Walks in Wellington, always take you through under or around the Pohutukawa trees. They are everywhere and flowering profusely. 



The Pohutukawa trees are almost always flowering at Christmas.  So, although we do not chop them down and drag them inside and hang tinsel on them, these are our New Zealand Christmas trees.  They sing holidays to us.


This big green patch in this valley is the local primary school.


Some of these big fancy modern expensive hilltop mansions are not pretty but they certainly have the view.  The joy of the hills around Wellington is that even from an ordinary hilltop house the views can be pretty incredible.


Wild fennel.

I commented to my son how I was hearing more birdsong than in recent years and he told me about the determination nationally to get rid of the rodents that prey on our precious native birds.  It seems to me that even though the official programme has been up and running for about a year, with government funds now, there are definitely more birds.  I can hear them. t is a wildly ambitious plan but we all LOVE it.


He also told me that the new Labour government in New Zealand has decided that the first year of university education is free for all New Zealanders. Education is the key component to keeping a country alive and thriving.  This is not new, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Austria. Belgium. Czech Republic and Germany, are a few of the countries who also have free tertiary education for citizens. 

Oh, my breakfast in bed, (whipped cream on  Vogels toast – my favourite bread – with two blueberries and three raspberries placed in a smiley face pattern) has arrived.  Hmm. An interesting breakfast. Time to get up then?

In Illinois, it looks like it is still OK, weather-wise, but next week the temperatures will plummet.

I hope you have a lovely day.


WEATHER: WELLINGTON. Cloudy and moderately windy (for Wellington).

Friday 12/22 20% / 0 in
Morning clouds will give way to afternoon sunshine. High 69F. Winds SSE at 15 to 25 mph.

Friday Night 12/22 10% / 0 in
Partly cloudy. Low 57F. Winds ESE at 10 to 20 mph.

5:44 am 8:54 pm

Waxing Crescent, 10% visible 8:58 am 11:27 pm



53 Comments on “POHUTUKAWA

  1. Ahh ~~ to be home!!! So happy for you and bet your Family is happy too!!! Love the “Christmas” trees! And the views ~ nice!! And breakfast in bed sounds tasty!!! Enjoy!!!

  2. Amazing views.
    Humans manage to cause the extinction of animals without trying, surely when we make the effort we can get rid of the invasive ones.

    • New Zealand has many native birds but no native mammals (even the kunekune were introduced in the 1800’s) so they have been awfully susceptible to these invasive animals.. I think the idea is great – daunting but they are not afraid to take it on..

  3. Beautiful views and quite calm for Wellington. Glad to hear the birds are returning but a red flag raises its head when I hear man is going to destroy a species, this just has to upset the ecology and natural food chain, causing another problem elsewhere? Here is hoping the Young Chef hasn’t discovered cinnamon sugar butter on baked potato recipe yet 😂 Laura

  4. I love getting your blogs from around the world, but especially from your home. Vogel’s bread looks and sounds lovely…and I don’t know whose idea it was to put whipped cream and berries in a smiley face, but that person is a person after my own heart! i will whipped cream and berried on anything. Even, and especially, fingers.

    • I miss Vogels terribly – in fact I went through a period of trying to make vogels at home but it never was the same – now the kids make sure to have some in the fridge when I come!

  5. Hello Ce. No, you certainly can’t beat Wellington on a good day.
    A slight amendment here.. As I understand it the first year of tertiary education, whether in university or other institution will be free. This is a good move because it will help so many young people who choose something other than university. My daughter is involved with industry training and their young people will also get the first year free. Enjoy your family and that breakfast. Maybe it’s the beginning of a new family favourite.

    • Bravo NZ government… Inexpensive… affordable or free education so students don’t need to go into debt -to the government- before they even have a job, or work to live as an underclass while they study.
      Vocational/industry education should be encouraged (as it was decades ago), and ranked higher in career profiles for leaving students and career changers.
      I, who have just turned 52, spent this year studying at an industry/vocational level in Australia gaining Cert 3 Horticulture plus 2 other short course complementary accreditations. I received Austudy payments while I was studying, the course fees were government subsidised, they cost me $340 total. The rest was petrol money -no public transport in my regional area- and my time.
      It was a workaround. I needed to reskill, and have neither the funds nor inclination to accumulate debt to go to uni.

    • Yes – (I think that is what I wrote? ) it is the first year or 210 points I think – you can take as long as you like to get those points so if you study part time and it is longer than a year you are still covered. Covering polytech too. I am really happy about this move.

  6. I have never known anything but an evergreen pine tree for Christmas. I would take your New Zealand version gladly. The flowers are amazing.

    • the flowers are beautiful – though I have to say people get Christmas trees for the house – the pohutukawa grows in your garden and streets and mostly along the seashore.

  7. Happy you made it home and are happy. No wonder so many wish they could afford to live there. It’s stunning. My daughter also wants to move there and is looking online for work she can do there. I can see why she would love it. Happy Christmas.

  8. whipped cream, castor sugar and toast is our traditional Christmas breakfast … enjoy

  9. Just beautiful and I can just imagine those warm breezes from the sea! Your Christmas trees are quite spectacular! While the American custom of “chopping down trees, dragging them inside and hanging tinsel on them” may sound barbaric to some…it is actually a good thing to support Christmas tree plantations to do so. Number 1…it creates habitat (food, shelter, nesting sites, etc.) for wild creatures, such as birds, deer, fox, beneficial insects, amphibians, etc. Number 2. If there wasn’t land set aside for Christmas tree plantations, most would quickly become another sub division, strip mall or just paved over for some kind of “development”. So, the next time Christmas rolls around…go out and get that tree from your local Christmas tree farm…to give back and replenish nature…They will keep re-planting those trees and not be putting up ugly buildings!
    Your breakfast in bed sounded just lovely! Lucky Grandma!

    • We also chop down pines and bring them in as christmas trees – I am sorry if that sounds like a criticism of the US I did not mean that at all. Our pohutukawa is not a christmas tree per se, it just flowers at christmas and makes NZers think of christmas.

  10. What a beautiful exotic country. How amazing to have ancestors who ventured out (where you get your traveling spirit I guess) to such a far away land to settle & plant their roots. Mine came across as far as Massachusetts & Virginia, intrepid enough back so long ago. So grand to see your lovely enlightened country in your beautiful photos. Thanks, Celi.

      • Late-1700’s my ancestors arrived in Canada, so I guess am at least 6th generation. And even when I tell people that they still ask where My family originates from. I always find that a little odd 😳 Amazing that it has taken only a year to get such great advances in the bird population– hope it keeps up. And yes, the views are wonderful. — Mame

  11. The pest eradication programme is certainly a wonderful thing. 1080 drops are not a perfect method, but it is the best chance we have of fighting back against these bird predators. And the bird life certainly has increased – even in the five years I have been living in my newish subdivision, I have noticed the bird life increasing. Wood pigeons and tuis are a common sight now, and we occasionally see birds which I think are kakas? Dark coloured with vivid orange under their wings when they fly. But you will not convince some people that 1080 is doing any good, they are determined to see it as a plot by the government to poison us all, and no amount of scientific facts will convince them otherwise.

  12. You have Pohutukawas, we have Flamboyant trees (poincianas), both beautiful and brilliant red in the Christmas summer sunshine. Welcome home to the south, Miss C.

  13. Yes, you are home and yes, the Christmas Bush is flowering! Hmmm, Milady we’ll argue about that one forever as we argue about the pavlova!!! Being a frustrated architect I may not agree about your view of the ‘hilltop mansions’ as many show remarkable imagination and building skills , but . . . Hugely pro – help in free university education . . . . well, we have to get rid of our so-called ‘Liberal’ forefront first . . .

      • Oh dear – did not know there was ought wrong with y’days’s reading 🙂 ! Thoroughly enjoyed!!! Spending hours a week reading/viewing the architectural modes of today, I just happen to think New Zealand is producing some remarkable results! I don’t know how much access you have to ‘Lifestyle’ programmes. Or how much interest. Perchance my usually Geminian way of trying to fit four topics into as many lines may be confusing at times, sorry 🙂 !!!!

  14. The sky and water are SO blue – can’t get over how refreshing it looks!

  15. Oh I know you weren’t in criticism of the US and I also didn’t mean to imply that you were. I should of worded my comment differently. It’s just that alot of people..especially this time of year do not realize how beneficial the tree farms are to us and especially Mother nature! I myself felt the same way for many years and would not buy a cut tree for Christmas until I learned how much they provide and if we didn’t support the farms, we would be looking at a strip mall instead!
    I’m sorry C. forgive me!
    Happy Christmas!

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