June highlights & a new public holiday -Matariki!

We had our first public holiday to celebrate Matariki this year, a celebration of the Maori New Year and an occasion we have enjoyed marking for years, but this year we had a public holiday to really make the most of it!

Celebrating Matariki on the Wellington waterfront, here a story is projected onto the walls of Te Papa.

It’s a time for coming together, reflecting on the past year and planning for the year ahead. We spent the evening celebrating with friends and enjoying the celebrations on the waterfront of Te Whanganui a Tara / Wellington, whilst thinking of those that have passed and loved ones far away. We cherished the moment together and loved the displays on the waterfront.

In previous years we’ve crafted stars, flown kites and read stories, acknowledging this special time of year and the return of the light. It felt wonderful to have a public holiday to really acknowledge this moment, just after the shortest day, and to gather with people that are special to us.

In our own home we’ve lit candles and strung up lights on our outdoor patio area, much like our northern hemisphere loved ones would do over their darkest months, to brighten up the short days and see us through them. The start of winter has brought more storms and a huge dumping of snow to the South Island ski resorts made for a great start to the season for them. Hubby saw the snow reports and grabbed the chance to head down for a couple of days with a friend, being on the slopes for the first day of the season at Coronet Peak, Queenstown.

At the beginning of the month, for Queen’s Birthday weekend and public holiday, we had a trip over the Remutaka Hill to the wine village of Martinborough in the Wairarapa. It was lovely to walk amongst the winter vineyards and enjoy a mulled wine.

June has also been a month for snuggling up with books when the storms come and then embracing the sunshine when it bestows itself upon us. We have had some lovely winter walks, including a loop walk, taking in the highest peak of Wellington – Mt Kaukau and our regular south coast strolls.

In June there was also a Japan festival in town, which brought back memories of our amazing visit to Tokyo and Kyoto in January 2019.

My youngest and I visited the houses of Parliament and The Beehive on an ‘Introduction to Parliament Tour‘ with a few friends. Youngest and I have been doing all our usual home ed activities, drama class, STEM class, meet ups at the library and fortnightly ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ and finished off the month with a trip to Melbourne to see my oldest for their nineteenth Birthday!

Meanwhile, our busy sixteen year old has been working hard at her Y12 subjects (similar to first year of A-level, or AS level in the UK, but she takes more subjects – she’s doing 6 this year!), coaching at the gym and enjoying time with her friends. She has a Queenstown snowboarding holiday, with her Dad, to look forward to over the winter school holidays, whilst my twelve year old and I are in the UK, visiting my dear Dad and sister. Next year Miss Twelve plans to join her sister at high school (which runs from Y9 to Y13 in New Zealand), so she’s making the most of her freedom to travel without the restrictions of the school term!