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  Wednesday, 30 May 2007


One of the coolest things about the world wide web is... no matter what stange hobby you take up (eg kite aerial photography), or what odd habits you aquire, somewhere there is an internet based group of people who will make you feel right at home. I've got into the habit of photographing myself and my bike, or parts thereof, while riding. Apparently these are 'Panda Portraits', and there's a Flickr group just for them. cool aye?

me & my shadow


Cruising K9

8:13:36 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 28 May 2007


4:25:22 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 27 May 2007

Board-games in the housebus on Sunday afternoon

After spending most of the morning collecting firewood (from yet another apple orchard which has been bulldozed to make way for vineyards to grow grapes for the booming wine industry here), this sunny Sunday afternoon was spent in the housebus playing Settlers. Can you spot Kaycee in the picture?

9:04:50 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Weather `bomb' wreaks havoc.
Nelson was cleaning up on Wednesday after a weather "bomb" exploded over the city, causing flash flooding that inundated roads and houses and overloaded the city's sewerage system.

Nelson weather forecaster John Mathieson said 98mm of rain fell at the Stoke weather station in the 24 hours to 8.50am Wednesday, with up to 7mm to 10mm an hour recorded during the height of the storm.

Winds averaged 50kmh, with northeasterly gusts of up to 79kmh recorded at Monaco about 7am.

Emergency services and council workers were stretched as homeowners, businesses and motorists jammed switchboards with calls for help.

Nelson City Council infrastructure divisional manager Fraser Galloway said this morning the flooding was especially bad between Arapiki Rd and Saxton Field.

He said one of the major concerns was overloaded sewage pumps, which resulted in raw sewage entering the Waimea Estuary.

"It's been frantic around here this morning. We have contractors and staff with sandbags trying to protect properties.

"Nayland College has been closed and the sewage pump stations at Quarantine Rd, Parkers Rd and Songer St are overflowing."

Nelson Fire Service deputy chief fire officer Tim Bennion said volunteer firefighters and additional staff were called in to help clear a backlog of calls about flooded properties.

Panorama Drive and Marsden Valley Rd had been worst hit.

Arapiki Rd resident Andre Slierendrecht said ankle-deep water poured through his living room. It was the worst flooding he had heard of in the area in about 20 years.

Waterhouse St residents Linda Case and Brent O'Connor's home suffered extensive damage after chest-deep water flooded into their garage. A backyard swimming pool was barely visible beneath the waters.

Drainage covers above a culvert running beneath Panorama Drive and throughout Stoke were lifted as the water pressure built up.

The pressure caused parts of the road surface in Panorama Drive to bulge and lift.

A large slip blocked the entrance to a property near the top of the hill, almost covering a parked car.

Cars were backed up all the way from the Stoke shops to Nelson city after 9am.

Senior Constable Phil Wylie of Nelson police said Whakatu Drive "looked like a waterfall" this morning, with cars backed up in surface flooding.

Students at Nayland College were excited to be sent home at 10.30am after flooding affected corridors and outdoor areas in the lower part of the school.

Deputy principal Margaret LeNedelec said about 500 "very brave" students made it to school before being sent home.

She said a stream running along the school boundary, which was usually just a "trickle", had burst its banks.

The school's carpark was flooded, as was the shower block next to the gymnasium. The roof of the performance art area had leaked, causing carpets to become saturated.

Tahuna Beach Holiday Park manager Ann Cumpstone said staff and holidaymakers struggled to enter the campground this morning, with the front entrance, carpark and shop flooded.

The storm also hit Golden Bay where lightning was believed to be the cause of a major power cut last night which left 902 households without power for almost six hours. The area affected was from Swamp Rd, Takaka to Collingwood township, Bainham, Puponga and the west coast of Golden Bay.

Network Tasman chief executive Wayne Mackey said power was lost between 5.35pm and 11.30pm due to a damaged insulator.

8:03:53 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 19 May 2007

Pedicabs on Rocks Rd

Emile (fellow pedicab owner) and I got out on our pedicabs around Nelson this morning to do a bit of volunteer promotional work for Youth Week ( ).We put posters all over the cabs and rode around town with a couple of volunteers in the cabs handing out stickers and flyers to all the youth we could corner. Heaps of fun.

Picking up passengers at the Hub
Picking up passengers at the Hub.

At the church steps.
At the church steps.

On a (well earned) coffee break
Taking a well earned coffee break.

2:32:38 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 18 May 2007

I went for a bike ride out to Cable Bay this evening to watch the sun go down....

Delaware Bay at low tide

Cable Bay

8:58:25 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 17 May 2007

The Minister for Social Engineering, the Hon Ben Dover, announced today that the government would soon announce details of its child abuse credit trading programme. It is expected that under the plan those wishing to abuse children could purchase credits from individuals and organisations which care for and assist children. An official said: "it might work like this... a Plunket nurse could sell the credits accumulated over any financial year from the care of children to any individual or organisation without credit or with a shortage of credits to abuse children." The Ministry would be issuing a schedule of abuse, grading various activities and the number of credits required to carry them out under the scheme.

National's spokesperson on social engineering condemned the government's attempt to bring in the scheme and said under National child abuse would be regulated by individual hardworking New Zealand families. A Maori Party spokesperson said that gangs should be allowed to trade in the credits just like any other organisation. The Greens objected to the plan as being inferior to their own proposal to tax child abuse but said, nevertheless that they would support the government. Winston Peter's office said the Minister, presently touring refugee camps on the French Riviera could not be reached for comment.

(Written by my friend Ron Resnick as a letter to the editor of our local newspaper. Trying to get across the absurdity of carbon credit trading in 200 words or less is no easy task, let alone getting it printed. I think Ron nailed it with this and it's one of his best letter writing efforts to date.)

4:49:06 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 14 May 2007

Cold morning in Hira

The days are getting shorter and the mornings colder. I'm leaving for work in the dark these days, which means there's lots more sunrise photography to look forward to as I cycle through winter.

Wakapuaka Sunrise

9:48:03 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 12 May 2007

Wakapuaka Sandflats Wildlife Reserve

I went back to Boulder Bank Drive this afternoon to try some more kite aerial photography. The light last time, on Monday, had been to scarce get any good shots looking straight down. Today was much better and the low afternoon sun really lit up the reds in the odd assortment of flora in this unique habitat. The esturay on the other side of the road also provided some nice fractal arrangements in contrasting greens, blues and greys.

Esturay Channel 3

Boulder Bank Drive

Wakapuaka Sandflat Wildlife Reserve

Wakapuaka Sandflat Wildlife Reserve

9:45:39 PM    Comment []

Motorbike on Boulder Bank Drive

7:38:13 PM    Comment []

Toutouwai - New Zealand Robin - Petroica australis

Toutouwai is a fearless little bird, bolder even than the Fantail. They will fly within an arms reach and are even known to perch on a persons head of shoulder. I have still found it challenging to get good shots of this species however because I usually come across them in the deepest darkest parts of the NZ bush where the light for photography of fast moving, dark coloured birds is not the best.

11:16:11 AM    Comment []

  Monday, 7 May 2007

Boulder Bank Drive

At the northern end of the huge esturay that is Nelson Haven, is Boulder Bank drive. On one side of the road is the esturay, on the other Wakapuaka sand flats and wildlife reserve.

Boulder Bank Drive 3

This kite aerial photography session was late in the day so most of my shots looking straight down were slightly blurred, but I got a few shots with a faster shutter speed looking out towards the setting sun.

Boulder Bank Drive 2

Wakapuaka Sand Flat

Each time I launch a kite-borne camera I take a self-portrait test shot at low altitude to check everything is turned on and connected. I must remember to smile next time, but there is quite a bit to concentrate on while taking photos via radio control and flying a kite at the same time.

Boulder Bank Drive KAP flight test shot

6:56:14 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 6 May 2007

Incoming tide - Cable Bay

Tonights sunset over an incoming tide at Cable Bay Esturay.

7:25:39 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 5 May 2007

Lake Hawea

11:35:57 AM    Comment []

  Friday, 4 May 2007

Kekerengu dawn

9:21:28 PM    Comment []

Don't buy a smaller car. I know that sounds like something I wouldn't normally say. A greenie like me should be all for selling those SUV's and buying up electric hybrids as quick as they can build them, right? well. no.

I overhead a conversation today between a group of people admiring a shiny new car one of them had just bought. I was a nice compact, economical looking thing. The part of the conversation I overheard went something like this.

Admirer 1: "So you've traded down then?"
New car owner: "Oh no. I'm reducing my enviromental footprint."

I bit my lip and kept walking. Why didn't a shake their hand and say good on you? Well, because what they did probably had little or no effect on their "environmental footprint" at all. You've got to do the math. The whole equation from start to finish...

By the time a new SUV reaches it's proud new owner, it has already cost the planet about as much fossil fuels in the materials and manufacturing as it will consume in it's lifetime. The materials, the power for the assembly factory, the shipping of the parts and finished product, etc etc. Everything must be included in the equation. And here's the bad news. The enviromental cost of a brand new hybrid is not far removed from that of the SUV. Think about it; they are still made of the same materials, using the same manufacturing process, and they are still delivered on a truck.

So what has the person that sells their old SUV to by a nice new hybrid actually achieved for the planet? In reality they might as well just keep driving the SUV for the rest of it's life. Their "enviromental footprint" (I just love this feel-good buzzword) would remain the about the same.

If you want to make a difference by changing your mode of transport try a bicycle, public transport, or walk. Better yet, work on reducing your need to travel and stay at home. Buying a feel-good, technofix, economical, CAR is not part of the solution.

7:36:19 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 3 May 2007

Lake Moeraki
8:54:06 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 1 May 2007

While on our South Island cycle tour I got into the habit of photographing our various campsites. It was always an odd feeling when I'd packed all my gear back onto the bike each morning, to look back as we rode away and see no sign of what had been my home for the night. Here's some of my favourite campsite shots...

Campsite at Clarks Reserve
Clarks Reserve on our first night of the trip. I like how Kaycee came prancing out of the tent just in time for the shot.

Campsite at Punakaiki
Punakaiki was night six of our cycle tour. This is just down the road from the famous pancake rocks.

Campsite near Wanaka
A bit of fun with a tripod and a torch under a full moon at our campsite near Wanaka. This was night 15 of our tour. We got woken up at dawn by a grumpy campground manager demanding our camp fees that we had failed to pay into the honesty box 'on arrival'. We were gonna pay.... honest.

Start of a cycle touring day
This is the start of a (nice sunny) cycle touring day in Manapouri. I sleep with a camera by my pillow :)

Waikouaiti campsite
I can't even remember exactly where this campsite was. Somewhere near Waikouaiti I think. I do remember I couldn't have coffee in the morning because we were short of water. We discovered the river nearby was actually tidal after we had made camp so (fresh) water was on very short rations. Luckily there was a little town just a couple of kilometers away, with a little bakery, that had suuuuperb coffee. Phew.

8:20:42 PM    Comment []

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