Archives For Old Conservation Week posts

Image of Sirocco with a camera.

Vote for your favourite photos in my photo contest

Update: Voting is now over. The winner will be announced soon.Skrraaarrrkk! To celebrate the 2012 Conservation Week theme of “Love Your Parks” I have been running a photo competition on my Facebook page asking you to submit your best “people loving parks” photo.

As a parrot of the night I don’t get many opportunities to see New Zealand’s fantastic parks in the day light – except the undergrowth – but this photo contest was a great way to change that!

Amongst the great snapshots I have received from all over New Zealand are people enjoying glaciers, beaches, mountains, and even our tussock grasslands. The entries reflect how much you all love getting out and using our parks.

Image of Sirocco's Facebook page and the photo contest tab.

Head to my Facebook page to cast your vote

Entries for the competition closed on Sunday, but there is still time to head over and vote for your favourite photo, so wing it on over to my contest page and get voting. To cast your vote head to the competition tab on my Facebook page. You’ll need to have logged into your Facebook account and “liked” my page. Voting closes this Wednesday night.

Voting in my contest will make sure that the very best photos make it into the top ten. These top ten photos will go to my photographer pal Rob Suisted, for professional judging, and he’ll pick the winner.

Sirocco's "Show Me Your Parks" contest banner image.

My photo contest celebrated the theme for Conservation Week 2012,
“Love Your Parks”

Boom! Didn’t get your entry in? You can still share with me your amazing photos on my Facebook page – or check out my photography tips on the DOC website to learn how to get the perfect snap!

My good friends Jenny and Steve were avid trampers BC  (before children) but didn’t attempt an overnighter as a family until Meg was five.

Their first trip – into Magdalen Hut, in St James Conservation Area – was absolutely fabulous said Jenny – and Meg had good things to say about it too!

Jenny Christie and Meg Baker. Photo: Steve Baker.

Mum Jenny and Meg at the start of their first overnight tramp!

Jenny’s story

Meg had lots of day walks under her belt before our first tramp. We’d been up to Packhorse Hut and back, with minimal carrying and complaining, so we knew she could walk for at least three and a half hours.

So, despite threatening rain we set off – walking  up the Boyle Valley, conjouling Meg along the way with pikelets.

Meg carried her own pack, with her soft toy and a jacket.  A  couple of hours in, we took the pack off her, just to get her through that last stretch.

Meg walking along the track her friend Tahi in her backpack. Photo: Steve Baker.

Meg with friend Tahi in her backpack

We thought the swing bridges might be a problem – we wondered if she would be scared, but she wasn’t at all. If we sensed impending ‘scaredness’ we talked about how exciting it was and how brave she was being.

Meg crossing a river on a swingbridge; Photo: Steve Baker.

Meg bravely traverses her first swing bridge!

There was also a washout before the hut, and we had to a climb a steep bank. Again, we didn’t give her a chance to be scared but kept her moving, with motivating words and promises of more pikelets.

We didn’t take a tent, which was a bit risky. I would recommend one, just in case the hut is full, or so you can stop on the way if you need to cut the trip short. But the stars aligned over Magdalen Hut and we had it to ourselves. With its sunny little deck, six bunks, and double-glazed windows, it’s a really nice modern DOC hut, perfect for families.

When we got to the hut Meg was pretty excited to find a little house in the forest. We ate chocolate and played Uno, which was a great game to bring along, very compact. Travel Scrabble would work well too.

Meg and her Dad Steve inside Magdalen Hut. Photo: Jenny Christie.

Dad Steve and Meg inside Magdalen Hut

After tea we all went to bed at the same time. Meg patted my head as she went to sleep, as she was concerned because it was so dark. The platform bunks meant I could be nearby to reassure her.

We got up in the morning and ate porridge for breakfast – with brown sugar as a treat!

The trip out from the hut was easier, as Meg knew what to expect. We played ‘all around the world’ again … and again … it’s amazing how long that game can last.

Jenny and Meg on the track. Photo: Steve Baker.

Tramping is fun! Big smiles all around while Meg and Jenny tramp

It was really good to do this trip as a family. We felt like we’d rediscovered our old life again and we were pleasantly surprised how much Meg could do. We could see a whole world of adventures opening up to us. Roll on summer!

Meg says:

  • “The bit that I liked the best was when we played Uno and I won and we played three rounds.”
  • “I liked when we went over the swing bridge – it felt scary, but wobbly and fun.”
  • “I’d like to go tramping again because it was fun and because I got to go over a swing bridge for the very first time.”
Steve and Jenny on the track. Photo: Meg Baker (5).

Mum and Dad by Meg Baker!

Find child/family friendly activities on the DOC website

You’ll hear the dance of the kakatark before you see it.

Ever wondered what you’d be or do all day if you were a New Zealand native species? Well, just recall your name and date of birth, and follow the guide to create your own ‘species sentence’! For example, if your name is Sirocco Kakapo and you were born on the 23rd of March 1987, your sentence would be ‘I’m in love with fairy terns and my head grows bulbous because I snap my hairy pincers in the air and wave my feelers like I just don’t care.’

All parts of the sentences are based on characteristics and traits of New Zealand species, so mix and match them around to come up with your own ultimate Kiwi character.

Step one—what month is your birthday in?

January: I can’t stop thinking about
February: I look like
March: I’m in love with
April: I want to adopt
May: My feet smell like
June: I’m scared of
July: My laugh sounds like
August: My best friends are
September: My hair style resembles
October: I have the brains of
November: I compare myself to
December: I dance like

Step two—what day of the month is your birthday on?

Never get between an Albaru mother and her bulbous-headed hunting chick

1 – Elephant seals
2 – Kauri snails
3 – Whio
4 – Long tailed bats
5 – Great white sharks
6 – Takahē
7 – Tuatara
8 – Archey’s frogs
9 – Koaru
10 – New Zealand fur seals
11 – Humpback whales
12 – Giant bullys
13 – Pīwakawaka
14 – Kākā
15 – Tīeke
16 – Kārearea
17 – Yellow eyed penguins
18 – Mohua
19 – Kōkako
20 – Grand skinks
21 – Albatrosses
22 – Weta
23 – Fairy terns
24 – Maui’s dolphins
25 – Little penguins
26 – Kākāpō
27 – Eels
28 – Pāteke
29 – Kakī
30 – Ruru
31 – Rowi kiwi

Watch out for the *** of all ugly things.

Step three—how old are you?

0–5: and I can never be tamed because
6–10: and I keep replacing my teeth because
11–15: and my head grows bulbous because
16–20: and I like elaborate ritual courtship because
21–25: and I call out ‘zeek zeek, zonk zonk’ because
26–30: and I’m *** of all ugly things because
31–35: and I butt males with my tusks because
36–40: and I mate when it rains because
41–50: and I lick my eyes because
51–60: and I sing sweet songs to my partner because
61–70: and I’m heard before I’m seen because
70+: and I wear two coats of fur because

Step four—What is the first letter of your name?

Hey girls, d’you like my boom?

A–C: I’m too busy scoffing my face with hoho—Mmm.
D–F: I’m trying to attract the ladies with my boom hole in the ground.
G–J: I deserve an Oscar for my ‘pretending to be hurt’ performances to predators.
K–M: I’m actually a dinosaur—200 million years old!
N–P: Me and my harem girls flick sand over ourselves to keep cool.
Q–S: I snap my hairy pincers in the air and wave my feelers like I just don’t care.
T–V: Clever’s my middle name—I can swim and hunt within hours of being born. Boom.
W–Z: I get to sleep all winter and can use my wings as legs.

Harry the Hooker lays down the house rules in the harem.

Tell us what your conservation style is below and remember to share your style with your friends and family for Conservation Week 2012.