New Zealand 2014


Below are some pictures of our most recent trip to NZ in April-May (Instagram):



And some camera shots from my Dad’s birthday (I also photographed our wedding venue, but you’re not getting to see that!):




Pity I didn’t use the camera a bit more – I think I was just enjoying it, without trying too hard to capture it.


Under 9 months to go til we go back!








[500th post on the blog!]

6 weeks to go



So we’re in mid-March (“already?!” we all cry in cliched unison) and it means that we’re finally getting closer to going back to New Zealand for a trip.  It’s 6 weeks away, in fact. I can’t remember the last time I was excited this early, but I am. I am I am.



It’s also feeling very Spring-like today. Hurray!


Somes from Petone


Last time I went back, I went alone for a month for a friend’s wedding/a friend’s 30th, and it was awesome getting to see my family and friends for so long, but so strange not having D with me.  It became a bit frustrating, as I couldn’t always talk to him, and NZ doesn’t have affordable unlimited internet, so it got a bit costly as well.  D felt I didn’t dedicate much time to speak with him, and I felt the strain of my family feeling like I should spend every waking moment with them.



There are also a lot of positives of travelling with someone else, selfish as it is. He’s good to sleep on. I don’t have to speak to random passengers on a 12 hour flight.  He can comfort me when I cry on the way home to Scotland.



And there’s another perk, albeit a minor one, but I feel a lot safer travelling at night and taking late trains to and from Welly, etc, when he’s with me. Last time I mother felt she should chauffeur me around, which was nice of her, but sometimes you just want to have a few drinks and not worry about when or how you’re getting back to the valley, you know?



It’ll be good to see my friends, who are online with me every day yet feel so far away sometimes. I’m not in their day to day lives, and I can’t blame them for having local, closer ties than me most of the time. It’ll also be my 30th birthday when we’re home, and I’ll be celebrating with family as well as friends on the 2nd May. On my actual birthday I’ll be jetlagged to hell, but it’ll be so nice to repeat the old family tradition of going out for dinner.  My Dad also turns 60 when I’m home (my main reason for the timing), so I’ll get to see extended family. It’ll be a nice way of getting everyone together and we’ll be toasting our engagement.



I feel so detached from Wellington sometimes. I barely know the restaurants, bars, haunts of my friends there. I grew up with that city, and yet it feels so alien to me sometimes. I feel like so much of my adult living/consciousness/growing up was done in this wee burgh, and I have to play tourist whenever I’m back in Welly. I miss it, I love it, yet it’s not my city anymore. One day I will make it mine again.



The day we leave here is also the day I mark 5 years living in Scotland, but that deserves a post of its own. It’s been fun lately going back through old blog posts to fix my categories, etc., reminiscing about all the mixed thoughts and feelings I had when I first landed here and after. I may start posting some videos again, too. I took a bit of video almost every day in 2013, so I’ll be piecing that together sometime soon.





Notes from on holiday


Written on the 16th April while up in Taupo..

I lie on my bed in the centre, my head up against the wall, and read intently through my emails, site notes, code and fanfic, sipping chardonnay occasionally, almost absentmindedly from the wine glass. Sometimes it feels foolish to read of two imaginary characters in surreal, wishful scenarios, but people read books for this purpose, don’t they?

Earlier I was watching Buffy and eating potato chips from a cereal bowl, getting the sea salt flavouring ground into the sheets, and trying not to care.

I imagine that this is what my life will be like when I’m travelling with a full bag and the laptop; living in private hostel rooms and hotels, drinking mini-bar wine, hijacking unreliable wireless connections to check mail and bookings for my next destination.

A life of quiet solitude; of ins and outs. Of new people and places and a lot of time in my own head.

Each day I silently wish over and over for it to come sooner.

My birthday is less than 10 days away, with Birthday Week starting Tuesday night, and I have no gift requests or wishes. I have always lived my life feeling that money is merely a small hurdle and I have always found a way to buy the small unnecessary pleasures in life. A laptop, a camera, a new phone, an iPod. These things come to me by my own pocket, and I usually want for nothing but food and hours upon hours of sleep. Debt means nothing to me. Yet.

So to ask someone to treat me with something? I wish for creative gifts, for music or something fun. To think about what’s really important to me, and go with that.

And thanks for reading. That truly is a great gift. I love to write and share and I work hard in my creative endeavours. Thanks for being my fans.

Kat Kills Your Curiousity Vol. 1: Kiwi Money


Hi Kat,

What does New Zealand money look like?
How much is it worth?

Brookfield, MO, USA

Hey, Jim.

The currency in Kiwiland is the New Zealand Dollar. New Zealand money is made up of coins and notes, just as yours is, but ours is fashioned out of a plastic called polymer, much like Australian currency. We also have many different colours, which stops us from getting confused like you folk!

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has this to say:

“All New Zealand’s bank notes have been printed on polypropylene polymer since May 1999. Previously they were printed on paper made from cotton.

There were two main reasons why the Reserve Bank decided to change to polymer. First was wear and tear – polymer bank notes are stronger and non-porous. Polymer notes last at least four times as long as paper notes. They don’t get as dirty and tatty as paper and they are much harder to tear. Secondly, polymer bank notes allow for more sophisticated security features to deter forgeries. These security features are explained in more detail below.

Polymer is also more environmentally friendly. Whereas paper notes were shredded and discarded at the end of their lives, old polymer bank notes can be recycled economically into useful products such as polymer wheelbarrows, compost bins and plumbing fittings.”- NZ money can go through the wash, etc. It’s kinda fun.

The picture above shows the coins: 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1, $2 and the notes for: $5, $10 and $20. ATMs/Bank machines usually dispense $20 bills, unless you withdraw above $100. For large withdrawals, you may sometimes get a mix.

We have famous NZ figures on one side of most of our notes and Queen Elizabeth on the other, as we are a commonwealth country.

The colours aren’t exactly right, but see below:

Sir Edmund Hillary. You may remember that he was the first dude to climb Mt Everest in 53.

Kate Sheppard lead the suffragette movement in the late 19th century and helped NZ to become the first country to give women the right to vote in 1893.

NZRB website: This note features an official portrait of the Queen taken at Government House, Wellington, on 26 February 1986 by Ronald Woolf. Her Majesty is wearing the Sovereign’s Badge of the Order of New Zealand. The ribbon is based on a taniko pattern.

Sir Apirana Ngata was the first Maori to graduate from a New Zealand university, was an accomplished leader of the Young Maori Party and was an elected Member of Parliament for 38 years. He rejuvenated Maori culture in NZ and was respected and revered for this for many years.

Ernest Rutherford “changed the basic understanding of atomic science on three occasions”. He was from Nelson and received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1908.

For info on the coins, please see the NZRB site.

Current value of the NZD
according to Universal Currency Converter:

$1 NZD = .95 AUD
$1 NZD = .71 USD
$1 NZD = .41 GBP
$1 NZD = .60 EUR
$1 NZD = .82 CAD
$1 NZD = 85 JPY

Send all your questions to and let me help kill your curiousity.