Rory Gardiner's Webpage

06, Jul, 2009

Monday 6th July 2009


Ko Taranaki taku maunga.  Taranaki is my mountain.  I often wonder which mountain the boys belong to.  They have both grown up in the north, but share a special connection with Mount Taranaki which we explore every time we come 'home'.  Today we headed up and were the only car in the carpark.  It was cold and drizzly and we pulled on our coats, hats and gloves and headed up the summit track from North Egmont.  Rory walked part of the way and rode in the buggy for the rest.  It was a great work out for Sean, being vertical and rocky.  He is asleep at the dining table now.  We made it up to the snow and had a snowball fight.  As we descended to the carpark, wet and cold, we saw a rainbow in the valley.  The mountain showed himself in all his glory briefly in between the fog and drizzle, large, snow covered, and majestic.  This afternoon nana and poppa's neighbour brought over a story her son Luke, who is 6, had written about Rory at school.  It was pretty neat.  The boys often play together when we are down.  We visited my friend Mandy, boss of Smokeylemon, the company which designed Rory's website.  We gave her a hug and said thank you, and saw the HUGE gold cup she had brought back to New Zealand from the world archery championships in Turkey.  To round out the day we had a soak in the Taranaki Thermal Spa.  The boys and I shared a private pool and set the water temperature at 39 degrees.  We all managed to soak for the full 30 minutes, although the boys looked like little boiled shrimps.  It was great seeing them floating around naked and laughing. 

Yesterday morning we had a walk around town and checked out the Govett Brewster Art Gallery.  Sean saw a photo of his Uncle Sid Jackson and Auntie Deidre Nehua on the wall.  We also looked through the Tart Gallery.  The boys had morning tea at Brumbys and the lovely lady behind the counter shouted them their cookie and cupcake.  We caught up with family for lunch; Uncle Guy and cousins Sacha and Corbyn, and Uncle Jason and Auntie Wendy and cousins Logan and Michaela.  There was much noise and activity.  After lunch Uncle Guy took Sam, Sacha and Corbyn to the Aquatic Centre and Sam rode the two new hydroslides, the family slide and the speed slide which is the fastest in New Zealand.  The rest of us headed out on the Coastal Walkway along the New Plymouth foreshore.  Rory rode his old bike with trainer wheels.  At first he was very uncoordinated, struggling to steer, often veering left, and repeating over and over "I can't do this".  His left foot regularly slipped off the pedal and his left knee stuck out.  But he hung in there and was doing much better on the return trip.  He covered about 3kms between Kawaroa and Mitre 10.  Then we all headed to Pukeariki, the museum on the foreshore, to see the Taranaki exhibition.  I learnt swandri is a Naki invention, and saw a few old favourites, the Taranaki gate and Taranaki bitter ale in the brown bottles.  We rounded out the day with a family dinner.  We all enjoyed the company of new addition to our family, baby Michaela who is 6 months old.

Saturday was an equally busy day.  Nana and I took the boys to a book sale at Inglewood High School.  We all found a treasure or two.  We then headed up the Mountain to the North Egmonth Visitors Centre for the release of four juvenile North Island brown kiwi by DoC, local iwi and the Taranaki Kiwi Trust.  The kiwi (weighing approx 1kg) arrived in green boxes, and were welcomed by a kaumatua and kuia.  There was an opportunity for everyone to see the birds, and the boys were lucky enough to hold juvenile Mokau.  All four kiwi were released on the Mountain by ranger Sid Marsh.  A total of 42 kiwis have been released to date in an effort to bolster the existing population.  In the afternoon we headed to the new Chipmunks indoor playland for cousin Sacha's 7th birthday.  I was a bit worried about Rory falling down, or being knocked around by the other children, but he gave it heaps for two hours, climbing and sliding down the three story slide, running in and out of the four levelled play ground/complex/fort, and collecting and shooting foam balls with the air guns.  On the way home we visited Auntie Janet for her 77th birthday.  At the end of the day we had tea at the New Plymouth Club with poppa and nanna, Uncle Guy and Corbyn.  The boys love having a Shirley Temple as much as I do!