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…

Every Picture Tells A Story: Tamaki Drive at Night

I have a complicated relationship with Auckland. Over the past five years since we moved here, the city has become a bloated, enormous metropolis which simply cannot sustain its ever-growing population. Essentials like roads, public transport, health care and housing have fallen apart at the seams in Auckland leading us to head south and away…

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…

Every picture tells a story: Purple dusk on Auckland harbour

Night was falling quickly and the clouds were a deep purple and blue. As dusk descended, a violent wind picked up over Auckland city bringing a huge tropical storm and a deluge as I walked home. Copyright © Content Catnip 2009 www.contentcatnip.com

Six Quirky Facts About Red Pandas

Six Quirky Facts About Red Pandas

Red pandas are sweet looking, unobtrusive and stunning mammals that live in the mountainous forests in the Himalayas. With their lustrous and vibrant reddish brown fur and round sweet faces; they have the vague appearance of a fox rather than a Giant Panda. Here's more about a mysterious animal that my boyfriend and I fell…

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…

Mana Wahine: The Female Moko in Māori Culture

Mana Wahine: The Female Moko in Māori Culture

Tā moko represents a person's mana (status or power) in society. This is best highlighted by the time when the chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi with their mokos in 1840. The Moko Kauae is a chin tattoo traditional reserved for Māori women with mana (high status and power). Traditionally, female healers (tohunga) had a close relationship…

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

What is a pepeha in Maori culture? How can I write one?

In Maori culture, people come to know you through where you are from, not what you have achieved in life. The first question a pakeha asks when they meet you is 'what do you do?', the first question a Maori asks is 'Where are you from?'. A pepeha is a form of introduction that establishes…

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: Delightful Art Deco Bollards in Napier

Travel: Delightful Art Deco Bollards in Napier

Whereas in Australia bollards are being erected everywhere to protect against trucks driving through people on the street, in little old New Zealand, the bollard means something completely different and is used to great decorative affect in the town of Napier in New Zealand. These Art Deco bollards are dotted around all of the streets…

Dolphins as Taniwha in New Zealand

Dolphins are mystical beings full of intelligence, compassion and consciousness. For the Maori people they are known as  taniwha. They are considered tapu (sacred) and possessing a powerful mauri (lifeforce). What are Taniwha? Taniwha (pron. tan-ee-far) are mysterious creatures that dwell in the sea, rivers, lakes or in caves. They have a reptilian, fish-like or…

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: The somnambulent sea, Napier

Travel: The somnambulent sea, Napier

One summer evening in Napier, New Zealand I walked along its beautiful foreshore and captured this moment where people huddled on the jetty and the light seemed just right. When all of the comets align, Napier appears to the mind's eye and to the camera lens as timeless and nostalgic. It reminds me of the…