Sunday, June 27, 2010

Travel magazine celebrates its' first year

The launch of the 6th issue of Let’s Travel Magazine was celebrated in style with an invite only party held at the Suite Bar in Auckland. After only 12 months, the dedicated travel magazine has forged ahead in leaps and bounds to become one of the leading travel publications in New Zealand.

The latest edition has tightly focused on such diverse destinations as Dunk Island, a look at Samoan Spas, Club Med Bali, the Sunshine Coast, Tauranga, Tahiti, the Peruvian Andes, South Australia, Cape Town, rugged romantic getaways, the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail as well as the champagne haunts of Auckland.

The next 12 months are sure to be as action packed as the last 12 months when the Let’s Travel editorial team venture further afield in search of distinctive travel locations and unusual adventures.

“The unsurpassed success of Let’s Travel Magazine during this recession fuelled era is down to hard graft, a great design team, quality contributing writers and the vision of our editorial team,” says Gayle Dickson, Managing Editor. “It’s our aim to continue to strive for greater quality and greater journalistic excellence as the magazine expands over our next period of growth.
I hope you will see the kiwitravelwriter, Heather Hapeta in this subscrition-only magzine very soon.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Want to buy an alpine village?

Want to buy an alpine village - in the middle ot New Zealands Southern Alps?
Here's a podcast of a radio interview this morning ( Radio NZ National - 25th June 2010) 
Otira for sale
The Hennah family moved to Otira from Auckland in 1998 with the intention of revitalising a little piece of New Zealand history. They're now keen to sell the hotel, the fire station, the town hall and 18 houses. (duration: 9′22″)
Download: Ogg Vorbis   MP3
Heres the advert  See here

Eco-stuff in my favourite magazine

An unpalatable truth

by Sarah Barnett
Governments and individuals seem to be doing nothing significant about climate change.
For its 40th Earth Day on April 22, British scientific journal Nature gave the planet the equivalent of one of those reality show projections that reveal what you’ll look like in 20 years’ time if you keep smoking, drinking and shoving empty calories into your couch-bound stomach. It wasn’t pretty.
Researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research say if the greenhouse-gas emission reductions countries have pledged to make under the Copenhagen Accord are adhered to, by 2020 emissions will be 10-20% higher than what we have now.  Read the rest of this thoughtful colum here

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Culture shock when you return home

The holidays are over. You have returned home and now reality bites. Post travel distress is about to attack.
The symptoms are vague but disabling. People you thought were friends don’t ask how the holiday went, or if they do they don’t  want to stop and listen to your hour long discourse on the rooms with a view, the wonderful (or  terrible) food you ate, the funny train you travelled or the boat you fell from. About the only thing that whets their appetite is talk of a fabulous French lover.

The memories start to fade with the suntan, work acts as though nothing has changed despite your new skills you have added to your CV while teaching English in Tibet, waited tables in Athens or negotiated your way through the London A to Z and learnt how to use the subway system. read more on "my other blog"

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Travel tips from the kiwitravelwriter

 Just as real estate is all about location location location, travel is all about attitude attitude attitude. Our attitude determines our experience, where people are fearful and suspicious they see nothing but trouble and ‘lucky’ escapes while others meet no-one but really lovely people no matter where they go.

I’m in the glass-half-full-group of travellers and could never write a book of ‘all the bad things that happen when you travel’ type book. Unfortunately they are the sort of travel books that sell – and perpetuate the myth of the big dangerous world.

My most dangerous place in my many years of solo travel was in New Orleans, USA (about 15-years ago) and none of the danger - a murder and a hold-up by knife - involved me. (See Murder and Music pg 25 Naked in Budapest: travels with a passionate nomad. ISBN 978-0-473-11675-0)

So what are some of my tips for great travel?
  1. Be flexible with your travel dates and travel off season when you can: that way it’s not only cheaper but also, you don’t have to share great sights (and sites) with hordes of other travellers and tourists.
  2. Use the web for research even if you do your booking through an agent
  3. Travel close to home often ... you don’t always need an around the world ticket to have a great holiday and discover fabulous people and places
  4. Jet lag is less when you fly east to west. Change your watch to the destination time as soon as you get on the plane to adjust your mind to the new time and stay up until the local bed time. Read 12 more tips here

Wind in the Willows to be filmed in New Zealand soon

Wind in the Wellywood Willows Toad, Badger, Rat and Mole are to be brought to life by Weta Workshop of ‘Wellywood’ in a big-screen adaptation of The Wind in the Willows.
The film is said to be a mix of animatronics and live action, with Weta responsible for making the life-like robots for the production.
Filming will begin in New Zealand at the end of the year.
Special effects Sir Richard Taylor, the founder of Weta Workshop, will be responsible for special effects and Oscar-winning Kiwi Kim Sinclair is acting as production designer.
The Wind in the Willows centres on the story of four furry friends - Toad, Badger, Rat and Mole, and their adventurous journey towards learning the true value of friendship.
In the script, written by Bill Marsilli, the friends band together to save their land from a sinister plot to destroy an uneasy truce between the peaceful animals of the Willows and what remains of Mankind.
Winning effects The Wind in the Willows is another prospective blockbuster for the Weta Workshop team which now holds a raft of major awards ......the latest being an Oscar awarded to Weta Digital for best visual effects in 2010 for Avatar - the world’s bestselling movie.
The 3D science-fiction romp was filmed in Wellington, with Weta Digital supervising the special effects and additional live photography carried out on Weta’s sound-stages.
A team of five from Weta Digital, including art director Kim Sinclair, who is also working on The Wind in the Willows, attended the star-studded awards ceremony in Hollywood.
Weta Workshop background Founded in 1987 by prominent Kiwi filmmaker Sir Peter Jackson with Sir Richard Taylor, Tania Rodger and Jamie Selkirk, Weta Workshop is based in Wellington and is New Zealand’s best-known special effects and props company.
Weta Workshop came to the attention of the world stage with the production of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, which was filmed entirely in New Zealand. The company made all the sets, costumes, armour, weapons, creatures and miniatures seen in the film.

Now hear this, Hobbit fans

Friday, June 11, 2010

My Lucky Week

This has been my lucky week! Three times lucky!

  • First I won a double ticket to an evening at the Christchurch Art Gallery (Russian art) and the Court Theatre (The Seagull)
  • Then I won a book which was published by the Christchurch and Akaroa Civic Trusts. For over forty years they have been making every effort to preserve historic buildings and slow the moves by property developers to pull down old buildings which are a significant part of our heritage. Luckily as a result of their work key buildings from each phase of the area's development have survived, and are represented in this book. Read more here
  • And finally, last Saturday, while working on a visitor survey in Cathedral Square here in Christchurch, a large black-backed gull dropped its load on my shoulder – evidently this is good luck too: really? I just think its funny that the play I saw on Wednesday was about a gull! I took this photo on Somes Island, Wellington.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Send postcards and help support poor communities

When traveling in countries with low wages ... don't just send emails, blogs or use skype to keep in touch with friends and family: use the old, but still useful, snail mail.

I love getting postcards so still send them to others, and by doing this I also help the small shop or street vendor, get a tiny wage, while making friends happy . You can do it too.

I buy a pile of postcards and the same number of stamps; then while waiting for a bus, or a meal, I sit and address them all, then as I have spare time, or a tale to tell, I write on the postcards and post them when I see a post box.

This post-box was in the north east of Cambodia.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ancient trees mark the way in Christchurch, NZ

Tī Kōuka, a symbol for our city

Imagine a distant past where the mist and fog shrouded flatlands, spreading out towards the sea, rich with bird and water life.
There were few landmarks emerging from the mists of what was then essentially swampland. If the hills were obscured by weather there was no way of knowing where you were. That is if it were not for the tī kōuka (cabbage trees) that were carefully planted in significant places to mark out routes across the land like green spiky beacons.
Tī kōuka were prized trees for the Māori of Te Wai Pounamu. Aside from their use as navigational markers, they provided the favoured fibre for fishing due to superior strength and the kōuru or new shoots were an important source of protein in a land where kūmara was difficult if not impossible to grow. Read more here on the Christchurch Library site

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Happy 100 years to Maori Rugby 2010

New 21st century jersey for NZ Māori rugby team

When the New Zealand Māori rugby team runs out on to the field next week the players will be sporting a 100-year heritage on their shoulders - a new black jersey that recalls the team’s illustrious history.
Te Ao Hou / ‘new dawn’ is the name given to the team’s new jersey - marking the much anticipated 2010 centenary season of NZ Māori rugby - which was formally blessed in Wellington yesterday (2.06.2010).

The jersey will get its first official outing on 12 June when the team plays the New Zealand Barbarians at Whangarei - the first of the three-match celebration series on home soil. The other games are against England and Ireland.

New Zealand Post is also commemorating the centenary with two special issue stamps - one incorporating the new jersey design.

Māori rugby story

New Zealand Māori coach Jamie Joseph said the jersey told the story of Māori rugby.

Te Ao Hou is inspired by Timitanga, the New Zealand Māori haka challenge that is performed before each game.

The intricate design incorporates two Māori taonga / treasures - the korowai or ceremonial cloak and wharenui / meeting house.

It also features the koru / silver fern encircled by two mangapore / hammerhead shark patterns representing strength and symbolically protecting the fern and the legacy of the New Zealand Māori rugby team.

"This year is such a significant year for all Māori rugby players and coming from someone who has worn the jersey before, it is going to be a great honour for every player that gets to pull on this very special taonga (treasure)," Joseph said.

Number one music hit in NZ - again!

Poi E' is the only kiwi song to make it into the NZ Top 40 in 3 separate decades - it now looks like it will hit number one yet again - after 38 years!

Written by linguist Ngoi Pewhairangi with music by Dalvanius Prime, the song was a way to teach young Maori to be proud of being Maori – in a format that young people were comfortable with.

When record companies weren’t interested in the song Prime formed his own label, Maui Records and recorded 'Poi E' in late 1983. The Patea Maori Club provided the vocals above a funky rhythm that featured bass, Linn drums and a synthesiser. read more here