Tag Archives: Palmerston North

When in Rome…

July ’13

Last weekend I took Billy the Kid and Cat to see the Roman Machines exhibition at Te Manawa.  Billy has been a huge fan of Roman militaria for many years.

When we arrived we discovered that the statue of Charles Monro outside the museum had been “Yarn Bombed”.  He’s dressed as a Roman Gladiator – in pink!

Charles John Monro

Charles John Monro

We found the Machines easily enough – but got distracted by a Roman game laid out to try in the entranceway.  It’s a game very like noughts and crosses, only the grid is bigger and it’s played with counters (in this case gray and white stones).  The kids had fun playing a round.

Board game

Roman Noughts and Crosses

I note that the basket holding the counters looks rather less Roman, and more like an object from closer to home….

Admit One

Roman Machine @ TeManawa

After the game we moved on and bought our tickets.  There were several other families already checking out clever wonders of the Roman era.  The exhibition has a range of scale model replicas of the devices that the Romans invented, many of which are still used to this day.  Cranes and catapults, water pumps and pulleys – all fully interactive.  There’s a scale replica of the form used to build stone arches.  Billy and Cat had a go at building an archway, carefully placing the keystone at the top.

Roman stonework

Building an arch

Each part of the exhibition is accompanied by interesting details that tie it back Continue reading

Your body is a machine!

31 May ’13

I put my hand up to help out with transport for Billy’s class to go to an exhibition at Te Manawa.  Body in Action is a fabulous, educational exhibit that teaches kids how our amazing bodies work.

Palmerston North Museum

Room 1 at Te Manawa

First stop, after the obligatory photo on the museum sign, was the classroom. Here Barbara, with the help of Vanessa, demonstrated how food is processed through our digestive system.  I have to say that bread and tinned spaghetti looks pretty gross once it’s been mashed with “saliva”, whizzed with “stomach acid” and “bile” then squeezed out through a stocking “large intestine”.

Te Manawa Classroom

Barbara and Vanessa “digesting” spaghetti on toast

It was all too much for poor Gabby, who had to leave the room.

Next we all trouped up stairs to the “Body in Action” exhibit.  The kids had fun testing their sprinting skills, playing ‘guess that smell!’, working out puzzles and trying to ring the bell on the hammer game.

Te Manawa

Sprinting to beat the clock

My group of boys had a game of Gut Run.  Doesn’t that sound delightful!?  It’s a dice game through the digestive system, complete with gurgling and farting sounds.  Just perfect for boys.

Te Manawa

Gut Run

To win, one must pass out through The End.  Of Course.

It’s a fun, interactive and educational exhibit, thanks Te Manawa for bringing it back to Palmy.  Spending a morning with Ashhurst School’s Room 1 was a pleasure, and it beats working.

The Boys are Back… again.

23 May ’13

It’s rugby season again.  So in to town we went on Saturday with Grandad Trev in tow and umbrellas at the ready.


A new season, a new team

Jake was almost busting at the seams to get back on the field, the boy really loves his rugby.  Last year, his first year playing for Boys’ High, Jake’s team won their first game of the season.   Sadly his team didn’t win this time.

High School Rugby

PNBHS Chiefs vs Blues – That’s Jake with the ball

But the boys had a great time all the same.  I love photographing these games –  the action, the facial expressions, the moments of agony and triumph – all priceless.

Jake and our neighbour, Paddy, have been playing in the same team for years, since they were little tykes at primary school.

Ashhurst Rugby - Turboman!

Ashhurst Rugby – Turboman!

 Jacob’s second from the left at the back, and Paddy has the ball.   Aren’t they adorable?!

Jake had his growth spurt ahead of Paddy, so now Jake’s the lifter and Paddy’s the liftee (I may be making up words here).


Lifters and liftees

This is an example of what happens when two Boys’ High teams meet – one side has to turn their shirts inside out.  This time around it was our guys who played ‘white’.  It’s a step up from playing ‘shirts and skins’.

Well done to the Blues, they deserved their 14-5 win.

Rugby handshake

“Cheer mate! Cheers mate! Cheers mate!”

Watch out, Blues – it’ll be our turn next time!

Any Dream Will Do

19 April “13

Last night the kids and I attended a preview performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat at the Regent on Broadway.  That’s Broadway, Palmerston North, New Zealand.  And we really enjoyed it. This was a ‘family and friends’ complimentary performance/final rehearsal type deal, Mum’s in the cast.  (Thanks for the tickets, Mum!)  We are far from a regular theater goers – though each time I see a show I ask myself why we don’t go more often.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat

I always enjoy any excuse to visit the Regent.  I have fond memories of sitting with my school friend and watching movies in the Stalls, with the whole floor to ourselves.  Anne’s Dad was a good friend of the theater manager, back when it used to be a movie theater – we had the Stalls to ourselves because all the other patrons sat in the upstairs Circle seating.  The manager used to tell us the story of the Lady in the Blue Coat who haunted the theater,  a benign figure who had been seen by many people over the years.  All very cool for a pair of teenage  girls.

Since the theater has been restored it is more beautiful than ever. It surely must rival any theater in the country. From the Foyer and the Grand Staircase to the Auditorium it is olde worlde opulence at its very best.   Dear old Palmy has a habit of hiding its light under a bushel, so to speak.  The city has a reputation around the country  for being provincial and rather backward.  In fact we have a thriving and vibrant arts community, if only some of those ‘others’ would bother to come and have a look around.  As a child I recall seeing The Sound of Music, Annie and Chess all at the old Continue reading

An anniversary in review

26 March ’13

An attempt at a restaurant review x 2 …

The Lovely Man and I have been married for 21 years.  We decided a dinner out was called for to celebrate this milestone. Our anniversary fell on Thursday, but we already had commitments involving a guitar lesson and a parent/teacher conference.  Friday worked out better all around.

After checking out some menus on line, and tossing up between a restaurant we love and trying some thing new, we settled on the Village Inn Kitchen in the Hokowhitu Village.  We had been to the Village Inn many years ago, but it’s now under new management so figured we should check it out.  Who knows, it could become our new favourite!

Walking across the road toward the restaurant we could here live music.  Turned out it was this guy, Benny Tipene, playing in the courtyard.  Have a listen, he’s really good.

A group of ladies, who turned out to be from Rotorua, appreciated his music. “We don’t have anything like this up there”, one declared.  Somehow that seems unlikely, but I’m sure Benny appreciated the thought.

We were greeted by a friendly waitress who was more than happy for us to sit outside and enjoy the evening with a drink before we sat down to eat.  However she did leave us hanging with out taking our order.  Full of apologies she finally remembered us and brought out dinner menus.  Then a wine list.  Eventually we got our drinks.  My Gewürztraminer was delicious.  (I didn’t note the wine maker at the time, and an attempt to contact the restaurant through their website’s contact form has been unsuccessful.Edit – as luck would have it, four hours after publication I got an answer.  2010 Whitehaven Gewürztraminer – thanks, Lydia)  The Lovely Man opted for a Peroni, the beer we’d discovered and enjoyed in Europe.  Our waitress took our dinner order and left us to enjoy the atmosphere.   It was indeed very pleasant sitting out on the veranda as the sun set on another beautiful Manawatu evening, listening to Benny play his guitar.  We moved indoors when a cool breeze started ruffling the leaves on the trees.

We had our pick of tables, it was a slow night for dinner.  I’d chosen the Prawn Cocktail to start, the Lovely Man just went for a simple bowl of Fries with Aioli.  Our entrées arrived promptly.  I loved the glass that my cocktail was served in. But the dish itself was better.  The tiny prawns were smothered in that pink sauce we all remember from the ’70s,  only better.   It was complemented by a salad dressed to perfection.  The whole thing was gone before I remembered to get a picture.  Which just goes to show that Jem Beedoo is not entirely correct.  The Lovely Man’s fries were crunchy and floury, just as they should be – I had to steal a few to  mop up the remains of the sauce in my cocktail glass.  The portion of fries was too many for one person for an entrée, it really should be offered on the menu as enough for two.

Crunchy chips at Village Inn Kitchen

Crispy fries and aioli

Our mains arrived, again in good time.  However out entrée dishes hadn’t been cleared, so serving them was a little inelegant and  awkward for the waitress.  The Lovely Man had chosen the Strip Loin – he’s a steak man through and through.  It arrived cooked perfectly rare as requested.  He declared it excellent and exactly to his taste, a winner.  The sauce, while tasty was maybe a little Continue reading

Food and Culture

19 March ’13

The Festival of Cultures in Palmerston North has been getting bigger and more popular every year.    The “boys” and I headed in to the Square just before midday so we could sample the delicious foods and call it lunch.

The first culture we encountered was the Rosewood Morris dancers, the very same dancers we saw at the Medieval Market in Levin.  They’d roped in a bunch of onlookers and were trying to teach them some moves.

Festival of Cultures

Morris Dancers in the Square

We didn’t see any food on offer though.  I wonder what Morris dancers eat… Bangers and mash?  Yorkshire pud?

We moved on in search of edibles.  We found it in spades.  Cambodian pork fried bread, rice and beef stew from the Philippines,  sticky steamed buns filled with pork and relish.  Oh my gosh, international culinary heaven!

Festival of Cultures

Boys chowing down

A dish of rice, noodles and beans in a tasty red sauce from the Congo was served to us by a lovely lady in a fantastic headdress.

Festival of Cultures

A lady of the Congo

Now in search of drink to wash it all down with we shunned the overpriced cans of fizz and went for a delicious and refreshing cup of homemade lemonade. Perfect.

While that we’d been sampling these tasty treats all manner of people in costume and customary dress had been wandering about.  These girls in bright dresses Continue reading

Lantern Parade

16 March ’13

For the last few years the Palmerston Festival of Cultures has kicked off with a community Lantern Parade.  We went as a family a couple of years ago – I don’t know why we didn’t attend last year, we must have had something else on that weekend.

There are many different beliefs about the origin of lantern festivals, however, it is likely to have had something to do with celebrating and cultivating positive relationships between people, families, nature and the higher beings that were believed to be responsible for bringing or returning the light each year.

Billy (with a bit of persuasion – it’s hard to prize him away from a ‘screen’ sometimes)  came with me to check out this year’s parade.

It’s the Chinese Year of the Snake, so the parade was lead by a fabulous snake lantern named Gerald.  Not a very Chinese name, but I guess he is a Kiwi snake.

Lantern Parade

Gerald the Snake Lantern

Amongst the community lanterns that followed Gerald were the zodiac lanterns from the previous years.  I’d love to know where these fabulous paper creations Continue reading

Relay for Life

14 March ’13

Every year since 2001 the city of Palmerston North has held a Relay for Life to raise awareness and cash for cancer treatment.   It is also a time to remember and celebrate those who have fought cancer, the survivors and the people who lost the battle with this devastating disease.

Jacob was invited to join the Palmerston North Cadet Unit team to take part in the Relay.  His friend Brittany is a cadet, and they needed some more bodies to make up team numbers.  Jacob jumped at the chance to be involved, and we were happy to support him.  Sounds like he’s made a bunch of new friends.  Jacob took his camera with him  and got a couple of shots.  Here’s one of the group relaxing between laps.


Cadets at Relay for Life – Credit Jacob Loach

The Lovely Man and I drove in to town on Sunday morning to check out the action.  Lots of tired bodies in a tent city was what we found.  No sign of Jacob though, and we didn’t have any idea what their tent looked like.  After wandering around a bit, considering sending him a text, we fluked locating the boy.  He walked past us with a large sheet of cardboard on his head, taking it to the recycling bin.  “Hi Dad!”  Well, that solved that problem.

They were packing up their tent and gear, so we walked about a bit to see how other teams were getting on.  Runners and walkers, young and old were doggedly completing their circuits of the relay track.

Walking laps

Relaying for Life

The people wearing sashes and leis are cancer survivors.  Kia kaha.

Young girl running

A young relayer

We even managed to find Waldo. Continue reading

Of Lions and Lookouts

11 Feb ’13

February 6th, Waitangi Day, our national day. Or it should be. It seems to me that this day has come to symbolise the trouble that divides us as a nation, rather than a celebration of our oneness. I think that the vast majority of us choose to ignore the silliness and jostling for position that goes on up North. It has become an embarrassment.

But anyway, we get a day off work and school. At least those of us who do not work in retail get a day off, so we made the most of it.

Te Manawa, our local museum, had the job of hosting the city’s celebrations for the day. There were stalls and entertainment, live music and of course the museum and art gallery exhibits.
I was fascinated by the Google Earth carpet in the Te Awa – The River exhibit when we visited during the museum’s open day after its major refurbishment. I still find the carpet rather cool. There’s now an interactive map which shows how the stop bank and flood-way systems protect our farmland, towns and city from flooding along the Manawatu River. We had a little bit of a play with that, and I explained to the kids how it all works. Later, as we wandered around the other exhibits we found a tiny replica movie theater that happened to be running a reel about the building of the flood gates. Good timing, and really interesting to see the history behind the model we’d played with.

There’s also a bronze (I think) statue of a horse on display. This horse used to stand in the foyer of the DIC department store building, now the city library. When I first saw the statue last time we visited it brought back memories of trips to town with my Nana, or maybe it was Grandma, when I was very small. That horse used to delight me as a little girl, and I swear it used to be seven feet tall!

I hadn’t taken my DSLR with me to the museum, but I grabbed some pictures  and shot a little video with the  Canon P&S.

We watched the International Pacific College drummers perform – there is some energy there! I could feel the drum beats in the air, the vibrations in my bones, just awesome.

Manawatu Chinese Association

Chinese Lion

The the Manawatu Chinese Association brought out their lion. What a character he is, apparently Chinese lions don’t like lettuce. Who knew?! Both these groups were excellent, and well appreciated by the crowd. Continue reading

Week 45 – Stockcars, Fireworks – Spectacular!

5 – 11 Nov ’11

Another annual event, the Fireworks Spectacular at the Speedway

Low light, fast moving vehicles, dust, wires, people.  Not any easy situation.  I’d love chance to take my camera ‘in field’.

Moving targets 

The stock car racing is alway fun to watch.  It’s a shame about the wires, but they’re there for our safety.

Stockcars Palmerston North


F-stop                  f/6.3
Exposure time     1/160sec
ISO Speed           ISO-640

Lots of chances to practice my panning technique while cars whizzed around the track.

Speedway Palmerston North

Crashes always add to the excitement

F-stop                  f/6.3
Exposure time     1/160sec
ISO Speed           ISO-640

Right in front of us!  Everyone goes for the crashes – the actual racing is Continue reading