Water Cooler: Learning te reo and the NZ Flower and Garden Show


This week in the water cooler, Nadene brushes up on her te reo, and Emma visits the NZ Flower and Garden Show.


If rugby matches are any guide, most people of a certain age can confidently sing the NZ national anthem in Maori.

I was lucky enough to learn it back in the late 1970s at primary school. Our Cook Island-born headmaster thought it important that we knew how to correctly pronounce Maori. We practiced our vowel sounds, sang songs in both English and Maori, and were critiqued.

His pet peeve was the sound of the letter ‘T’: no spitting, it’s a gentle sound if you get your tongue in the right place.

More good training came in my first job. My colleagues on TVNZ’s Te Karere sat right beside me in our crowded newsroom. They inspired me to take a course in the basics of the language.

But I found it very hard to learn a new language. I struggled, then gave up.

This week, an article by Emma Espiner piqued my interest.  She pointed to this book by Scotty MorrisonIt teaches the basics of Te Reo in 30 minute daily lessons, with assistance from this website with oral and audio activities. My copy arrived this morning and Week One is pronunciation. So far, so good!

Nadene Hall
Editor, NZ Lifestyle Block


NZ Flower and Garden Show

The Beekeeper’s Hobbit Hole

Hobbiton came to Auckland this week for The NZ Flower & Garden show. The Best in Show award went to The Beekeeper’s Hobbit Hole, a garden tribute to JRR Tolkien, filled with fragrant blooms that the bees love.

The show is New Zealand’s first large flower show since the Ellerslie Flower Show was cancelled in 2014 and it’s nice to see our country’s great landscape garden talent back on display.

NZ Flower and Garden Show

All Day I Dream in Gardens by Ben Hoyle

A highlight for me was the water feature in the aptly-titled All Day I Dream in Gardens by Ben Hoyle. I had backyard envy of Urban Kitchen by Katie Costain, which featured espaliered fruit trees citrus hedges and an epic pizza oven.

NZ Flower and Garden Show

The Urban Kitchen by Katie Costain

“We wanted to create a design that people could envisage in their own backyards, something to inspire the public and give them ideas on how they could incorporate some or all of the elements into their own garden,” says Katie.

NZ Flower and Garden Show

Dove River Peonies

The festival continues this weekend. We recommend checking out the stand of peony growers Dot and Georgia from Dove River Peonies who have featured in NZ Lifestyle Block – you can read those stories here and here – and who also won a gold award at the show this week.


Emma Rawson

Editor, thisNZlife




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