Yes ...... an explaation of the photos at Whangamonona.
We drove from the Tongariro National Park, along the 100 mile long 'Forgotton Highway' to Startford and then on the Whanagnui for our next B&B. This highway was over very tortuous, twisty and in places non meteled roads, but the scernery was wonderful, even though the weather and visability was poor.
Halfway along this road, we had heard of a place called WHANGAMONONA , community of hill farmers who had set up an Independant Republic within NZ, had elected a President and basically run a self ruled State. They hadn't quite opted right out of NZ though as they still paid they taxes! The photos showed us meeting the President Murt Kennard and the states first lady. Really interesting folk. We purchased one of there passports for 'safe passage' and they stamp our UK passports.... all very official.
At WHANGANUI, we stayed in an old colonial 1895 B&B home, full of history, but very cold as the weather was awful. It had been a maternity hospital and an old peoples homestead during its past. We meet serveral folk during our time in the area who had been born there....quite a weird situation. During our 2 days their we joined up with one of the local village postmen and went with him on a Mail Coach run out into a very sparseley populated river valley of mostly Maori folk. We visited a convant , for lunch , very special place and heard many stories about life in the valley. All in all a round trip of about 75 miles, alomg single trtack mostly un tarred roads, awash with water ( weather was terrible) and land slides.
ON Wednesday moved onto Wellingtom to meet up and stay with one of Gail's school friends from Burton - Ian Webb and his partner Christine. They took us around the area, showed us more wonderful scernery, a really great bird sunctury at Mount Bruce, where we saw at close quarters many of NZ birds and in particular the Pukaha - which until very recently was thought to be extinct. Went to the famous Wellington Te Papu museum, really good.
On Saturday (28th) left Wellington for Brisbane, flying via Christchurch. Nearly don't make the flight as we hadn't realised we needed Visa's to enter Australia and had to purchase at the airport. The very helful (not ) lady who issued them made a mistake with Richard's which wasn't sorted till 2 minutes before take off....... so we had to run, run and run otherwise it was going without us.
So that was North Island NZ. WE'll be in touch again soon....... hope you are all well, it would be goood to hear news from UK.
By for now