Richmond Diary



Local Ambles during Winter

Posted by on Oct 4, 2019 in Richmond Diary | 0 comments

Local Ambles during Winter

Visiting Haulashore Island   It’s an island now but it seems that in the early days of the 1840’s, it was an island only at high tide. It is the southern most bit of the Boulder Bank protecting Nelson harbour and to make an entrance for sailing ships to the Nelson Port  safer, a channel through the Boulder Bank was cut and it opened in 1906. The Cut, as this channel is called, has been widened and deepened to accommodate logging and other ships coming and going to the port today.  Setting sail through The Cut. At the old shipping entrance to the harbour is the Fifeshire Rock (and reef) and before The Cut was opened, a number of sailing ships came to grief on the rock, one being the immigrant ship Fifeshire on 27th February 1842. I had read somewhere that this was the ship’s maiden voyage but fortunately  the ship was on its way out after unloading its passengers when it ran aground on the rock. I guess the captain thought otherwise though. The practice of early captains in hauling their boats up for cleaning and then floating them off again on the tide gave a good reason for naming the island as “Haulashore”. Fifeshire Rock with snow capped Ben Nevis on the skyline. We caught the ferry across to Haulashore Island, landed, had lunch and then walked around it. It didn’t take too long but there are some interesting things to see. One is a memory plaque to Alexander  Moncrieff, the son of Captain Moncrieff and his wife Perrine. They donated part of Haulashore Island to the people of Nelson in their son’s memory, as unspoiled as a place where Nelson children could play’.  Perrine Moncrieff was an interesting person. She had a real interest in nature and observing native birds and in 1923 she was one of the founding members of the NZ Native Bird Protection Society which later became the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society NZ of today.  From the island looking towards Mt Arthur. Perrine was pretty special to me as in my early days, around 1944 to 1950 odd, there weren’t any books on New Zealand birdlife. Except for one!  New Zealand Birds & How to Identify Them  by Perrine Moncrieff of which the first edition came out in 1925. My dad bought an early edition and over the years, I just about wore it out. My own children used it and it ended up with loose pages falling out so I bought another. This one is the fifth edition of 1957 but revised in 1961. The only bird books available during those early years were from Britain and although useful for our introduced birdlife, of no use for identifying our native birds. It was the same for native plants too. The war years (WW2) took a toll with many things including printing books so it wasn’t until the mid 1960’s or so that printing books got back to something like normal. Today there are many books about New Zealand’s plants and birdlife and one is almost spoilt for choice.  Besides writing the bird book, Perrine and her husband presented a large patch of native bush at Okiwi Bay to the Crown.  Later Pérrine was instrumental in setting up the Abel Tasman National...

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Early Spring

Posted by on Sep 6, 2019 in Richmond Diary | 1 comment

Early Spring

I had the odd  bike ride, one along the Waimea Inlet Estuary, one to Brightwater and the another to Wakefield. The tide was coming in on the Inlet ride, very still and bright blue sky but a chilly morning.  Not many water birds were about except for some oystercatchers and the odd duck.   A running marathon was in progress so it was to keep ahead or let them pass.  Brightwater Primary School about to do some native planting by the Waimea River. On the ride out to Brightwater, just over the cycle swing bridge, we came upon a school class from Brightwater Primary, busy helping to plant native shrubs along the river bank. It was good to see and also their mode of travel too. By pushbike. There were several classes involved this day, one class after another throughout the day. We passed one class on the way and while I dodged the puddles in the road, nearly everyone in the class rode their bikes through every puddle they past! It was good to see and much more positive than just protesting and waving banners around.   Along Out Wakefield  Way: another bike ride was out to Wakefield along the cycle trail passing the old Knapp house at Spring Grove. Built around1852 by James & Ellen Knapp and it appears to be in fair repair after all those years. I took a photo of the house in 1979  and it doesn’t look much different 40 years later except there’s more rust on the roof! It seems it is used to store hay now (and James and Ellen don’t live there anymore).   Knapp’s house 1979. Knapp’s house 2019. The bike trail follows the back country road, through some fine totara’s, a stream, then we pass the historic church on the hill to coast down into the village of Wakefield. On a wall of one shop facing the main highway is a mural depicting the early days of the district. It even included a steam engine, alas, all a memory now.  Wakefield shop side mural. Coming into Brightwater on the way back we passed the old Newman homestead. I think anyway. At the back was an old barn type structure along with a hay loft which I guess might have fed the horses of Newman Brothers. The brothers started in around 1876 with a horse and dray, to become a nationwide bus company. By 1904 they ran passenger services to Nelson, Blenheim to Westport. They owned ten coaches and wagons, 150 horses and had 20 stables along the routes. Then in 1911 they bought their first motor vehicle, a 4 cylinder Cadillac eventually the last horse drawn carriage was retired from service in 1918. Newman Bros are now part of the Inter-city Group. A reminder of horse drawn days? A New BikeI bought a new push bike. I just thought to go into a bike shop and get a bike but things are not like that now it seems. First it is the cost and as I walked past some ‘specimens’ on display and taking note of the price tags with prices of $2000 and then one of $5000, I did a double look to see where the decimal point was in all those naughts – but noted that they each still had...

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Winter Months

Posted by on Aug 10, 2019 in Richmond Diary | 0 comments

Winter Months

The Book Fair The once a year second hand book fair held at the Founders park is always interesting. Maybe it is more in anticipation as one never knows what you might find.  I usually head straight for the UK book tables to see if there are any books on ole England, especially of Cumberland history and such. Also of interest is British nature writings, not lists of their native animals but their feelings of the natural world and the open spaces in those early days. Here we have protests about land and colonisation but what they have been through is nothing compared to my ancestors. Many invasions, destruction, rape, slavery and pillage by foreigners, almost continual scrapping with other nearby clans, tribes, and kingdoms, not to mention famines and plagues! Every treaty or agreements broken. My native language gone. This is all well into the past and now is the present. It is good to know certainly but, maybe strangely by today’s ‘standards’, I have or feel no animosity to this past.   On Rabbit Is looking over Rough Is with Mt Arthur in the distance. Richmond Hills Walk Shirl & I lead our 50+ walking group for a month and our first walk was out in the Richmond Hills. We all met at the start of the Jimmy Lee Track, past the bird hide, over Cypress Road then turned off the main track into the Upper Jimmy Lee. This section is through all good native bush but the track is almost a route with some parts a little difficult for some. Upward to the Matai Ridge, a spot which is quite special. A large matai stands sentinel near the base of the ridge and I guess most of its offspring cover the ridge as smaller specimens. In fifty or sixty years time these younger matais will transform the ridge similar to walking through a cathedral of columns.  We had morning tea upon the on top of the ridge. After we continued on to Fowler Road and then went into the Top Jimmy Lee, through some pines to the top ridge and along to the fire lookout for lunch. A weka came along looking for a free food handout. It was quite tame or perhaps aggressive in this endeavour as one had to be careful with any food in the hand. It readily took any offered food from ones hand.  Any lunch for me, says the weka. A Rabbit Island Walk  The next Tuesday we walked around about half of the Western end of Rabbit Island. At first a short walk along the seaside beach, back onto the cycle trail, through some pines along one of the traplines then along the cycle trail again to the ferry landing for morning tea. After we followed the shoreline of the estuary between Rough Island, cutting back through the pines again to the cycle trail and back to the cars and in time to meet up with some older members of the group for a BBQ lunch and to sit in the warm winter’s sun for a couple of hours eating and talking.  Looking along the Mot Sandspit and the ‘huts’ built from driftwood. Motueka Town and Reserves Walk  After parking our cars in Motueka, we walked through Thorp Bush, Goodman Recreation Park to have morning...

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A Week at Picton

Posted by on Jul 4, 2019 in Richmond Diary | 0 comments

A Week at Picton

This was to be five days with our 50+ walking group, leaving home on a Monday morning for Havelock to meet up with the rest of the group. Just out of Havelock we turned off towards Picton on the Queen Charlotte Drive, stopping at Ngakuta Bay for morning tea. After that, most started to walk along the fairly new Link Walkway, heading towards Picton. Drivers of the cars then set off for Picton, parked the cars and then headed back along the pathway to meet up with the others at The Wedge arriving just five minutes late. We all then went down a short track to a World War 2 lookout and signal station. Not much remained, just some broken concrete foundations here and there. Seating arrangement on the Link Pathway. A good spot to have lunch with a view out down the sounds though.  We then headed back to the cars and Picton. This Link Pathway is fairly new with the idea of having a walking track from Picton to Havelock following or linking the different parts of the Marlborough Sounds, via some old bridle paths, and the Queen Charlotte Track. Each group walked about 11 km and then we were off to the Waikawa Bay Holiday Park to settle in for our stay.  Barnes Dam. Barnes Dam & then over the Tirohanga Track The next day was a walk up the Essons Valley track to the two dams that supplied water to Picton. Some of the group went to the Humphries dam while the rest went to the Barnes dam. The walk was through native bush following a pipeline with a good selection of native plant species. The Barnes dam itself looked to be leaning downhill but they said it was an optical illusion. It still looked to be sloping the wrong way to me. It was a pleasant walk even if one had to be stepping over the water main pipe all along the way to the dam. Once back at the cars we then walked up the nearby Tirohanga Track to the lookout for lunch with a good view looking down on Picton, the inter-islander ferry wharfs and the Picton Harbour in Queen Charlotte Sound. We watched one of the inter island ferries berthing too.  One of the ferries berthed: from the lookout, Tirohanga Track. The Wairau Lagoons  A good sunny day for the next walk around the Wairau Lagoons and estuary just south of Blenheim.  The rivers must have run directly out to the sea but over time, with waves building up sandbanks resulting in many lagoons, salt-marsh flats and swampy areas like it is today. No doubt the area has been changed by earthquakes and glacial activity over time too.  Looking over the saltmarsh, Wairau Lagoons. A great food garden at certain times of the year for birds although we didn’t see too many different species during our late autumn visit. There is a sewerage treatment plant with the usual settling, cleaning ponds nearby. There are walking tracks across and around the flats and we took the track that went directly to the wreck of the rusting hulk of the Waverley. Here we stopped for lunch after passing large flocks of finches, which seemed to be yellowhammers mostly, feeding on grass, sedge and rush seed-heads. Yellowhammers....

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A Week on Molesworth Station

Posted by on Jun 10, 2019 in Richmond Diary | 0 comments

A Week on Molesworth Station

The road on the Rainbow at Hell’s Gate. We travelled to Molesworth via the Rainbow Valley road and through Rainbow Station. There has been a recent change of ownership but it is still a toll road with a steep increase in the toll; now $40 per car, one way. The road was in the worst condition that I’ve seen it.  Very rough especially around the Hell’s Gate area. It’s a real pity this road isn’t an open public road and maintained to a good standard as it’s almost a direct route from Nelson to Christchurch. It is public land too but leased. We read about people wanting to make new roads through wilderness areas; (Heaphy Track and Milford etc) but what’s wrong with the Rainbow? Keep Out of the Rainbow! Molesworth: the largest station in New Zealand of about 180,787 ha, with the largest herd of cattle  too (10,000 head), owned by the public and run by the Department of Conservation. A road runs through the station, linking Hanmer and Blenheim which is open to the public during the summer period. It has a DoC camp ground at each end and the campgrounds are monitored by rangers to make sure people pay their camp fees, collecting rubbish, cleaning toilets and generally assisting campers and through traffic. I joined Karla in giving a hand at the Hanmer Springs end, at Acheron. The old Acheron Accommodation House. The last time we came, the bridge across the Clarence was closed as one of its approaches had been washed away, but it’s all okay now. Our ranger’s hut was nearby the old, partly restored Acheron Accommodation House and within the camping area. The ranger’s hut is quite small, has a shower, gas hob and frig, plus a couple of beds, sink, table and such. Pretty compact but not very well laid out. What it did have though was a wood burner!  The view from Mt Isobel looking down on Hanmer. The next day we headed back on the road to Hanmer Springs but stopped on the way to climb Mt Isobel of 1342m. The track is a bit rough and through scrub at the start but soon one comes out along an exposed ridge, gradually climbing up to the steeper parts.  Once on the main rocky ridge there are good views of the area around Hanmer Springs township. It was late Autumn so there was not much in the way of flowering alpine plants although I did spot a gentian in flower. Of concern are the number of wilding pines encroaching on the hills and flats in the area.  Spreading pest pines, Molesworth. Mt Isobel gentian. The first part of the week was fine weather with a trickle of campers staying a night plus many people driving through. We called into Hanmer Springs a couple of times  for a wander around the shops. It seems like a real tourist town now, losing its original charm but the hot springs are still there and are being expanded. Lots of holiday homes, more than the people who live and work there apparently.   Another day we drove back over Island Pass, all of 1347m, towards the Rainbow and to the Sedgemere Lakes & hut.  Lake Sedgemere. We walked past Lake Sedgemere and over to Fish...

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