Sunday, December 31, 2006
Saturday, December 30, 2006
The neat thing was seeing the young fellas really enjoying the downhill single track adventure through mudholes and the 40+ creek crossings. They gave everything a go and even gave things a second and third go if they did not have a successful crossing first time up. It's an awesome ride which riders of all abilities can manage.
I didn't take my camera as last time I took a spill in the creek. Andrew took his and I hope to receive some shots to post here for your enjoyment.
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Have a great new year!
I really enjoy the day talking with Robin and Ani Mohi and catching up with kaumatua Eric Koopu and Charlie Poihipi and the local kuia. Unfortunately, every year there is always another one missing.
Fishing went well with all prizes being claimed. The winning snapper was 2.4k as was the winning kahawai. There were at least 15 kahawai over 2kg. The winning shark was 22kg. I had a beautiful cold beer with Eric afterwards and he sent me on my way with a huge tray of beautiful venison steaks.
I dropped into Ted and Bev's new place at Maraenui, had a couple more cold beers, unloaded some of the venison and arranged to pick up their unwanted spa pool on Sunday.
Another perfect day in paradise.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
This early evening view from our deck is an iconic summer image. The tui is feeding on the flax with a view of the sea behind. This shot was taken late on Christmas Day after spending it with family, eating relaxed food and tasting champagne cocktails, dessert wines, margaritas, a few thirst quenching beers and a nightcap whiskey to finish.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Despite struggling with a heavy cold had a stunning day mtbing in the Whirinaki with 16 other possums. It's a 2 hour drive deep into the boondocks to arrive at Minginui, but well worth the effort. Kurt was heard to say that these were the best tracks he had ever ridden in NZ. Jacquie. Kerry and Neil did some bush walks while myself, Kurt, Lucy, Thomas, Andrew, Amber, Kerr, Tine, Brian, Michael, Hamish, Marg, Tim and Anthony all MTBed.The native bush is outstanding. All virgin natives with ancient rimu and lots of other podocarps I can't identify. Underneath there was awesome regeneration. A lot of work has gone into the tracks. While some of the climbs were tough they were all manageable. The downhills were awesome with quite a bit of sweeping corners, then some tricky tight corners, with great low jumps all on single track. We soon split into 3 groups. Kerr, Brian, Michael and Hamish were champing at the bit so we sent them on to complete the 16k circuit without stopping. The middle group of Tine, Kurt, Tim, Amber, Thomas, Tim and Anthony set off with instructions to wait at the junction of the long and short track. Lucy, Andrew and I decided to bike in sections to support Marg who proved to be a tough possum.
Groups 2 and 3 met at the junction and Thomas, Lucy and Tine decided to wait for Marg and take the short route back. They experienced some very steep downhill with Thomas claiming he was the downhill ace, tho Lucy disputed this! The rest of us headed up a steep climb and because of a little bit of luck and a very high level of geograpic skill and sense of direction on my part found the unmarked sharp turn we were meant to take. We had 6-7k of fantastic and almost-out-of-control single track downhill.
We manged that without any mishaps. I was quite impressed with Tim's fearlessness on the downhill, but I was able to put him in his place on the short, but steep uphill climbs. We gathered together at the top of Kereru Rd before the final 5 min downhill to the finish where we discovered that every one was back except for Kerr, Brian, Michael and Hamish. It soon became apparent that the only group without a teacher in it was lost. We correctly assumed they had missed the left hand turn that we had expertly found and had cycled deep into the Ureweras heading overland generally in the direction of Taupo 150km away! There was nothing for it but to eat our lunch and wait. About an hour later they turned up proud of their adventure into uncharted territory. Apparently, Kerr had a spectatular fall into a large puddle of mud. It really seemed to make Brian's day.
Marg headed off to Wanganui (before the lost boys had returned!) and we all took off. We took a spin through Minginui Village which was very depressing. We could all hear the Deliverance music and were keen not to end up down a cul-de-sac never to be seen again!
I've just discovered Flickr and I've put all of the photos from Whirinaki there. Click here to view them.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I've been struggling with a sore throat and have not even thought about Xmas. The next highlight is the possums biking in the Whirinaki Forest on Saturday. Will be a big day, but will be fun. Also found an event for Easter 2007. A 3 day 295ki MTB ride from Whakatane to Taupo across country! That's us.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Three principals of OC in the same room! The gifts were so appropriate: boat winch for Heremaia, digital camera for Marg and a waka huia and pounamu for Adrian.
On Sunday, a little worse for the wear, Kurt, Andrew and I met up with Marg's nephew Christopher and biked around the Ohiwa loop and up Browns Rd before crashing in on Marg's bacon and eggs.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
After completing the reports last night I went around to visit Kurt (fellow possum who wimped out of Sunday's ride!) to discover he is having a mid-life crisis as he flew to Taranaki and drove back in a landrover that he bought down there. It's a blue tonka toy and I will attempt to sneak a photo and post later.
Almost-ex possum Scotty the mad dog was absent from action on Sunday as well.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
It is now Sunday 1.40pm and I still have the rest of the Year 10 reports to do! Why am I starting so late? Because the possums have just done a brilliant but brutal MTB ride. Myself, Lea, Andy and 2 new applicants (Brian and his son Michael) biked up Amokura Rd (new world record of 38 minutes to the top of the big grind) and then came down Upper Paerata Rd and this time took the correct turn and ended up on Paerata Rd after some awesome but scary, on the edge of out of control downhill. We were out for 4 1/4 hours but my total biking time was 2 3/4 hours as I had to do a lot of waiting for the others! Not really, but we had a long stop at the trig because of the awesome views - and because we were tired!
Lea was a wimp and grizzled about her brakes all the way (who needs brakes?) and then walked down!?* an awesome downhill after seeing Brian falling off 1/3 of the way down and his bike carrying on for another 1/3! Michael rode strongly but we broke him in the end and the old mountain goat Andrew just kept plugging on. An awesome ride! All of the photos can be viewed by clicking here!
But time for reports!
Thursday, December 7, 2006
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
I have not fully recovered from last night's brutal ride. Been coughing and spluttering all day. Time was about 25 30 which is great considering how long it has been and the strong wind!
Had a great 3 hour meeting with the team from Kawerau and Bill from Whakatane. I don't know if their idea of fun is being shut in a room with me for 3 hours while I spout on about restorative justice, values and our JAM programme, but I had a great time!
Managed to finalise my budget for next year and confirm asset, minor equipment, minor property, furniture and equipment, STAR, software and computer network expenditure for next year. We plan to operate with a deficit of $50,000 because we have committed that amount from funds to go towards the Tech Block refurbishment and my budget came out with a deficit of $49,849! Not much room left to move!
I am about to go out to the Kapa Haka end of year dinner which will be quite pleasant, though I am very tired at the moment. Head to Auckland tomorrow evening because Sam (son) has an appointment at Starship for his scoliosis. Check out the link to his blog to see Xray pictures and track how he is feelling about it all.
280 junior reports will be waiting for me to read and comment on when I return and they have to be done before the end of the weekend!
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Headboy from 2002, Jed, dropped in at the end of the day and caught up with me. He has just completed his 4th year at medical school and has offered to talk to our students and/or support any student thinking of studying health sciences.
Had a great meeting with the two wahines and Hone after school for 90 minutes reviewing the way in which we have used restorative principles to manage classroom behaviour issues and the fine tuning of the procedures for 2007. It has been an exhilirating journey, but we've left some passengers behind: some never got on the train and some have tried to jump off as we slowed on some of the bends!
I've just got back in from the Tuesday night cycle time trial that is held in town which now has 96 registrations. 47 brave souls took on the howling gale tonight. Not sure of my time but I think I did quite well. Started with Roger who didn't drop me until Hospital Hill (after letting me lead most of the way!!). Really suffered from oxygen debt at the end. Lots of groaning, dry retching and ripped-raw throat! Wahine no. 2 cried off tonight and biked to Maraenui instead, and Kurt and Scott whimped out because they had been cycling with kids today as part of Outdoor Ed.
Looking forward to tomorrow as I am hosting visitors from 2 other schools who want to look at some of our interesting programmes. I always like skiting!!
To top off a perfect day Kurt, Lucy and I went fishing in Blakes and caught a nice kahawai for the smoker. It was great to be able to share this with the staff for lunch today.
Saturday, December 2, 2006
As soon as Saturday school finished a group of us staff headed up to Waioweka for Ernie's tangi. Debbie joined us and it was great to hear she was honoured with a commitment to sport award at the BOP sports awards last night. Thoroughly deserved as she has been providing a huge range of sporting opportunities for our kids for many years.
After an hour's wait at the marae we went on to farewell Ernie. It's always quite nerve wracking having to whaikorero at such occasions, but I have had some awesome tutors over the years. Initially it was Tawhiro who, unfortunately, has passed away and more recently it has been Heremaia whom I have listened to carefully while sitting on the pae and have learned a great deal from. He too is leaving at the end of the year after 45 years teaching. He bought his own present which we will give to him at the farewells. Hone has rejoined our staff and is now my current whaikorero and tikanga mentor. Heremaia, myself and Hone spoke for our roopu on the marae.
I got home around 3.00pm and weeded the last of the trees growing on my bank at home. I then spent a relaxing hour drinking coffee in the sun and reading the paper. Then cooked a beauty curry and watched the army helicoptors completing an exercise above Opotiki.
Really looking forward to our Blue Mountains ride tomorrow. Might even get a fish in tomorrow afternoon!