Summer camping holidays

Summer beach holidays are a classic part of Kiwi family life. Each year we get the obligatory television news interview with campers evacuated from camping grounds or visits to classic camping ground destinations, yet each year more close as land becomes more valuable for development. Families are finding themselves shorter on cash, going back to basics at DOC camp grounds, spending their summer holidays in the same way they would have with their own parents.

Do you remember when camping was a white and green canvas tent with the wind flapping round the poles, water heated over the fire in a thermette, Alison’s camping blog entry shows what it was all about. Christmas dinner was cold mutton ham hung up in a safe under the nearest tree with Edmonds Christmas pud and custard heated over the fire for dessert. Trifle for Boxing Day if you where lucky and Mum managed to get the jelly to set. Cake tins of Christmas cake and shortbread had to be filled to feed the hordes of hungry children who always multiplied at meal times!

Today’s families are no different with a resurgence of families returning to camping holidays at the beach and lakes. Here’s some tips on finding camping destinations for todays families:

Try our Camp site directories to find your camping destination and make your preparations with our Camping handbooks.

Follow the links on our New Zealand Travel and tourism webpages, Jasons Camping and Holiday parks guide and the AA’s database of Holiday Parks and Camping Grounds. or try the Department of Conservation’s Places to stay pages for freedom camp sites.

Do share with us your favourite summer family camping spot.

Here’s a list beach ideas to fill those endless summer days when they come!

  • Beach volleyball – All you need is a net to enjoy yourselves.
  • Cricket – Beach cricket go and bowl them over.
  • Touch rugby – Grab a ball and hit the sand for a game.
  • Frisbee – This classic is fun for all the family.
  • Surfing – or catch a wave on the boogie board.
  • Sand sculpture – Let the beach inspire you.
  • Fishing –Trail a line and see what is biting or chase cocklebullies in the lagoon.

Should you need more inspiration try our Family recreation and Children’s outdoor recreation books for all sorts of activities to fill the summer months or the The outdoor handy book : for playground, field, and forest for father son bonding. Once you’re exhausted from the swimming and walking then it’s time to read in the shade try these sandcastle books, beach stories and camping tales for the kids.

If you’re not sure what to read next subscribe to our e-lists subscribe now to be in the know of hot new titles coming into the library.

A Māori Christmas Experience

“I remember the days leading up to Christmas when all the whanau would arrive from the four corners of the world to celebrate this wonderful occasion with our Nan. We’d all stay in her two-bedroom stone house in Whanganui and claim what floor-space we could. Hopefully we chose well because this was our sleeping area for the next week or so. Then began the numerous preparations for the festive day and the allocation of jobs.

The aunties, sisters, nieces and grand daughters, were kitchen-bound, cooking and creating all the delicious Christmas meals with all the trimmings. Aunty Olly’s famous rewana bread, Cousin Ema’s beautiful steam pudding and Nans famous sponges were amongst the delicacies.

The uncles, brothers, nephews and grandsons were set about their task to hunt the wildest pork, dive for the fattest paua and bring back the biggest eels they could!

Christmas Eve was a time for wrapping the presents and singing our favourite Christmas carols in both Te Reo Māori and Pākehā. ‘Whakarongo ki te reo’, ‘Away in a Manger’ and ‘Pō Mārie-Silent Night’ were among the timeless tunes!

Christmas Day lunch was always eventful and yummy!! Eventful in the sense that us young ones would have to wait for everybody else to get their meal before we could even get a spoonful of the creamed paua. “Tuakana-Teina principle will forever rule our lives we’d remind ourselves.”

Finally we’d make it to the kai table and load our plates up with the yummy wild pork, delicious raw fish and succulent smoked eel. 

Up until this point everything was go, go, go, however once that last spoonful of pudding went down the hatch, everybody turned into potatoes! Lounging about on the mattresses, uncles snoring up a storm and aunties having a quiet game of cards.

Those are my favourite memories of a Māori Christmas…how do you spend yours?”

Whaea Haneta’s Kirihimete memories

My memories of a Māori Christmas are seen through the eyes of a nana. Whanau gather from far and wide – usually  at my whare (house). A call goes out for spare mattresses and bedding and there’s a quick check to make sure we have a enough of everything else. My mokopuna all squabble about who is going to sleep in nan’s bed and poua (granddad) declares he is sleeping in another room. Lists  of  who is bringing what or who is making what are  decided on via  numerous email messages.

All the Aunties (my sisters) suddenly  remember a favourite dish of kai they must make for the big day and send husbands, nieces, nephews (and anyone else they can boss around), out to find a  special ingredient. There is always loads of  delicious kai moana to be shared gathered and  prepared by our tane.

I can still  remember the delicious smells of dad’s smoke house  burning away full of  eel, and patiki (flounder) and mum growling because the smoke is  going all over her washing line. Uncle George on the Chatham’s always sent us  a couple of crates of koura (crayfish) and tins of  titi (mutton birds) would arrive form the deep south. Swan eggs would make the most sumptuous sponges and mum’s raspberry jam would  be piled on the top with great dollops of thick clotted  cream that dad would bring home from the shearing shed.

One of my favourite dishes was  Uncle Mick’s creamed paua with chunks of koura … tino reka. Of course there was always the pot on the stove full of  pork bones water cress or puha and dad’s new spuds. this was constantly topped up ready for  unexpected visitors.

One of my other  favourite memories is the whanau singalongs. The guitars would  come out and  all the tamariki would be  lined up to sing the waiata they had learned at  kapahaka. Lots of toe tapping and swaying of  the Aunties well-rounded hips would  accompany the waiata with giggles from the moko about nana’s fat bum or poua’s pot belly.

Christmas  this year won’t be as  busy  as lots of our whanau are now spread all over the world but where ever you are  Ngā mihi mo te  wā me te Tau hou mo 2010.

Whaea Haneta Pierce, Kaiwhakahaere Ratonga Māori

There are lots of  kai books available  in the library  to show you how to lay down a hangi or make some Māori bread. Try a few of them:

Image of the week

Father Christmas at T. Armstrong & Co. premises. circa 1930.

Father Christmas at T. Armstrong & Co. premises

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