Water cooler: Splashing beauties, buzzing bees and a Pinnacles performance

Splashing beauties, buzzing bumbles and sleeping dogs and a Pinnacles performance – what we are talking about in the water cooler this week.


Wet Hot Beauties came to my attention during a Facebook conversation with a book-club friend who announced she was a ‘Wet, Hot Beauty’ A what?? A beauty of course, but a wet and hot one? Well – it turns out I had been missing out on a truly brilliant underground (or in this case, underwater) revolution.
The Wet Hot Beauties is a community of gorgeous women who come together each summer to produce and perform a contemporary water ballet. Founders Pip Hall and Judy Dale do not take kindly to being told they were ‘too old’ anything let alone synchronized swimming. They launched Wet Hot Beauties with 11 ladies and now have more than 100 bathing babes ready to drop their dressing gowns and flaunt their togs. While the idea of wearing a swimsuit in public may panic many, this is a celebration of the female form and the 1950’s inspired costumes (and slashes of red lippy) transform everyday ladies into drop-dead divas.

The Wet Hot Beauties are currently fundraising for their February show Sea Change (“a visually spectacular exploration of girl power, liberation and the ties that bind”), which will run over six nights during the Auckland Fringe Festival. It takes a wee bit of funding to transform the Parnell Baths into a sumptuous swimming stage, so they are asking for help from the wider community. Jump in and join them here: www.whbs.co.nz and donate here:
Cheree Morrison
Staff Writer, NZ Life & Leisure


My husband and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary this year by tramping the Pinnacles in the Coromandel. The hike, following a historic packhorse route used by kauri bushmen in 1920s, was a good climb to the summit (759 m) but well worth, the view over the peninsula was incredible.

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The Pinnacles Hut at the top was fully booked but we were more than happy pitching a tent next to the Dancing Camp Dam to get away from the bustle of the 80-or so other trampers. We woke to the sound of rain on our tent and tramped down through the wet, but it was definitely a fun and memorable way to celebrate yet another year together. I’d fully recommend people give it a go this summer.
Rebecca Needham
Art Director, NZ Lifestyle Block


Bumblebees buzzing on Kate Coughlan’s raspberry canes from This NZ Life on Vimeo.

I had no need of a soundtrack to accompany my happy hours in the vege garden at Lombardy Cottage last week. The original inspiration for Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestral interlude Flight of the Bumble Bees kept me company as I weeded the carrots and staked the broad beans. Dozens, if not hundreds, of bumble bees worked the nearby raspberry canes filling the air with the sound of their tiny wings whirring at 200 beats per second. The commonly-held view that bumble bees are aerodynamically unable to fly is a load of nonsense. From where did this urban myth arise?
It was a busy factory with mindful workers rushing hither and yon. I had more questions than answers, and more awe than I could contain. Any visitor arriving at Lombardy was walked to the raspberry canes to observe the wonder of the Raspberry Factory under the control of the most impressive bombus terrestris.
I had to turn to our special edition In Your Backyard – Beekeeping to find answers to my many questions:
Are they pollinating my raspberry canes? Yes, says Rudd Kleinpaste but if they are bombus terrestris, which I suspect they are as they look like Bristol Freighters, they probably won’t be doing the broad beans any favours. The bombus terrestris has a short tongue and can’t reach the back of the bean flower so it chews off the base and steals the nectar. Oh well, at least will have a cracker crop of raspberries.
How can I help the bumble bees to survive in our harsh St Bathans climate? Build them a home for winter. Even though these remarkable creatures can warm their bodies to 35C (by whirring their wings without flying off) they still need protection in winter to survive the frost and frozen ground. Fortunately In Your Backyard – Beekeeping has a step-by-step guide to building a bumble bee nest.
This might even see me picking up power tools this summer. If you want to know more about Beekeeping (honey bees) copies of In Your Backyard – Beekeeping are still available.
nzlmg.co.nz/shop or ring us on 0800 695 433 ($19.90 inc NZ postage).
Kate Coughlan
Editor, NZ Life & Leisure

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Smokey practicing his down command.

Polish your gumboots – the Whangarei A&P Show is on tomorrow (3 December). A&P shows truly are a ‘best-of’ New Zealand. Everything that makes this country so fantastic is in one place for one-day only, and no matter age, background and sheep-breed-naming ability, both ‘townie’ and country will find something to entertain. My picks of the program? I’ve scheduled in the wine barrel racing and gumboot throwing, the dog obedience demonstrations (during which my greyhound will no doubt be performing his skill of sleeping on command), trying all the delicious food and of course, eying the highly-contested sand saucer competition over in the Home Industries Tent. The gold medal evaded me during my primary school years, so I’ll be looking with interest (and some jealousy) at the expertise of the young generation.
I’ll be hanging out at the Greyhounds as Pets stand from midday with my retired super-snoozer Smokey, so pop over and say hi if you are exploring the show.
Barge Showgrounds, Saturday 3rd December, 9.30am to 6 pm. Entry is $10 – free for under 5’s
-Cheree Morrison
Staff Writer, NZ Life & Leisure


 Amber Esau performing her poetry.

If you gathered all the writers from the non-fiction anthology Tell You What:2017 in a room, it would be a curious event. And when the book was launched last month the party was as colourful as promised. Guests were roused by live poetry from Amber Esau and a performance from the Auckland Street Choir and listened to readings about kererus and stolen necklaces, Dungeons and Dragons, media redundancies and prostitutes in Central Auckland. The book features the writings of comic writer Dylan Horrocks, Sylvia Giles, Charlotte Grimshaw, Ali Ikram and homeless blogger Sistar Six (to name only a few) and it’s a vibrant read and a valuable collection of New Zealand’s many different voices. An annual anthology, Tell You What is in its third installment. Editors Jolisa Gracewood and Susanna Andrew started the series as a way of finding a home for New Zealand non fiction scattered through blogs and magazines.

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Tell You What: 2017, $29.99

Emma Rawson
Editor thisNZlife

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