Sunday, 13 August 2017


BEING EVERGREEN ANY CHANGES IN SEASONAL COLOUR  are usually textural and/or subtle with the occasional exception mostly from plants that have escaped early colonial gardens and flourished in its new climate. One such plant is the Arum lily. An elegant stately flower and a rare fortune to buy in Germany I was told by a German tourist, and then only for funerals. The Island’s early women settlers used to supplement their income by gathering armfuls, I heard, and were sent over to the Auckland flower markets. On the Island, as elsewhere in Northland, it is considered a weed and now another excuse to bring out the weed spay {{{{shudder}}}. The vase of them pictured, is mixed together with our native Kawakawa which is gathered in Northland to make a beer, or is used for various ailments including both constipation and the opposite. Then there are the colours from the gardens I pass on my walks - including someone's fish flag blown into a tree. 


Saturday, 5 August 2017


THIS WEEK, LET'S TALK ABOUT CATS. For quite a few months now  there has been a strong activist movement in New Zealand for local councils to make a law that people have to keep their pet cats inside at night so they won’t kill our native birds. What amazes me is how little they know, or even care to know, about the behaviour and roles of cats.  

When it comes to anything harming birds it seems to raise an obsessive rage in some people’s breasts. People like Gareth Morgan, who started up the original onslaught against cats. I would have thought they would have done some study of their actual facts beforehand. Passionate emotion is good,  but surely it would be preferable if they actually connected these emotions together with their thinking brain.

Anyone who has owned a cat knows: - Cat’s only chase to catch moving things – a twist of paper on a string, a leaf blowing across a deck, a bird hopping across a lawn or fluttering in a tree.  

Birds go to sleep at night. They don’t move.

But rats, mice and stoats move. They move at night and they are out running around and climbing trees to eat the eggs of native birds, baby chicks and anything else edible they can find to eat. Only our native owl, the Morepork, and the cats can see them moving and they are out to stalk and kill these vermin. Unfortunately they can’t also kill the opossums and hedgehogs which are also out to dine on our native birds.

Cat’s tend to bring home their kill to show off to their owners and it will be mice and rats that is found on the doorstep in the mornings, never a bird.

Not enough credit is being given either, to the high intelligence of birds. They soon learn how to avoid a cat and only their weak, old and the runts are caught by a cat, which, by the way,  ensures only the strongest and healthiest of birds breed and multiply.

I apologise though because I do keep my cat in at night. Just to ensure she won’t be hit by a car or have the possibility of being killed if investigating a set opossum trap.

See the poem over on FACEBOOK - Lois E Hunter about just one of the the roles a cat plays in our lives