Two Dark Sky Reserves, Two Hemispheres, One Friendship (Page 15)  in Nightscape magazine: the International Dark Sky Association’s quarterly magazine.

Kiwi Welcome For Northern International Dark Sky Reserve on Tourism New Zealand media website.

Twinning of Two Dark Sky Reserves in The South Canterbury Herald newspaper, New Zealand.

Kiwi Connection in The Kerryman Newspaper, Ireland

Mulligans Celebrates 25 Years, in The Irish Music Magazine

Things To Do In Amsterdam – Galleries, Museums & Vintage Clothes Shops on

A Whole New Experience at A Rotorua Spa on Women On The

Prizewinner of Lonely Planet/Wall Street Journal “World’s Greatest Travel Stories Contest”

In March 2010, I was one of the winners of the Lonely Planet/Wall Street Journal’s “World’s Greatest Travel Stories Contest”. The prize winners were told that their story would be printed in the Wall Street Journal and they would receive a free copy of one of Lonely Planet’s publications. I got an email from Wall Street Journal to say that my story was slated to appear in print in June. I was absolutely thrilled. I signed a contract with them for the article and couldn’t wait to see it in black and white in the WSJ. What a privilege that would be to have a story printed in the Wall Street Journal!

Two weeks before it was due to appear in print, I got an email from Wall Street Journal saying that due to advertising constraints, they wouldn’t be able to print my story. I was so disappointed but I took it on the chin and carried on. At least the WSJ were happy enough in the first place to print the story, even though they had to withdraw it from the paper afterwards. Please see “Lonely Planet/Wall Street Journal “World’s Greatest Travel Stories Contest” post, to read this story. Lonely Planet did send me two free publications as promised, one being the Lonely Planet Guide To Travel Photography, which is a very good book and very useful.

Bootlegged By The Amstel, in The Irish Music Magazine

Festival of Lights in Amsterdam in blog

Amsterdam Restaurant Week – Recommendations for 2013 on blog

Amsterdam’s Lively Jordaan Festival on Be My blog

Lofoten Islands Adventure in Way Beyond

Stunning Scenery And A Good Night’s Rest in YHA New Zealand blog

The Crown Jewel of Stargazing Tours in

New Zealand: Stunning Beauty, Spectacular Wildlife & Friendly People, (pages 42 to 46) in British Society News Bulletin Zine

A Refreshing Blend with Freshlyground, on


My First Published ArticleBringing Maori Culture To Holland in The Holland Times Newspaper, The Netherlands:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Because I can’t upload a pdf into this website, I’ve written it as it’s in the newspaper:

Bringing Māori Culture to Holland” Article in the Holland Times Newspaper.

Leiden is now home to the first ever Māori waka canoe as part of a new exhibit at the Museum Vokenkunde. MARTINA MCAULEY talks to curators about bringing the traditions of New Zealand to the Netherlands.

For the first time ever, Māoris will be making a traditional canoe or waka, which will stay specifically in Leiden and be used by non- Māoris.


The ceremonial canoe, waka taua, with its own unique identity, will be on permanent loan to the Museum Volkenkunde and will remain as a working exhibition. 

Museum Volkenkunde, otherwise known as the National Museum of Ethnology, raises awareness and curiosity about cultural diversity and provides insight into the differences, similarities and interdependence of cultures. 

“We are in the process of rebranding ourselves as an expedition museum, so that when people come here, they can go on a journey of discovery, exploring different cultures and religions from around the world,” says Fanny Wonu Veys, the museum’s curator for Oceana.

Volkenkunde has an extensive range of permanent and temporary exhibitions, but for the forthcoming period, the museum focus attention on the first inhabitants of New Zealand – the Māori. 

The Mana Māori Exhibition is an interactive, family exhibition where you discover everything about the Maoris from their country to their weaving, art and family treasures.

You can even learn how to do the world famous traditional Māori dance, haka.

Children can especially enjoy the exhibition with the Hongi, the traditional nose greeting and experiments with tattoo patterns. They even have their own exhibition entrance, where they learn that New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of us, giving them the feeling of travelling in time. There are also touch screens where they learn about the history of New Zealand and a kiwi bird which guides them through the museum.


Museum director, Steven Engelsman, was inspired by the vision of a waka being paddled under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, at a Māori Art Exhibition. He began talks in 2008 with Toi Māori Aotearoa, the national organisation for Māori art and artists. Engelsman approached them with the idea of building a waka for his museum, and in February of this year, thanks to the BankGiro Loterij, the sponsorship proposal was successful. 

Previous events such as the return of a tattooed Maori head, had forged a relationship with New Zealand. Human heads were exchanged for muskets in the 19th century and one of these became a part of the Volkenkunde Museum collection. In 2005, after showing the head for a number of years, the Te Papa tongearoa Museum in New Zealand asked for its return and the request was honoured.“The current exhibition and waka project are a way of consolidating and deepening this relationship” says Veys.

Two wakas

The waka taua is 14 metres long and made from a 700-year old kauri tree. The ceremonial canoe, which is laden with power and status, or “mana” in Māori, was named Te Hono ki Aotearoa, meaning “Connected with New Zealand.”

Traditionally, it was used as a war canoe, with only warriors as crew. Thus, one of the ceremonial limitations connected to a waka taua is that only men can paddle. 

Every time the waka taua is used, it will happen in close collaboration with Toi Māori, whose cultural property it is and will remain. 

Njord Royal Rowing Club, based in Leiden, will work alongside Museum Volkenkunde staff to maintain the ceremonial waka while it’s in their care.

A second waka was also made for the museum, called the waka teetee kura. “It will be used as an educational tool to provide an opportunity for Dutch people to experience some aspects of Māori culture,” says Weys. 

Already there are plans to use it in school programmes and various navigational events both within and outside the Netherlands.

During the month of August, four Māori carvers under the leadership of Takirirangi Smit, created carvings, called whakairo for the waka shelter, tauihu or prow carvings and the taurapa bow post for the canoe.  

“Wood carving is very important for Māori because we don’t have a long history of reading or writing, so all our stories and philosophies are tied up in our carvings, which tell the history of our people,” Smit said in an interview with NOS News.

The exhibition launched on 19 October and will continue until May 2011. It is very important for the museum, as it is the first time that an exhibition of such importance and scale is being organised in the Netherlands. 

“Future generations of New Zealanders and Dutch people living in New Zealand can look back and see the long-lasting connection between New Zealand and the Netherlands,” says Toi Māori’s Tamahou Temara.

 The Mana Maori Exhibition. On view until 1 May 2011. Volkenkunde Museum, Leiden.