After a wonderful time exploring the Coromandel Peninsula, we visited the west coast of the north island for a public event at Raglan. Raglan is a well known surf spot in New Zealand and, despite it having been a blustery winter week, there were people enjoying the surf at the local beaches. We stayed at the YHA partner hostel Solscape, which is a stunning eco-retreat that overlooks the ocean. The site is devoted to sustainable living, organic and ethical practices and it is a unique and relaxing place to stay. They have cabins made from old train carriages, yurts, camping sites, huts and a cosy shared kitchen with an open fire in winter. Solscape also offers yoga classes, surf tuition and has an educational classroom. There were a number of surfers staying at this hostel and we admired how early they got up to catch a wave before beginning their work at the retreat. Thank you to all at Solscape for hosting us and for giving us such a generous discount, which allowed us to catch up on work and rest before our next event. By this time in our tour we are feeling the pace and the cold of winter, so the opportunity to heat our campervan and make use of the warm showers was very much appreciated!


We had a great time lecturing at the Raglan Old School Arts Centre and some of the Solscape team joined us for this event. The Arts Centre is a great resource for educational events and is well worth visiting if you are in the Raglan area.

From Raglan we drove to Hamilton for two business meetings and spent an afternoon exploring Hamilton Gardens. This is a public garden owned by Hamilton City Council first was first developed in the early 1960s at what was then the city’s waste disposal site. I was expecting a small garden, given it is a free public garden, and yet it was spectacular. The area consists of a number of themed gardens including a Chinese Scholars garden, Japanese Garden of Contemplation, English Flower garden, Tropical garden, Tudor garden, Italian Renaissance garden and many more. I particularly liked the Kitchen garden with the largest vegetable beds I have ever seen and the Sustainable Backyard garden. The sustainable garden is designed to educate visitors about how easy it is to grow enough food to feed a family from one small and well-designed backyard. It was really interesting to learn about permaculture, the role of chickens in tilling vegetable bed post-harvesting and more.


Our next event was with Piako Underwater Club in Morrinsville and it was a fun-filled evening at the local fire station.

Thank you Piako Underwater Club for your donation of £207!

Particular thanks also to Peter and Matthew Cooper for hosting us at their home that evening.

Onwards we went to Auckland, where we were supposed to be interviewed on television during the Good Morning show. Sadly they had decided not to interview us as a celebrity was available instead, much to our disappointment! We did however enjoy a peaceful night at the YHA Auckland International hostel, which is a great place to stay in the city. The area manager had said we could stay for the night but little did we know they would provide us with an apartment! We were so surprised to open our room and discover we had a kitchen, lounge, bedroom and bathroom to ourselves. It has been many months since we have had such luxury and we were absolutely delighted.

Thank you YHA New Zealand for yet again helping us when we needed it most!

We have now presented to 5579 people about the plight of sharks and our fundraising total is £7,544.