Kia ora. Nga mihi o te wa makariri ki a koutou katoa. Ahakoa ehara tenei i te wiki mo te reo Maori, he mihi ano ki a koutou. Kia kaha koe, kia mahana koe.
How is winter treating you? Winter always gets the bad rap so I thought I would look at the good things about winter. Let's start with the fact that nothing grows much. When you have lawns like mine that take over an hour to mow then I see that as a huge positive.
Unlike summer I can look out the window three weeks after mowing my lawns and know I can watch rugby in peace for at least another two weeks.
The winter sports, namely rugby, soccer, hockey, league, netball and others, are other positives about winter. You don't get those in summer.
Those sports are so enjoyable they get us out in the cold watching our tamariki and mates or even better having a kick or pass around ourselves. Winter sports are cool ... literally as well.
Water sprinklers are non-existent in winter and spend their time resting on the shelves in the garage hibernating for the spring and summer to come where they get a thrashing.
This leads to another winter positive that the water bill goes down which means I get more money to spend on my porridge oats. Porridge or hot water on Weet-Bix are kai that I enjoy eating in winter along with hangi and boil-ups.
Mind you hangi and boil-ups are all year round, aye.
However, along with the occasional hot roast meal and soups they seem nicer on a cold winter's day.
Hot baths are also better during winter. The steam rising off a hot pool, stream or bath in the early evening is etched on my mind as a winter treat.
For obvious reasons the Awahou river gets a rest from swimmers in the winter season. No hot water there.
Winter also gives us humans a good reason to have a rest. You don't hear the "Hey, you kids, it's a beautiful day why don't you go outside and play" in winter because it is usually too dark, cold or wet or all of the above.
Having said that I wonder how many kids will brave the winter elements, not for food, sports or life-sustaining reasons, but to hunt Pokemon on their phone game. That age-old phrase could change this winter to, "What do you mean you want to go outside and play in this bad weather ... you just stay inside".
I also enjoy wearing winter clothes and footwear. It is more acceptable to chuck on a pair of gumboots in winter and they are a good change from the jandals or bare feet, not that I go bare feet much at any time of the year. My son does though, even in winter.
It is also nice chucking on a raincoat or a nice jacket and stepping out into the elements like a winter warrior soldier ... even to go hunting Pokemon.
However, I reckon the best thing about winter is the old fire.
I know there is a lot of talk about how bad they are for the environment and all that, but I still like my fire.
Perhaps it is because a fire has been the winter consistent in my life. Even as a child, our whanau always had a fire and I have spent many an hour gazing into the flames of winter fires thinking about my spring or summer goals and reflecting on how the year is going so far.
Spending time chilling - in front of a fire. I hope you are chilling in front of winter fires in your life too, figuratively and literally.
- Ngahihi o te ra is from Te Arawa and is a husband, father, international leadership speaker, author and consultant. His book is available at McLeods Booksellers and the Lakeside cafe in Rotorua. His website can be viewed at www.ngahibidois.com.