The Survivors

The stories of the Rose-Noelle

Every few years the battered hull of the Rose-Noelle washes ashore again. Skipper John Glennie published his account in 1990 one year after the doomed trimaran hit the rocks at Great Barrier Island. In 1993, crew member Jim Nalepka wrote Capsized, his version of events. A TV documentary was screened in 1997. And most recently it was the subject of a play by Ken Duncum.

Camping Friends

Camping with kids

I quickly discovered a number of benefits to camping with children. The first was sleep. They got up early it’s true. The sun poured through the tent sides and soaked their brains in serotonin, and bird song was a deafening if beautiful alarm clock. But they get up early at home anyway, so nothing lost there. They went to bed early.

Denizens of the Gloom

The Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau

Hairy quicksilver shapes that wing out of the brine
Or sound into the dark for iridescent prey.
Entrenched in oblivion denizens of the gloom

From "A Time for Peace" by Jacques Cousteau

Footsteps on the Verandah

The haunted outdoors

Jack Skinner alone can surely boast
Of having seen the Godley Ghost;
'T'was way up in the Sardine Hut,
Where spooks and phantoms nightly strut,
For there, among the rocks and water,
He saw the famous Devil 's daughter.

Lofty Aspirations

Why we climb trees

Visiting my family in the Cook Islands in the 1980s, I was entranced by a man named King Piri Puroto III. He called himself the coconut king and put on shows for tourists which included fire-making, tree-climbing, coconut husking and flirting with the ladies. He was elderly, no one knew quite how old, but he must have been at least seventy.

Around the bend

First attempts at family camping

We decided on Otaki Forks for our first family camping holiday. It was far away enough to jostle the synapses. There was no cell phone coverage. There was a section of unsealed corrugated road, and a small ford. Enough deterrents that anyone going there had to go there on purpose, yet close enough to home that we could bail if the going got too tough.

Making Things out of Wood with a Knife

The art of whittling

I liked the idea of sitting in a chair in front of your house
for hours,
doing nothing but wearing a hat and drinking cola.
What's wrong with that?
Drawing on a cigarette from time to time.
Making things out of wood with a knife.
Where's the harm there?

From Shiftless, Raymond Carver.

This is no Tim Tam

The Tararua Biscuit

Do you remember infomercials? Those strange adverts for things you didn’t know you needed: an attachment for vacuuming venetians, a ladder that folded like origami; and most famously the Ginsu, the kitchen knife strong enough to cut a shoe.

Maraetai Beach in Myth and Legend

An insider’s guide

The expansive bush that stretches between Maraetai Heights Road and Rewa Road in the semi-rural Auckland village of Maraetai Beach contains the following features for the eager explorer:

Encounters of the Third Kind

Two wallabies, one human

Remarkably calm, the wallaby and I froze in mutual fear. Its head bowed in a weirdly stern expression, big black eyes and long eyelashes focussed on some distant leaf, as if willing itself into invisibility. I slid my camera from the pouch, crept sideways to get a better angle and took a photo. The wallaby didn’t move so I crept closer. Still no movement. Closer. Another photo.


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