The kuaka series

This quote started my journey with the kuaka:

 “ — the migratory godwits, which are our souls in flight between the two hemispheres and our hearts’ two homes.”
All Visitors Ashore, by C.K. Stead

Māori distinguish three varieties of the kuaka/godwit based on their plumage and age.


Karoro is the term applied while their plumage is lighter, during the feeding season in Aotearoa New Zealand.

For the first time in years I am feeling comfortable and at home in New Zealand. The karoro is a perfect way for me to express this.



Kura is the term applied when the plumage turns red immediately prior to the migration to the northern hemisphere.

We lived for a number of years in the UK, and it is my heart's other home. I have a sense I will return to there one day, and the kura reminds me that there will be a season for there.


The third distinction of the kuaka/godwit is the kakao, an older, darker grey bird. Humans share this trait with the kakao.

Information on the kuaka was found on the hekuaka website.

Beauty at the V&A

We recently visited the V&A again when my cousin Bex visited London. I'm really glad she wanted to meet us there because it's amazing what you discover new each time you visit London's huge museums!

I love the pattern designs, but I think my favourite is the Modern exhibition with the mix of furniture, type and textile designs.

*I love my new scrapbook!*

My Image Spark scrapbook Being online every day I have a slight issue as a designer. I can't keep a traditional visual diary very easily, unless I print every image or colour scheme I like out; which I don't want to do in order to save paper.

On the Mac at home we use LittleSnapper to keep track of cool images and stuff, but I'm on a PC at work, and also use more than one machine. One day I came across Image Spark and I was very happy! It also has a Firefox plugin so that when you find an image you like, you just right-click and voila - it's now in your Image Spark scrapbook. Now that I've been using it for a while, I'm starting to see trends coming up in my choice of images, my style :-)

My scrapbook »

*cutest stamps ever*

Cute turtle stampI found these today, I think they are just SO cute! I have a bit of a problem tho when I see things on Etsy, and at markets too - I keep thinking "I could so make that", but then I never get round to it.  One day I'm sure I'll just go ahead and buy the superflous cuteness, but for now I'm going to continue dreaming of making my own and see if I can find some rubber and make a cute stamp for the labels of my hand knitted baby gifts.

Symmetrical Nature

Park at North Greenwich On Saturday we went to the O2 arena to try and see the Red Bull Air Race; but of course we were too late for some tickets.  We did see some action from afar tho, some pretty amazing moves as the planes flew around (the photos don't do it justice!) At the nearby park there are some young trees planted in perfect grids and trained to be perfectly straight.  I find the play off between perfection and nature fascinating, like how perfect and symmetrical leaves are, and yet how nature is so chaotic and although it's symmetrical it's never quite perfect.  Or a very straight tree trunk, but with big knobbly bits on it.

Maori Market opening

Last night Kirti and I had the opportunity to go to the opening of the Maori Market exhibition. We had literally just launched the new website for The Pencil Gallery who are one of the exhibitors, and so Matt got us both tickets. They opened the exhibition with speeches from parlimentry ministers and some songs, which were really quite amazing. The majority of the people there were Maori and so everyone who knew the words joined in too, it was beautiful.

The art is breathtaking - a huge range of style and pieces - some stuff very traditional like carving and weaving, and then other stuff that is very contemporary. I have always had a liking for weaving and so some of my favourite stuff was the woven kite bags and in particular Alexine's woven bodice and skirts. She has woven beads in too, they are spectacular!

Something that always strikes me with artwork is when you see a piece in a book, magazine or in this case on a website - no matter how high quality the image is - there is nothing that compares with seeing the artwork for real. The amount of detail and texture in these pieces really blew me away, I think especially because I had already been working with photos of the artwork for the last couple of weeks.

Visiting Otatara Pa and my thoughts...

Moari carvingsAs we were leaving Napier we stopped in to visit the site of the Otatara Pa. A large town used to be on these hills in pre-European times, and this area used to be very close to the marshlands and inlets that were in the area before the Napier earthquake. Now all you can see is farmland. The tell-tale sign that there used to be a town is the terracing that was typical of Maori villages. They have erected some fences and carved poles, I guess more for the tourists than anything else (?), but it does give you a sense of the history of the place.

One thing I find the saddest is that the sites of old Pa are all around the country - and yet typically we don't even know about them. We happened to stumble across this Pa - it was not featured in any tourist brochures we read about Napier and the Hawkes Bay. Sites of battles, wars, and things that should be important to New Zealanders are now privately-owned farmland and the only way you can typically spot it is if there is noticeable terracing on the land.

The site of Otatara PaWe have a huge problem in our country as the government tried so hard to forget our past - it isn't taught in schools, and general NZ public don't know anything about what has happened and shaped our country. I feel this has a huge part to play in the general lack of identity that a lot of New Zealanders feel; and definitely obvious as you see so much ignorance about Maori rights, equality and land rights. For example, I think all New Zealanders should know about events such as what happened at Parihaka, and yet most will look at you blankly if you bring it up.

I think it's awesome that the Otatara Pa is open to the public, it's definitely good to visit. The whole walk takes about an hour, but even walking up the first hill is worth it (about 20 min return).