A few weeks back I found myself in the bizarre situation of having lived in Napier for about a month - but with the option of voting only in Hastings' elections.

'Twas a strange electoral anomaly.

We were told that a certain timeline of residency had to transpire before we could vote for the prospective leaders of our new municipality.

Seemed strange our rates were heading in one direction - our votes in another.


Moving from Heretaunga to Ahuriri has opened our eyes to many quirks between the two cities.

We've discovered Napier offers kerbside recycling only every fortnight (it was weekly in Hastings). Consequently, the small mountains of empty bottles outside homes are twice the size of Hastings'.
So much so that in our first week we thought we'd moved into a street of functioning alcoholics.

Then there's the junk mail - prolific in Hastings, but rare in our neighbourhood. We're guessing this is because the vertical topography of Bluff Hill makes it a bridge too far for delivery folk.

The bird life is intriguing. In Napier, seagulls perch on shopping trolleys.

To boot there's an appreciable hike in native species, which to my delight includes a wood pigeon that has taken to a plum tree outside the dining room window, and the ubiquitous bellbirds I've never seen, but which wake me every morning with a melody of crisp, single-notes.

I'm told bellbirds do this to mark their natal territory, as in, "this is my home".

It's quite apt, given I asked a surveyor to come round this week to confirm where my overgrown southern boundary stopped and started. He told me new home owners, particularly men, often do this to claim what's theirs, as in, "this is my home".

Perhaps that's why I wasn't deemed fit to vote in Napier: I'm not quite native yet.