Te Maika – 14 – Bedtimes and …

It is a fact that kids like to return to the same holiday destinations year after year.

Adults might prefer variety and exploring new places but children, according to research, like to return to familiar “haunts.” We were happy to oblige and continued to cart children, friends, food and not much else to Te Maika for many years.

As more adult friends were invited to holiday with us our “escapades” increased.  My brother took two kayaks to the bach and they made a home there.

Kayaks ready for action.

Fishing rods were purchased and fish became an occasional treat – occasional because I don’t think any of us were skilled fishermen or women.

Ever hopeful…







As the children grew longer legs we were able to venture further afield.

High-jinks at night became the norm… there was always an “apple-pied” bed for some unsuspecting sleepy-head to climb into and I still get caught out by someone waiting silently at the corner of the bach after my before-bed trip to the long drop. A torch shining in her face accompanied by a loud “BOO!” never fails to bring on fits of giggles –  year after year after year!

One night we were all tucked up in bed, lights blown out when a certain gentleman (?) amongst our number climbed out of bed and crept over to each of us, torch in hand, and shone it in our faces… camera in hand to record startled faces!.  This was just a distraction for the “main event”.  As I settled back to a sleepy state my instinct for trouble remained on high alert.   Torch at the ready under my pillow… ears focussed on any bed-shuffling or “out-of-place” sounds, I wasn’t disappointed …

After a short time of listening… listening… listening… I sat up and shone my torch into a surprised face… and then above me… There descending directly above my head was fishing line weighted with a sinker… One father and two boys (my son and his son) had threaded this line through some plastic spouting suspended in the exposed rafters so, when slowly lowered from the bed at the other end of the pipe, the plan was for it to scare me out of my wits as a “spider” gently plopped itself on my head in the dark of night…. but the plan was foiled …ha! ha! …one up to me!

The following day we had a very high tide so I challenged “Spiderman” to a rock climb… around the rocks in our bay at high tide without getting our feet wet… the results didn’t matter but it is always a fun bit of exercise…

Clambering around the rocks at high tide.

Te Maika – 13 – Why visit?

What is it that intrigues people about Te Maika?

Let’s look at the “negative”…

  • It is on the west coast of New Zealand therefore the weather is usually quite erratic.
  • It is so isolated that there are no shops to drive to – oops, no cars to drive either!
  • Food for the stay must be taken on the initial trip unless one has access to a boat.
  • There are no medical facilities.
  • There is no power.

Now let’s look at the “positive”…

  • It is on the west coast of New Zealand therefore the weather is usually quite erratic. – Yay! makes for variety!
  • It is so isolated that there are no shops to drive to. – Yay, nowhere to spend money!
  • Food for the stay must be taken on the initial trip unless one has access to a boat. – Yay! no further meal planning… and one must catch some fish!
  • There are no medical facilities. – Well, we’ve never actually needed them that urgently.
  • There is no power. – Yay! leave those pesky machines at home!

Actually, things have naturally “evolved” over the years and “improved” but “internet”, “cell phones”, even “television”, were not in the English vocabulary back when I started holidaying at Te Maika. When cassette players and then hand-held devices became popular we had a rule that they must be left at home… did anyone complain? Yes, for the first day, maybe, but then they were happily forgotten. We were so isolated from the rest of the world that two weeks would happily pass by without us knowing whether or not the rest of the world even continued to exist!

A storm is heading our way…

Weather forecasts are quite important to us now in planning our days but back then we just took it as it came and planned anyway.  Nothing we could or can do about it! One wet and stormy day was always welcome after several hot and sunny ones.  A great time to stay indoors and play board or card games. As in most kiwi baches, there is a pile of games left there just for that purpose – played with excitement over the holiday period and not seen any other time of the year.

… and the rain come down!

And when kids get tired of being cooped up inside, it’s on with the coats (or not, if one is happy to get wet!) and out for a roam to see what the high tide is doing!

Admittedly, some folk just cannot understand how we can cope at such an isolated place, but these folk are are in the minority. Do we really need to shower every day when we can swim? And what if it’s too cold for swimming? Well, probably others aren’t swimming either so we all smell as bad as each other! (Actually, it’s only in fairly recent times that daily showering has become the norm.)

So now, I’ve clarified those issues, I will tell you about some of our visitors over the years … tomorrow…

Tidy-up Time.

“Be patient and most important of all – never give up.” Matthew Loomis

  • Opening
  • Middle
  • Close
  • Headline

Now I’m set and ready to re-visit my old posts… oh, what a task!

Over the next few days it is my intention to go back to my “Te Maika” posts and see how I can improve the openings, the closures (can I call them that?) and the headlines as per Matthew Loomis’ instructions in his ebook “How to Write the Perfect Blog Post”.

I am fully aware that my “Te Maika” posts don’t fall under the category of blog often referred to (in ML’s booklet) but I am sure I can still improve on what is currently there – especially in the Title.

So I’d love it if you journey with me and comment as we go…

Te Maika – 12 – Lights and Hi-jinks

“When you come inside you get ready for bed.”

The children knew this and it was a great ploy to keep them outside for as long as possible! By the time my children and my friends’ children had another friend or cousin at Te Maika we often numbered three adults and six children in our tiny bach. None of us really minded where we slept so long as we had somewhere to lay our heads so we had energy for the following day’s activities.

But evenings were quite special, too. The first task, once night came upon us, was to light the lamp.  The procedure went something like this:

  1. Check that there was sufficient kerosene in the base for the evening.
  2. Turn various knobs for whatever reasons…
  3. Pump a knob to build up pressure until gauge reached a red line.
  4. Fill tray below mantle with meths.
  5. Light meths with match.
  6. When meths has mostly burned off turn another knob and light the mantle with another match (I think).
  7. Hope mantle lights.
  8. Pump again to ensure gauge is at red line.

I lived in fear that the whole thing would blow up in our faces; the children loved to help and were quite in awe of the procedure.  On occasion I did have to rush the lamp outside as something went wrong, and we would wait until the flames died down before beginning all over again!  But the lamp generally worked very well and provided ample light to sit around the table playing games. Another benefit was that the fumes kept mosquitoes and other little insects away.

A smaller and less complicated kerosene lamp was used for light in the kitchen and bathroom and torches were kept handy if one needed to visit the long drop in the night (though, I think the moonlight served instead when one just popped out the door…!)

One night each holiday the children were allowed to go outside again after dark… Moonlight was not a video game back then.  It was game where players hid and then returned to an allocated spot (“home”) before the “in” person spotted or caught them. Of course, the adults joined in … and visits to the long drop were essential before the game began! Even so, I remember more than one occasion when one of the girls came back laughing loudly… “I’ve wet my pants!” or she crashed to the ground just short of “home” with her legs crossed laughing so much, “I’m peeing my pants!!”

The kerosene lamps were gradually superseded by more modern ones and then camping lamps and flash torches until now we actually have solar-powered lighting – turned on by the flick of a switch, and in all the sleeping areas, too!

Serious Stuff 1
One night in between different lamps and torches when candles had to suffice!

My daughter, on a recent visit, asked if we could light the old lamp “for old times’ sake…” “Ummmm, no!”


Progress… learning, learning, learning..

“If you want to continually grow your blog, you need to learn to blog on a consistent basis.” Neil Patel

How’s this… my second post today…!!! And I’m taking advice seriously… (as per the above quote from a “Top Blogger” – thank you, Neil.)

Actually, what I want to mention is the progress I am making. I am enjoying the learning process and if my blurb here helps anyone else I will be happy!

In my previous post under menu item “Blogging” I was looking at blogging for money.  Now this may be an eventual goal but I realised I needed to sort out my site first and foremost.  Thanks to WordPress Help, I think I have managed to do this.  It probably could still do with some tweaks, but generally it’s okay for now.

Second point I want to make here is to direct you to the excellent “setting up” site my hubby found.  And I have a question for you… but first, I am loving what Matthew Loomis has to say regarding blogging (no, he’s not paying me to say this and I hope it’s okay to use his name here). I don’t know where hubby, Jim, came across his site and I’m not going to plagiarise his information but I am sure putting it into practice…. eg, beginning with a quote.

And now, the question…. Jim (hubby) wants to create a “chat forum” relating to topics he’s interested in.  My site is already set up and doesn’t have a lot of traffic though I love that I have a few followers and readers of each post (what blogger doesn’t?) Should Jim use my site and add an item to my menu or create his own site? A point to note is that I am likely to do much of the administering of his site if he sets up his own (but he would respond to forum discussions)… which would make it easier to just have the one web/blog site….

Anyway, love to hear your opinion…


Te Maika – 12 – “Yes, of course you can come…”

Do you like to share experiences with your friends? Do you talk about places you’ve been and show photos to anyone interested? And what happens when these friends say, “Gosh, I’d love to go there…!”

Well that was me… I couldn’t help but talk about Te Maika after each holiday.  The topic often came up following another question … “How did you get so brown?” I am fortunate to tan easily and after two weeks living mainly outdoors it was, and is, inevitable that I return to “civilisation” a few shades darker than when I left!

So it was, one evening of socialising with a couple of my close friends, talking about holidays and favourite places and of course Te Maika came into the conversation.  “Could we come up next year?” ….. “Well, I don’t know… I guess I could ask Dad…”

And so once it was ‘okayed’ by my father, Jan, Paula and I planned throughout the year.  Food and other provisions were purchased near to departure time, children were informed and travel plans implemented…. this was going to be FUN!

And it was FUN! My father took us over in JulieAnn (and put Paula off small boats for life!) and deposited us on the shore. Our children knew each other well and my son often had a cousin there as well for company nearer his age. “Traditions” were instigated… a barbecue at a special beach where we hiked over the hills (well, it’s not far really, but with youngish children in tow, it certainly seemed like a hike!) carrying food, drinks, towels and togs. The descent to the beach was down a steep hill and there we built a fire from sticks found on the beach before cooking sausages, damper and marshmallows and chocolate in bananas. There was always time to clamber over the rocks, swim in a rock pool or splash in the waves and search for crabs in abundance in the cracks in the rocks. Once the food was eaten and the sun was on its way down we would either clamber up the hill to return to the bach or, if the tide was low enough, would take the easier way around the rocks and beach.

Barbecue beach (tide in).

Another “must do” each year was a walk around the harbour. A couple of times we ventured across the harbour at very low tide to “Shelly Bay”. This was a very sticky traipse over the mud flats… and I wish I had photos to show of Jan and Paula up to their thighs in the mud! That was a sloooow crossing having to pull each leg out of the ooze before taking the next step! The children fared better as they managed to remain mostly above ground being somewhat lighter. Once at Shelley Bay we explored the promontory, refreshed ourselves with well-earned drink and bickies, the repeated the procedure to return home…. somewhat exhausted!

More antics next time…



Te Maika – 1 – A Little Bit of History


(I have just re-posted this page as the previous one got ‘lost’… at least I had to search for it before I could find it!)

If you’ve been following my “Blogging” posts you’ll know that I am still in the learning phase of setting up pages or categories or tags or menu items or whatever they may be called… see, I don’t even know the correct terminology! So today I have decided to set up a new page/category/whatever… “Travel”. And this is my first “Travel” post … we’ll see if it arrives under “Travel” on the menu !

By way of introducing my “Travel” page/post/whatever I will take you briefly to one of my favourite places in New Zealand.  You are very unlikely to have even heard of this holiday destination and even less likely to have been there… (unless, of course, you are a close friend or family member!)… and if you are one of those you’ll know I’m talking about the wonderful hidey-hole in the North Island… on the west coast… in the Kawhia Harbour.

Te Maika, translated from Maori means “food basket”, and has a long history with Maori. It was once a large pa and home to a sizeable Maori population. Now geologists frequent the area digging and seeking fossils and rock formations they believe date back millions of years… as a creationist, I think their timing is out by millions of years minus a few thousand!

But I am more interested in Te Maika in my day. I have been holidaying there for longer than I can remember. My mother was born in the town of Kawhia, also, naturally, in the Kawhia Harbour, and her father built and fixed boats which took locals to Te Maika.  As a child she remembers camping in the grasses and lupins on the beach with her father.  Families and friends often took the launch over the harbour during summer months for an afternoon of fun in the sun and surf. She often spoke about the house on the hill above Goodfellows Beach (oddly enough, owned by Mr Goodfellow but long since burnt down) and the piano which, after swimming in the surf below, around which folk would gather for a ‘sing-song’ before returning home to Kawhia.

Now, I see I have digressed from “Te Maika in my day”.. but a bit of history is often necessary to set the scene… So it was only natural, that when my parents married and my brothers and I duly arrived, that we would also visit Te Maika. And have been doing so ever since… for 60+ years!

Lion Rock – a Maori fortress in times past.
Te Maika
Cable Bay looking out the harbour mouth. (Actually looks a lot bigger than it is.)
Cable Bay from the other direction – our Bach on the right.
That’s our bach with the green roof.

Tomorrow I will continue with our journey to Te Maika but now I will add couple of photos and see if I have managed to set up this new “Travel” page…