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Miranda / Maramarua, or living out in the Sticks

Its now June 6 2011 and it seems pretty certain we are moving from Bucklands Beach to Miranda in the next 6 weeks. The reason I have listed Maramarua is that our TomTom lists our address as Maramarua and Wises lists it as Miranda. Our move does not reflect badly on Bucklands Beach, its always been Terri's dream to live in the country. We are renting our house out for a while, just in case.

Miranda, does not have a village centre as such, it comprises of scattered houses and farms with the holiday park on the coast serving the hot springs http://www.mirandahotsprings.co.nz/ and Seabird coast http://www.miranda-shorebird.org.nz/ and http://www.seabirdcoast.co.nz.. If by chance you are a twitcher (UK Birdwatcher) have a look at Miranda Seabird Coast

How we got to this point has been a year of ups and downs, the long version is listed here Buying land (section) and planning a house

Miranda description from Wikipeadia

Miranda is a historical fort and small village in the Firth of Thames, New Zealand, which is now best known as the location of the Miranda Shorebird Centre, owned and operated by the Miranda Naturalists' Trust. The Miranda Hot Springs are another attraction for visitors.

It is named after HMS Miranda, a ship bringing 300 soldiers of the 70th Surrey Regiment to the area in 1863, together with 600 more men on other ships who were to build a fort supporting the British troops fighting in the Waikato region during the New Zealand Wars. Several redoubts were eventually built, one of them named after the ship leading the small troop flotilla. A local headland also carries the name, together ensuring that the name became fixed.

Maramarua, (English translation)

There is some confusion as to were the name Maramarua comes from, the first explanation is that a Maori chief who visited the lake (which no longer exists) saw the moon's reflection in a lake. Startled, he shouted Maramarua. Marama-moons, Rua-two.

A second legend tells of two old brother Maori Chiefs called Mara, who were well loved, and when they died the local area was named Maramarua after them.

NZ Herald Article about Miranda

This article appeared in the paper over Easter 2011, we were staying in the Hokianga and our hosts spotted it. It gives a feel for the area, and sounds attractive, we shall see.

NZ Herald

Angela Neighbours, executive coach, and husband Dave Bowler, healthcare company managing director, bought their property in Miranda without much of a plan about how to farm or what to do with the land overlooking the firth of Thames. They tell Danielle Wright why they're glad they stuck it out.

We started taking weekend breaks from the city every six weeks, mostly to the Coromandel. When we decided to look for a more permanent escape from the CBD, we drew a circle around Auckland with about an hour's driving distance diameter. We first looked up north where everyone else was buying, but when we saw the view from Miranda we fell in love with it. We looked at each other and knew we were excited, though we had to keep it from the real estate agent for at least a day so as not to let on how keen we were.

When we moved here eight years ago there were 11 homes, now there are 62. But the only time you notice more houses is at night when the lights are on in the town. It's still very much a rural area with proper farms because blocks can't yet be subdivided. Findlay Rd, where we live, is a supportive community and it has to be - police or ambulance might take too long in an emergency so we all look out for each other.

When our children, friends or colleagues come to visit us they use it as a springboard to other places we're close to the Coromandel and Thames, Hamilton, Mt Maunganui or even Rotorua for day trips. Most also like to spend time on the farm and enjoy walks around our walnut plantation, or head to the beach. We also have two regional parks nearby, and thermally heated fresh water hot pools.

Our son Graham is a very keen birdwatcher and spends hours at the local Miranda Shorebird Centre. On one visit to the farm he said he'd never been so close to a morepork. We also have wagtails dashing around and woodpigeons. He said he'd never seen birdlife so unafraid of humans as here in Miranda. We've had a lot of satisfaction from doing all the farm work with friends and family, learning as we go. This is more than just a piece of land to us.

If you ask anyone in Miranda what their favourite part is, they'll say it's anywhere with a view, which is marvellous. But, for us, it's also the community. When we lived in St Heliers we lived in a street where no one spoke to each other, let alone knew each other, but in Miranda everyone gets to know and look out for each other in a non-intrusive way; it's a really lovely balance.

NZ Herald Lifestyle

Moving to Miranda

July 11 2011: We are a week away from from the removal men, we are moving the non house stuff, considering we did not bring any garage or garden equipment over from the UK, its amazing how we acquired 3 trailers full of kit from our garage and shed. We are trying to minimise our future bills, we are off grid in respect of water and sewage, so only rates and electricity, ignoring insurance and things. The electricity bills should be a lot less because the house is so well insulated and we have a wood burning stove with a few years firewood, but and a big but, we have a swimming pool which looks like its going to consume a fair amount of juice and chemicals.

July 25 2011: We are now living in the new house and today Telecom got our broadband working. Upon arrival with the removal van we were greeted by the local vagabond turkeys, there are also wild peacocks in the area.

Welcoming turkeys

.

Sunrise over the Coromandel
Sunrise over the Waikato
Sunrise over the Waikato 2

3 groups of neighbours have been round to introduce themselves, which bodes very well for the future.

We have inherited two homeless ducks, Jeff and Melissa (named after Terris son and his girlfriend)

We have ordered 3Kw of Grid tied solar power, with the rise of the NZ dollar prices have fallen about 25%

The house is perched a 100 odd metres high upon a ridge enabling the views across to the Coromandel and the Waikato district, and yes it can be windy, but the house is designed so that one can take refuge sitting in the lee of the wind. The ridge is on the eastern side of the Hunua ranges.

Travelling Peacocks

More on country life Shopping

Hunua Ranges (from Wikipeadia)

Like a lot of parks in NZ, going off the tracks can get you hopelessly lost, trampers sometimes die before being found

Mangatangi reservoir, Hunua Ranges

The Hunua Ranges form a block of hilly country to the southeast of Auckland in New Zealand's North Island. They cover some 250 square kilometres (100 sq mi), containing 178 km² of parkland, and rise to 688 metres (2255 ft) at Kohukohunui. Auckland gets much of its water from reservoirs within the Hunua Ranges.

The ranges are located approximately 50 kilometres (30 mi) southeast of Auckland, above the western shore of the Firth of Thames. They are sparsely populated, and mostly lie within the boundaries of the Waharau and Hunua Ranges Regional Parks.

Maori made some use of the ranges and early European visitors found areas of clearing that had been used as gardens. Ngāi Tai are tangata whenua. Some Maori archaeological sites are known. The main part of the ranges was subject to confiscation after the New Zealand Wars.

Early European use of the ranges was for timber extraction and for farming but low soil fertility limited success. There has been some mining of Manganese in the past. Gold prospecting for quartz reefs has never found payable reefs.

From the 1920s onwards the land was progressively bought by Auckland City Council utilising funds from its water supply operation. Development of the water supplies commenced in the late 1940s. The bulk water supply operation and the land passed to the newly formed Auckland Regional Authority in 1964. The Authority completed the water supply development and continued the exotic afforestation on some of the north and western catchment land, started by the City Council. Its Water Department administered the land. The water operation was corporatised as Watercare Services Ltd in 1992, but all the land remained with the Auckland Regional Council (as it was by then). Watercare took ownership of the water related assets and took a long term lease from the Auckland Regional Council of the reservoir areas and the operational areas. The exotic forestry land was also leased to another party. The catchment land became regional park land.

SEE:http://regionalparks.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/hunuaranges

or:Mountain biking the Hunuas

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