Friday, 14 July 2017


IT IS EASY to get into habits, both good and not so good, living on an Island.

One good habit is walking and I try to make sure I fit in a walk sometime during the day, even if it is winter and knowing there is a gale blowing outside of the shelter of my section.

On Thursday while lower New Zealand was under severe weather conditions, further north it was more like a decent winter gale instead. To take the video clip shown here I had one arm wrapped around a sign to try and steady both myself and the phone while I was pointing toward Auckland. I was hoping to record the huge roaring of the wind in the trees around me that was so loud it was making it hard to think - but the wind blowing over the microphone has drowned it out

Still talking of walking - the, not so good habit, is always wearing bare feet, sneakers or gumboots and when there is an invitation due from the Mainland and you wish to dress up for it, you realise your feet are not used to shoes. So now to each day is being added more and more time learning to walk in shoes again. It's taking a bit longer than I thought.

Saturday, 8 July 2017


IT IS NOT ALWAYS EASY living on the Island in winter. Though, this is the time I reserve for doing a lot of my poetry writing when the bay is empty and the weekenders won't be back for two or three months, some days I can feel very shut in. It's the old story of one being quite comfortable in a room with the door shut, but as soon as its locked, feeling trapped.

Usually its problems with the car not going, but since I barged it over to the mechanic to fix, it's been great. This time its the road confining me - our local councillor has now come back to me with assurances it will be fixed in the near future, so I am still walking the hill - which seems to get steeper as the days get more wintry.

These are the days that I bless my reliable granny-trolley to bring up my groceries.  Sometimes I am tempted to hang brightly coloured ribbons and bells off it, like some people do with bicycles, to show how much I value its work. But then, I wouldn't want to appear eccentric would I?

Monday, 3 July 2017

MEANDERINGS free copy result

This is to advise all those who entered into the draw for a free copy of my poetry book MEANDERINGS, that the winner was Liz of Christchurch, New Zealand Thank you for your entries.

Saturday, 1 July 2017


THERE IS NO ESCAPING THE FACT IT IS NOW WINTER and one has to look hard to find any colour other than variations of green or mud in my daily bush walks.
The  toadstools and the arum lilies are yet to arrive but the bright red-orange fungi are starting to appear on the felled pine trees. 

It is still a while to go also for the bulbs to start their orchestrated display but the green is brightened in the meanwhile with the bromeliads   

And the occasional chilled looking flower which hasn't caught on that it is winter yet.

Friday, 23 June 2017


TIME TO DO an update on the progress of MEANDERINGS, my latest book of poetry.

It's a strange life being a poet. It's not something I can talk about in general conversation, like gardening, or a day at the office, or the difficulty of researching information towards a novel. The closest analogy I can find, is that it's a bit like cooking. Only you can create the outcome. You can feel and see what you want the end result to be, in your head, but having to keep on tasting, adjusting the ingredients, getting the balance right and you'd hope to have something to show for your efforts by the end of the day to be appreciated by your guests. Also, with cooking, your creating is being transferred directly into the movement of your hands. Creating a book is all done in the head, the writing down of it is incidental and may be days or even months later months later.

A novel is telling one continuous story, with various twists and turns along the way.
A book of poems is a collection of separate stories, stories in miniature. Both types of book can take years to write. Go to  for my poetry page.    

My previous book, "When We Were Old," was about going through the process of accepting retirement. MEANDERINGS carries on from there; the poet being out and about questioning where to go now in these last chapters of life.

And you never know whether all those years of living in your head was worth it. I am delighted that MEANDERINGS has been selling so well. Here are some excerpts taken from the reviews posted on

Roger Horrocks:   “…poems which are clear, colourful and emotionally rich, with a distinctive feel for language… allowing us to share the experiences and landscapes of her life (‘I know the sounds of each place / I know the smell of it’).”

Diana Holt:   “…Each one [poem] stirs the mind and you feel you are part of these events which brings up your own memories of maybe similar times and places. Maybe, you think " I should slow down and see the beauties of nature right before my eyes"

Vicki:  “ My husband was very impressed, he said it was the first poetry book he found easy to read and he is now working his way through the book

Diane Gray:  “..A great read. Our favourites goodbye Colin and the lessons of three.

Anita:  “… A quiet and thoughtful meander with a gentle soul

MEANDERINGS is available as a hardback and paperback from Barnes and Noble. Hardback and paperback from .  Hardback, paperback and Kindle from

And for Aucklanders, the paperback of MEANDERINGS is available from Matakana Village Bookshop.

All the copies I had and was offering at a special discounted price have been sold, except for one - and seeing sales have gone so well, let's give it away FREE. Send me an email by close off date, 3rd July  and I'll put you in the draw to win it. No, I won't pass on your email address to anyone else.

My email is:

UPDATE:  30th  June. For Kookaburra members. I have more copies arriving at the end of next week. If you wish for a copy then please contact me at the above email. Many thanks for the recent enquiries.

Saturday, 17 June 2017


I WAS JUST ONE OF THE THOUSANDS  who set their alarm clocks for before 6.30 a.m this morning just so as to be sitting in their lounge, wrapped in dressing gown and  cuddly blankey with a coffee by their side, to watch the yachts racing for the America's Cup.

Kawau Island is all about boats, in one way or another and I am one among many of us was brought up on, at the very least. the subject of boats from early childhood. The boating stories stay the same with adaptions. All that has changed is how the shape, construction and speed of the modern boats are so very different in such a short space of time.

I have borrowed the photo of the magnificent yacht off Paul C Gilbert's Facebook page of a photo from Edouard Ollivier to contrast it with a recent photograph of a contestant for the America's Cup. By the way did others notice that the wake from these foiled boats looks like parallel rows of equal marks?

It is going to be days now of thinking boats, boats, boats, so I'll be posting a boat poem over on my poetry page under Facebook Lois E Hunter.
photograph from 

Friday, 9 June 2017



with it we all wan't to live here all over again.

But before that, here is what is going to happen to our wharf for the next 3 months. The barge is loaded with gear and ready to start.

They told me that they lift each piles, water blast it, put a plastic sleeve around it, replace pile, then pump concrete down between plastic and wooden pile . Fortunately because it is one of the only two public wharves on the Island the bay does not have to pay for the repairs. Yay!!

I have also been restricted to walking lately because one narrow section of the road has so deeply rutted on one side of the road my car would bottom out on it if I tried to pass - see umbrella indicating depth - but I was assured that it is going to be fixed early next week - Yay again !!!

Friday, 2 June 2017


EVEN ON RAINY DAYS I TRY TO MOTIVATE MYSELF  into taking a walk because  by the nature of being a poet I spend a lot of time sitting. Though, as an aside, I would like the choice of using the car when I want to go down to the wharf, which I shall be doing on daybreak tomorrow morning and then return again in the dark when I go and visit with the children in Auckland, Most of the road, though muddy is passable but in one very narrow part the road has become so deeply rutted, and getting more so with the influx of 4 wheel drives in my bay, which means my car will bottom out if I try to pass through. On the plus side, because of walking slower because of  the mud, I become more observant (and nosy) of something I may otherwise glance over because it is so familiar .

Out yesterday in the rain I took more notice of a boat that was stranded/abandoned and just visible in the scrub and I slid through the mud to have a closer look - the rain was quite heavy so the photographs are not as clear as they could be. My first reaction on getting close was thinking how it's so sad to see any boat come to the end of its days, the second being this would make a great "tiny home" and I wished I had the skills to salvage and restore it. The biggest surprise though was to  make my way around to the bow and see it's name - "Hummingbird." another take on the poem I recently wrote  with the same name. -  - - see the poem on my poetry page  under my  Facebook writing name   of lois e hunter

Friday, 26 May 2017


WISH YOU WERE HERE we say. Last weekend two of the "bookabach" bookings in our bay cancelled because of the Mainland weather reports, not realising that we have a micro-climate out here on the Island. Yes, maybe we had a few mornings down to 3*C on the waterfront, but the days warmed up quickly to a comfortable 17*C - 18*C once the sun was up.

So this week I thought I would share a couple of photographs of what is looking particularly pretty in the gardens and a brief video clip of what sort of days we were having here, in the beginning of winter (though the Mainland at the time was having wind and rain) when I walked down to enjoy Mansion House Bay and the gardens.

The Hibiscus are still flowering
Clivia Gardenii

Clivia Gardenii have been planted en mass under
native Titoki tree in the front garden.
( Note: the Clivia Society of South Africa have
been advised these plants, originally brought in by
Sir George Grey, from South Africa are here and
they come to the Island to especially see them.

This octopus looking tangle are of the
flower skeleton left after the seeds have
fallen off the native Nikau palm 

Saturday, 20 May 2017


CONSIDERING WE ARE ABOUT FIVE MILES OF SOLID TREES, despite what some people fear, surprisingly few fall down or cause problems when they do. But yesterday was an exception and a large tree fell across the access road to our wharf. By the time I heard about it and then went down in the late afternoon to get a photograph, already two of our neighbours were well underway to making a walking access at the very least and had already cut away most of the outer limbs.

I wish I could convey better, the fading light, the bitter wind, the smoke and sounds of chainsaw and falling limbs, the smell of freshly cut pine and chainsaw fuel, the grunts of exertion - just add them into the photographs.

Sunday, 14 May 2017


LET THERE BE LIGHT. When I first moved into my cottage there was no garden left other than 2 diseased apple trees which I had to remove, an apricot tree, a grapefruit tree and 2 bamboos - so I started planting, and with much hand-wringing over having only the poorest of clay that went like yellow custard in the winter and yellow brick in the summer a garden was tempted into growing.

It seems like I am going to have the spend the rest of my gardening time from now on, cutting it back to let in the light and air movement so the garden will continue to thrive.  Don't worry, I haven't killed the bottlebrush - By summer it will be back at hedge height where I want it to be - I have found from past experience if I don't keep it trimmed, it will be over my head again in a couple of years Only another 4 trees to go.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017



Gwyneth Strayer

Gwyneth Strayer 

21st December 1916 – 2nd May 2017. 
Born in Wales, but grew up in Glenfield, on the North Shore Auckland when it was all farmland and metal roads - and no harbour bridge.

Her memorial service will be at 11 a.m. in the Whangateau Hall on Saturday 6th May.

Gwyneth was the Plunket Nurse for Takapuna, North Shore of Auckland, for many years and retired in her 60’s. She was known as being an exceptional Plunket Nurse especially for babies with health problems and with her expertise would diagnose what was ailing them, where often the doctors were at a loss. She loved her babies. Allergies, coeliacs, colic, hip dysplasia, eczemas – she would design a routine, diet, exercise, or whatever, for them all, and so many mothers, as I do, still bless her for her advice and cures and of her going out of her way to help them.

I was fortunate enough that Gwyneth also became a family friend and she gave me free access to her extensive library, on what would be now be called alternative subjects - from natural therapies, to organic gardening and farming, naturopathy to environmental subjects, to healthy house building. It goes on – you name it she had studied it. She never stopped learning and was a fascinating conversationalist, never matter what your age, colour, nationality or religion. We could, and did, talk for hours.

Here is Gwyneth, now days away from 90, and though not well on the day, came to a family party and is seen here, totally holding the interest of one of her more difficult babies, my daughter, who thanks to Gwyneth overcame all her health problems, and like her sister, didn’t have an anti-biotic until well into her 20’s.

And though I did not see much of Gwyneth after she shifted north to be with her niece, I am going to miss having her in my world.

Sunday, 30 April 2017


TODAY WE ENTERED INTO THE MONTH OF MAY and as far as the tourist season is concerned we have another two weekends to go and it will finish on the 14th which is Mother's Day.

Already the  skies and seas have turned into its winter shade of blue and the Island is noticeably slowing down. The Kawau Cruises ferry is bringing out less day-trippers with only a few now walking the Island tracks and many of the rental cottages are already closing up until Spring.

A late group of hardy yachties came in at 4 for hot chocolate
The cafe has changed from being open daily to only being open these last two forthcoming weekends.
Kawau Cruise Ferry has less tourists now.

For me this is the week when I change over my curtains and cushions from summer to winter colours, and the heat-pump is already being turned on in the evenings. Nearly time for winter singlets, but not quite yet - when that happens I know winter is really here.

Saturday, 22 April 2017



Despite what you may presume, it takes a medical emergency to realise just how fortunate we are to live on Kawau Island. 

One of my neighbours had to make the emergency call at 10 p.m. the other night. That brought in the Island's First Response Team to stabilise her and within the hour she was loaded on the ambulance helicopter heading for Auckland Public Hospital. It took 12 minutes from the helicopter's take-off to arrival at hospital. Her partner went down to be with her and after arriving on the Mainland, because of the heavy commuting traffic, it took three and a half hours to get to the hospital.

In the meanwhile txts and phone calls raced around our bay and immediately there were people ready to be of any further assistance. My neighbour was operated on the next morning and is safe in her hospital bed and only awaits full recovery before returning to the Island.

Friday, 14 April 2017


THE LAST ROSE OF SUMMER. As I am seeing the first flowers appear on your Northern Hemisphere posts, so ours are now leaving us until next Spring. - but they're not quite all gone, yet. The pre-winter tidy up continues and there was a big internal sigh as I took down the shade sail and packed it away. Time for the long tail critters to try to make a dash inside and set themselves up a home for the winter. Tara, the cat caught her first one and thought that I was going to take it off her, like I did the lizards and cicadas. She couldn't quite believe all the praise she got and being allowed to keep it - outside.

My very best pre-winter news though, and I'll start at the beginning. I live on one of the only two short access roads on the Island, at a top of a very steep hill. Which means I rely on an "Island Car." - which is something that'll no longer pass a warrant of fitness, ever again.  It has meant that they don't always go when needed and I have done a lot of winter walking up the hill from the wharf. Number 3 car got so bad last winter I barged it off the Island to the Mainland, then it was towed to the village garage to repair it before reversing the process back to the Island. Expensive (ouch) but cheaper than getting a replacement car. All went well late winter, spring, summer, autumn, and I was looking forward to easy winter travelling until the steering locked - solid. I tried. My friend Jenny tried. A week went by and I was not a happy chappie. Then, dum de dum de dum, dum dum dum - up rode Russell early this morning and - fixed it!


Saturday, 8 April 2017


TIME TO CATCH-UP WITH CHORES. All a bit mundane really.

Because so many weeks were taken up with getting my poetry book MEANDERINGS published, and having amazing periods of endless rain, I have been running behind with keeping the gardens up to date - so before the rains come back ( due this coming week ) over the past few days it has been all systems go!!

This deck had been worrying me about how to clean it up. I kept looking at all the specialised products on the market, but I am sensitive to a lot of chemicals and damned if I could either make up my mind or buy a product. Then one wet day, with the deck by front door so slippery, I thought I'll just give it a bit of a scrub with water. Why didn't I think of that before???. I shall go and finish this off after I have finished this post while having a late lunch..

All the lawns behind have been mown and now the hedges are cut as well.

Chinese lantern is one name for this  shrub - the flowers are actually a very deep red.  I have just taken cuttings of this one and the yellow one below from my neighbour's garden and hopefully they will take. 

Monday, 3 April 2017


STRANGE CRITTERS. I came across two insects that I had never seen before, quietly mating in the late afternoon and it was a rush to get the camera and invade their privacy to photograph them. Not easy to do as on a bright white post and both only 1.5 cm long ( i.e. just over an inch).  Fiddling around with editing though I could blow up the photos and fiddle around with editing until I could get clear images along with their colouring.

Now how to contact the bio-security people? Why do government department have to keep changing their name? To hide away from the 'common' people? Or do they do it to show a new guy is in charge?

So no longer is there a DSIR - Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, founded in  1926. One always went their with their queries to identify strange plant, plant disease or insect etc. But it was Reconstituted into initially 10 semi-independent entities called Crown Research Institutes by the Crown Research Institutes Act 1992.

So try Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry - Commonly known as MAF - that was dissolved in 2012 and became Ministry for Primary Industries - but when googling that title it seems to keep coming back to the fishing industry.

By luck rather than remarkable skills in googling I finally got my answer from - wait for it...reckon you'll find it in the phone book real easy - NOT

IDCPHEL Auckland Public Enquiries <>

Hi Lois,
Thank you very much for your enquiry and photos. This is a male and female lichen bag moth, Cebysa leucotelus [Lepidoptera: Psycidae]. This Australian moth has been established in New Zealand since about 1981. The female is brightly coloured metallic blue with orange markings and is sometimes mistaken for a beetle or wasp. The wings are never fully formed, so she hops around but can’t fly. The male looks quite different and is brown and cream/yellow in colour. The caterpillar lives inside a silken bag camouflaged with bits of dirt stuck on the outside, and eats algae and lichen. When ready to pupate, they often crawl upwards and hang quietly in the resting stage. They may sometimes be seen hanging under the eaves of a building. They are not of biosecurity concern. Thank you for your interest and for taking the trouble to report it.
Kind regards,

Stacey Lamont | Entomology
Plant Health and Environment Lab | Diagnostic and Surveillance Services | Operations
Ministry for Primary Industries - Manatū Ahu Matua | 231 Morrin Road | PO Box 2095 | Auckland 1140 |
New Zealand

Australian Lichen Bag Moth



The common  New Zealand Bag/Case Moth which we are familiar with in our gardens. We know them by the overnight torn edges and holes in the leaves of trees, lemon trees in particular in my garden and yet are so hard to detect as they look like small twigs. They feed on a very wide range of native and exotic broad-leaved and coniferous shrubs and trees. I think this is maybe the moth that was swarming this summer and the Islanders were wondering about? 

See more at .

    Wednesday, 29 March 2017


    WHILE YOU WERE AWAY doing your city life the Island has recovered from the two big rain bombs we had in quick succession and this morning your empty holiday cottages are all shining in this early morning sun.

    I thought I had the bay to myself, except there must be someone on one of the moored yachts for even though it is so early across the water comes the smell of frying bacon.

    Note: For those who pre-ordered copies of my book MEANDERINGS. They arrived later on this morning and your copies are stacked here waiting for me to address them tonight and I'll be sending them onto you in the post tomorrow when I go over to the Mainland.

    From the day I sent the manuscript off to the publishers, Xlibris,  to today, the whole exercise took just the 7 weeks and that was despite me not realising I should have chosen the poetry template option. I am not sure when it'll be available in the New Zealand libraries.
    It is already available through Amazon, and also through as a hardback, paperback or E-book