Pagan Date: Imbolc

Pagan Date: Imbolc

In the southern hemisphere, today in the Pagan calendar is Imbolc. It's a Sabbat to honour the Celtic goddess Brighid. It's a time to purify oneself, dedicate oneself to a task. The word imbolc comes from Irish Gaelic and means 'ewe's milk'. It's in reference to the time when ewe's begin suckling with their young…

Travel: A roadtrip through the remote Eastern Cape, New Zealand

People seldom visit the Eastern Cape of the North Island because of its complete isolation from the rest of the country’s bustling travel routes. It’s quiet in terms of other cars – there are none, except for the occasional local farmer and logging truck ferrying wood from forests to the port in Gisborne.  It’s an…

Pagan date: Winter solistice

Pagan date: Winter solistice

Today is winter solistice in the southern hemisphere. This is a time of rebirth and a triumph of life over death. It's a reflection and renewal.  Winter solistice  Incantations Tonight is the night of the Solstice,the longest night of the year.As the Wheel turns once more, I know thattomorrow, the Sun will begin its journey…

Political and cultural freedom in New Zealand has reached its most vulnerable point in history

Political and cultural freedom in New Zealand has reached its most vulnerable point in history

In the past week writ large across the world, we have seen how millions of people have protested extradition laws in Hong Kong. This would allow Hong Kong authorities to extradite Hong Kong residents to China for crimes they have committed instead of being tried in Hong Kong. New Zealand enjoys a free trade agreement…

Behold the tui: seductive songstress of the shaky isles

Behold the tui: seductive songstress of the shaky isles

Behold the tui. Songstress with the most gorgeous cadence and sonorous sonata, native latter day dinosaur of the shaky isles. Every throat gargle and warbling melodious titter could be experienced so much clear when viewed through the lens of our new camera. This little beauty was in our garden the other day crying out to…

Pagan Date: Samhain

Pagan Date: Samhain

In the southern hemisphere, today we celebrate the pagan new year or Samhain. This ancient gaelic word means Summer's End.  On this date it's a good time to reflect on and honour those that have come before us. It's also a time to release anything that no longer serves you.  Samhain Incantation for ancestors  This…

Mushrooming in New Zealand: a cautionary tale

Mushrooming in New Zealand: a cautionary tale

This evening we went walking on Mount Kaukau and found some mushrooms. Although in New Zealand there isn't much of a mushrooming culture here compared to Europe. In the past, foreigners have died as a result of poisonous mushrooms in NZ. So many local people just leave mushrooms well alone here, scared away by times…

Day out in Wellington: The Terracotta Warriors at Te Papa Museum Copyright © Content Catnip https://youtu.be/qzl3CWQaXxM

Day out in Wellington: The Terracotta Warriors at Te Papa Museum

The first week that we moved to Wellington we went to see Te Papa Museum's landmark exhibition: Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality. Enshrined in darkness and dim light, the exhibition feels like being submerged into the underworld. The exhibition offers you a rare opportunity to have an intimate and immersive encounter with remarkable treasures from…

Today is the day that terrorism came to New Zealand

Today is the day that terrorism came to New Zealand

I was just thinking the other day how innocent, easy-going and care-free New Zealand feels when you walk around in Wellington, compared to cities in Australia. I was thinking how much safer New Zealand feels, at least for me, compared to Australia. Today is the day that terrorism and its associated paranoia, fear and sense…

The beautiful poetry of the Maori/Polynesian Star Compass - Atea a Rangi

Atea a Rangi: Star Maps of the Maori and Pacific Peoples

In the past, I've written about Maori sea navigation by the stars and the legend of Matariki. Although nothing prepared me for the utterly beautiful Maori star compass which has been carved and placed on a remote and wild beach in the Hawkes Bay, between Hastings and Napier. The Star Compass - Atea a Rangi…

Kea - Birds, Mana and Maori Culture

Birds, Mana and Maori Culture

Maori tribes have long held beliefs and customs about the native birds of Aotearoa New Zealand. Birds or Nga Manu had a vital place in Maori tribal life as they provided food, beautiful feathers for adornment and their strengths and personalities were a rich source of metaphor and poetry. Their behaviour was use to predict…

All About Maori Kite Making

All About Maori Kite Making

There are 17 types of Maori kites. Traditionally made from strong timber framing like manuka wood they were woven with flax and the paper and bark of the mulberry plant until the plant went virtually extinct. Birdman kites have a powerful symbolism for Maori tribes. One such taonga was gifted to the British Museum in…

Tui - Birds, Mana and Maori Culture

The ultimate guide to collective nouns for New Zealand birds

This post is for all of the New Zealand and global bird-lovers out there. New Zealand has some wonderful and incredibly intelligent birds that also tend to have rambuctious, mischievous and cheeky personalities. Check out this video of a kea being, well... a kea if you don't believe me... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxoCuRuHlt8 Here are some little known…

Travel: Magnificent Milford Sound, New Zealand Copyright Content Catnip 2016

Travel: Magnificent Milford Sound, New Zealand

A few years ago we went to Central Otago on a trip. It really was a magical time away, At that stage we both had highly stressful jobs and we were really needing to get away from everything. Probably one of the best places in the world to blow the cobwebs out of your world…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Seal of Mahia Beach

Travel: Baby seal on Mahia Beach, New Zealand 

While visiting family on the east coast of New Zealand we came upon a little baby seal or what the Scottish would call a selkie (a water spirit) lurking precariously close to the road. She was laying in a clump of harakeke flax and staring up at us with wide, black shiny eyes. I was…

Travel: A winter afternoon of contemplation in Queenstown

Travel: A winter afternoon of contemplation in Queenstown

Overlooking the majestic and pure beauty of Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, the peace and serenity of the place lends itself well to comtemplating life plans, love, the meaning of it all. The dramatic cathedral of the big sky and jutting snow-capped mountains is ever-changing and there's a reverent silence here like inside of a medieval…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Extinct volcanos in Auckland

Every Picture Tells a Story: Extinct volcanos in Auckland

There are approximately 53 volcanoes in Auckland, which have over thousands of years produced an array of interesting lagoons, tuft rings and lava flows in Auckland city. The biggest, most active and most visible volcano – Rangitoto sits on an island of the same name in Auckland harbour. This has erupted repeatedly over the past…

Bronwyn Waipuka - Rehutai and Tangimoana

Every Picture Tells a Story: The Maori legend of two sisters Rehutai and Tangimoana

This painting by Bronwyn Waipuka illustrates a story by Wairarapa kaumātua (elder) Mita Carter. Rehutai and Tangimoana were beautiful twin sisters who lived on the banks of the Ruamāhanga River. They both fell in love with Rautoroa, a handsome warrior, but he could not decide which to marry. Rehutai asked Tangimoana to fetch some water from a…