WAIKATO / BAY OF PLENTY EDITION
PONSONBY - AN URBAN VILLAGE
Like all villages, there’s a sense of connectedness between individuals, making Ponsonby a community of people who care enough to get out and create their own solutions for the problems of the time. Cultural differences are accepted and valued, and sharing becomes the norm. Ponsonby, Freemans Bay and, to a lesser extent, St Mary’s Bay have been and still are a crucible for social change
TAURANGA'S TREASURE - THE HOT SPOT OF MOUNT MAUNGANUI
“People think my job is sitting around in a hot pool all day,” grinned Matt Strange, the manager of the Mount Hot Ocean Water Pools. “The reality is different. The lifeguards get up at 4am to start vacuuming and water testing the pools at 5am to keep up our safe, clean and friendly image and we don’t close until 10pm.” The pools were closed for refurbishment in February and March this year, annoying my neighbour Pete, who swims 42 laps three times a week to keep fit. While I didn’t know that soaking in hot salt water is good for your health, as far back as 500BC, Hippocrates recognised the health benefits of warmed seawater for its ability to rebalance and detoxify our bodies.
CONNECTIONS PAST AND PRESENT
The local museum is a taonga that connects us with our forebears, with a way of life that no longer exists. We are the descendants of people who left their own country, braved the ocean voyage and lived and died in the creation of a new country, the Aotearoa-New Zealand we know today. Who were they? What brought them here?
LOCAL CRUISING - IT'S GOOD FOR THE SOUL
As I watched Kewpie Too sail up the river, I knew I wanted another trip. The last time I’d sailed in her was 1962 in the Bay of Islands on the iconic tourist trip to Cape Brett and through the Hole in the Rock. I remember marvelling as we gently made our way through the stone archway, water dripping on us like a maritime christening.
We all think we’re immune until it happens to us. My son, aged 53, had a stroke a month ago. He’d begun relaxing his hard-working routine over the last six months, but we’ve since agreed that years of accumulated stress was the cause. The strain of dealing with this terrible family disruption has brought home how careful we need to be of our bodies. We’re part of a family chain and when one link is damaged it weakens us all.
KEEPING YOUR BODY, MIND AND SOUL WORKING TOGETHER
A New Year marks a time for change. To stay physically and mentally fit, you know you should be more proactive, and need to discover what’s best for you. Sometimes our health provides an insistent reason and motivation enough to develop a regular exercise regime. If you’ve had joint replacement surgery, the hospital gym with set exercises to mobilise that joint can provide an unexpected benefit. You’d forgotten how good it feels to get moving again.
FOUR PARKS AND A CITY
“We can’t come to your party,” said Lynne. “We’re off in our campervan heading south to explore the wilder places of the North Island.” My ears pricked up. I’d lived for several years in Upper Hutt in the lower North Island and had learned to appreciate its wild surroundings. “Do you know about the four regional parks around Upper Hutt, Lynne?”
EASTERN COROMANDEL AND MERCURY BAY
The Coromandel Peninsular east coast boasts an abundance of beaches within easy reach of the cities of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga. If your diary has a few blank pages in a row, grab your chance and sneak off. Experience the magical peace of an undiscovered beach or the buzz of coastal holiday towns.
SURPRISING WAIKATO SECRETS
On a visit to an event in Hamilton, I stayed an extra night to uncover some of the secrets south and east of that city around Waipā, a municipality of the Waikato region. The council seat is in Te Awamutu, a prosperous town serving the rich farming countryside. This ‘Home of Champions’ boasts many gold medalists in rowing, horsemanship and cycling, reminders you can see in the Walk of Fame beside the rose gardens. In summer, the flowers perfume the air.