Friday, 8 April 2016

Whananaki, New Zealand

I had five days away from staying with Mum and Dad while in New Zealand and three of those were spent with my friend Rosemary in Whangarei.  She took me out to Whananaki on one of the days.  This beautiful place lays claim to having  'Longest footbridge in the Southern Hemisphere'

At 395 metres it is certainly long!

Now beside this beautiful beach and footbridge is a school...

I don't think you could ask for a much more perfect location!  I wonder if they need a music teacher?

Right beside the beach.

Where do the children have their swimming lessons and water sports?  

Right off the footbridge of course!

What could be more perfect?  These children are living the life.  Not wrapped up in cotton wool in stuffy schools where there are no playgrounds or equipment to play on for fear of 'Health and Safety' like many of the schools I have seen here in England.  I remember when I first went looking around the schools for my oldest son when I first came here twenty years ago and I was stunned that in most of the schools there were no climbing frames or play equipment for the children to explore, climb and use their boundless energy during break time.  No wonder there are so many problems in schools!  I remember quite clearly when our younger son was at school being told by the teacher that he had to stop climbing trees!  Surely that is what children do? That is how they learn.  I remember climbing trees when I was a fact I have been known to climb them when somewhat older as well.  

I would imagine at this school the children are generally learning well and very happy - certainly the children I spoke to were as was their teacher.

Even the headmasters dog joins them for their swimming and boating lessons!

We watched them for a while enjoying themselves and I couldn't imagine a better place to go to school.

My friend.

We walked across the bridge, dawdling and admiring the scenery as we did so.

Returning across the bridge the children were finishing their lesson, running to the changing sheds and then back to class ready to catch their bus home for those that lived further away from the school.  

The playing field.

We stopped for an ice-cream.  I had a well loved childhood favourite - a Tiptop Jelly Tip, which I very much enjoyed.

Some Oyster Catchers 

My friend remembering her dear Aunt and friend - they used to enjoy coming out here for a picnic.

Looking across the bay.

Houses and baches.

For those who don't like a touch of reality you might want to finish here.

On our way out to Whananaki, driving along the quiet country road I saw a Boer goat in the process of giving birth - not wanting to disturb it we decided not to stop, but rather stop on our way back which we did.  To our delight she had given birth to two sweet baby kids.  The miracle of birth is a wonderful thing.

Now where is the other one?

Calling out to the little one to come to her.

Very attentive

What a cutie!  


  1. Oddly I was discussing the very issue of over-protecting children with an acquaintance in The Woodlands the other day. We used to climb trees. We fell. We (well I didn't I was lucky) broke bones and got lots of cuts and bruises. We made rafts on the local ponds. One of our number drowned. It was terrible. But no one blamed the farmer for having a pond There was a large notice telling us not to swim because of the weeds etc) or the parents for allowing us all to play there (although I'm sure the parents of the dead child blamed themselves). Most of us survived and were better for our experiences. In a strange sort of way more modern children probably survive things like that because they are prevented from doing them. But is survival alone enough?

    1. Not at all is probably my answer to your question... they no longer learn how to assess risks as a result of not experiencing them when they were younger.

      Incidentally we had a similar conversation years ago with Doctor friends of ours that said that children not being allowed to walk to school while they were at primary school was in their opinion causing a higher risk of road accidents in secondary school pupils at around the age of 11 when suddenly they are deemed 'old enough' to embark on that journey having never gone to school on their own before and as such they were less able to assess risks in crossing roads etc... as they didn't have the natural caution of a younger child. Makes you think. I remember suggestion to a Mum once that our boys walk to school. She said 'What on the road? On their own?' I replied, 'No not on the road on the footpath, but yes on their own'... she looked at me as if I had suggested something completely terrible and never really spoke to me again! This was a short walk literally down the road and across a pedestrian crossing with lights. Mind you seeing how some of the Mums and Dads drive in their rush to get their precious ones to school perhaps that is why she thought it was such a terrible thing!

    2. Please excuse the grammar and spelling mistakes! Should have read through it first before pressing publish.

  2. PS Posts like that make me feel quite 'homesick'.

    1. Indeed! In fact your post the other day about 'Where is home?' has really got me thinking on this rather emotive subject.


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