The North Island Weka, seen on Kapiti Island
We are now staying with our friend, Leigh, in Paraparaumu. Leigh travelled to Turkey with her husband, John (known to his friends as Cookie), and joined us on our first memorable cruise on the Mediterranean, together with our friends Wayne, Raewyn, Avis and Brian. Sadly, Cookie is no longer with us, but we have had a wonderful welcome from Leigh and her highly intelligent and amusing dog, Jack. On our first evening we went to a Thai restaurant, together with Kerry and Robin, old friends of Leigh's, who both teach at local schools. We ate far too much - as you do - but the meal was delicious!
Yesterday, Leigh arranged for us to go to Kapiti Island, which is one of New Zealand’s most valuable nature reserves and is a sanctuary for birds that are either very rare or absent from the mainland. Only 68 people per day are allowed to visit the island, 50 in the south and 18 in the north of the island where we were, and everyone has to have a permit from the NZ Department of Conservation. Armed with our permit, we travelled by boat across to the island and first had to attend a lecture by one of the conservationists before we were let loose to twitch (I assume that’s what twitchers do). With so few people roaming around 1,965 hectares, David and I were able to enjoy the stillness, interrupted only by the glorious sound of the birdsong. At one point David thought they must have a conductor tucked away somewhere as the different calls seemed so synchronised!