Tag Archives: New Zealand

Picture of the Day: The Darrans, New Zealand

This is a great picture I saw on Facebook from Aspiring Guides of Barrier Knob located in The Darrans on the South Island of New Zealand.  You can see pictures from my visit to New Zealand’s South Island at this link.

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New Zealand’s Mt. Tongariro Erupts For First Time In Over 100 Years

Mt. Tongariro which is part of a chain of volcanoes that makes up Tongariro National Park in New Zealand has recently erupted and spewed large amounts of ash across the North Island area of the country:

Steam spills from Mt Tongariro after the mountain erupted for the first time in over 100 years on August 8, 2012 in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand. Mt Tongariro erupted intermittently from 1855 to 1897. Although not an immediate threat to the community, the latest eruption may be the beginning of weeks, months or even years of volcanic activity. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

You can see more images of the eruption at this link.

Mt. Tongariro is extremely sacred to New Zealand’s native Maori people due to a legend that links the volcano to the ancient Maori gods:

Legend links Ngatoroirangi with the creation of volcanoes and the naming of Tongariro. According to one version, the priest traveled inland to explore the island and claim land for his people. As he climbed to the summit of Tongariro, a strong south wind brought extremely cold weather. Nearly chilled to death and exhausted by the climb, Ngatoroirangi called out for help from his sisters in the far-away Maori homeland, Hawaiki.

They came to him in the form of fire under the earth, leaving a trail of geysers and volcanoes in their path and emerging at Tongariro to warm the priest. Thus, the volcanic landscape represents a genealogic link with the historic homeland of Hawaiki, and the mountains are revered as tribal ancestors. The name Tongariro—“tonga” (south wind) and “riro” (seized)—commemorates the cold wind that almost killed Ngatoroirangi.

In order to protect the holy status of these lands the Maori people donated Tongariro to the New Zealand government in 1894 to be protected as a national park which is what it remains today and has even gone on to be designated in 1993 as a United Nations World Heritage Area.

Picture of Mt. Tongariro from Lake Rotoaira.

Fortunately I have not seen any reports of any fatalities from this eruption.  Long time On-Walkabout readers may have read my prior posting about hiking the Tongariro Crossing trail in New Zealand.  This hike I still rank as the most incredible day hike I have ever completed.   Likewise my tour around the North Island of New Zealand is one of the top destinations I have ever visited.  Unless this eruption gets much worse it should only have a mild affect on anyone visiting the island.

The Blue Lake On Mt. Tongariro.

Due to this eruption the Tongariro Crossing has been closed and scientists can only guess on how long this eruption will last.  From pictures of the eruption I easily see that it is happening Ketetahi section of the trail shown below:

The Ketetahi area is on the north side of the volcano and is on the last down hill section of the Tongariro Crossing.  This area of the volcano features a number of large boiling hot springs and as well as a hut for hikers that I wonder is still standing or not?:

Here is a closer look at the hots springs:

Below is a view of the Ketetahi section of the volcano as viewed from the road going by Mt. Tongariro.  If you look closely you can see the boiling hot springs on the side of the volcano which is where the eruption happened recently:

Early morning picture of Mt. Tongariro.

I hope this eruption doesn’t get any worse and no one gets injured from it, but it always interesting to see nature at work like it currently is at Mt. Tongariro in beautiful New Zealand.

For those interested here is a complete listing of my time exploring Tongariro National Park:

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Archive of Hikes In New Zealand

My time living in Australia gave me the opportunity to travel over to New Zealand and do a bit hiking over there as well.  New Zealand is without a doubt one of the most beautiful countries in the world and true hiking Mecca.  Below is an archive of the various hike I took while visiting New Zealand:

North Island:

South Island

I of course did much more than hike in New Zealand and you can read a complete account of my visit to New Zealand by reading my series of postings about this beautiful country.

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Christchurch’s Famous Steeple Destroyed By Earthquake

My thoughts today are with the good people of Christchurch who are trying to recover from yet another earthquake in the past 5 months.  This earthquake registered a 6.3 but occurred during a busy period of the day compared to the prior 7.1 earthquake:

Right now reports are saying their are up to 65 people dead and more being recovered.  Very sad.  It was also very sad to see such a symbol of the city, the Christchurch Cathedral destroyed:

THE spire of the landmark Christchurch Cathedral, sheared off and strewn about as rubble, offers a dire symbol of the impact of yesterday’s earthquake.

Christchurch was built around the graceful 130-year-old neo-Gothic structure. It is one of New Zealand’s top tourist drawcards, as much a symbol of this city as is Sydney’s Harbour Bridge.

But the Anglican cathedral’s dean, the Reverend Peter Beck, said the building’s partial destruction, which included part of its roof caving in, was unimportant in light of the human cost of the disaster.

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Mr Beck rushed from his office to help visitors in the building after the quake hit.

”We got what people we could, but we don’t know what’s under the rubble,” he said. ”There was so much dust in the building you couldn’t see.”

At least two survivors were rescued from the cathedral rubble, but witnesses said they expected fatalities there.  [The Age]

When my wife and I toured through New Zealand we flew into Christchurch, but we really didn’t spend much time there.  We did find the city to be quite nice and pleasant like most cities in New Zealand and the International Antarctica Centre was definitely fun to check out.  I’m sure the citizens of Christchurch will rebound from this tragedy and the city will become a nice place to visit once again.

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Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings Fame Is Knighted In New Zealand

Just last year New Zealand once again started accepting knighthoods from the Queen after their long time left leaning government was removed from office after the national elections.  Having spent time living in Australia and spenting a lot of time in New Zealand, I can tell you for whatever reason the political left in those countries do not like the whole British royalty arrangement.  Peter Jackson though obviously isn’t complaining:

In a scene that could have come from one of his “Lord of the Rings” films, director Peter Jackson knelt Wednesday to be tapped on the shoulder with a sword to confirm his appointment as a knight.

Jackson’s investiture ceremony in the New Zealand capital Wellington — his home town and business base — installed him as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

“I feel incredibly humbled and the truth is, making movies is not a solo effort — it involves hundreds of people, thousands of people, so I feel as though I’m accepting it on behalf of a huge industry,” Jackson told reporters.

Jackson said the honour was different from winning an Oscar, and meant a lot more in some ways because of the tradition and the history involved.

By the way you can view pictures of my visit to the Hobbiton movie set in New Zealand where the scenes of the Hobbit village were filmed.  It was an interesting and scenic tour to see the movie.

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Over 40% of New Zealanders Open To Australia Merge

This number of Kiwis open to merging with Australia I found surprising:

MORE than 40 per cent of New Zealanders think it’s time the South Pacific nation considered becoming Australia’s seventh state, according to a survey of more than 1000 people. The research, conducted by UMR, asked residents on both sides of the Tasman for their views on a possible union of the countries, 110 years after New Zealand chose not to join the Australian Commonwealth, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Of the New Zealanders asked, 41 per cent said the prospect of New Zealand becoming Australia’s seventh state was “an idea worth debating”.

On the other hand, 58 per cent did not believe the discussion was worth having. One per cent were unsure.

The survey, which has a margin of error of three per cent, found New Zealanders believed a union would bring big improvements in the ease of travel to Australia and to the defence status of the nation of four million people.  [NewsCore]

For those that have never been around Aussies and Kiwis, there relationship is very much a USA and Canada relationship.  Australians tend to overlook New Zealand while the Kiwis tend to try and emphasize their differences and what they do better than Australia.  However, I cannot ever imagine over 40% of Canadians wanting to merge with the US?

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Rise In New Zealand Temperatures Proven to Be Man Made, By Scientists Manipulating Data

In the wake of the ClimateGate scandal that exposed how climate data was being manipulated, comes news that the climate data from New Zealand has been manipulated as well.  Here is the graph the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research has been putting out in defense of global warming in New Zealand:

However, a group called the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition went and conducted their own audit of the raw temperature data from each of the stations that this graph was made from and this is what they got:

Big difference in graphs huh?  So how did the New Zealand government get such a slanted graph?  Well they intentionally changed the data to give the stations cooler temperatures in earlier years and warmer temperatures in later years to get a more slanted graph.  Make sure to read the whole report because it is amazing how blatant this fraud is. These findings don’t surprise me at all because when I went hiked around New Zealand’s Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers I found out that these glaciers had retreated drastically in prior decades long before any SUV’s and are now again growing in size.

So who is the man behind this fraud?  His name is Jim Salinger, a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who started work on the series when he was with the University of East Anglia, which is the same university at the heart of the ClimateGate scandal.  So now we know where he learned his data manipulating tricks from.

You can read more from Anthony Watts on Salinger’s excuse for manipulating the data and his refusal to release his methods.

I am just wondering what other East Anglia scientists are out there around the globe manipulating climate data like Salinger?

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Man Infects Wife with HIV In Order to Have Sex with Her

I don’t think giving your wife HIV is the best way to convince your wife to have sex with you:

AN HIV-positive man has confessed to injecting his blood into his sleeping wife and infecting her with the virus that can cause AIDS.

It is believed the man wanted to give her the disease so she would start having sex with him again, New Zealand’s Sunday Star-Times newspaper said.

Court documents detailed how the man, 35, twice pricked his 33-year-old wife with a sewing needle laced with his infected blood.

The husband discovered he was HIV-positive – but his partner and children were not – during health checks imposed on them when the family arrived in New Zealand in 2004, Sky News reports.

The woman had said she wanted to maintain the relationship for the sake of the children.

But she refused to have sex with her husband for fear of contracting the disease.  [Sky News]

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New Zealand Teacher May Lose Job for Nude Penthouse Pictures

First there was naked Air New Zealand crews, then there was the naked mom hoax, and now here is yet another odd story about a nude woman coming out of New Zealand:

A SERIES of steamy naked photographs in Australian Penthouse may have cost a young Kiwi primary school teacher her career.

The New Zealand Teachers Council has revealed it is investigating 26-year-old Rachel Whitwell after she appeared in the “New Aussie Babes” section of the magazine’s website professing to love pornography.

The shots show Ms Whitwell kneeling seductively in front of a piano and frolicking in a spa, and quote the woman, nicknamed “Lexy”, as saying: “I am a 26-year-old single school teacher from New Zealand that would love to get into modelling.”

“I’ve written erotic stories for an R-rated magazine and run my own pole dancing studio.”

Ms Whitwell, who is the girlfriend of Kiwi multi-millionaire porn movie distributor Steve Crow, appears in six photos in all, including two totally naked.

New Zealand’s Teachers Council director Peter Lind said an investigation was under way to see whether she should be struck off the teaching register.  [AAP]

Here is a word of advice to teachers don’t pose nude and expect to keep your job.  If you want to be a model go for it, but don’t be a teacher at the same time.  By the way she does have the looks to be a model, but definitely not the judgement to be a teacher.

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Naked New Zealand Mom Story Proven to Be A Hoax

The story about the New Zealand kid selling nude pictures of his mom on the Internet has turned out to be a hoax:

A man who claimed to be a teenager selling naked photos of his mother on TradeMe says it was all a stunt.

Design student Michael Chal, 22, had posed as a teenager and listed raunchy photos of a woman he claimed was his mother as revenge for having to clean out their garage.

But Chal is actually the son of a former MP – and she is not the subject of the photos.

The Herald on Sunday today reported Chal pulled the stunt for a project to use social media to “get people chattering”. The woman pictured was a friend.

Mr Chal is the son of former United Future MP Kelly Chal, who was ousted from Parliament after just 17 days because she was not a New Zealand citizen.

Media Design School course leader Kate Humphries told the newspaper it was “99.9 per cent certain” he would fail the project, which was worth a fifth of his year’s work.

Mr Chal had no regrets about the project and said he believed it might help him forge a career in advertising.

“Dishonesty in advertising? I think that might help.”

Mrs Chal told the newspaper the matter had nothing to do with her.

“He doesn’t live at home, he lives in Auckland.”

Two of the photos fetched $340 but TradeMe had advised the buyer not to pay for them, NZPA reported.  [Sydney Morning Herald]

Well I have to say his little experiment worked because for better or for worse it did become a global net phenomenon. 

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