Thursday, February 11, 2010

Kiwi Quest 2010: Greg, the bad Takahe

Today's adventure was to Tiritiri Matangi Island ( which was a rushed drive about 30 km NE of Auckland this morning. Bit of a late start but we did make the ferry so that ended well. I don't profess to know much of anything about birds or plants (don't tell my mom or my grandma; the family green thumb seems to run through them), but Tiri was a great day trip today.
Photos: 1) Feeder near the gift shop at Tiritiri, 2) Takahe! Keep an eye on your lunch. 3) Little blue penguins in a molting box, 4) The dutiful aunt and uncle with their niece. Trust me, it rained earlier. I'm not carrying a raincoat in the sunshine for decoration. 5) Pretty beach at Tiritiri.

I'm trying to learn another language while I'm here: Maori. It's quite prevalent so I'm learning some of it by proxy just listening to other people speak, and sometimes I'm learning it by trying to pronounce names of birds, plants, or places on the map. I pronounce them quite badly so far, but there seems to be hope for improvement. I feel as though I should know some Maori by the time I get home because my uncle here has quite the experience with numerous South Pacific languages in his role with the U of Auckland. []

So, back to Tiri. There is lots of info in the links I've included, but essentially the island is now an open nature preserve which means that anyone can visit it although there are numerous rules to keep it in homeostasis. When you visit, you mustn't bring with you any rodents, pests, soils or seeds because the conservationists have done extensive work to eradicate all predators on the island. You must also pack your lunch in rodent-proof containers, and take home any garbage you generate with you. "Pack it in, pack it out" If you're enjoying your lunch and a free cup of coffee/tea by the visitor's centre (near the base of the lighthouse), beware of Greg, the bad Takahe! He's quite a naughty fellow, often being gently shooed out of the gift shop by the volunteers who run it, or as was our case today, being intercepted by volunteers while trying to make off with a bag of garbage from a backpack left unattended for a few moments. There's actually a book in the gift shop called, "Greg, the bad Takahe" which is all about him getting into trouble on the island so don't think me mean for using that term :)

Following our return from Tiri on the ferry, we detoured briefly to Shakespear Park, then through Whangaparaoa (say "Fan-gah-pah-ro-ah" if you're me), down Beach Road in the North Shore area through numerous small beach towns to the tip of a narrow peninsula at Devonport for a drink and yummy dinner. From here, you can look south across the water to Auckland and enjoy the various boat traffic while the sun sets just out of sight. It was a lovely meal to end the adventure. Back to Liz & Ross's house in the darkening city, quick stop for gas and ice cream for dessert, then it's time to update the blog before I fall asleep after walking in the sun and forest and beach and rain and birds and greenery all day...........

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