Sunday, December 1, 2013


Now there's a placename you will be familiar with.
If you were to google Ngaroma
you will come up with not much;
a natural cosmetic company called Naturally NgaRoma
which used to be in Ngaroma but has since moved;
some road maps;
and the annual rainfall in Ngaroma
(The link is here cause it probably is the most interesting).

Ngaroma is not anywhere I can describe
other than generally, non-specifically just a little
north of the central North Island.
They farm sheeps and beefs and deers there.
The people are straight forward, salt of the earthers and,
frankly you have to ask,
what was I doing there?

Well we have a pest eradication project in
the Rangitoto Range (above) planned for next year so
my workmate Hazelnut who is responsible for community consultation
organized a community open house in Ngaroma.
We like to see what the community has to say about our efforts
to protect agriculture in their neighbourhood
by killing as many TB toting possums as we can.
Some people think we are trying to kill anything that moves
but really the poison we use can only kill animals
of a certain size,
of possum in size in fact.
Anyway this is not what I'm posting about.
 When you travel around the back country
there are interesting and special people resident
in many of the locations you may stumble upon.
Now these people are not always that evident until you stick around for a bit
or are welcomed into the community
or are turning up to tell people something they will want to discuss.

As Hazelnut and I drove into Ngaroma
(Ngaroma doesn't actually have a grouping of buildings
so as you'd know you were in Ngaroma)
 we flew passed a swanndri coated figure waving to us
from the side of the narrow road.
She was such an apparition that
I actually checked my rear vision mirror to see if she wasn't a ghost.
She wasn't.
We carried on, arriving at the Ngaroma hall
(Very nice hall, ideally suited for weddings and lazy BBQs)
and with a view like this who can complain
(that house across the road is for sale if you are interested)

But within 30 minutes the weather kicked in
and two solid hours of rain started.
Solid rain means heavy, relentless rain
the redeeming grace was that it was pretty warm.
Except that I left my car windows open a wee bit.

Our Ngaroma ghost lady arrived just before the rain did.
She proved to be very, very interesting.

I do enjoy in a curious way talking to people
who have mental health issues
(except my uncle cause that is way too close to home).
The Ngaroma ghost lady appears to have lost the plot in 1984.
Though it is entirely possible she helped call the 1984 election
which saw Prime Minister/dictator Robert Muldoon disposed
in favour of some of my favourite politicians.
I suspect not.
The Ngaroma ghost lady had plenty of theories
about lots of key events in New Zealand history.
It turns out that one of my committee members is responsible for
the Crewe murders of 1970
Thank goodness I wasn't born then or I may have been implicated myself.
This feeling of guilt has probably contributed to his cocaine habit.

The Nagroma ghost lady spun some pretty fantabulous yarns.
Most involving police drug squads and sky hawk planes.
Much of what she had to say was based in truth and reality
but in her head had spun out to the extreme.
All the same, she was quite fun to chat to
and when I gave her a ride home
she seemed to appreciate it.

You can never tell who you will meet in small towns.
The Ngaroma ghost lady was a treat to meet unexpectedly.
Should you wander off the beat track and to Ngaroma,
I'm sure she will be there and
will fill you in on the local drug gangs and
the bad habits of the locals.

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