Friday 20th July
Tonight the plan was to go roller skating. This plan got messed up as when Grant came over we had a beer, that turned into two as I got a message from the lady at the Kiwi Trust asking if I’d like to help go and release one on Sunday. OMG yes I would!!!! Only hitch was that I’d be in Hamilton…… But turned out to be even better – could go and collect the kiwi from Rotorua and bring it back to release!!
Much excitement all round, and jealousy from my kiwi (as in NZ) friends that they were letting a Brit do it, but all you have to do is volunteer and they hadn’t!!!
Finally we left and went into town for dinner – Turkish yumminess at Turquoise, a relatively new place in town
On the way to the car we wandered past a random gallery opening so crept up the stairs to investigate. It was essentially closed, but there was still wine and we had a good natter with the owner.
The exhibition was pretty cool, but the owners pics were awesome and he’s exhibiting in Wellington in a few weeks.
In an evening of getting sidetracked we then went back and watched A Winters Tale
Saturday 21st July
Time to watch the All Blacks!! Had a road trip with John to Hamilton (mini-breakdown in Mokau), stayed in the Central Backpackers (who moved us from 2 singles to a twin – had to pull the “I’ve worked in a hostel” card on them). No alcohol allowed, so as rebellion for the room change a sneaky vodka in the red bull can was consumed.
Were super close to rugby stadium, followed the crowds via a pub, got my bottom pinched when I was tying my shoelaces, more sneaky alcohol was placed in my jeans, chips were eaten, found a spot to stand and high excitement continued – traitor that I am I was in an All Blacks shirt (for immigration purposes, obviously)
Guys from the Sunflower Lodge were there too, so close judging by our photos but never found each other (my phone dying didn’t help)
Hit the town after for a few beers and some awesome gin and tonics – first ones since leaving the UK (not counting the ones drunk on planes!)
Got back at a reasonable hour, I brushed my teeth and went to bed. Woke up in the night to find a snoring John fully clothed on top of his bed!!
Sunday 22nd July
Up before 8am to get ready to leave and find our kiwi. First had to drive to Rotorua to collect it. You can’t tell if a kiwi is male or female until they send feathers away for DNA testing. Turns our ours was a girl, but we’d already named her Kevin, so it turned into a homage to ‘Up’. She had to be weighed and generally health checked before we could take her – they have to be over 1000g before they’re released.
After we’d seatbelted Kevin into the back seat of the car we had a quiet drive back to Taranaki – had to keep the car cool and no blaring radio.
We met the kiwi lady at Uruni, an informal arrangement, we pulled up and there was a lady looking like she was waiting for someone, and she was!
John had to leave at this point, he had cows to feed. So after saying goodbye I hopped into their car for our 30 minute drive to the start of the walk to find Kevin’s new home.
Off down a dirt track we drove and then a lovely walk along a river. Eventually a good spot was located and we worked to make it all homely for the night. Apparently generally you go to all this effort and they abandon what you create for them and make their own home but they need somewhere safe until nightfall.
I was lucky enough to be the one who popped Kevin into her new temporary home. They go in nose first and you encourage the rest of the body to follow then quickly cover the entrance with ferns, make sure she doesn’t immediately try to escape then quietly walk away……. Kevin doesn’t have a tracker, only a microchip, so we’ll probably never find out what happens to her, but I have high hopes.
Sadly, yet again, I can’t get my photos off my camera, so no kiwis for now……