Sunday, November 11, 2012


Sometimes you just gotta take a picture because it's unusual and you want to capture the moment, so here's a little hodge-podge of unique sitings in New Zealand:

A couple of "stores" seen in a little town called Tirau (tee-row, but roll the "r")

Pretty little church in Tirau
with a large "corrugated" statue
...probably the "Good Shepherd"

Graceful black swan, seen quite often in the lakes and ponds.

Chicken roaming on highway leading through Taumarunui.

And the fascinating "oreo" cows,
formally called Belted Galloways.

We tried to trade our Toyota Yaris for this fun vehicle, but the owner wasn't interested.  What a great way to tour!

And you can still find a functioning phone booth!

If you eat at an outside cafe, you can plan on feathered friends to help you with any leftovers. They're not shy at all and will come right onto your plate if you don't shoo them away.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Can there be a greener, more gorgeous country?!  On our trip up to Hamilton and back, we kept stopping at one beautiful site after, first, here are some of the "water" sites!

Waikato River...calm in some areas, raging waterfalls in other areas, is the longest river in New Zealand. Below this same river forms the Huka Falls as it empties out of Lake Taupo (pictured below).   Waikato is Maori for "flowing water".

Huka Falls
...empties about 200,000 litres
 of water per second

Beautiful blue
Lake Taupo
largest lake in
New Zealand
Mount Ruapehu (active volcano) seen across Lake Taupo
Government Gardens in Rotarua
Now, some of the green, lush countryside scenes...hard to capture the real beauty with just a little camera, but hopefully, you'll get a fair idea...and why a lot of rain can produce a country like NZ.
One rolling green hill after another
Thick "native bush" along the highways
Brilliant, dazzling wildflowers
Peaceful fields with livestock, so commonly seen in every town


One of the nicest things about this trip was the beautiful weather...perfect temperatures, blue skies, and gorgeous scenery.  Hate to brag, but I think I've gotten some of the prettiest pictures of the New Zealand Temple that I've ever seen.

As we wrote the first time we attended the Temple in New Zealand, the best part is being there with all of our dearest friends we've made here.  They are such stalwart members with great faith, who serve and serve and serve.  We just love them and love being in the Temple with them.


This past Wednesday, 7 November 2012, we again left Hastings to attend the New Zealand Temple with the Hastings and Flaxmere Stakes.  This time we had permission to travel to Taumarunui, which was practically on the way.  It is the first town Clyde served in as a young missionary in 1963; and his hope was that we would find his landlady, a Mrs. Topani, who wasn't a member of the LDS Church but housed missionaries for at least five years and was loved by everyone.  Back in those days, most of the missionaries lived with families like this, who cooked and did laundry for them, and they were paid by the missionaries.  Anyway, good news:  we found her!  She's 83 years old now and was pretty leery when she first answered the door; but by the time we left about an hour later, we were all in tears and declaring it a great day.  Mrs. Topani still lives in the same house, but her husband died about 25 years ago.  She was so pleased that one of her missionaries returned to thank her.

While we were in Taumarunui, we also found the LDS Chapel, which was built long after Clyde served there.  In "his days" the members met in the Maori marae, where each Sunday they climbed through the windows to get in and set up for the meeting.  There is only a branch of the Church that meets here now, so it's a small building.  There are about 100 members, but only about 25 attend each week.  Here's a couple pictures of the Taumarunui chapel: