Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Town and around

In November, the women in our family were challenged to a netball game by the Chatham Island netball team. The men were also asked if they wanted to take part in a mixed team challenge; the golfers had other plans, so the invitation was duly declined. A women's team was assembled and a training programme scheduled; this was readjusted several times during Christmas week, as no-one was keen to go running or practise after a huge meal or early in the morning! A team uniform was improvised: green t-shirts and hair ribbons. The big day arrived.

From the start, the odds were somewhat unfairly stacked; our team boasted a junior Silver Fern/Pulse player, a netball coach/PE teacher, several regular social netballers, and some school representatives. The team composition changed each quarter, eventually ending up with a D-strength team who comfortably won with a score of 31-24, and the star players barely breaking a sweat!

Adjacent to the netball court is the memorial garden, where families can arrange to have small memorials set among the plants. The garden itself needs a lot of maintenance, but it was nice to see a tiny plaque in remembrance of my grandparents. We also found the elusive millennium plaque; it was actually one of two braziers lit at the turn of the century. The designs on the side are based on ancient Moriori carvings.

We headed into town for the first day that the shop was open after Christmas. Yes, the shop (singular, not plural); Waitangi Store is as far as shopping goes!

Freight to the Chatham Islands is incredibly expensive. For this reason, we ordered in as much food before our arrival and also each surrendered 5kg of our luggage allowance to be able to pack fresh food, fruit, and vegetables. The Wellington crew were collectively 5kg overweight (a miracle, really!), but the Aucklanders ended up having to pay $240 in excess weight to the airline. Take a look at some of the prices below; you'll see why it was so important for us to bring as much as could with us.

To put things into perspective, strawberries in Wellington currently cost $2.50-$3 per punnet, compared to $6 in Waitangi; 2l of milk is about $4 at home, but $8 there; colby and mild cheese is between $6-9 here, and $14.90 there; a kilogram of carrots could cost $2 here but $8 there. It pays to be prepared and order in bulk well in advance, where possible.

As my sister-in-law's family were not present at her wedding on Boxing Day, she was keen to send her parents and 6-year-old nephew a postcard from the place where she got married. The postcards would actually fly to Wellington on the same plane as us the next day, but we were hoping that the postmark would read Waitangi or Chatham Island. My sweetie's mother always sends up postcards from the various overseas destinations his parents visit; however, her handwriting is usually barely legible, with only occasional words standing out clearly - we put the rest together using our knowledge of the context she is in and tease her about it mercilessly. (Thankfully, being a teacher for many years has helped in the deciphering process!) So, we were keen to repay the favour by sending a messy postcard with only every few words written clearly. However, when we came to carry out the task, I couldn't help but write neatly and figured we could get her back in another way. ;-) This also led to the completion of a 101 in 1001 goal (albeit a joint one): #68 - Send a postcard in the mail.

As our holiday was due to draw to a close, we wanted to take a set of whanau photos featuring each of the seven families descending from our grandparents, including aunties, uncles, cousins, great-grandchildren, etc. When 60+ people are involved, aged from 2 months to 70+, this is no simple mission, especially when we are almost all related! The only other occasions we have photos of us all together are from 1982 (we still look cute!) and at my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary in 1998. Hopefully we will be able to salvage something memorable out of the mayhem that emerged during the early evening photo session!

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