Friday, April 22, 2005

The First Year Over already

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Sunset at Raglan

Well as of the 22nd of April 2005, we will have been living in New Zealand for one year!! It doesn't seem possible that at the time of writing this post, one year ago, we were sitting on an aeroplane heading for a whole new life down under. Scary and exciting all at once, but certainly the right thing to do. As the first year draws to a close I have been thinking about the way our lives have changed and the people that have made our transition so much easier to becoming part of the community here. "Community" that's what is so great about being here, the way the people have opened their arms, homes and lives to us, making us feel so very welcome. For that we thank them, from the bottom of our hearts. Thanks also must go to all our family and friends that have supported us in our decision to come here, we know that is wasn't easy letting us take Michael away.

In this post, I would like to reflect upon some of the events and moments of the past year. Although I am posting many of my photo's online, I want to share some of them here with you, just like a photo diary. Hope you enjoy it.

April 2004

We arrived at Auckland airport on Thursday 22nd April, a lovely sunny day, hired a car and headed for Hamilton. Everywhere looked so lush and green. We stayed in a motel right by Waikato Stadium until we found a place to rent. Once we had done that we had to get Michael into a school, we opted for Rotokauri school, minutes from the section of land we had bought during our visit in February. Michael joined the school soccer team and came away with the Player of the day award after his first game!

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Michael with his trophy

We took a trip to Kawerau and visited Joe's family, he went out on a sea fishing trip and came back very happy!!
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Joe with just one of the fish he caught
May 2004

On Monday 3rd of May, Joe started his new job and Michael his new school. That same week we took a drive back up to Auckland airport and collected Huey & Luey, our two cats that we just couldn't bear to leave behind.
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The furniture arrives
On the 14th our furniture arrived, then began the fun & games unpacking it all, luckily out of everything that we brought, there was only one casualty, a standard lamp.
That weekend we took a drive to Raglan, and had fun on the beach.
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Michael boogie boarding

June 2004

Michael has his first birthday in NZ and had some of his new friends around, they played on the playstation and the garage was converted into a games room where they could play snooker, darts and table football.
This month we began looking at house plans to build on the section we bought during our visit in February.

July 2004

We are all settling into our new life, Joe's job is going well and Michael has a two week break from school, NZ has their summer break at the end of December and I have starting walking and feeling a lot better for the exercise. Still looking at house plans but nothing seems just right yet.

August 2004

Michael continues to do well at school, it's very different here, they still have a curriculum to follow, but a lot of importance is placed on the practical, doing research, dealing with the community and fundraising. All good exercises in getting the student to think for themselves and develop confidence. They have a morning out once a fortnight to do 'Tech' at another school, this includes cooking, textiles, woodworking etc, these facilites are not available in Rotokauri School.
At last! this month the sale of our house in the UK finally completes, what a relief, it was beginning to get us down and Joe nearly hopped on a plane back. But thankfully he didn't have to. Buying and selling here is so much easier and a lot less stressful. We even think we have found the perfect house design, we ask for plans to be drawn up.

September 2004

More events at Rotokauri School, this month a fishing competiton at Hamilton Lake, where I walk regularly. Sadly Michael didn't catch anything but his school came second. Michael's soccer season is coming to an end and maybe even his involvement in it, he wants to try rugby next year!!
Joe & Michael go skiing at Ruapehu with friends and have a great time and it's only 3 hours away!
Big changes on the home front, a property comes up for sale not far from our section, this house is built, it has 6 paddocks all fenced, water supplied to all with troughs, a mature garden and many more plants and's perfect. The price comes back for building and there really is no comparison, we make an offer and it's accepted, and the rest is history as they say!!
I had an interview at Hamilton Zoo for the position of voluntary Zoo host, and looked forward to starting in October.

October 2004

Moving house this month, I've been packing boxes, luckily I didn't unpack everything! But our plans nearly take a nose dive, Joe ends up in Waikato hospital with a serious infection in his knee and they can't seem to stop it from spreading!! At last the anti-biotics kicked in and all was well, it didnt help that Joe is allergic to penicillin so it took longer for the treatment to work.
On the 22nd we moved in to our 51/2 acre lifestyle block, 6 months to the day that we arrived here. For weeks after we would just look at each other and grin, we couldn't believe our luck finding this place.
I started at the Zoo and love meeting people and talking away to my hearts content! The big bonus is I get to see the animals for free!!

November 2004

Lots of events on this month, a garden ramble to raise funds for Michael's school, and it was great visiting people's beautiful homes and gardens.
I went to a craft fair and bought some cross stich packs, never tried it before but always wanted to try, so now was my chance.
There was a Small Block Expo and that was good, it was aimed at Lifestyle Blocker's, like us.
The Zoo held a BBQ for all of the hosts and their families, we made some new friends.
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Michael & Bonnie leaving the City pound

We also added to our family, we adopted "Bonnie" a huntaway cross from the City pound.
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New animals this month include 4 boer doe kids, Emerald, Sapphire, Pearl & Ruby.

December 2004
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My sister Sandra & my nieces Zoe & Emily

Lots happening again this month, we had our first holiday since arriving and meet up with my sister and her family in Perth, Australia, they were visiting Cahal's sister who has lived there for 16 years. It was great to see everyone but it was HOT! Back here in NZ it hadn't stopped raining for a month! Michael finished for the summer break, he was ready for a rest and we got our second dog, Clyde a border collie pup.
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Michael & Clyde
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Christmas Day, Thomas, Michael & Matthew

Out friends Janette & Ian with their 2 boys Matthew & Thomas, stayed with us for Christmas, they were here touring NZ. It was great seeing them all and certainly an alternative Christmas, we spent the morning at Raglan beach and the boys were body boarding in the sea. After dinner we sat outside and had a drink or two then walked throught the paddocks to our friends and neighbours for the evening, a perfect end to a lovely day and it had stopped raining.
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Enjoying a drink with Janette & Ian

January 2005

A Happy New Year saw us fast asleep in our beds before midnight!! Not our usual pursuit for New Year! Oh well. It was still raining until Mum & Dad arrived for their 8 week holiday, then the sun shone & shone & shone, summer had finally arrived! And it did get very hot. They toured around and became quite adventurous, they took off in their hire car and stayed in Motels and saw more of New Zealand than I have yet!
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Dad & Mum at Bowentown

Michael was enjoying his long break, he had missed out on the summer break in the UK, so it must have felt like a long time since having a holiday.
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Making hay while the sun shines

With the sun shining it was time to make hay! and we cut just under 4 paddocks which gave us 222 bales of hay, which are stored in the barn. We sold some and will sell some more when winter comes.
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Maggie the Kunekune

New animals this month included, 5 chickens, Maggie the Kune Kune pig & Squidge the kitten
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Squidge -cool cat

February 2005

Joe worked away for 2 weeks at an oil refinery up North and Mum & Dad continued to explore, I had my 42nd birthday and got a bread maker, and I gotta say what a great gadjet, fresh bread everyday and only takes 5 mins to get it going, piece of cake....or should I say bread!
Michael took part in a team event in the Weet-bix Tryathlon, they all did well and Hamish Carter presented the medals.
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Michael is the cyclist in the team event

Michael went back to school and is in his last year at Rotokauri, he moves on to high school next year. He took part in the School Tryathlon and did really well coming 7th, so pleased with that.
New animals this month included, 3 goats & 2 pigs
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Purdy, Emily & Zoe
March 2005
Mum and Dad returned home to the UK with over 300 photo's and life carried on here.
We submited our residency application after all having medicals. So now the wait begins, if we are successful then we can live here permanently, fingers crossed.
New animals this month included, 8 chickens: 3 shavers, 3 shaver pullets(not laying yet) 2 spangled hamburgs(something fancy) and 2 ducks (Joe's whim)
April 2005 (1 year on)
Back to Zoo hosting this month as I hadn't committed myself whist Mum & Dad where here. The temperatures are cooler too and easier to walk around in. The weather has been very dry and we haven't really seen much rain since the beginning of January. But a downpour fills up one of the tanks......we can be extravagant and have a bath!
Another addition, meet Tiger
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Tiger looking for the mouse!
Michael has taken up rugby this season and Joe alongside another Dad, is coaching. Their first game is on 14th May, just when I start understanding the rules of football he changes to rugby!!
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First day at rugby training
There was a sad moment when Huey was put to sleep after his health got progressively worse, he will be missed and he never quite made the full year here!
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Huey's final resting place
New animals this month include, 6 sheep: 5 ewes in lamb, we hope and 1 hogget, young female sheep. 2 bulls now steers, they had a vasectomy!! 4 more chickens this time 4 Plymouth 'barred' rocks
22nd April (1 year today)
We woke to a frost today, Joe went out and the ground was crunchy underfoot. There was a low lying mist as is quite common in the Waikato. Bit different to the lovely hot weather we arrived to. But an hour later as I type this the mist has lifted, the sun is shining and it looks like it going to be another beautiful day in paradise. I even debated putting the heater on, then thought better of it. Today I'll go out and see all of the animals and maybe do some gardening, then later we might have a nice glass of wine to celebrate.'s to the next year!!
PS We are looking forward to the Lions Tour and we have tickets for the Lion's V NZ Maori in Hamilton on June the 115th. If you watch it on TV look out for us we will be holding a banner with V.M.R.U.F.C on it!!
Keep looking!! and sign the guest book with your thoughts of our move
from Sue xx


  1. damn good blog, check out mine, comments always welcome!

  2. The sunset shot is fantastic.
    keep snapping they are great.

  3. Thanks for your comments, jamarcus..I went for a look see at your blog. But I couldn't see where to leave a comment. On the offchance that you come back and see my reply, how about posting some pics of where you are park ranger, thanks.

    odd, thanks, I like that shot too. I love to take pics and trying to load more to my community webshots page.


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