That was after she rode elephants and hunted tigers in India, cruised down the Nile in Egypt, explored Venezuela, Brazil, Trinidad, Java, Mexico, Suriname and South Africa.
She bequeathed her home to the city after her death, so everyone can enjoy the views she loved best.
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The Mokoroa gnaws on tree trunks, feeding on their sap.
Hence, the local saying that although the Mokoroa is small, the Puriri tree falls – a David and Goliath analogy.
On my last day in Auckland, I thought I’ve done everything – trekking, scenic touring by bus and Cessna plane, sailing, jet-boating, heli-hiking, food-tripping, visiting national parks, gardens, volcanoes, mountains, glaciers, geysers, hot beaches, spas, museums, malls and theaters.
I’ve had a grand adventure for over a month – 5 weeks to be exact – and resigned myself to an anti-climax. Kai fell in love with New Zealand’s wild beauty two decades ago and settled in Auckland in 2011 with wife, Mila. The forest, they named “Te Wao Nui o Tiriwa”, The Great Forest of Tiriwa – their thousand-year-old ancestor who carried Rangitoto (“Sky Blood”) Island to the Hauraki Gulf.
Above our heads, a huge wood pigeon drowsed on a branch, too lazy and too full of berries to budge from his perch.
Kakas foraged among the fiddleheads, green parrots rustled and cackled higher up the canopy.He dished out photography tips, showing me how to use a lens better suited for landscape.When robins and fantails flitted tantalizingly close and I tried shooting them, he apologized for not bringing a long lens. His wife, Mila, loved watching them, so he took up bird photography though his forte is landscape.I can’t believe such a wilderness could thrive so close to the city – until Kai took me there in his four-wheel drive.In less than half an hour, we were cruising under living green canopies.At the back of his 4WD, he kept a cooler of drinks, a container of sandwiches, candies and energy bars.