Letter to the New Zealand Teaching Council

on May 29, 2014

I started learning English when I was 10. That was 22 years ago. I lived in the United States of America as a teenager, attended High School for one year, wrote for the school newspaper, worked for the school news.

One of my major subjects when graduating from High School in Germany was English. I received the highest possible mark and was best of my class.

I passed the First Certificate of Cambridge English (FCE) in 2000 with excellency - a 5 hour exam testing your language skills in listening, reading, writing, comprehension and speaking. It is internationally recognized.

I have successfully studied four years to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts honours (BAhon) in Journalism. 1 semester was spent in Australia.

Since I came to New Zealand 4 years ago I have worked with children, special needs children, elderly and in hospitality. I got my residency without issues in November last year and am now working in a childcare centre full time.

And you guys (the New Zealand Teaching Council) want me to take a $400 exam to prove my English skills are sufficient enough to teach early childcare in New Zealand?

Oh no. That's not quite accurate. You want me to pay $385 to prove my English is sufficient enough to STUDY in order to become an early childcare teacher.

Makes perfect sense...

Hokianga Boar Hunt 2014

on May 26, 2014

The past weekend we've been up north again in the beautiful Hokianga. This time Matt and some of his mates were off pig hunting in order to win the Hokianga Boar Hunt. It was quite an experience!

The boys were not as successful as they had hoped, unfortunately. They caught 2 pigs early in the comp but being too small to weigh them in they were donated to the local pub. The big one got away and no matter how far they ventured - it was nowhere to be seen. What a shame.

When I joined them on Sunday we ended up hiking through the bush in the rain for 3 or 4 hours. But all the dogs were after was a couple of wild goats. No use to us. It was worth the journey, though. The view was nice and I got a bit of excitement when Matt shot a pheasant :-) Also did a bit of four-wheel-driving and got stuck half way up the hill. That's how muddy it was! Managed to get it out in the end but not without ruining the whole drive... I think the farmer wouldn't have been happy seeing that.

In the end there were about 10 pigs entered into the comp. The heaviest boar being 67kg!!! What a beast! There were also heaps of pheasants, mallards (ducks) and the kids mostly went after tuna (eel). What a display of yummy game meat! After the prize-giving all animals were auctioned off and the money went back into the community.

I scored myself a 50kg boar which is now nicely cut up in our freezer waiting to be eaten :-) Matt took his pheasant home, as well, and after I had to pluck and gut it (yucky!) I got my first ever try of it. I quite enjoyed the taste! Wrapped in bacon and stuffed with onion, sage and garlic... a feast :-)

Apart from the hunt one of my other highlights that weekend was KARAOKE =D Haven't done it for ages so when they set up the machine on Saturday night I couldn't help myself... put my name down and off I went. Those who know me can probably guess which song I did. I've got a bit of a ritual there *lol* REM - Loosing my religion. Just love it.

So did the audience. Among them it turned out was one of New Zealand's top journalists and TV presenters! Duncan Garner (3rd Degree) apparently is quite the hunter and gatherer himself. He had not only joined the competition, but also hosted the prize-giving on Sunday. As is happens I performed one of his favourite songs on stage :-) He didn't forget to mention that, either, when I was bidding on one of the boars. And guess what happened - the lady bidding against me just stopped and said I should have the beast. So thank you, Duncan :-)

I'm gardening - successfully :-)

on May 20, 2014

May I present? My very first broccoli! Grown in my very own vegetable garden :-) It's only a miniature one hence the size. But we all know size doesn't matter *lol* It was soooo delicious! You really can tell the difference between home-grown and supermarket. Can't wait to see what else I will harvest. My lettuces are pretty much over. Still waiting on the cabbages and cauliflowers. Once I've got space again I'm probably planting some carrots. Our rabbits surely would appreciate it :-)

Sand dune fun at Ocean's

on May 11, 2014

One of the greatest things about living in Northland is that you never have far to go to get to the beach. This one here is just around the corner from us: Ocean's Beach out at Whangarei Heads. We haven't been to this one in over a year - mostly because I prefer swimming in the estuary than in the ocean.

But Ocean's is great for walking - along the beach or going for hikes. Like up the sand dunes. It can get quite crowded here in the summer, but in the winter - especially just before dark - it's rather deserted and perfect if you're looking for some peace and quiet or a little exercise.