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Roaring Girl
The adventures of the yacht Roaring Girl wandering the seas.
Kakariki: the Emerald Terraces

The first section of the Happy Valley is these huge terraces, one of the three fault escarpments created by the nearby eruption of Mount Taupo in 131AD. They are painted in all sorts of colours by the algae that live in the hot water that is covering the rock, ejected from the geysers, fumeroles and hot streams that run through the area. A lot of water: 20 million litres a day cross these rocks, though it looks like it is trickling into the lake.

Places and people
Lake Ohakuri

This lake was created when the River Waikato was dammed and managed for hydro electricity. Before that, this was a fast running river, and visitors were paddled across in a canoe. Today it's a nippy little launch.
Pip had been here before, and made sure we got up really early, to get the first trip across. A great thing to do, as we had the area to ourselves for over an hour. It is, by the way, excellent value: NZD28 each (about 12GBP) including the ferry and, for us, a night's parking with use of toilets!

Places and people
Blue 'moorhens'

The water lilies are surely introduced, but the pukeko love them, splaying out their big red feet as they peck at the insects on the leaves.

Places and people
Sarah's first ever geyser
22/02/2008, Orakei Korako

We parked for the night in the car park of this little resort (with full permission), across the lake from the geothermal area,
While walking around we saw this geyser take off on the hills.
In fact, there's thermal activity everywhere, with a smoking mud pool just beside the car park, feeding a scaldingly hot stream that runs into the lake.

Places and people
Oh yes and the wine!

Here's Arthur and Joan toasting with the excellent Hawkes Bay chardonnay.
After the racing we headed off, making for the extraordinary geothermal areas further north.

Places and people
Off to the races
21/02/2008, The race track

On Thursday we went to the racing at Hawkes Bay. Noni was working with the trainer for whom she rides track every day. She also had her eye on a dark grey filly, Ecstasy, which she wanted to run not too well, as the trainer had promised to sell her if she didn't turn up trumps. Noni wants her for a jumper.
So we backed Ecstasy who dutifully trundled home in the middle of the field. She was on the farm by the end of the day, Noni not being a woman who wastes any time.
It's a lovely race track and we had a great day losing on the Tote and enjoying the sunshine.

Places and people
The other former State Cinema
20/02/2008, Grays, Essex, UK

For those who don't already know it, here's the Art Deco State Cinema in Grays High Street, a truly challenging regeneration project both in size and its advanced dilapidation.

Places and people
The former State Cinema

For those with whom Sarah worked in Thurrock, here is the other Art Deco State Cinema (now an office-products shop.) Influenced by Spanish Mission style as well as Art Deco, it's a lovely building.
See the cantilevered lamp-post. When the town was rebuilt, all street level lampposts were banned, to keep the streets clear and uncluttered. Road-signs were tiled into the pavements, or put onto enamelled signs that sat flush with building walls. Today these are considered inconvenient to car drivers and have been replaced. Verandah support pillars have also come back in, when the 1930's designers banned these too, requiring all verandahs to be suspended from the higher floors.
The results are stupendous, and an object lesson in clear but draconian design guidance. Napier is a beautiful city, an enduring tourist destination, as well as a thriving commercial port and centre for the agricultural businesses of the region.

Places and people
The Bank

The guidebook says that this bank building is probably the finest example of Maori carving and kowhaiwhai (rafter) carving on a European building, both inside and out. Here is the lovely ironwork above the outer door.

Places and people
Aotearoa Art Deco

As always, Art Deco looked outwards for its influences, but, again as elsewhere, New Zealand evolved its own style. Most of the buildings use the ziggurats, flower motifs and triangles amongst the swirly shapes familiar from European, particularly French work of the period. Only four Napier buildings have Maori shapes in their decoration, and one is this antiques centre.

Places and people
Art Deco City

The whole town was rebuilt in an astonishing two years, almost entirely in Art Deco style, mixed at times with Spanish Mission design. An interesting lesson in regeneration on a town-wide scale; the Council delegated its responsibilities to two men (both officers of the authority). They worked with local people and, perhaps most importantly in the long run, formed an Architects Association of four practices who worked together to create a harmonious whole. These two Commissioners refused to allow rebuilding to start immediately, requiring all businesses to trade from two large tin sheds on a green area on the edge of town, while they worked out how to proceed with the work.
This is the Tobacco Company, formerly known as the Rothman's building. It claims to be the second most photographed building in NZ, after the government building the Beehive in Wellington. It's in august company; we've seen several such claims, including the Bath House in Rotarua.

Places and people
Earthquake uplift
20/02/2008, Napier

Napier, the biggest town in Hawkes Bay, was destroyed by an earthquake (and subsequent fires) in 1931 which lifted up the land by about two and half metres. This hill had been almost an island, linked to the mainland by a causeway. Now it is a solid hill, with great views across the Bay and some very nice house.
We took the 'duck' trip, a great way to get a feel for the geography of the place. This vehicle is a bus which takes to the water. Twice it plunges in, once by the commercial port, and then to cross the Ahuriri river estuary. Each time a sail drive drops down at the stern and propels it in a stately way to the next ramp.

Places and people

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Who: Pip Harris and Sarah Tanburn
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