064Yesterday, in glorious weather i decided to tackle the aptly named Mount Climie, just around the corner from us here in Upper Hutt.

The track is only 6km long, yet it has an average gradient on 14%, although some sections are 20%.

The summit is 860m or 2,821 ft. And i felt every step of it.

059It took me 90mins to climb up and almost the same time to get back down, due to the steepness of the trail. It wa one of the hardest things i’ve done.

It was worth it for the views from the top: Wellington harbour, the Hutt Valley, Mana and Kapitit Islands, the Wairarapa, Palliser Bay, the Tararua Mountains, the Cook Strait and the Marlborough Sounds were all visible from the top.

Breathtaking,  in all senses of the word!


A year on

A year ago today at two minutes after midnight a 7.8M earthquake struck the Kaikourua region. Ruptures occurred on multiple fault lines in a complex sequence that lasted for about two minutes. Two people lost their lives and there was over $900 million of damage around the country.

On Dec 15 i flew into Kaikoura as part of a rotation of 4 person teams sent by the Salvation Army emergency services. I wrote about my time down south helping here.

Since then i have thought of Kaikoura often; the town itself and the huge damage it suffered, but most of all i have thought about the people i met. I met some amazing people doing great work to help out and locals doing it really tough and not sure of what to do do next. Most of all, i met an amazing community of people with a hugely resilient spirit.

Today the new harbour was opened and in the next month SH1 will be reopened (you can see the amazing repair and reconstruction work being done in this great article).

Kaikoura is slowly coming to life again, but as they find their way back to something like normal, this little gem of a town continues to shine through the dark times.


Gromit in Wellington

Me-and-GromitIts been so good catching up with Andrew over the last few days while he has been here in Wellington. Hard to believe its been 8 years since i last saw him!!

Andrew has been speaking at the Tip of the Iceberg conference: Addressing exploitation and trafficking in people throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. The conference has been run by The Anglican Diocese of Wellington, the Embassy of the United States of America and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Andrew is CEO of Unseen, a multi award-winning UK charity working towards a world without slavery. He was joined at the conference by Unseen’s Executive Director, Justine Currell and both of whom have been instrumental in the passing of the UK’s Modern Slavery Act.

Helping down south

f-nzstorm-a-20161118-870x580At crack of dawn this Thursday morning, i wil be flying into Christchurch and then squeezing myself into a light plane or chopper to head into Kaikoura.

I will be working down there for 6 days as part of a Salvation Army emergency services team, one of a number we have been sending in on rotation since the November 14th earthquake.

We will be working under the direction of Civil Defence providing  a wide range of assistance, but I’m not totally sure what to expect; I just felt I should put my hand up. I started working for the Salvation Army in January 2012, shortly after the Christchurch earthquakes, so i did not get a chance to assist with the relief work there, so this seemed a good chance to do something more hands on.

I’d certainly value prayers as it will undoubtedly be had work but also a time to serve and bless others, and an experience unlike anything else i have done.

Over the hill

FeatherstonA big change for the Barratt family…at the end of next week we are moving to Featherston in the Wairarapa.

Featherston which is a small country town (2,200 people!) on the edge of the Rimutaka Mountains and its qunitessentially small town New Zealand. In truth, the town has seen better days and while people have some bad opinions on it, there is a strong sense of community and a feeling the town is ‘on the up’. It seems like we are moving at a good time….

Its about an hour by train to Wellington so i will be commuting a couple of days a week that way, driving a couple of days and working at home on Fridays.

We decided to move, as we wanted to try life in a smaller town and we felt it might be a new season for us in terms of church and community. Plus property is way cheaper. Mortgage rates are going up fast here too so its been a financial decision too. We have halved our mortgage and have a much smaller one now which is great and gives us more freedom longer term. The house we are buying is slightly smaller than our current one but has been completely renovated and it also has 900m2 of flat garden so lots of room for Jake to run around!

We have a lovely park and picnic area opposite our house and are just 5 minutes walk from the town’s main street. We are clsoe to Lake Wairarapa and also the coast. Plus Wairarapa is wine country- we are only 15 minutes from Martinborough which is the home of world class wine and 10 minutes from Greytown with its great cafes and market.