Xmas Day

Christmas here is always hectic in a laid back sort of way. As always the kids do the tour of the family, with multiple gift giving sessions, which started on the 24th and went on until New Year.

It was also Heimana's christening (all kids here get christened on the 25th)...

...she was very well behaved, mainly thanks to her godmother's fancy hat/hairdo, which had her mesmerized for the whole of the ceremony. After church we had a family feed here at home, Viriamu roasted a lamb on a spit that he put together himself.

I must admit I was a bit stressed about his homemade contraption, but in the end it all worked out nicely, I was impressed.

Of course there were the obligatory kids everywhere, climbing up the furniture and getting the whole house in a good old mess....Matotea was in her element, this year she's really into the whole Christmas scene and keeping her grubby little fingers off the presents was no easy task!

Here she is on Christmas Eve, quietly hidden away in the grandparents room
reading Barbar's Christmas

Father Christmas brought her a Hello Kitty bouncer (even better the grandparents got her a fairy outfit but more of that later).......and a singing book for Heimana.

At the moment Matotea's 'de-camped' to Meme's house to hang out with her cousins, poor old grandmere and grandpere have been abandoned!



After our New Zealand adventure we went to another extreme and headed for the Tuamotus, to Rangiroa, the second largest atoll in the world!

It's all pretty much around sea-level, and prior to European contact the only drinking water came from rain or from coconuts! So hats off to the Polynesians who had made the place their home. The blistering sun gets you from all angles, with little shade offered by the trees.......we Brits found it all a bit too hot......sweating in the shade, nursing a glass or two of Rangiroa wine (it's the only island in French Polynesia boasting a vineyard, OK the red's not great, but the white and desert wines are quite passable)......

Viriamu and Matotea felt a bit more active...heading out to explore land and sea!

It's mainly a spot for diving and snorkelling, so we did our obligatory dolphin encounter and lagoonarium visit.....but again a whole day-trip on a boat seemed a bit much for us, so we didn't get the best out of it!

(above: Matotea spontaneously doing her 'Titanic' thing.....does she watch too much telly I ask myself!)

Back in Tahiti

After the excitement of airplanes we spent a few days back in Tahiti preparing for Christmas and New Year, shipping wine, ordering oysters and mussels for the holidays....

.....we also discovered that Tahiti also has a good selection of playgrounds and they also have fruit yoghurt, almost as good as in NZ!


NZ holiday - Raglan

After the bustle of the big city we headed to Raglan, for a few days on the coast.....with the mistaken hope of being able to have a bit of beach-time....

The weather was fairly continuously wet and foggy, but the house we rented was in a beautiful spot near the shore and made a nice place for the kids to be able to kick back and unwind a little.

We all needed a little bit of time to relax, between the two kids and our busy itinerary!

NZ holiday - family

The holiday was also a brief opportunity for Matotea to meet some of her kiwi ohana. Her second cousins Bobby and Bryn came to visit us in Raglan with their mum Trish and Pineapple the duck - a highlight for Matotea.....

We also made it to Aunty Norma's birthday celebrations, nice restaurants lose their appeal a bit when you have to small kids to juggle, but nevertheless it was a nice chance to catch up with the relies.


NZ holiday - Auckland

Outside the zoo we spent most of our time in Auckland shopping for bits and bobs we can't easily get in Tahiti. Sight-seeing consisted mainly of trying to find places to shelter from the weather or ways of showing Matotea a bit of 'big city' life!

In the motel we spent a lot of time in the bathtub, a bit of a novelty as we only have showers back at home.

We braved the chill winds to visit a good playground or two!

NZ holiday - The Zoo

Probably the highlight of Matotea's trip was a visit to Auckland Zoo. Actually it was much more specific than that.........sure saw some exotic animals, but actually she was most taken by the all terrain pushchair that we rented for her, she didn't stop talking about it over the week, as well as when we got back to Tahiti!

Sure the giraffes were OK too......

.....as well as the mosaic tuatara (which we thought looked more like a gecko)....


NZ holiday - Avion bleu

Our holiday started with two much anticipated trips on two airplanes, the first was the normal AirTahiti one,

but the second was a big blue airplane (avion bleu), a word now synonymous with holidays -

I was more than a little apprehensive about taking both the kids on a flight, particularly after some memorable experiences with Matotea, when she was a younger, but in the end they were both so excited that they were rather overcome by it all!