Thursday, 23 April 2015

Being Touched By Family History

New Zealand War History

Hi Everyone,

Been so busy with family , summer and an overseas holiday
I have been meaning to post this day of which is a special piece of New Zealand History  and with  April Anzac Day  2015 being 100 year Anzac day Gallipoli Anniversary it is an emotional time for all of us.

A  recent walk down memory lane in Queen Street Auckland.

Granddads Medals

With Anzac day in a couple of days the raw history, sadness and past emotions are rising.
Most of us Kiwis were touched in one way or another by the world wars.
For me I remember my Mother and Grandmother still very emotional over the loss of my
Great Uncle of whom died from wounds received at Gallipoli during the first world war. He was only 23 years old and I am lucky to have copies of letters he wrote from the war.

Emotions High at the Queen Street Parade.

I recently enjoyed a very emotional day with family as we gathered for the 75 anniversary parade in memory of the Battle of the River Plate and those who served on the HMS Achilles.

My Grandfather was a CPO on the Achilles at the time of the Battle on 13th  Dec 1939 when HMS Achilles, HMS Exeter and HMS Ajax took on the German Battle Ship Admiral   Graf Spee. It was a battle heavily out weighed by the more p of the Battle Ship that had better odds than the smaller cruisers and thank goodness the Graf Spee came off second best and the HMS Achilles although a little worse for wear , returned to New Zealand.

The success of the battle was a huge thing for NZ and the return of the Achilles resulted in a massive ticker tape parade down Queen Street. you can imagine the emotion   on the day as we joined in on the 75th anniversary down Queen Street in memory of the Battle , the Achilles and proudly wearing Granddads medals as our thoughts bought him back to us for the day.


Saturday, 15 November 2014

The KiwiSaver Experience

One Kiwi's view on KiwiSaver

I decided to stray off the path a little here and write a post about my experience with the KiwiSaver scheme.. I am surprised to met people who think twice about joining even now in 2014 and when you think of how much they could have saved by now.
 For me joining the KiwiSaver scheme was perhaps one of the best moves I made. Talking my husband into signing up not long after was the second best move. In a very short time we saved a lot of money. In the early days the top up was a little over 1000$ each year depending on how much you have contributed, and that certainly made a huge difference to the balance. Now the top up is half that but the savings still grows.

A Chance To Purchase

My income has always been at the low end of the scale yet when KiwiSaver came along I did not even have to consider the option to join or not I just knew it was wise and that I would learn to live without the small percentage of my wage that I contribute each week. I did not even miss it.

We Bought a House in 2012.

The chance came up to try and purchase a house. My mother was terminally ill and a house next door to where she lived had been on the market for a year. I had been running into town from a farm house we rented for 5 years 7 days a week to help her and so as the help she needed was becoming more time consuming  I had plenty of motivation to find an  easier solution. Plus I always wanted my own house.
 I went to the auction on the house next door and was amazed at the low bids put in . It  did not sell and that got me thinking. I had saved a little and after going over figures on a mortgage calculator and looking at savings along with home start help through our KiwiSaver I figured we had nothing to loose so decided to give it a go.
We got lucky and purchased the property. With out the added help from KiwiSaver the outcome may not have been successful. It helped so much and the good news our top ups and employer contributions stayed in out KiwiSaver accounts and now after 2 years .
Sadly Mum 's illness won over 9 months later. She was so happy that we had a house and enjoyed watching us put the gardens in .
 I love the house and it is great owning our own home and also have a tidy balance which is being added to each week to help with our retirement.

Sum It Up

It pays to join KiwiSaver in my view, a good move to make.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

A Day On Waiheke Island

My Day Trip To Waiheke Island

My son had a wonderful idea a day trip to Waiheke.
A great chance to catch and enjoy a late summers day.

If you are visiting Auckland or even live near Auckland and are looking for a great day out. You may like to check out Waiheke Island.

Only about a half hour ferry ride from Auckland or Devenport .
You can make a day of it with family or friends and either take a picnic or have lunch at one of the many vineyards or cafes on the island.

Waiheke Island is quite large I discovered and most people use cars to get around. You can take a car on the car ferry, hire a car over there, hire scooters and push bikes, bus  or do as I did and start walking once you get off the ferry. I did notice a couple of people on horse back too.
I believe you can get a day bus ticket  cheap if you need to rest your legs along the way.

Visiting Waiheke on Foot.

I found walking to be a good way to get around. There is a slight rise from the ferry and a hill or two to  climb  but I would say I am med fitness and did not find it too challenging.

We just followed the roads and the footpaths, with one exception of a bush walk track or too as a short cut. We first walked into a the town area with shops and cafes and then called in on an local art gallery before checking out a slightly elevated road to see what awesome views we could find for photography.

Then after cutting through a bush track we found ourselves back on the Ocean view Road and headed off in another direction in search of a vineyard for lunch.

You  get to enjoy views of the ocean, bush, vineyards and olive groves as you move around the Island.
After a yummy lunch and wine it was time to head back towards the ferry terminal for the trip back to Auckland.
Once you visit Waiheke Island you quickly realise that you want to go back and I think the best way to see the Island is to stay a night or two and maybe hire a scooter. There is lots of accommodation available on the Island .

Great to catch up with my son and we had a top day out. Loved it. Can't wait to go back.
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