Te Reo. Te English. But the T is dead. Long live the T.

My apologies to our PM Jacinda. I now realise she is just one of a majority of Kiwis that have decided the T is dead and is replaced by the D. The New Zealand alphabet now officially comprises only 25 letters. It is patently obvious that we seem unable to make the effort to bring our tongues forward just a little bit to form the letter T. So we have the following (sorry Jacinda):

Da Governmend have formed a daxashun commiddee do look indo da possibilidy of removing GSD on all liddel boddles of domado sauce and framed and unframed pichers and cheese and budder and elecdric car badderies.

Despite our declining grasp of the basics of our first language, there is some pressure being brought to bear to ramp up the use and teaching of Te Reo. The Maori language should never be left to fade into the past. I am sympathetic to its retention and “limited” teaching. We do, after all, live in a country where the early settlers gave names to places, rivers and mountains and those names are still used today. We owe it to ourselves, and to Maori, to pronounce these words correctly and have a basic understanding. Surely, though, our schools should teach pupils to speak, spell and write English in the proper manner and this be given absolute priority. Some are speaking up about it, including yours truly, and others that do too, are feeling the brunt of much adverse criticism. Don Brash took some flack recently for daring to say that he shouldn’t be forced to listen to words he didn’t understand namely the use of Te Reo on Radio New Zealand which is  primarily an English language broadcast.

A Maori language school Te Wananga O Aotearoa Te Kuratini O Nga Waka has just signed a long-term lease for a building in Christchurch to be used to teach the unemployed Te Reo Maori. What a great aid for the pupils to secure future employment – eh! This Trust receives annual Government funding of $135 million.




Le meilleur endroit pour vivre en Novelle Zealande

I do believe Akaroa is the best place to live in New Zealand. It was on a visit here in 1956 with my parents that I expressed the desire to own a property in this delightful French-themed village. 60 years later, it happened. Just prior to, and shortly after retiring from 9 to 5 work, Nicky and I considered a move north for greater warmth and a respite from the Christchurch winters. Absence from family and friends and the familiarity of the place of our birth, eventually ruled this out. For two years we viewed property after property in Akaroa most of which were just baches and unsuitable for full-time or near full-time occupation. Agents endeavoured to sell us leaky homes, many others were in urgent need of major maintenance, but finally, our patience was rewarded and our Lighthouse Road property now ticks most boxes. It is sheltered, warm, has great views and no lawns to cut. The garden is small but productive. We have 8 citrus trees, a peach and a feijoa plus a few vegetables. Bellbirds sing all day and at this time of the year, we hear the Shining Cuckoo calling after his flight all the way from Australia.

It is hard to believe the amount of work we have achieved on the property in just one year. A new retaining wall has been constructed, most of the interior painted white over light-absorbing grey walls, lights replaced, a new hot water cylinder installed and the garden extensively revamped. A very wet winter has morphed into a record-breaking hot and dry November and December. Water temperature in the harbour has been up to 21degrees. As a result, we have been swimming regularly at the Glen; sometimes twice in a day. Not since I was a teenager have I ventured in to the sea in November. The warmer seas around New Zealand are destined to cause stronger winds and possibly heavy rain to parts of the country. No doubt, the West Coast of the South Island will receive more with the east likely to remain dry and windy.

Akaroa is a vibrant place to live. The community are active and currently there is a focus on raising sufficient funds to build a new Health Hub, sorely needed to replace the old hospital. For some years, the local medical rooms were a couple of huts on the hospital site. A further temporary move has been made to a pleasant house on Rue Jolie close to the Gaiety Theatre while tenders have been called for construction of the new Health Hub. It is hoped building will commence soon.

With the holiday season in full swing, our little town is bursting at the seams made worse by the regular cruise ship visits – sometimes two large vessels per day – disgorging up to 5,000 visitors on to the local wharf. Many take a bus to Christchurch and beyond. Some take a local tour while others are content to wander the streets and cram into the little craft shops that appear to be doing very well from the influx. And, I must add, the local shops are stocked with good, well-priced products, only the odd one with tacky souvenirs that prompted the local Press newspaper to label Akaroa as “Tackaroa”. Personally, Nicky and I have purchased quite a number of Christmas and birthday presents locally. While on the subject of visitors, the growing number flowing into the town is causing some problems. Toilet facilities are inadequate, rubbish bins overflow and camper vans clog the narrow main street. The wharf is in need of repairs that have been costed well in excess of the levy charged to the cruise ship travel companies. Surely a reasonable charge per head could be made to the travel agencies to assist this small village, part of the cruise itinerary that has been voted Australasia’s favourite destination. Christchurch City ratepayers need some relief from the burden of providing for the costs of maintaining order for the tourists.

Our family from Edinburgh – son Jamie, his wife Samantha and daughter Ava (12months), are still with us soaking up the sun and gradually turning from a 1000 thread-count bedsheet white to a delicate pink that may morph to a light brown before departing for the bone-chilling cold of Scotland again mid January. Grandchild number 10 is a delight. Both grandparents will miss her smiles and zest for life.

A very happy and prosperous New Year to all.




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