Star Date:  December 2004
North Island:  New Zealand


Kia Ora!!   Hello Dear Family & Friends!


" The secret of a happy life is not just to live long -  but to live well."



This quote was written with my Mom, LaVerne, in mind.  She recently celebrated her 80th birthday, complete with a community party wishing her well. She is loved by those around her and is genuine and caring to all she knows.  She is a loving mother, has a strong faith and great positive attitude in life, not to mention being the best cook in the world.  LaVerne stands up for what she believes in and has always been ready for a new experience. She likes to have fun and can laugh at herself.  After all, life can be pretty humorous at times.

We have had a great time exploring around the globe.  She loves traveling and after a visit to Florida in January, we will be planning a spring rendezvous in Asia. More fun to come. You have lots of miles left in you Mom.  Go Gami Go!   (see reminiscences link)  I sent her an article by L. Ryzman of Australia: How Old Would You Be If You Didn't Know How Old You Were?  Highlights were:

A photograph of a Hunza man on his horse in the Himalayan Mountains of Pakistan.  He was 103 years old and was racing his horse at high speed because he was late for his mother's 132nd birthday party!

 Common factors of long life, globally, were that:  people live close to nature and far from modern chemical pollution;  they get plenty of exercise in fresh air;  they rarely retire, keeping busy and useful to the end;  food is often eaten raw, with lukewarm cooked food, not hot;  people enjoy a light, low calorie diet, high in Vit C, with freshly prepared food , eaten slowly.  They are tremendously enthusiastic, with lots of laughing, singing and dancing and appear free of modern day stress as we know it;  plants and herbs provide the required medicines, drugs aren't used.  Interesting in contrast to our modern lives!

A newspaperman, sent to take a photograph of Archbishop Mannix on his 90th birthday, said, "Thank you , I hope I'll be able to take your picture on your 100th birthday."  The Archbishop looked him up and down and replied, "I see no reason why not, young man.  You appear to be healthy enough."

Tips on how to continue feeling young:

*Don't think, act, or talk age.                             
*Think of yourself as being young in both mind and body.   
*Picture yourself as being in good health.                
*Practice focusing mentally on what you like, instead of what you don't like.                                             
*When you've done that, practice some more so that it comes easily.  There are plenty of things to be discontented about.  Forget them by putting your attention on the positives.
*Make a habit of smiling when you look into a mirror so the impression you take away will be a happy one.

Sophia Loren remarked, "You should always have something inside you that keeps you interested and curious about life.  That's what makes you young."

The choice is ours !!


We are out exploring New Zealand and feeling like a couple of kids. What a beautiful country, full of friendly people of all backgrounds.  We headed north of Auckland and followed the coast around endless little bays and beautiful beaches, from Whangarei Falls through Russell and the Bay of Islands, all the way to the tip of Cape Reinga. With all the great tracks we sometimes take up to 4 hikes or walks a day.  This was the case when visiting the giant Kauri Tane Mahuta -Father of the Forest.  We explored trail after trail through magnificent old growth giants, some 45 feet in diameter. 

At remote Te Aire Beach we ran into our new friends, Leon and Isabel, from Auckland.  We had a fun time hanging out by the beach, talking and laughing.  Fun folks!  We also talked to an Indian family from South Africa.  This family surprised us with vegetable curry for dinner and Leon cooked a tasty "dobro" Croatian stew.  There are a lot of Croatian/Dalmatians in the North Island and as we drove into the town of Kaitaia we were welcomed by Maori "Haere Mai" and Croatian "Dobro Dosli"!

It was near there that we were invited to spend a couple of days at the Te Rawawa Marae.  From 1991 to 1996 my kids, Mariah and Kevin, and I were involved with the Hawaiian ocean voyaging canoes, Makalii, Hokulea, and E'ala.  In 1995 13 canoes from all over the south pacific sailed into Kualoa, on Oahu.  In 1996 when the three of us traveled around the world for a year we stopped in Raratonga and spent time with the chief, Tua, and went on his "waka" or voyaging canoe.  We were also given the name of someone to look up in New Zealand but we didn't have the time.  Now out of the clear blue, as usually happens to us, we just stopped to camp up on a hill above a marae (or local meeting house), talked to some friendly folks of the marae, and were invited to stay.  We had mutual friends in the Polynesian Voyaging Society, (Star navigator Nainoa Thompson, Angel Pilagro, Clay Bertelman to name a few ) and Paul, our Maori host, was the very man whose name we had been given to look up 8 years earlier!!!  Also staying there were Pat, Angela and their baby.  Pat is a world famous canoe carver and has shared this talent in many countries.  Pat was helping to restore the marae's canoe.  We reminisced about Hawaii and of course thanks to Joseph, I had all my Hawaiian voyaging photos right on our laptop to share. We were welcomed in through the front gate;  we presented a gift, "ki upo" Hawaiian style, and were greeted forehead to forehead.  Paul taught us all about the significance of the symbolism and legends of the Maoris and of Te Rawawa Marae. It was a great couple of days. Life just unfolds if you allow it to.

We worked our way back down the west coast to Auckland and stayed a couple more days in Leon and Isabel's yard.  They threw a big potluck curry night and we had fun meeting some of their friends.  I made curry using a recipe and spices from our new South African friends and we sampled more of Isabel's great vegetarian cooking!!  I got a new passport (with double room for visa stamps - Joseph had his enlarged too) and we explored and ate our way around New Zealand's biggest city. We also stocked up at a big health food store.  A lot of the towns have a butcher, a dairy/store and hot bread store only.

From there it was back to the "bush" around the scenic Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty and the East Cape Peninsula. We stopped by Rotorua to enjoy the cultural center of the Maoris and witness what it really means to live on an active volcano.  We stayed with Isabel's cousin Collin Marshall and uncle Eric, in Te Puke.  We had some interesting discussions and visited a neighboring organic kiwi fruit farm. They were genuine country folk and when we left Collin said, "We had changed his mind with our visit.  We were beautiful Americans, not ugly Americans."  That's what we try to be and that comment meant a lot to us.  Especially after our utter disappointment in the recent reelection of warmonger Bush!

And so it goes on the road ............................................  Take care of yourselves and Live Long and Well !!  Thanks for keeping in touch.  It is always so great to get a quick note from you and to hear how you are doing.  We have you traveling with us in our heart!!  Keep Smiling, especially into the mirror!!

Love, xoxoox  Nancy & Joseph



Beautiful Wharengi Falls.


Leon and Isabel at Te Aire Beach.


We were extended true Maori hospitality when invited to stay
at the Te Rarawa Marae.


The inside is covered with paintings, carvings and woven
sleeping mats on the floor.


Collin and I looking at organic kiwi fruit vines. We have these
yummy fruit every morning with breakfast


Maori singer at Whakarewarewa Village in Rotorua.  Beautiful
harmony and fun performing!


Geyser in the active volcanic village of Whaka.  They cook
food and heat their homes with the boiling water. 
We ate corn cooked outside in the hot steam.


The skillfully carved Maori 'maraes' or meeting places are
throughout the country.



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