Pesky or pretty Paparoa Peacocks

paparoapeacock

Peacocks are everywhere in the NZ country side. When we camped for the first time on our 10 acre block in the rolling hills near ‘the village in the valley’ Paparoa I was hoping to see the NZ native birdlife that occupy our little native forest. I was expecting to wake up to the musical song of the Tui, or maybe the chirping of fantails. Instead one of the first sounds we heard was loud screeching of what we know now were peacocks. They look totally out of character in the NZ countryside, with their bright blue and green coloured feathers, and their little stylish crest on their heads. But they seem to love it here, as they are thriving. You see them strolling across the hills and in the paddocks in large flocks, leaving flattened grass behind. You can even see them when you’re driving along State Highway 1.

Initially we were very excited, wow peacocks on our land! When we told our neighbour, a true Paparoa local farmer, we noticed that he didn’t share our enthusiasm and we got the ‘you city -people’ look. Those pretty peacocks ate his crops !

Having lived here now for several years, we have learned it is indeed better to keep the peacocks away from the areas where you live and plant veggies and fruit. They can indeed be a nuisance. However, I still love their feathers and strutting displays in springtime. To me it is one of the things that actually makes Paparoa quite special!

No place like home(s)

 

one of the places I am lucky enough to call home

one of the places I am lucky enough to call home

So what’s your home? Can you only have one? I have many many homes and am very happy to take up more.

Home for me can be the fale in Fiji where I’m staying in for the week, where I have unpacked my suitcase, enjoy the company, eat my dinners and feel happy and comfortable. Home is New Zealand, where I currently live and when I travel internationally I am excited to fly back home to New Zealand. I’m also going home when I am visiting my family back in the Netherlands, where I grew up, where everything feels so normal even if I have been away for ages.

Home is Manly, Sydney, where I lived for 6 years before coming to New Zealand. Beautiful Manly, with its rockpools, local snorkelling spots, beach volleyball courts where we smashed lots of weekend hours away and where I made many friends. And of course Auckland is home, but so is the suburb within Auckland where I live. The local harbour beaches, cafés and people I know from the bus stop and walking the dog, they make me feel like home. And as soon as I drive north from Auckland, and turn of State Highway 1 towards Paparoa, I feel like I’m coming home again. Home to the trees, the stream, the neighbours horses and the vegetable plots on our 10 acre block.

Home is where I live and feel happy. So indeed, No place like home!

Lovely Local food – do you still need convincing?

Lovely local Kaipara Oysters with home grown lemons

Lovely local Kaipara Oysters with home grown lemons

I love my local food. Wherever I go I will try and eat & drink whatever comes from the area I’m in. And why wouldn’t you? You’re going somewhere different for a reason, so why hang on to old habits and known products. Go and take the chance to immerse yourself, you may well discover your next favourite food over and over!

Local food, it’s a win-win situation don’t you think? It gives you variety as you eat only what is in season, you contribute to reducing the carbon footprint by limiting demand on long distance transport and you help the local economy by buying from your neighbours.

What a change from when I lived in the Netherlands. Food from far away was the in thing. I think this was more a sign of the times, then anything to do with the culture. Although the climate there doesn’t make it easy to be reliant on just local food.

In NZ we are very lucky with a moderate subtropical climate, so it’s fairly easy to grow anything, well on the North Island anyway! And luckily local food is quite easy to get these days as well. Farmers markets have become popular in NZ for buying and selling locally grown, caught or produced goods. Often they are very small, to match the size of our towns and population.

One of my favorite local farmers markets is in Paparoa, in the Kaipara district in the north of NZ. It’s tiny, probably has a maximum of 10 stalls of which one is live music. Any foodie would love to go there. The flounder is caught that morning, the honey produced by the bees that buzzed around our Manuka trees, and the olive oil is from the lovely couple who started the olive grove down the road just over 10 years ago. And then the local oysters.. Wow. If you like oysters, you should come and try!

Eating Local food, do you need any further convincing?