Thursday, 14 May 2015

Rotorua - Flora and fauna

After I returned from my last trip to New Zealand, over Christmas 2013/2014, I posted about the Maori buildings and other bits and bobs at Rotorua (see here).  We also visited Paradise Valley Springs wildlife park, which despite its rather cheesy-sounding name is a beautiful place with plenty of birds, animals and trout to admire and a rather spectacular "treetops canopy walk".  It was during that walk that I took some time to look at the forest to try to work out how the NZ bush might be modelled - with extreme difficulty is probably the answer, but I thought I'd post some photos and a couple of observations.  While the trees come in all shapes and sizes, it is of course the ferns that make the landscape distinctively New Zealand (at least to English eyes), and naturally there are many different types of ferns. 

I think these are black tree ferns, which are NZ's highest and can grow to a height of 20 metres.  


I think this a "Wheki Ponga" or tree fern, which grows up to about 6-8 metres.  The trucks are very thick and are used for building materials.  The fonds are quite symmetrical and look a bit like a shuttlecock:

Low-growing ferns are "Kiokio" or palm-leaf ferns:
Then you have all sorts of other trees, fuchsias, white pines and bushes alongside the ferns:

I thought these little prickly-looking flowers were interesting, although I didn't catch their name:

And here are just a couple of more panoramic shots, including what a path through the forest might look like (with Hugo doing his best Haka impression)

I forget to take photos of the new Maori figures I painted recently so those will appear at the weekend.  I'm just finishing off a new Continental Regiment using Perry plastic figures, and I'm half way through the 2nd South Carolina Regiment (plastics again).  Also on the painting table are 1815 French infantry and a couple of vignettes.   


Simon Jones said...

Hello Giles,
Rotorua is fantastic. I remember that smell of sulphur well though. My family are mostly in the Auckland area and Hamilton. Have you been the the lakes and the buried Victorian village? I remember it was totally destroyed in a volcanic eruption. There was a bedstead just sticking out of the lava. New Zealand is a beautiful country with superb people.
There is a small gallery near one of the parks in Auckland with great pictures of Maori with Moki tattoos. I have Maori relations, born warriors.

All the best
Pakeha Si

David said...

That brings back happy memories of our recent trip! I have seen plastic plants sold by Tiger Miniatures which might make decent ferns.