Published: August 27th 2012August 23rd 2012
Today I got up early to pack and head up to Haywards for my tour of the station. The site is owned and run by Transpower but Siemens were doing the upgrading from the very outdated 50 year old system. Michael, the representative from Transpower, gave me the grand tour. Haywards substation is where the HVDC link across the Cook Strait terminates on the North Island. The upgrade is to decommsion the old Pole 1, which is the last substation in the world to use mercury arc valves and build a new Pole 3, along with strengthening Pole 2 and the rest of the site in case of earthquakes! The tour took me around Pole 1 and inside the chamber for Pole 3, which in a few months will be locked up and no one will go in, apart from once every few years for maintainence. The equipment is huge and it was an engineers dream! I was a very interesting experience and helped me visualise how the whole system works.
The upgrade is descibe in better detail here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/local-papers/hutt-news/4577755/North-South-power-link-gets-672m-upgrade
I then headed off across to the western coast to head up north to Feilding. However the route I
thought i was on was different to the one I was actually on! I didnt know this and was busy enjoying the lovely lakes around Whitby until I saw signs that told me Wellington was 20km away....DOH!!
I turned around and got on the road again. Through the countryside i saw these really large irrigation systems, which I had seen on the south island. They are over 1km long and move themselves along using motors at several junctions!
I arrived in Feilding in mid afternoon and made my way to Heayns Place! This is the only site that I am away of which has the same spelling as my surname so had to drop by for a visit. Across the road there is a rest home where 4 women in the prime of their life sat were outside enjoying the sunshine, and a bit bemused to why I was taking pictures of a road sign. I had a nice chat with them and one lady advised me on my route to Napier.
Following her advice I headed to take the gorge route but when I got nearer I noticed the "Napier" part of the road signs had
been covered up, the road was closed! I carried on my route to find the road blocked off and signs pointing me back where I came! They sent me on the exact route I had been advised not to take by my dad and the lady earlier. It took me over the top and past some wind farms before heading back down onto the main road to Napier. Along the way I passed a lake with loads of Black Swans on it something that is a common site in NZ but was amazing to see for a POME like me!
I sent Kim Creagh, who I would be staying with, a text asking the best way to get there and she said to call when I got closer. So when I arrived around 20km from Napier I dropped her a call and she gave me some directions. However these didnt help and I missed the turning ending up on the way to the centre of Napier. Eventually after two more calls I got to Puketapu and the Creagh residence. FYI Kim is my Dad's 3rd cousin through my grandfather's maternal grandmother who was an Osbourne, so they arent the same as the Heayns relatives in NZ!
Kim was home and after a while we were joined by her husband Tim and daughters Georgia and Annie along with the newest members of the family foster kids Charleigh and Renee. I didnt know I would be staying with so many women but Tim was glad to have another guy in the house so we fled and went to watch the ITM cup match between locals Hawkes Bay Magpies and the Auckland Blues.
It was a great game with the stands much busier than I had imagined. Tim started a game that whenever you saw a black puffer jacket you got a dollar. After about five minutes I was $30 down! There are just that many in NZ especially when it comes to rugby and showing the All Black spirit, i am also told that they are very sliming so maybe i should get one...
In the end the match ended in a Blues win but only after the Magpies had pulled back from 23-9 down at halftime to bring the match to 29-29. However they were walking wounded out there and the Blues eventually ran in a try to win. It was a great game and I know Tim enjoyed the male company!