Utauta Parata at Parihaka, 1898

Utauta Parata at Parihaka 1898

This lovely portrait is of Karl Webber’s great grandmother. Waikanae people will recognise two of the town’s street names.

Karl says: “there’s a heap of really cool info about the whanau in Chris Mclean’s book Kapiti and other places. Chris’s book is really good in my opinion, has a lot of pics and info from the whanau. Kate Hartmanm at Tutere Gallery sells them 48 Tutere St, Waikanae Beach [during the season, and Coastlands Paper Plus stocks it], or the library have the book as well. My cousin Rewa Morgan who works at the Waikanae Library would be a great person to go chat to.

“Utauta’s Dad, Wi Parata, was paramount chief of the Te Atiawa people at Waikanae and his half-brother was Hemi Matenga. Many of the streets in Waikanae and the coast are after our whanau members.

“We come from Te Rangihiroa, Ngati Toa chief who is buried at the north end of Kapiti, lived at Motu Ngarara where I stay and where he signed the treaty on 4 June 1840, the second to last signing.

“My father, Hemi Hona Webber, Jim, was the eldest male line descendant of Utauta Parata and Hona Webber / Tahiwi.”

‘KCDC Climate Change Emergency Declaration is a Sham’

Climate change sham

Moves by the Mayor and Councillors to declare a climate change emergency are a sham and a cheap pre-election stunt says Guy Burns, the Deputy Chair of the Paraparaumu Raumati Community Board.

“Basing a climate change emergency on eroding coastlines is a completely false argument. I can remember clearly the massive damage caused to seaside properties in 1976. Similar events occurred in 1954 and 1957; it wasn’t called climate change then, people called it coastal erosion. Our shoreline used to be near the railway line and has shifted due to earthquake activity. The last big quake of 1855 uplifted coastline in the Wellington area up to 4 metres in places.

“Declaring a climate change emergency is a smoke-screen to hide the systemic failure of Council allowing residential buildings near the coastline. We are now paying the price for bad choices made a long time ago.

“A far more effective strategy for Council is to encourage ratepayers to make tangible steps towards sustainability. Promoting such things as composting, bikes, walking and home recycling would be useful. A reliable source tells me Councillors are still continuing to drive to their meetings. If there was an emergency, I would expect Councillors to urgently change their energy-use footprint.

“It’s no coincidence the declaration is being made a few months out from this year’s elections. Obviously the Mayor and his supporters are hoping to attract the votes of the climate change lobby.

“This is my view and not of the Raumati Paraparaumu Community Board as a whole.”


Deputy Chair Raumati Paraparaumu Community Board

04 9040789  021 2624645


The Omnipresent Surveillance State: Orwell’s Future Is Our Present Reality

The Orwellian dystopia of thought control and an omnipresent surveillance state has become our reality. George Orwell’s book 1984, although meant as fiction, has turned out to be an incredible prediction of our future.

via The Omnipresent Surveillance State: Orwell’s Future Is Our Present Reality — Rangitikei Environmental Health Watch

For Jacinda & Co., 1984 has become an instruction manual.

what a silent place NZ would be if we didn’t have introduced birds

Song thrush

Song thrush (photographer unknown)

by Carol Sawyer

I was thinking about this today…

Daily Southern Cross‘, 17 September 1862, Page 4:-

“We have received intelligence of the arrival at Auckland, on the 8th of April, of the ship ‘Cashmere,’ Captain Petheridge, which left St. Katherine’s Docks on the 9th of December with the addition, to in ordinary freight, of a consignment of 147 singing and other birds, intended for acclimatisation in New Zealand. Of this number it appears that eighty eight were alive when the ship reached its destination—a much larger proportion than, all circumstances consulted, it was expected would have survived.

There were placed on board 9 partridges 2 pheasants, 12 blackbirds, 13 thrushes, 12 skylarks, 8 goldfinches, 8 bullfinches, 9 linnets, 16 chaffinches, 16 sparrows, 12 starlings, 2 Canadian geese, 4 barnacle geese, 12 teal, and 12 wigeon — 117 birds in all, occupying 81 cages.

All these birds were wild caught, none of them having been reared by hand from the nest. It may be as well to add a list of the eighty-eight birds which have got safely out. There are— 4 partridges 10 blackbirds, 11 thrushes, 10 skylarks, 4 goldfinches, 3 bullfinches, 6 linnets, 6 chaffinches, 7 sparrows, 9 starlings, 2 Canadian geese, 4 barnacle geese, 11 teal, and one wigeon.

The same solicitude about the health and comfort of the birds appears to have been manifested as in the Australian consignment in 1858. May they thrive in their bloodless and unobtrusive mission of colonization. — The Field.”

Well, the bullfinches, partridges, linnets, barnacle geese, teal and wigeon didn’t make it, sadly (although we have our own species of teal). What must it have been like to be one of those birds… one of the 6 chaffinches, say, released here after a three month trip by sea? It must have seemed so very strange and scary. There would have been all these birds they had never seen before, who saw them as aliens and attacked them. Poor little things.

What a great pity the wigeon didn’t survive… only one made it to NZ of the 12 that boarded ship. Such a beautiful duck. See the photo.wigeon

I wish they had brought nightingales and bluetits as well, and what an addition the Great tit would have been.

Interestingly, the introduction of Canada geese is generally attributed to US President Theodore Roosevelt. He gifted some of the first Canada geese to this country in 1876. Presumably this pair brought to NZ in 1862 didn’t make it.

The Deforestation of New Zealand:

“Around 1000 AD, before humans arrived in New Zealand, forest covered more than 80% of the land. The only areas without tall forests were the upper slopes of high mountains and the driest regions of Central Otago. When Māori arrived, about 1250–1300 AD, they burnt large tracts of forest, mainly on the coasts and eastern sides of the two main islands. By the time European settlement began, around 1840, some 6.7 million hectares of forest had been destroyed and was replaced by short grassland, shrubland and fern land. Between 1840 and 2000, another 8 million hectares were cleared, mostly lowland or easily accessible conifer–broadleaf forest.” – Te Ara Encyclopaedia of NZ

So the forests, where so many of our endemic bird species lived, have been hugely reduced in size but the cities and pasturelands that remain are now home to so many of our introduced birds.

In May thrushes started singing — which is what made me write this post. I love their song all around me.  Only the male bird sings.  In June and July the male blackbirds  start, and in August the cheerful little chaffinch. For me the chaffinch is the “song of summer”. It has been a hugely successful introduction, doing no harm, and inhabiting our back country valleys as well as our towns and cities.


Chaffinch photo by Carol Sawyer. (He was named Joey and, although wild, learnt to fly to me for food.)

The period from the end of January until Autumn is pretty quiet, but with the onset of winter, it is time for the male birds to start attracting their mates, and to out-sing each other.

Most of us, whether in the cities or in rural areas, are lucky enough to have the presence of tui, bellbird, grey warbler, and fantail, among others. These little natives are still everywhere in good numbers.

The helpful chart is in an old bird book I picked up in a secondhand shop somewhere — A Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand by Falla, Sibson and Turbott, Collins NZ, 1966.

Birdsong chart

Peka Peka to Otaki ‘Ewy’ now at half-way stage

… according to this month’s Newsletter on the NZTA website.

“To demonstrate the size of the project since work got underway in 2017, we have:

  • moved 400,000 cubic meters of dirt
  • relocated 6,500 fish
  • inducted 1,600 workers to the site
  • hosted or attended 150 community events
  • worked more than 600,000 hours.

“By the time the project is completed, we expect some of those numbers will be more than doubled.”


The biggest engineering work is the new 4-lane, 330-metre bridge over the Otaki River — see the aerial pic, and there is also a video on the webpage.


Just to show it’s not all about concrete and tarmac, there is also a piece about Riparian plantings.

And when will it be complete for an official opening by the Minister of Transport and the Kapiti Mayor (whoever they may be then)?  Second quarter 2021, they say.

the Treasury predicts a nationwide increase of 18.3% in house prices over the next 4 years

house priceAccording to this article on the Stuff website:

After a long overdue pause in the most overheated parts of the market, house prices are again tipped to soar by an average of 18.3 per cent in the next four years.

That is how much Treasury is predicting house prices will rise between now and 2023 – a rise of about $125,000 on the average residential house values cited by Quotable Value for March 2019.

In Auckland that figure is even higher, adding about $190,00 to the average house value of $1.03 million.

If an 18.3% increase over 4 years is ‘soaring’ then the typical KCDC Rates increase of 14.5% over just the last 2 years for Waikanae people must be ‘skyrocketing.’  But we digress.

What is behind this?  Basic Economics 101 tells you the supply of housing falls short of demand for it and the demand is coming from immigration — arrivals well exceed departures — which Winston and even Andrew Little said had to be reduced before the 2017 election.

It’s good news for property developers, but not good for first-time home buyers, and not good for councils who have to look for ways to fund increases in infrastructure to cope with lots more housing units — and as Waikanae people know, there’s plenty of them happening here.