Friday, January 11, 2019


Today Stew, Brylee and I are off on a day trip to Tokoroa.

Not exactly a 'happening place' to be visiting if I'm perfectly honest.  It's where I was born... and left when I was 15.

We didn't move far though, just 20 minutes south to Upper Atiamuri, so my Dad had more room for his bulldozers and logging equipment!  Not the sort of things you can park on the road outside ya house! 

Anyway... we are going to Tokoroa so we can tend my family's graves.  

After that, we hope to pop out to Lake Ohakuri, which is not far from where we lived (in Upper Atiamuri), and have a swim.
We used to go boating on Lake Ohakuri when I was a teenager, I love the place.

So, a nice day ahead of us I hope.

And that is all for now... catch ya later.


OH!  I did a google search for photos of the area we lived in, and came across some of our old home!  It was sold in 2017, so there were Real Estate photos.... MUM, this will interest you.

 ABOVE: Our front lawn, which my Dad leveled with a bulldozer.  Oh he also 'pruned' some trees... with a chainsaw.  Down. To. The. Ground.  lol  Mum wasn't that impressed.

Once a bushman, always a bushman.

Over that rolling hill, to the left of the tall trees, is the Upper Atiamuri Area School. My younger brother, Vern, attended it for a while.  Then he left.  There's a bit of a story about that, it involved a fire and a deep seated dislike of the School's Principal at the time. lol 

Suffice to say, Vern did VERY WELL at Boarding School!  *smiles*

 ABOVE: My Dad built this huge shed to use as a workshop for all his logging gear/repairs, strop making and so on.

 ABOVE: This big room was an extension my parents put on the original house.  Our pool table was in that corner when we lived there.  
My Dad put that marine plywood on the walls, and I'm bloody sure that is the original wallpaper my parents hung 44 years ago too!

 ABOVE:  The view out our back door... I always loved that view.

There is a little dirt road down on the right which leads down to the bottom paddock, where the local Pony Club meet.

It was a nice place to live and visit.  Lots of happy memories of this place.

We will probably swing by just for a look, see if it's changed much since these photos were taken.  It would be nice if the new owners have added some gardens or trees.

Well... it's now almost 5 pm and we are home after having a wonderful day out!

We left just after 9 am.  First stop was in Tirau, where we looked in a few shops, mostly the Notting Hill shops.  I just love them ... mostly furniture and giftware.

Didn't buy a thing!  Most unlike me.

Then we mozied on down the road to Litchfield, where we stopped at the Sheepskin shop.

 ABOVE:  I have driven past this shop literally HUNDREDS of times, and only ever been in it once.  So it was about time I stopped for a look again.  
Those mannequins have been outside the shop for at LEAST 30+ years!

 ABOVE:  Hard case, there were even a couple inside the shop too.  
They sell sheepskins, UGG boots, slippers, wool, woolen clothes and New Zealand giftware.
I was sorely tempted to get some UGG boots for wearing at the markets over winter... but didn't today.

ABOVE:  Stew tried on some hats... but HELL NO!  Most of them were too small for his fat head! lol

When we got to the cemetery I realised we needed new flowers.  So we went into Tokoroa and got some.  Then we tidied up the graves, put the flowers on and left for Upper Atiamuri.

ABOVE:  Looking so much nicer now.  The flowers certainly don't last very long!  We will have to make a point of going down 6 monthly to replace them.

 ABOVE: There is only ONE 'eatery' in Upper Atiamuri, called 'The Bullring'.  It's a pub/cafe/motel type place on State Highway 1.  When we lived there it was a petrol station/fish 'n' chip shop.

They served us a very nice lunch.

After lunch we decided to drive by my old home.
There were people home, so we decided to be cheeky and pop in and say hi.

WELL!  The lady who lives there now was extremely friendly, and immediately invited us in when I told her I used to live there years ago.

We yakked for ages, and I got taken all through the house... it was so STRANGE being inside ... some changes, but not that many.

***photos taken with her permission***

 ABOVE:  MUM... can you believe it!  The same carpets.  The lounge is now a bedroom too.
It has wardrobes along the left hand wall as you walk in.

ABOVE:  They have just finished painting OVER the original wallpaper in the family/kitchen/dining room too.

They have a very cheeky, friendly bird!  It was very interested in Stew and I and didn't want to leave us.

It tried to get my earrings off, and gave lots of kisses.

 ABOVE:  Remember me saying it would be nice if they had put in new gardens?
Well... they had JUST finished putting all these plants and rocks along the front boundary fence!  She said it was a very hard job.

Her husband is not a well person, so I suspect she did it all herself. 

Next time we go down I want to take her some plants.  

So after spending some time visiting and answering their questions about the house and our time there, we moved on up the road to Lake Ohakuri for a swim.

ABOVE:  It was stunning. And empty!
When we arrived there was one man and his dog having a swim, and about 6 boat trailers/cars parked up, but no boats to be seen.

They were obviously further up the lake somewhere.

Stew, Brylee and I jumped in... well, OK... we waded in... and had a lovely swim.  It was warm!  Until I swum quite a long way out, then it got quite cold!

So refreshing after a long, hot day.

After our swim we headed home.  We did stop at Tirau again, where Brylee bought some lingerie at the Bendon Outlet shop, and we all had an ice cream.  

Now home, and it's STINKING hot in the house... it's been closed up all day.  And the last thing I feel like doing is cooking dinner.

Cooking = heat = NAH, not gunna happen.

Signing off.  Long day.  Going to relax for the evening.


  1. Man make me cry.. loved this place.. was like a second home for most of us kids every school holidays.. 😀😀💕💕

  2. That's some nice looking countryside! I'd love to visit New Zealand someday!

  3. my dad was a bricklayer and he built a couple of the houses we lived in from scratch. I always wonder how they look now as he both designed them and built them Christy xxxx

  4. What a fab trip down memory lane for you and all and Thanks heaps for sharing it with us .
    Felt like we were doing the tour with you

    Enjoy the day away


  5. Lovely memories. Enjoy your wee trip.

  6. Odd subject, I hope you do not mind the question - I have never seen all that information on a gravestone - ? Future genealogists in your extended family will be very thankful. Is that unique to your family or the custom in NZ?

    1. I don't mind at all! It's fairly standard here to list immediate family of the deceased on their headstone.

    2. I was also very interested as in the UK it would usually just give the person's name and surname, which I note is not there. You might get a 'dearly loved wife of X' but not the other information, and rarely is there any mention of what happened (e.g. 'Accidentally'. It will indeed be a boon to anyone doing family research! It's one of the reasons I enjoy your blog so much, it's like a little window into another country that I will probably never visit.

    3. Athene, our Surname is in BIG letters on the back of the headstone. Not sure why it's like that. Most do have the Surname on the front.

    4. Stew just pointed out... our surname IS on the front! Only I bought pretty flowers and covered the name inadvertently! MARSHALL is under the flowers front and center!

    5. CORRECTION: It is MY FAMILY SURNAME, pre-marriage.

  7. What an awesome day you have had. How wonderful to be able to have a look around your old house and take photos for your mum to see. How magical is that lake and no one there!

  8. Have to comment again after the update

    So many similarities and ages n things to ours,, and good on you 3 .

    . what a fabulous well rounded out day ,,and fab you got to go through your family home etc. Bright flowers you left and lots of memories revived/.

    Amazing and neat that the people showed you through and to take plants there is a Choice idea ,, Good on you guys

    Its fab you have the camera pics and the blog ,, and doing this record ,,cos even 5 years from now fab to look back on and jog our mems again..

    We used to go to a Tirau Hotel (on a main road) for a lunch many moons ago,, when travelling,, a sit down meal (smiles ) with fresh sliced bread at the tables and old push up style windows in the "Dining Room"

    Neither of us can remember the name of it but lovely like home cooked meals..

    Sorry bit off the subject!!!

    gr8 you guys had a swim nothing better on a round trip esp in January in Nth island!!

  9. Anonymous9:59 PM

    Nice that you got to look inside the house . Most headstones in Australia don’t have quite that much info on them but there again you can put what you want if you pay for it

  10. Looks like a nice day of memories! Cool she let you inside to see the house! I always wonder if one of the grandkids of the guy that built my house would show up but so far no. I think it was actually built in the late 40's and we are only the 2nd owners if you don't count his daughter who it was left to but she never lived in it.

  11. What a great day, wonderful memories. Wonderful you got to see inside the house.

  12. What a lovely day for you! I am learning so much about New Zealand by googling all the places you mention and tracking on the map...such fun!! Sadly to say, living in the US and not having traveled much in my life, I am having a ball following your adventures throughout your beautiful country! :) We're having a snowstorm tonight in Illinois and one of those lovely sheepskins would be what I'd buy if I were there..."smile"

  13. Anonymous12:02 PM

    Hi Christine, Stu (and many others!)

    What a coincidence you were down at Tokoroa and Upper Atiamuri yesterday! I was just looking looking at some old photos taken out at Uncle Cliff and Aunty Maude's place (which I will email to you) and was looking the place up on Google this morning and came across your blogsite.

    Wow, where to begin. So many good childhood memories our there! I remember coming out there for family get togethers with you guys and Lacy, Amanda, Kelly and Lexi and Uncle Vern and David and Teresa. And of course Whiskey the dog! There were a few other dogs and cats but they all succumbed to 'Dunlop Disease' out on the road outside as I remember Aunty Maude putting it..!

    I remember Uncle Cliff sitting at the table letting out almighty great belches and saying to us kids "now what do you say?"! And then one time him and Aunty Maude taking us all out to Chapman's restaurant at the THC Hotel at Whakarewarewa in Rotorua and while in the restaurant us expecting him to belch out loud like he did at home and then to our amazement, did not! Haha

    All us kids used to going climbing down into the tomos in the paddocks (which I think we weren't meant to do!).

    I remember coming out for many visits over the years from our place at Rotorua to see Uncle Cliff and Aunty Maude and us being asked to stay for dinner and Uncle Cliff getting fish and chips from the Lantern takeway (now the Bullring).

    I remember our family staying out there at this time of year over the Christmas holidays when Uncle Cliff and Aunty Maude had gone to Whitianga. And coming out manny times to go blackberry picking and having blackberry and rhubarb crumble made by Dad afterwards.

    I remember exploring all around the farm with Whiskey and one time he went down into the blackberries and came out with a Possum! I remember when Uncle Cliff once created a 'beach' beside the stream down the bottom of one of the paddocks by driving a bulldozer down the bank and clearing all the massively high blackberry brambles which surrounded all the streams.

    It is so strange seeing the place without all the logging equipment and machinery around the place and the old hall onsite has obviously been demolished.

    I actually inadvertently came into contact through Trade Me with the guy who bought the place off Uncle Cliff after they moved to Whitianga after I sold him something. He has, or had, a place on State Highway 1 just up from the Gull Station (used to be Mobil) at Upper Atiamuri and owned, or owned, The Bullring. He was a rail enthusiast and had all sorts of full size railway signals along his driveway from the road and told me if ever I was down that way (which is not often) to come visit him. I think I lost his email after my laptop crapped out a couple of years ago and I lost nearly everything on it. He said he remembered Uncle Cliff well and the many nights of drinking at the cricket club - and often wondered how he made it home!

    I also remember Lake Ohakuri and going out there and playing on the sea biscuit with Uncle Vern driving the boat. I remember him driving it so fast trying to make us come off but I kept hanging on until my swimming togs got sucked off and had to let go to get them before the sunk! Haha.

    Nice that the new owner let you look through the old place and interesting to see the changes. I remember the place looking a bit barren and out in the open when I last drove past. Rhododendrons and Azaleas (which have nice flowers) will all do well in the soil / climate down there if you are looking for plant ideas when you next back to see the new owners.

    Isaac B

    1. Wow Issac, lovely to hear from you! How wonderful that you have such awesome memories of your times out at my parents home. Please get in touch, it would be wonderful to see you again.

    2. Anonymous4:06 PM

      Yes lots of new faces and catching up to do.

      Forgot to mention how nice the food looked in the photo taken at The Bullring.

      I see it was sold to a new owner last year:

      Just thinking back on all the cars out there. The red and the green 1970s Vauxhall Vivas with their vinyl seats which got scorching hot in summer and lap belt seat belts! I seem to recall the red car had dodgy brakes.. Aunty Maud's red Volvo and us kids being fascinated by the wipers on the headlights (very 80s feature!). Uncle Cliff's bright red V8 Commodore ute and then the Caprice. Also Uncle Vern's black Trans Am. And the CF Bedford vans - all things of the past now.


Thanks if you leave a comment. Comment moderation is BACK ON... so if your comment is not published immediately, rest assured it will be eventually. As long as it's not nasty. No nasty ones will get through.