Thursday, November 28, 2013


Red sails glowing in the sun, zealous thrum of rigging and tiller,
From afar, from somewhere beyond the shore, echoes of lingering voices
And the the unhurried sounds of filling sails gave joy not only to me.
Before the five senses were opened, and earlier than any beginning
They waited, ready, for all those who would call themselves mortals,
So that they might praise, as I do, life, that is, happiness.

Hikurangi Art Exhibition (4)

This is another selection of work from the junior, middle and senior rooms that was exhibited in our Hikurangi School end of Term 4 Art Exhibition.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Flying Pigs - Hika Art Exhibition (3)

Tara's class created a squadron of magnificent flying pigs for the Hikurangi School Art Exhibition. I have to say I have seen my share of flying pigs in 62 years of living. Some of these pigs have flown very high within the veracity of some of the stories I have heard, others have mingled with very festive pink elephants, the sort whose specialty is always one of over imbibing.

These pigs were created by covering an inflated balloon with paper mache. When the paper mache was dry the required number of paper mache bumps were added for feet, nose and ears. Then porcine eyes and exquisite, soaring, gossamer glitter glued wings were attached with avionic precision and voila! a very versatile animal indeed was born. All of the piggy wiggies have a slot in the top to put money into if you want to use the them as money boxes - but only a real sadist would weigh down the avian dreams of a aerobatic pig.

Hikurangi Art Exhibition (2) Senior Girls

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hikurangi School Art Exhibition (1)

All professions, careers, jobs and vocations have their ups and their downs, their sacrifices and rewards, their disadvantages and their compensations.

There are a number of compensations in the Teaching profession that offset some of the frustrations, stress and relentless work.

One that is at the top of my list is childrens art. After 40 years of teaching, for me, childrens capacity for creativity is still a high point of the educational process. Childrens art is always fresh, like a new morning, like dew on leaves or a sun rise. It often takes my breathe away. I would be pleased and proud to have any of the art works created for our exhibition to be displayed in my home.

These are two exhibits that my children from Room 5 have made for display. The first is an exhibition of painted and decorated papier mache bowls. The bowls were made over a plastic bowl which was used as a mold. The second is a multimedia block print. We made the printing block and then decided not to use it with printing inks to make prints. Instead we used a number of other media to decorate them - vivid pens, crayons, dye and pastels. Some children etched into areas covered with pastel with the sharp end of a nail.

Congratulations Room 5 - You are all bona fide original artists of very high attainment. Well done.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Whangaruru Kapa Haka Festival

Yesterday Hikurangi School went by bus down the winding 'Old Russell Road' to Whangaruru and assembled with  a large number of other local schools for a Kapa Haka festival. A Kapa Haka group is a Maori cultural performance group.The forecast rain didn't eventuate so we were treated to a warm sunny come overcast day. It was a day of song and dance and Hangi food.

Each school took turns in performing, supported by large contingents of Whanau and friends. The performances were polished and engaging.
It is great to see Maori culture and language integrated into the primary school system in such a natural and comprehensive way.

E tipu, e rea, mō ngā rā o tō ao; ko to ringaringa ki ngā rākau a te Pākehā hei oranga mō tō tinana; ko tō ngākau ki ngā taonga o ō tïpuna hei tikitiki mō tō māhunga. Ko tō wairua ki tō Atua, nāna nei ngā mea katoa. Grow tender shoots for the days of your world. Turn your hand to the tools of the Pākehā for the wellbeing of your body. Turn your heart to the treasures of your ancestors as a crown for your head. Give your soul unto God the author of all things.

As a teacher and a Kiwi I look forward to the time that Te Reo Maori (Maori Language) is taught in all our schools.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Florence Nightingale

I have called this 21st Century nurse extraordinaire Florence to disguise her real name of Christine. Christine is my beloved wife and the person to whom I owe so much. If it had not been her careful and patient nursing of me during the first week out of hospital after I had been operated on for  a quadruple heart bypass  I would have surely died - it's as simple as that.

William Shakespeare - All's Well That Ends Well - (1603)

I cannot give thee less, to be call'd grateful:
Thou thought'st to help me; and such thanks I give
As one near death to those that wish him live:
But what at full I know, thou know'st no part,
I knowing all my peril, thou no art.


 SEA FEVER - John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.


"It is better to light one candle, than to curse the darkness" - I find this thought even more relevant since my recent heart attack and subsequent heart bypass surgery. Life is too short for regrets. Life is to be embraced and lived fully - which includes standing back from time to time and fully reflecting on what you have to be grateful for and to whom.

Epitaphs (Click here for Link)

I am reading a book called "Loving All Of It" - 'Eminent New Zealanders Write About Growing Old' - Edited by Gordon McLauchlan.

Gordon McLauchan's own contribution includes comments about epitaphs. He writes:

"....... The headstone and the epitaph have lost ground, so to speak ..... The virtue of the epitaph is the brevity of its wit......" I think he is right.

Of the humourous epitaphs I have read I like "Never a day's illness and now this" and George Bernard Shaw's suggested epitaph for himself: " I knew if I stayed around long enough, something like this would happen."

For those who would like to do a Google search there are many epitaphs that embody a whole range of sentiment - serious, philosophical, religious and humourous.

Dolphin Day On Whangarei Harbour

I went sailing last year with my good friend David to Peach Cove and saw something I haven't seen for a long time - Dolphins within Whangarei harbour - I see them on the coast from time to time but not very often in the harbour. They were very friendly and gamboled around the boat for a long time. It is always an absolute delight to see them.