned rims and are anchored by long stalks arising from an underground stem buried in the mud of the river bottom. The leaves first appear as spiny heads but expand rapidly up to half a square meter per day. The upper surface has a rather quilted appearance and a waxy layer that repels water. The purplish red under-surface has a network of ribs clad in abundant sharp spines, possibly a defense against herbivorous fishes and manatees. Air trapped in the spaces between the ribs enables the leaves to float. They are so buoyant that they can easily support the weight of a small child, and a mature leaf can support 45 kg if the load is evenly distributed. In a single season, each plant produces some 40 to 50 leaves, which cover the water surface and exclude light, thus restricting the growth of most other plants. While I shot many images of this plant, this is my favorite.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

This image was taken at the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial in Auckland.

Monday, November 25, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

My next destination was the vibrant city of Auckland. This sign was too humorous to pass up.

Friday, November 22, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

Here is one last view of Tauranga showcasing its wide crescent shaped beach with Mount Maunganui in the background.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

You gotta love the color of the South Pacific waters.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

It was a gorgeous day and the trail around the mountain offered many pleasant views.

Monday, November 18, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

Then we were off to our next destination which was Tauranga (within the Bay of Plenty). Here we went on a hike around Mount Maunganui.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

Within the Wellington Botanic Garden is the Lady Norwood Rose Garden. It is set around a heritage fountain and this formally styled rose garden has over 3,000 roses. I will be showcasing my five top images from this collection this week. Today is Monday Yellow.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

When one picture just won't do - here are two of a Bromeiacae Fascicilaria bicolor.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

The Wellington Botanic Garden is classified as a Garden of National Significance by the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture and is an Historic Places Trust Heritage Area.
In 1844, the New Zealand Company set aside a 5.26ha strip of land for a botanic garden reserve. At that time the land was covered in dense podocarp forest including rimu, totara and matai.
The Garden was established in 1868 and managed by the New Zealand Institute. Trees growing today on Druid Hill and Magpie Spur grew from seedlings planted at this time, and are some of the oldest exotic trees in New Zealand. In the 1870s the fledgling garden was boosted with a further 21.85ha of reserve. Wellington City Council has managed the Botanic Garden since 1891. Now on to the good stuff! Here is a Proteacae - Banksia 'Lemon Delicious'.

Monday, October 28, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

So, yes I am back, from my latest trip. Yes, I am seriously backlogged - Life is good! Wellington was next on my stops through the South Pacific. It is the beautiful capital of New Zealand. We rode the 100 year old Wellington Cable Car up to the Wellington Botanic Garden. Before we explored the garden we visited the Carter Observatory where I shot this picture.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

So it was time to weigh anchor and leave the beautiful city of Akaroa. This picture will hold you for awhile as I am off once again to explore the world. Enjoy everyday - I do!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

There are three separate adjoining cemeteries of the past next to the Garden of Tane.
Catholic -  the first known burial there was 1863.
Dissenters - the first known burial there was 1873.
Anglican - the first known burial there was 1857.
They all had cool old headstones but I liked this one the best.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

In the Garden there were two old cemeteries. Many of the headstones and monuments in the cemeteries were still unstable due to the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Monday, September 23, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

If you walk through the Gardens to the Akaroa Head Lighthouse you get this nice view. It also has quite a history. -- The Akaroa lighthouse was situated on Banks Peninsula on the eastern head of the Akaroa harbour.
During the lighthouse survey of 1874 on board the Luna, John Blackett, Marine Engineer and Captain Robert Johnson, Nautical Advisor selected the Akaroa Heads as a possible site for a lighthouse. At the time, there was a good timber trade out of the port and Akaroa was considered likely to be a major port or even a principal navy base. It was also known for its many shipwrecks since at least 25 ships had already wrecked in the area. The first recorded being the Atlantic which was wrecked in 1839, fortunately with no loss of life.
On 21 January, 1875, the Akaroa Heads was chosen as suitable lighthouse site. Two years later, in March, 1877 the Marine Engineer marked out the site and the lantern was ordered from Europe.
The New Zealand Government initially wanted the cost of construction shared between themselves and the Canterbury Provincial Council. The Provincial Council declined to provide any money for the project, however, before any further negotiations could be made, the Provincial Governments were dissolved under the Abolition Of Provinces Act of 1876 so the New Zealand Government bore the full cost of construction, £7150.
Construction begun on 23 April, 1878 on a site just to the east of a small inlet called Haylocks that ran inland about 200 yards. First a road was blasted out of solid rock up to the lighthouse site. The road, 500 metres long, took 10 months to build.
On 21 February 1879, a landing stage and derrick were built from kauri timber to unload supplies, with the derrick towering 70 feet above the high water line.  Then on 7 March, 1879, Black Brothers commenced assembly of the  wooden lighthouse structure which had been pre-cut in the UK and shipped to New Zealand aboard the Duke Of Argyle.
The lens was manufactured in France. The mechanism was manufactured in Scotland.
Due to the sometimes harsh southerly winds, construction was slow with one storm completely demolishing the half standing structure. In another storm on 30 March 1879, the construction overseer, Mr. William Black, was found dead from exposure while riding on horseback the 10km trip from the site to the town.
The tower is a six-sided Victorian structure with four levels and is 12.5 metres high and 5.49 metres wide at the base, the frame is of Australian hardwood with linings and weather boards of New Zealand Kauri.  The walls are double skinned and filled 2/3rds high with ballast to weigh the structure down, preventing it from being blown off the cliff. The dome is copper and the flagpole is Oregon timber.
The light was first lit on 1 January 1880 and stood 270 feet above sea level.
The light was a second order dioptric holophotal revolving light, hand made in France and designed by Augustin Freznelk, a French physicist and lighthouse engineer.  The lens, which is over 2 metres high and 1.5 metres in diameter, rotated by clockwork, driving 8 prisms around a central oil burning wick. The lens rotated in 80 seconds, giving a periodicity of 10 seconds to the flashes which was visible for 23 miles.
The first two keepers were Alexander Parks (Principal Keeper) and Martin Nelson (Assistant Keeper) and they manned the light working four hour shifts.
During the early years, it was one of the least popular stations with the keepers and was commonly referred to as the "penal" station. Communication with the Akaroa township was also a problem until a telephone was installed on 27 February, 1885. The station was also a Lloyds signal station and when ships arrived off the coast they requested that their owners or agents be notified. Before the telephone was installed this meant the assistant keeper had to walk to Akaroa township to use the phone.  Another event that improved station life also happened in March, 1885. The station received it's first horse. She was named Polly.
From 1907 to 1977, the keepers were also responsible for weather reports to be sent 4 times a day to the New Zealand Meteorological Service. In all, there were more than 80,000 weather reports sent over the 70-year period.
The light originally used a wick burner kerosene system, but in 1917 a Chand incandescent petroleum vapour kerosene burner was installed.
In 1935 a kerosene powered generator was installed ending the task of winding up the clock mechanism.
In 1951 a new powerhouse was built for the light to be run from a diesel powered generator.  A 1000 watt electric system with an output of one million candlepower was installed.
Sometime later the lighthouse was connected to mains electricity.
The principal keeper's house burnt down during the night in 1952. In 1960 the assistant keeper's house was removed.
In 1977, the last keeper was withdrawn and the old lighthouse was closed. A new replacement tower was built with an automatic light.
The following year a Lighthouse Preservation Society was formed in Akaroa and by the end of the year the tower was cut into three pieces and maneuvered over the steep and narrow Lighthouse Road down to Akaroa.  The lighthouse was re-assembled on the waterfront at Cemetery Point. The original lighting equipment, which had been salvaged before the tower was moved, was then re-installed. The restoration was completed on 4 October, 1980.

Friday, September 20, 2013

South Pacific - New Zealand

Here are two Macro flower images to end the week.