Saturday, January 30, 2010

Desperate times?

A 19-year-old Kiwi university student is offering up her virginity by tender to the highest bidder on a newly started NZ auction website.

Under the heading "Relationship For Sale" in the personal section, "Unigirl" is putting herself on the block and offering up her innocence on the I Need website which is run by two Waikato men.

See the ad in a new window here.

Unigirl says she is attractive and desperate for money to pay ongoing university fees. She says she is fit, healthy, with a trim physique and has "no medical conditions of any nature". sale

Who knows whether the ad is genuine or whether it’s some kind of stunt by the website owners but if it’s real I hope she’s factored in that as prostitution is legal here in NZ the IRD would no doubt expect their tax cut out of anything she makes.


Sad? Just plain dumb? Either way, surely an interest free student loan would be far simpler?


Thursday, January 28, 2010


I’ve had a load of stuff going on and have been incredibly slack about posting here and about visiting my regular haunts. Work is chaos, I’m doing 12 hour days plus I’ve had a log jam of assignments to plough through - I’m a terrible student and I had let myself fall behind. Rory starts his final year of high school tomorrow so we’ve had to get ourselves organised for that as well.

Don’t worry too much though ma peeps, we’ve got a lovely long weekend coming up so that’ll give me some breathing space. Soon I’ll be back posting inanities again for your reading torture pleasure.

*EDIT* Just noticed by counter widget in my sidebar; I’m new again!





Sunday, January 24, 2010

No sense nonsense

My hateful vacuum cleaner decided to stop working for me this morning. The ‘bag full’ light is staying on which indicates to me that there is some kind of blockage somewhere. The bag is most definitely NOT full, the filter is clean and there’s no visible clump of debris anywhere screwing up the works.

It wasn’t sucking though. And my carpet was decidedly unclean. And I have friends coming for lunch. Sigh.

I took a deep breath to stave off the desire to throw the horrible thing across the room and instead I performed some rudimentary diagnostics. I ascertained that it is the hose causing the problem; there’s suction into the machine with the hose off and therefore logic tells me the problem is the hose. I ran another hose (the garden one actually) through the vacuum hose to dislodge whatever offending material was stuck in there but…nothing; there is no blockage.


By now I was feeling increasingly frustrated and though I should have been preparing lunch, I loaded the contraption into the wagon and headed to the local vacuum cleaner ‘experts’ who have confirmed my diagnosis. The problem is the hose. We hooked up my vacuum with their hose and it sucks like (insert whichever grubby euphemism works for you) so they checked my hose for a blockage using their industrial sized sucker/blower machine but…Hoover-Hygienenothing.


They’ve ordered me a new hose and were kind enough to give me a loaner until the new hose arrives at the end of the week, but I’m still completely mystified – a hose is surely a piece of corrugated plastic wrapped around air; what the f**k can actually go wrong with that? Is there something technical about hoses that I don’t know?


I have now vacuumed the house with the little loaner machine and it did a pretty good job I must say. I have made the salads for lunch and put a pitcher of margarita in the refrigerator to chill. I’m about to start skewering the marinated chicken and vegetable kebabs for the barbecue and am hoping that the rest of the day will go to plan. I still need to squeeze in a shower before my guests arrive in an hour so I better get moving.

What have you got planned for Sunday in your house?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Knocked down at half time

The young Australian sailor Jessica Watson is 100 days and 11,000 nautical miles into her attempt to be the youngest person ever to circumnavigate the globe non-stop, solo and unassisted.

In the last 24 hours she has experienced her first severe weather of the journey in the southern Atlantic. During the night Jessica and her yacht, Ella’s Pink Lady, weathered four knockdowns during an eight hour storm after being hit by a series of rogue waves up to ten metres high whipped up by hurricane force winds. A knockdown is where the mast goes below horizontal and into the sea.

Here’s the story on her website and here’s her blog if you’re interested in learning more about Jessica and her amazing adventure. Whether or not you agree that a 16 year old should be undertaking such a dangerous voyage, it certainly does make for a fascinating tale. Jessica is a young woman of extraordinary competence and mettle. She writes well and her blog updates are enjoyable and informative. Cool photos too.

Rory and I wish her the very, very best of luck for the second half of her journey. We hope the winds are fair from now on and the sun is warm and that her little boat stays safe and sound. 

Click to view and enlarge Jessica’s GPS tracking in a new window.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday flowers

Jacaranda trees are in full bloom right now and on every street the beautiful lavender flower can be seen. Jacaranda

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lost in translation

from-whom-it-smokes no-pissing-on-security-camera no-wall-rubbing sams-crap-houseCheck out heaps more at the hilarious Click each to open and enlarge in a new window.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Two for Tuesday

I) Did you know

…that if you are buried in Singapore it’s a temporary situation only? The law states that after 15 years your remains must be disinterred and either cremated or re-buried in a smaller individual plot.

So much for resting in peace.


II) Cottage envy

Doagh IslandDoagh Island, Donegal, Ireland overlooking Trawbreaga Bay

Monday, January 18, 2010

Chatting over the fence

I was just sitting outside in the sun on a lounger and ‘chatting’ with a friend from England on MSN when I saw my new neighbour over the fence. I yelled out a friendly ‘hi’ and was surprised to see him scuttle away without replying.

Now there’s a chance he thought I was a cougar on the hunt who’d spied prey separated from the herd but more likely I think it’s about a new social situation; one in which we so easily communicate electronically with people on other continents but not so easily with someone who lives next door.  Have you heard the one about not being able to get in touch with your grandmother because she’s not on Facebook? It makes me wonder what we might be missing out on, surely it must affect our sense of community – or does it? I know I feel a sense of belonging with the volunteer organisation I work with – does that count? Have our communities just moved away from suburbia? Is the workplace perhaps our new community?

OK the neighbour is outside again – looks like he’s planning to do some gardening. I will post this now and at the risk of freaking him out completely, I am going to go and stand at the fence and introduce myself. Horrors.


“A hacker is being blamed for the display of a two-minute pornographic video on an electronic billboard in downtown Moscow that usually screens advertising clips.”

“Drivers in downtown Moscow squinted in disbelief as an electronic highway billboard blazed a two-minute pornographic video instead of its regular advertising features.”

Associated Press, Jan 15.

It would be enough to make anyone's drive home from work a bit more interesting. Don’t worry about checking YouTube, I already have (as a public service of course) and I can confirm that all videos of the billboard malfunction have already been removed.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Making a difference

Here’s my contribution towards Lori’s latest writer’s challenge. The subject matter this time around is;

Teachers Who’ve Made a Difference

I imagine that when a person decides to become a school teacher it’s a conscious choice, a vocation even, certainly not a career decision made lightly. We all know the difference that a good or bad teacher can make to an impressionable mind and I like to think that even the worst teacher started out with the best of intentions.

Saying that, my very first teacher in New Zealand was a shocker. I get that my five and a half year old brain might not be the most reliable source of information but the memories have stuck with me now for nearly 40 years and that must attest to some veracity.  Her name was Sister I* and she was 70 if she was a day. She got her kicks having the whole class make fun of my Irish accent. I recall being made to stand up on my desk and say the alphabet over and over and getting a whack with a ruler whenever a hint of accent crept in to my pronunciation. I didn’t tell my parents until many years later why my accent disappeared so quickly when we came back to NZ.

I was a good student as a child. I worked hard, desperate for the validation that good grades brought. I was lucky too I guess that I was an all rounder as a kid; I was athletic – good at almost any sport I tried – and I found school work unproblematic on the whole. That combination ensured primary and intermediate school was a relatively easy ride – lots of friends and mostly indulgent teachers. I had lots of male teachers in those formative years and I still believe that generally speaking men make the best teachers – less structured, more going with the flow. No offence intended to any female teachers who might be reading.

My favourite teacher from that period was the wonderful Mr A. By the time I knew him he was an old man and a widower. He was a fabulous teacher; he was unhurried; patient and kind and for the first time I truly understood that I was entitled to my own opinion. He made us laugh every single day but taught us to challenge what we read and heard; it was my first exposure to critical thinking.

Then I went to high school and everything changed.

To be fair, it wasn’t the fault of my teachers that things started to go wrong. In fact Mr B tried very hard to keep me engaged in the learning process but by the time I hit 15, I was failing his class (maths) and barely passing anything else. I then started skipping class until I was missing most lessons every day.

Somehow though I continued to scrape through with barely acceptable grades until my senior year at school when I was unexpectedly captivated by climatology and the hydrological cycle as shared by Ms M in geography class. She inspired me and suddenly I was attending all my classes again and actually rediscovering the joy of learning. She was an older woman who appreciated that at our age we had a choice about whether we went to school each day or not. She infused every class with visual aids to help communicate the subject. She’d travelled widely and had collected a vast library of photographs to help illustrate her point and she was all for laughter and fun and games in her classroom. Above all others, Ms M was the teacher who re-energised me with the wonder of learning. I’m eternally grateful as to this day I have never lost that joy.

*Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Back again

Home again after another few days away. I’ve got sunburned yesterday (again) so I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself – I was being so careful with sun block but being in and out of the sea all day means it washes off so quick.

I’ll only inflict a couple of photos on you this time…

Whitianga_Trip 004 This was the view from my room, about 20 steps to the sand.

Whitianga_Trip 009 I took this yesterday mid afternoon. Gorgeous day, deserted beach.

Whitianga_Trip 035 Me hiding behind a big tree.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our place

Our national museum Te Papa (translates as ‘Our place’) is a fantastic place to hang out if you’re ever in Wellington. Rory and I spent another day there just before Christmas as we were keen on seeing the latest Pompeii exhibition. It was a great day as usual, we’re inevitably inspired and excited by what we see there.

Click on logo to open website in new window

I see today in the news that a new boss of Te Papa has been appointed to replace Dr Seddon Bennington who died a few months ago of hypothermia while hiking in the Tararua ranges. The new chap is a Welshman, Michael Houlihan who is currently the head of Amgueddfa Cymru, a seven-museum group in Wales. He’s due here around mid year to take up the job. I hope he’s not a hiker. 

An ever popular fixture at Te Papa is the colossal squid which was inadvertently caught in a trawlers net in the Ross Sea in 2008. The fishermen had the foresight to freeze the dead squid so they could bring it back in one piece. Apparently a  colossal squid is way bigger than a giant squid – this one weighs 495 kilograms (1100 lbs). Colossel SquidThis photo shows the squid being defrosted for the first time a year ago. The marine biologist and squid expert on the right is a guy I went to school with, Steve O’Shea.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Two for Tuesday

I) This day in history

- 12 January 1908 the first long distance radio transmission is sent from the Eiffel tower in Paris

- 12 January 1915 the US House of Representatives again rejects women’s suffrage (remedied in 1920)

- 12 January 1917 the Indian spiritualist Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is born  (died 2008)

MaharishiMaheshYogi Information and photo from Wikipedia.


II) The Joy of Summer

I was just talking to my girlfriend who lives in the Australian bush, north west of Melbourne in the state of Victoria.  Yesterday the temperature at her place was a breathtaking 44oC (or 112oF to you ‘merican readers).  They’re on extreme bushfire watch again already this year but thankfully Cath has decided that she’s not going to hang around if the local fire risk gets too high – she’s evacuating. See my photo below of her place in the bush taken in winter 2008.

In Auckland we consider it a scorcher of a day if the temperature hits 30oC though it can get much hotter on the east coast of the central North Island and the central South Island. 30oC is plenty hot enough for me as I very much favour a mild temperate climate.  The average Auckland summer day is a high of about 25oC but it was recently reported that the years 2000 – 2009 have been the warmest on average since record keeping began here. Vic8I’m off again tomorrow for another couple of nights away on the Coromandel peninsula; this is getting to be a habit. A friend invited me to stay with her at her holiday place right on the beach in Whitianga (pronounced ‘fit e ung a’) so I’m taking off early tomorrow morning for the 2 hour drive and will be back Friday or Saturday. We’re planning some fishing and some sailing and no doubt some more lying on the beach and swimming. I’m in the middle of another good book too which I hope to finish.

Have fun at work y’all.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Protesting yet again

I’m getting picked up any minute by a friend (actually he’s late) to go and add my voice to a protest today outside the office of the Consulate General of Japan.

Any guesses what the issue is?

No points for working out it’s whaling on the agenda yet again. It’s a protest against the illegal slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary and the inaction of Japanese and New Zealand Governments to intervene and shut down the massacre.

A petition calling for a firm and diplomatic solution to whaling from both the New Zealand government and Japanese authorities will be presented to a representative of the Japanese Consul. At least the Australian government has been vocal about the recent carry on in Antarctica while my own government has been strangely quiet.

Japanese_Whaling Photo from

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Fun times

I’m home after a few days away with friends. My clean bed and shower were calling me after a couple of nights of sleeping fairly rough. It’s been fun; we’ve been swimming every day and had lots of laughs. We’ve had more cocktails and more sun than is healthy but my new 2010 mantra commits me to living life to the full.

See my earlier post here for a map of the peninsula if interested.

I drew the short straw and we took my car. We drove to Tapu on Wednesday and then further up the west coast on Thursday to reach Coromandel township. On Friday we crossed the hills to get to the eastern side of the peninsula to visit Kennedy Bay and then to Whangapoua where we spent another two days exploring, swimming, sunbathing and creating sand sculptures.

We arrived back in Auckland earlier this evening and when I got home I took a 20 minute shower, made a decent coffee and put on a load of washing. Only then did I feel civilised enough to have a look at the photos I took over the last few days. My lack of photographic know how and my basic little camera do not do these interesting places proper justice but here are a few snaps anyway.

Tapu beach through Pohutukawa trees. Late afternoon.

Waikawau bay on a chilly and blustery morning.

Rural mailboxes with a church and tiny graveyard in the background.

Derelict house next to the Coromandel pub where we had lunch.

Papa-Aroha sunset.

Climbing up the gravel road towards the east and looking back west.

Half way up and looking east. At the top we were above the clouds.

The estuary at Kennedy Bay.

A corrugated iron kiwi palace.

Whangapoua beach where we got sunburned yesterday.

Chums beach. Almost completely deserted.

This piece of artwork was made by a Coromandel local and bought by me earlier today. They’re pokeko (a flightless NZ bird) and I knew it would look great hanging on my fence.

Can’t get rid of me

Just so you didn’t miss me too much while I was away for a few days, I programmed this to publish on Saturday. If you’re reading it then I guess it worked.

I have posted about my favourite poem here previously (a year ago I think) but here it is again for anyone else who might be a fan.  This poem instantly transports me to a fragrant summer’s afternoon; to a calm, more contented place, to simpler times. I guess you could say it’s my happy place. My blog is named after this poem.


The Quiet Life

Happy the man whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air
In his own ground.

Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire;
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.

Blest who can inconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day.

Sound sleep by night, study and ease
Together mixt, sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please
With meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.

by Alexander Pope (1688 - 1744)

Haystacks by Claude Monet

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Road trip

Later today I’m off with three girlfriends on a road trip for a few days. We’re heading to the Coromandel peninsula to get some sun, swim from the beautiful beaches and party into the night.

We have a rough plan and a couple of tentative motel bookings but basically we’ll be playing it by ear. We’ll head up the west coast of the peninsula where the most beautiful and secluded beaches are.


Sunscreen  TickTowel/swimsuitTickToiletries and makeupTick

Sleeping bag and pillow (just in case) Tick

Cute dress and high heels for going out at night Tick

Phone and charger, iPod and charger, camera and charger Tick

Money Tick

Chilly bin loaded with ice and wine and water and fruit Tick

Manicure and pedicure booked Tickand oops look at the time, better go now before I miss my appointment.

Catch you all in a couple of days. Be good.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Two for Tuesday

I) Housekeeping

Visitors may notice some changes at The Quiet Life. I been trying to modernise and redecorate my wee place in the sun though I can’t be bothered going as far as finding and installing a new template. Sorry.

I have re-added the Feedjit tool and will shortly try and figure out how to take my own IP address out of the equation.

I was also looking for a good world clock, I used to have one but now I can’t find it so as a consolation prize I have added a clock to let y’all know what time it is here in NZ when you visit TQL.

I spotted a cool link to previous posts thingee over at Bob’s place so though I’d hijack that idea as well. I see it’s pretty good at finding previous posts that are along the same lines which is cool.

I am slightly worried that all this stuff will slow down my page loading so please let me know if it’s a pain and I’ll trim it down. It’s mostly wank value anyway and knowing me, will likely only lead to an over interest in who’s coming and going and NOT leaving comments. Be warned.


II) Cottage envy

I bookmarked this picture jammed pack full of cottages that Vole posted about on the weekend. This is a tiny street in a village called Bridgnorth in Shropshire, England. Can you imagine living here? No doubt there’d be a quaint and cosy 500 year old pub just around the bend* with a huge open fire and exposed beams. Lovely. bridgnorth01a*Right next to the laundromat.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Reader

I’ve been watching a few movies recently but nothing worth recommending until this one. It’s provocative and disturbing and profound. Tissues are required.



The Reader

Released in 2008 and directed by Stephen Daldry via Miramax Films. From the critically acclaimed 1995 book by Bernhard Schlink and produced by Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack, both of whom died before the movie was released.

The movie stars Kate Winslet as Hanna Schmitz, newcomer David Kross as Michael Berg and Ralph Fiennes as the older Michael.

The story starts in Berlin more than a decade after the Second World War ends. Hanna and Michael meet and commence a love affair that surprises, delights and disturbs.  Hanna is the controlling older woman and she dictates the summer long relationship before one day leaving unexpectedly. Michael is devastated and carries the effect with him until they cross paths again in shocking circumstances many years later.

The storyline tackles the tough themes of communication, of guilt and of reconciliation and of coming to terms with the past.

Kate Winslet and David Kross star in Stephen Daldry's The Reader.The cinematography is gritty, the direction is sensitive though unsentimental but the flashback format took me a little while to settle in to. The performances are superb especially Kate Winslet who won a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, a Screen Actors Guild Award and the Academy Award for Best Actress for this film. Stephen Daldry was nominated for the Best Director Oscar and the movie was nominated for Best Picture but lost out to Slumdog Millionaire.

Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a movie that provokes thought. Oh, and I really do mean it about the tissues, I cried absolute buckets.

While we’re at it

Over the last couple of days both the gentlemanly scholar known to his nearest and dearest as The Plashing Vole and the intellectually formidable (and still inexplicably single) Intelliwench have ranted about incorrect usage of the humble apostrophe. All well and good (and as I admitted sheepishly on the wench’s site, I have been known to get the fussy little bugger wrong on occasion) but I have a blunter (or should that be more blunt?) axe to grind.

Who’s heard or read something like these recently?

  • I would of made breakfast if I could of gotten out of bed
  • I should of known better that to of asked you

It’s one thing hearing these words come out of someone’s mouth but seeing it written down makes the offence so much more inexcusable. It’s the difference between careless and clueless.

Spending five minutes reading comments on YouTube affects me like fingernails dragged down a blackboard. I advocate the return of public flogging for such blatant crimes against grammar and don’t even get me started on the they’re/their/there issue.

Now before I sign off can I make one point clear? This post does not give anyone licence to henceforth critique the grammar in my posts. I’m not one of your students Vole - I’m a giver not a taker.


Keepin’ it real

I love Facebook. I was a late starter to such things. I’d been a member of for years which is a site that reconnects friends via schools they’ve attended but I finally decided to drag myself into the 21st century and try out Facebook and Twitter when I quit smoking in June 2008 and was desperately seeking a diversion.

Facebook has worked for me. I’m not into the games thankfully as I see friend after friend acquiesce to the addiction that is Farmville and/or Cafe world. I’m also not out to collect hundreds of friends – it’s just about being in contact with people who I like and who I want to maintain a relationship with despite us all being scattered around the world. It’s about sharing photos and news with everyone and getting to know better the half of my extended family who are in Ireland. I think at the moment I have around 55 ‘friends’ which is more than enough for me to manage. FacebookI keep Facebook and blogging quite separate (with 2 exceptions) as I don’t want to lose the freedom of my relatively anonymous blogging and I want Facebook to be about maintaining real life relationships.

Anyway, finally getting to the point of the post…

An old friend from school messaged me on FB from Massachusetts where she has lived for the last 20 years with her American husband and their children. I say an old ‘friend’ when in fact we weren’t that close at all – acquaintances would probably be more accurate though we did share many classes at high school. In the last few days we’ve (private) messaged back and forth and she turns out to be one of the most fabulous people I know. We have shared more in these few days than I have with most of my closest friends in years. We’ve browsed each others photos and commented on holidays, homes and children. We talked earnestly about our relationships (or lack thereof on my part), our hopes, our dreams and our fears.

I have a wonderful new friend who I already cherish and Facebook made it possible. Thank you Mark Zuckerberg.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

…this lonely view

I have had the laziest Sunday in history. It’s been an overcast and cooler day so it seemed the perfect time to take a break from summer and lounge around inside for the day.

I have surfed the web, caught up on news, published a couple of posts, watched some TV and finished a book I started (re-reading) a few days ago. The book is great so here’s a quick review for anyone looking for something easy to read. Scar Tissue was rescar_tissueleased in October 2004 by Hyperion and authored by Anthony Kiedis with Larry Sloman. 

Red Hot Chilli Peppers vocalist and songwriter Anthony Kiedis shares his personal experiences in a first-person, chronological narrative of his life from childhood through to today.

Anthony has lived a breathtaking life. He started doing drugs with his father at the kitchen table from 12 years old and at around the same time his dad ‘loaned’ him his girlfriend so Anthony could lose his virginity.  Scar Tissue recounts the fascinating and tragic story of Kiedis’ life and the history of the RHCP. His tale of heroin addiction, love, fame and making music lurches the reader from one crisis to the next and gives us an often shocking insight into lives almost crippled by drug dependency. I read this and can’t believe how RHCP made a success of music making for 20 years and still continue to survive and grow today.

A superb read for anyone who enjoys autobiographical non-fiction; a simply fantastic read for RHCP fans.

Count your blessings

I just finished reading the story of American Roey Rosenblith who was a passenger on the almost ill fated Northwest Airlines flight 253 to Detroit. It’s a chilling recount of confusion, lack of information and eventual realisation. It’s well worth the longish read if you haven’t done so already.

Huffington Post 27 Dec 2009

Keeping our heads above water

New Zealand has shocking drowning statistics every summer. Kiwis (and our visitors) are far too casual when swimming from our highly tidal beaches with swift currents and fearsome rips.

Piha_and_Lion_Rock Piha, west coast black sand beach, north Auckland. Photo from Wikipedia.

Water Safety New Zealand states that on average 119 people drown in New Zealand waters every year. Only road crashes kill more people accidently. There is a chilling physiological explanation of the drowning process there too if anyone has a morbid curiosity.

All major beaches in New Zealand are patrolled by surf lifesavers through summer but on any given day you’ll see most people swimming well away from the patrolled areas – I think it’s got something to do with the fact that we don’t like being told what to do. The lifesavers do an admirable job of keeping an eye on the whole beach and mostly they’re successful but they’re fighting an uphill battle; we New Zealanders think we’re indestructible because we grew up swimming in the sea.

In the last two days a grandfather and a father have drowned in two separate incidents when they were trying (successfully) to save young children swimming with them. In both cases some foresight about the conditions might easily have prevented them getting into trouble. A teen also drowned jumping from a waterfall.Piha LifeguardsPhoto from 

What’s really sad is that our visitors die too. Our beaches are beautiful and look harmless so people just run into the water at the closest spot to their towels and umbrella rather than checking out where the rips are. I was pleased to see yesterday when I was at Piha beach that there were lifesavers handing out pamphlets in different languages explaining about currents and rips and what swimmers should look for before choosing where to swim.

New Zealand beaches are safe as long as we’re all sensible, know what to look for, supervise our kids PROPERLY (always use flippers with boogie boards) and stay out of the water after drinking. With little children always head to the safer east coast Auckland beaches. Maraetai_231209_4 Maraetai, east coast inner harbour, Auckland (15 minutes drive east from my place)

EDIT: I just did some research and found that Australia’s latest figures (the year to June 2009) make our figures look even worse. Australia lost 302 people to drowning in that year when of course their population is more than 5 times ours (4m here vs 21m there).

I also note that another person (35 year old male) is missing and now presumed drowned from Piha at about the time I was publishing this post yesterday.