Camping 
Well, we had a quiet Christmas and New Year, and I was well enough to go on holiday. Apart from a couple of days of continual rain, we had quite reasonable weather. The ground got completely waterlogged though, and we eventually had to switch to the second tent entrance because the main door had a bit of a mudbath in front of it. I collected enough rainwater to keep us going for the rest of the week, not counting the six bucketfuls I threw away!

It was based around a marae, which turned out to be the old school house. There was also a second marae just next door, which belonged to a different sub tribe. I asked them about this, and they didn't seem to think that was anything unusual! The campsite was a fundraising plan to allow them to convert and move the building to make it a more traditional marae with a carved wooden entrance.

Behind and around the grounds were a number of chalets, which turned out to be flats designated for the tribal elders. That was the idea, but most of them were apparently occupied by younger families making the most of a free roof. They were also responsible for a number of loud explosions on the first night; apparently it was someone's birthday. Fortunately the rain put a stop to that after the second night, and I think they'd run out of fireworks!

The camp site was thoroughly cheap and cheerful! The facilities were pretty basic, but the hospitality was excellent, and they looked after Rachael for hours at a time. It was very much a family atmosphere, which is one of the core values of maori culture.

We had a rather damp trip around the bay by boat, during which Sarah threw up over all her clothes, most of Bronwyn's, two seats, the wall and the floor. They mopped it all up, and we bought a T-shirt for Sarah to wear. It was the smallest we could find, but it still looked like a Roman toga on her! We also went on three ferries (you can't really go far there without a ferry) and covered the long winding road to the campsite at least 8 times.

There is a large bay just over the hill, which is only accessible by a footpath (marked "Cape Brett 7.5 hours, fee payable") and a steep and dangerous cliff path. It was therefore quite deserted, and we went there a couple of times, and got back in one piece!

Sarah learnt how to use a potty last week! Three times!

Today, Bronwyn and Neil spent some time rounding up the cows (Neil on motorbike, Bronwyn in a car) because a calf had been abandoned, and they were trying to force the mother to suckle it. That appears to have failed, so we now have a calf in the garden, and a sack of milk powder, and Bronwyn has been attempting to feed it. No luck so far, but it can take a while to get them used to it.

I've been putting things away and tidying the house. It's my birthday party next weekend, and we wanted to get the place in order. Bronwyn's working five days this week, so I decided to do what I could to help out...

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