Having arrived at H&Gs in the dark, the view that greeted us when we woke up was stunning! They overlook a lake and a paddock with sheep, a couple of mountains and fields of green. We have a slow get up and wander around the land and paddle in the mud by the lake and try our tongue at the local names.
On the second day we walk around Hamilton Lake (including a picnic and a big play on the brilliant playground). Rach gets slitly photographically obsessed with one of the national birds, a puhkeko, a beautiful version of a moorhen, with a brilliant blue chest, red beak and frilly white knickers!
Ella and Finn experience Helen’s brothers spa……do these kids ever get out of water?? Not bad sitting in water 40degrees on the deck overlooking mountains!!!
Sunday is church day. Yet another treat for us on this trip is to visit other churches and see how other people do it! This is Agora, City Bible Church. They have a warehouse in a suburb called Frankton and it has a cafe at the front and you walk through to an open ares for church. The buzz is brillint as you arrive; they gather at 10 for coffee and start worship at 10.30. do you think cappucinno and lattes would get E17 gathering early??
They are at the end of a series on Judges and today is the story of Samson. It also, by no coincidence, is a fund raiser day. They are working towards raising enough money to build 3 wells for 3 villages in Thailand. They are having a “hair-raiser” where valiant people have volunteers to have strange things done to hair and beards for sponsorship (get the Samson bit?) The pastor has gone red, ready to get a mohican and the cafe manager Simon is going “smooth and shiney”. Genius.
So after church, and after lunch (while the kids watch a movie…… Tangled, of course) everyone gathers again with proper barber chairs ar the front and Reggie and his team from the local barber shop ready and waiting. The genius thing about the cafe is that it brings in local, non church people, and a handful of brave locals are also joining in, (Dylan from the garage is going “Mr T” and Mike a local business man is being bleached, while another coffee drinker who happens to be a world travelling hair stylist is contributing by doing haircuts!) as they can see the benefit of the fund raising. I love the seam-less join between church and community………
Of course, not backwards in coming forward, Finn gets taken up in the atmosphere and volunteers for a colour make iver. He has a $5 note and wants to give $4 to the cause. The church gets involved in his sponsorship and he raises $62! Wow! In total the church raises $12500+ in this one event. incredible.
That evening we drive off north to go on our first little trip, to stay at Helens parents in Thames, at the foot of the Coromandel peninsular. Hair is still blue and green, but who cares……?