Kia ora 😊 This week is Māori language week here in Aotearoa. It is a week dedicated to helping keep the Māori language alive and thriving. I for one feel this is majorly important, as language is the heart of any culture, and Māori culture is part of New Zealand’s identity.
I grew up in Ngāruawāhia, home to Tūrangawaewae Marae – headquarters of the Kīngitanga. Growing up there being immersed in the culture as a pākehā (a minority) is something I feel very proud of and truly blessed by.
It was actually only recently that I completed a beginner’s course in Te Reo Māori. I knew a lot of the basics from my up-bringing but the in-class kōrero (speaking) really helped to make sense of things in my head. The surprising thing is, that in 2012 I attempted to learn a bit of French for an impending trip and I struggled! I kind of figured “language is just not my thing”, but since completing this course, so many more things of what I learnt all that time ago have clicked into place.
Māori is an integral part of New Zealand’s culture and the language is a taonga to be cherished. He taonga te reo – Our language is a treasure!
Below are some kupu (words) that you might be able to use while out and about in nature:
Kia Kaha Te Reo Māori! Anita 🥜 ✌️
Last winter I took my two boys out to walk the Lindemann track, near Katikati with some friends and their children. Between us there were 6 kids, then aged between 4-7 yrs old. I wrote this story over a year ago, but had to hold off publishing it because the Department of Conservation closed the track due to the kauri dieback threat. The track has remained closed for the last year so they could upgrade the tracks to protect the kauri’s root system and help prevent the spread of this disease. But I have great news! The track has re-opened, so go check it out!
When we did this track we didn’t consider walking the 11km, 5 hr loop with the kids (as much as I love a loop track) we just walked a few hours in and back the same way, happy days.
I was told there was a waterfall somewhere… but after ~1 ½ hrs of walking we still hadn’t come across it, and so we decided to turn back. This turned out to be a good plan as the littlest got quite tired and started stumbling a lot. It is very hard work trying to keep up with those fast, often running 7 year old’s!
The track is well marked, but has muddy sections (in winter), slippery rocks in the un-bridged (shallow) stream crossings, and the track is uneven with lots of roots and rocks which the youngest (4) found challenging. Marvelous fun in summer I imagine!
There is one part of the track after the largest stream crossing with a small waterfall (~ 30 mins in), where the track heads up hill and has a steep drop off. I must admit I walked very close to Mr 4 in case he stumbled.
To combat tiredness on the return journey we played games. The muddy sections became “the boggy bog” – you’d better watch out! Scrambling through fallen branches and “help its got me!” Red clay rock section became “hot lava” run! This helped Mr 4 & 5 keep walking and having fun. Mr 5 fell over and banged his knee on a rock (ouch!) thank goodness for ‘sour snake’ lollies and the strength of the mamas to carry the little ones!
For more details on this track visit our website- -trail information- Bay of Plenty or click here.
With Fathers’ Day coming up on Sunday I thought share a photo collage of some Dads, Grandads and Uncles all getting out there with the kids – Ka mau te wehi! 🙌
If you’re stuck for ideas on what to do on Sunday check out our trail info page for a kid-friendly bush walk.
Bay of Plenty peeps – here are some options for you:
Happy Fathers’ Day
Aroha mai, Aroha atu 💗
Hooray! The long awaited cycle way from Omokoroa to Te Puna ( + nearly to Bethlehem…) is finally opened! Folks, I have been waiting for this for years! In May 2015 I went to the rally with my mum, friend and youngest son and cycled from Fergusson Park to downtown Tauranga to show our support along with hundreds of other cyclists of the then proposed cycle way. My baby who is now nearly 7 years old 😲 was 3 years old then and rode in the baby bike seat!
Here we are back in 2015!😜👊
So to go the full circle😉, we headed along to the official opening a few weeks back and enjoyed a leisurely ride from Omokoroa to Plummers Pt/ Huhurua Habour Park and Ongarahu Pa site with the excited crowd.
Here’s my baby now!
It was great to see all sorts of people out on their bikes both pedal power and e-bike (VERY popular where I live) as well as families pushing strollers, people with their pooches, and walkers.
My family will no doubt be utilizing the track to cycle to new fishing spots! 🤣🐟Obsessed much?!!
Also I admit I quite like the thought of a long lunch at the Cider Factorie, in Te Puna and then a cycle ride home!🥂🚲😜👍
👉Here are a few more pics taken today, a true reflection of the weather here currently☔🌨 P.s See that cute little pool it is full of naturally occurring warm thermal water! I noticed the steam today- foot spa anyone?
✔ For track info click here
As parents we don’t get much time for, or to, ourselves. It’s so easy to get caught up in our children and all their needs and wants; we love doing it ….. but it is still so important that we make time for ourselves and look after our own needs and wants.
I know for me, when my children were younger (<5), I almost felt like I didn’t know who I was anymore. What did I like to do in my free time? ….. remember that – free time 😜. It was quite hard to start making time for myself again, to not miss the kids the whole time and then to not feel guilty when I didn’t miss them.
Over the years I have moved on to really cherishing that precious me time and feeling like a happier healthier me and mother for my kids because of it …. So girls’ trips on! My last trip away was in Canterbury; we only had 3 days so the St James Walkway in Lewis Pass is where we ended up (this is part of the Te Araroa Trail and the whole walkway can be done over 5 days).
We walked in to stay the first night at Boyle Flat Hut, then went for a quick walk up to Rokeby Hut the next day and then cruised back to stay at Magdalen Hut before heading back out 👍 We were super lucky with the weather and got 3 amazing clear days, all the main river crossings were bridged, the track was awesomely maintained and all the huts had fireplaces – shot DOC!
Below is a short video of our stunning winter walk.
Nga mihi, Anita 🥜✌️
I recently went mountain biking with a group of friends in Rotorua; an hour inland from Tauranga. We had all anticipated the drop in temperature as we headed inland (we live on the coast where the weather is comparatively mild in winter) so believed we had dressed appropriately and had the right gear.
I’ve noticed there is a bit of a theory with mountain bikers about “starting cold” because no doubt 5 minutes down the track you will be stripping off layers = which you then have to carry. I’m never able to bring myself to do it and yes you guessed it, I’m the one with a big backpack with jackets, jerseys etc but that’s just my way. The girls and I discussed all this in the car park when we realized just how cold it was (4 degrees). One of our group went with the “start cold” theory another realized her jersey was way to big to ride in, so left it in the car. I was the only one with full finger bike gloves and within 5 minutes everyone’s hands (mine included) were freezing. We finished the first trail and tried to warm our hands, but then our body temperatures started dropping so we had to start biking again. After riding for another 30 minutes my hands thawed out and the rest of me was fine as I was wearing fleece leggings and adequate merino and thermal layers and wore my buff like a bank robber!
It wasn’t until we stopped again that one of our party crouched down and said she felt dizzy. She was all pale and started yawning. I had a jacket in my bag which I put on her and had to zip up for her. I also gave her my gloves, as my hands were fine by then. I realized we needed to get her out of the forest and warmed up but I didn’t know the trails ultra well, I also realized the other friend who had left her jersey in the car was finding it hard to string sentences together because she was so cold. All three still had freezing hands. As I consulted my map and started scouting our way out I realized that it was possible my friend was going into the first stage of hypothermia and that we needed to get her out ASAP. I started thinking we may need to call for help. Fortunately when I returned from my brief scout, my friend had started to feel better and was able to ride out to the car park. Meanwhile my cold jersey-less friend turned to me and said this had been a good lesson to her about bringing a jacket “just in case”. I’m happy to report we made it out safely, got hot drinks, cranked the heater in the car and headed back to our sunny coastal haven where we completely thawed out and even managed another ride -this time in shorts!🤣🚴♂️🌞
There was a happy end to our story, however hypothermia is a serious condition and immediate preventive action is required to prevent the condition worsening. Anyone can get hypothermia old, young, fit, healthy, experienced or inexperienced. Plus you can get hypothermia in summer as well as winter.
Here is how you can recognize it:
The stages: (from the NZ Wilderness Magazine)
*Keep an eye on kids is particular, because even though it can appear like they don’t feel the cold, they have a greater risk of becoming hypothermic due to their lower fat mass, meaning less insulation, and lower muscle mass, which means less capacity for producing heat.
Be prepared and recognize the signs. Have fun and stay safe x Tammy.
So I thought I’d share a little personal story of mine from my first multi-night hike and how I learnt first-hand that your mind can control what limitations are actually there.
I always tend to feel quite nervous/excited before new walks, the unknown and getting outside my comfort zone. I knew that there was going to be challenges, as there were some big climbs and long hours amongst it, but I also knew I had a cool crew with me – my sister and our brother from another mother (btw your crew is super important to a great experience!).
I think that since having kids and now being a larger version of myself I have allowed some self-doubt to creep in. I’ve always been a very active person, but I know that some things are just more physically difficult being the size I am now. Anyway I push negative thoughts aside and tell myself “come on, you got this” ……..
But actually after only 5 hours …. “I didn’t got this”…. My legs were cramping, I got the shakes and my mind gave up – I was done, I was convinced I could not climb up anymore. I was well prepared and had everything I needed to be ok, if I had to stay in the bush I could have – emergency blanket, dry shell, first aid kit, PLB etc etc, it was one of those moments you realise how important it is to be prepared, and to carry all that “what if” stuff = Hope for the Best, Plan for the worst!
Though I was still in a space where I could communicate clearly and make good decisions – I knew I had to get warm. I stripped off my sweaty top, threw on dry warm clothing + hat, gloves, jacket, and my amazing crew looked after me with electrolytes and a miso soup 👍. After about 5 minutes my body came right, but I was shocked that that had happened, I had done bigger climbs and longer days ?? never had I reached a moment like that, where I fully doubted my ability.
So sadly, after 5 hours of walking, we turned around and walked 2 hours back to a hut we had passed and had lunch at. I was Gutted!!! I sat on the deck crying and crying, I was so disappointed in myself.
Here’s the thing though: we were probably closer to the other hut when we turned around, but getting myself back to somewhere I’d been, a distance I knew, was doable in my mind, not the unknown ahead of me. Crazy huh.
But, yay, after a restful night, we spent the next two days on a different circuit, I was determined to get that first multi-night under my belt. My mind was stronger, I knew I could do it and I was not going to let what happened the first day take me down.
There were a couple of decisions us, as a group, decided contributed to the situation:
Know yourself, know who you are tramping/hiking with, know their strengths, know their weaknesses and be sure to choose tracks to suit the abilities of everyone in your group.
The mind really is the strongest muscle in the body.
Nga mihi, Anita 🥜✌️
I’ve had this topic waiting in the wings for a while now, but it was a recent yoga class that finally inspired me to write it.
My wonderful yoga teacher, Sarah from Kowhai Yoga was teaching us some exercises for our eyes. She went on to say that doctor’s are finding that short-sightedness aka myopia its becoming more and more common with kids, and that they are attributing this to the amount of time kids are spending staring at screens, particularly iPad’s. She told us a story about her yoga teacher, who as a boy was told that his eye sight was deteriorating and that it was a possibility that he may loose it altogether. He went on to practice a series of “eye exercises” aka eye yoga, which strengthened his eye muscles, and by doing so he retained and improved his eye sight!
I have a friend with a similar story who told me her eye sight had improved since she started doing weed control for the Department of Conservation. She attributed it to searching for weeds and strengthening her eye muscles in the process.
There is new research saying that time outdoors helps prevent and control myopia. And they are recommending 2 hours a day of outdoor play. As well as the 20-20-20 rule, meaning look away from devices every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds to a distance of at least 20 feet (6m).
As if you needed another reason to get yourself and the kids outdoors😉
For more information on this subject check out- https://www.outdoorplay.nz/
See ya outside 🌿🌳 for some🧘♀️👀!
And just like that school holidays are upon us! 😲😃😍 [insert your emoji below]🍷🛌!
Some parents will be dancing with glee (for a bit🤣) at the lack of routine (me), others may be dreading it due to the struggle of juggling children and work commitments, not to mention the financial costs of school holiday programs… Add the word winter and one can soon start to feel overwhelmed particularly if the weather turns bad and cabin fever sets in! Combat this by grabbing your raincoats and gumboots and heading outdoors for a bit.
My hope for you all is that whatever your circumstances are, you can snatch some quality time to spend with the little urchins, whatever the weather and however this looks! Here are some ideas for you to try, that won’t cost the earth🌍👍
I expect my next 2 weeks will hold as much fishing as possible, knowing my two boys!😉🐟
#natureisgoodforyoursoul #rainydayadventuring #justdoit #screentimeinmoderation #becurious #getoutdoors #gobarefoot
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So I was talking with a group of women the other night and I said “we should go on an overnight hut stay together” – to which I got a couple of responses like:
All the “what if’s…” came out and do you know what? Sadly it doesn’t surprise me.
I am a women and these “what if’s” are things I have to take into consideration any time I go out walking. It’s always there in the back of my mind … and not necessarily just when I’m on my own.
I’m curious to know if the men out there reading this can tell me, do you think about the what if’s? And if so what are they? I’m fairly certain they will be different from ours and your list not nearly as long but I’d like to know all the same…
I have always walked in groups, safety in numbers and all. But recently I have been gaining the courage to go alone. Its not to say that I am scared of nature, it’s more that I’m scared of coming across a “weirdo” in the bush. Someone who thinks about taking advantage of an isolated situation.
Is this a rational worry?
Sometimes I question myself. But at the end of the day if it is something that pops into my mind, it is valid, and it deserves my attention. I know I am more likely to come across a dangerous situation in a town or city, but it’s still something that I need to consider as a women.
Fear is a natural, normal, healthy and important self preserving emotion. I just have to sit back, acknowledge it, accept it, take precautions to limit the potential dangers and DO IT ANYWAY. Why? because it’s something I love to do and it fills my cup 🧘🏻♀️ How do you fill your cup?
So ladies, feel the fear and do it anyway, because the more you do it the more comfortable it will feel.
Here are some ways you can prepare yourself for situations that may arise when in an isolated situation:
Nga mihi, Anita