Thursday, 5 June 2014

Great Kiwi Kid Pastimes

It’s nearly time for us to leave the family & this cold southern winter behind and head for warmer climes. And wouldn't; you know it, right on queue, the sun has now decided to made an appearance. But we will not be tricked, I know it’ll only be for a day or two, we’ve had nearly 3 weeks of cold, windy, wet &/or overcast days with just the odd day of sunshine thrown in. It hasn’t mattered too much as we’ve had another lovely time catching up with the family, although as it’s not the school holidays, we’ve had a bit more time to ourselves tucked up in the cosy warmth of our little home on wheels. This has been fine as we both had a list of chores to do while in the city and I’ve also managed to sort out a lot of my photos and a few issues on my laptop. No cabin fever so far!

Ollie & Ruby are now into winter sports and we went along to watch them play rugby one Saturday morning. This is “grass-roots” rugby, where future All Blacks begin their dreams of the big time. Ruby is 4 years old and there are 6 girls in her team. The coaches & referee just about out number the players on the field while proud parents & grandparents watch & encourage from the sideline.

The small fry play “Rippa Rugby”, it’s very safe and non-contact and easy to play for both boys and girls. It's great for their ball skills & running exercise. The players wear material tags that are velcroed to a belt, one at each side. The opposition players pull the tag off rather than tackle the player with the ball, which is then passed onto the opposition. I’m not sure some have grasped the concept though as I did spot one little guy rip the tag off his own team mate. The kids look so cute in their miniature uniforms with oversized shirts & huge numbers. I give it a 10/10 for the entertainment factor alone; watching the kids run the wrong way, take their time to pick up the ball, chat to a friend on the sideline, compare clothes or walk off to talk to Mum or Dad had me laughing out loud for most of the game,

Team talk

“GO RUBY, run Ruby!”

Missed & it’s a try! Ruby scored three tries during her game.

Dreaming of the try line…..

The Opposition

Comparing boots (it's a girl thing). Kicking for goal.

High fives for the opposition, learning the etiquette of team sports.

Next up was Ollie who is now playing the real game, although a little tentatively. This game was meant to be eight aside but I think the boys on the bench were keen to not miss out (from both sides!)

“Go Ollie” – I like the parent on his cellphone in the background or maybe it was an All Black selector in disguise checking out the up and coming talent.

No subtlety in the line out, Ollie says “Yeah, give it to him”, the boy behind says no “Me, me, me!”

This past weekend we all went fishing, Ollie & Ruby had new fishing rods that they were eager to try out. Over Easter they had been fishing with handlines off the wharf on Stewart Island and had caught a bucket load of fish, including Blue Cod. They’d now moved up to rods and Ollie especially, was keen to go fishing. Monday was a holiday and unfortunately it dawned wet & cold but Ollie was determined to go and when the rain cleared later in the morning we packed up lunch and headed to Riverton, about 30 minutes south of Invercargill.

Embracing the great outdoors! A picnic lunch done the Southern way; wrapped up warm in many layers. The wind was very cold & the rain promising to return. This is at the mouth of the Riverton estuary.

Poppa set up the rods with spinners on them and the kids had a few casts. Ollie managed it very well but Ruby soon lost interest preferring to play in the water and beachcomb. We had to explain to them that catching a fish was nowhere near guaranteed and some days you wouldn’t catch anything but I think they still thought that the fish would just jump out of the water & land at their feet like they did on Stewart Island.

After awhile, with nothing caught but seaweed, we decided to move to the Riverton wharf. We stopped at the shop to buy some bait and Poppa changed the gear over on the rods & they were set to fish again. Ollie had success on his first wind in; a pipi (NZ shellfish) liked the look of his bait and in turn became bait itself.

Unfortunately the rain then set in and the bitter cold wind turned into a bitterly cold wind.

Just after we said 10 minutes more and we’ll call it quits, Ollie couldn’t wind in his line. Poppa took over & he nearly couldn’t wind it in either. There was a dead weight on the other end, was it snagged? No, it moved a little. The rod nearly bent double & David thought it might break but slowly & surely he wound it in accompanied by much excitement & encouragement from us all. As Rachel was leaning over the edge trying to manoeuvre the tiny net around its tail the hook and weights went flying and the fish disappeared back into the murky water. Lucky escape!

The rain was getting heavier but the hunt was on, we’ll fish for another 20 minutes. And sure enough within 5 minutes there was another dead weight on the line. This time it was netted. But what was it? It seemed to be a very big fish to be catching off the wharf. I only ever remember catching sprats. This was a fish a kid could be proud of.

We thought it might have been a catfish at first but then realised it was more likely to be a red cod. Which in fact it was. We decided to return it to the water, a good exercise in “catch & release” for the kids & more importantly & the truth being known, no need for a smelly mess if Poppa had to fillet it. We’ve since found out that Red Cod aren’t that nice to eat, being bottom feeders they are often full of worms, their flesh turns to mush when cooked too. They are also “despised” because they don’t put up any fight or resistance when hooked, hence the dead weight & non-movement. We didn’t mind though, they provided a whole heap of excitement on an otherwise miserable day.

And of course the kids now think you do catch a fish everytime you go fishing.


  1. A great slice of southern kiwi life.....brilliant

    1. Activities & memories the kids will remember for years to come.

  2. Great family times that the kids will treasure - may there be many more!

    1. I'm sure there will be especially if we keep travelling at this slow pace around the SI, we'll need to be here for a few years!


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