Since the heavy rain is beating against the windows here in Kerikeri New Zealand, I find myself keeping indoors for much of the day.  As a result, you get to hear, if you choose to read further, the tale of Phantom, the wonder dove of Kerikeri, as well as perhaps just a tad bit of New Zealand history as it pertains to KeriKeri. 

The story of Phantom goes like this.

I am staying in a cozy little AirBnB hosted by the charming, Barbara, an older than me lady originally from the UK but who has lived over half her life here in NZ.  After arriving yesterday, I was sitting on my bed for awhile puttering around on my computer for sights to see and walks to walk in the area when I looked up to see a beautiful cream colored dove calmly walking around my room as if it were her own, pecking the carpet here and there and looking at me as if to say, I’ve come to hang out with you.  I had opened the windows and door to the front porch earlier to get some fresh air and she had apparently walked in from there and was making herself quite at home.  A bit later, Barbara came to check I had everything I needed and I told her about the dove who wandered in and was completely nonplussed when I gently shooed her back out the door not yet having heard her story. 

Barbara told me in September of 2021, she came home to find an injured dove in the road with its mate hovering nearby.  The dove wasn’t able to sit upright and had a gash or sorts near its crop, so she gathered it up in a towel and brought it inside, put it in a box with water not thinking it would make it through the night.  Well, it did make it through the night as well as several more getting stronger by the day.  After 4-5 days of this, Barbara found the dove perched on the edge of the box, so she moved the box and the dove to the front porch where its mate came and they eventually both flew away.

Fast forward to the precise day of September one year later which would be just a few months ago, when lo and behold, the cream colored dove and its mate are back on Barbara’s front porch.  She knows the day because she had made note of it in her diary the year prior.  The dove couple has remained in the near vicinity ever since, with the previously injured dove coming to the porch daily to visit and hang out.  Barbara named her, Phantom and puts fresh water and a little bit of muesli out everyday.  Phantom has grown accustomed to this treatment and is often allowed inside, which I imagine is why she came in to make herself at home in my part of the house.  With this adverse weather, she’s been hanging out in the shelter of the front porch all day and would no doubt come inside if I opened the door, but alas, Barbara has asked me not to let her in to my side as she poops and Barbara would rather not have these deposits in her AirBnB.  Perfectly understandable.

So that is the story of Phantom, the wonder dove of Kerikeri.  What a calm and gentle beauty she is. I feel sure if I picked her up, she’d nestle right in happy to share the peace and love which exudes from her being.

I just checked and sure enough, she is out there presumably hoping Barbara will let her in.

After such a full telling of Phantom’s story, I’m not sure how much Kerikeri history I’m interested in sharing or you’re interested in reading, so, just the briefest of highlights…

As I understand it, Kerikeri is considered The Cradle of the Nation because this is where, over a thousand years ago, the first people, a family, landed on New Zealand.  The ancestors of this family had originally come from Taiwan by way of Hawaii, Easter Island, and the Samoan Islands.  Fast forward to 1814 which is when the first Christian Church was established, also in Kerikeri, quickly followed by a school, blacksmith, plough, flour mill, and the first crop of potatoes.  Two of the oldest buildings in New Zealand are here in Kerikeri.  The Kemp House and The Old Stone Store which was the storehouse for the Kemp Family who were the original missionaries.

The Old Stone Store on the left.  The Kemp House on the right.  I had lunch at a cafe called, The Honey House located just behind the Kemp House and was built on the foundations of the old barn. (photo taken from the interweb)

The KeriKeri River whose entrance to the sea is very near, flows just in front of the Stone Store, Kemp House, and Honey House Cafe.  I was hoping to walk up the river tract for about an hour after lunch to see Rainbow Falls, but alas the lightning, winds, and heavier rains sent me back to my AirBnB.

Speaking of honey………..were we?

Tangent alert!

I found a local source for Manuka Honey, so I hope the weather breaks enough for me to run out and get some from the lady’s self pay, honor system kiosk (I was told to look for something akin to an outhouse looking building) down a side road just outside of town.  This is apparently where, in addition to the Saturday Farmer’s Market, locals get their “real and authentic” manuka honey. 

Barbara provided some with my breakfast this morning.  My first time trying the real McCoy and boy is it deee-lish!  If you’re not familiar with Manuka Honey and its healing properties, not to mention its taste, google it up to see authentic Manuka Honey can only be harvested in New Zealand since the Manuka trees are only native to this country.   

Gosh, if the rain doesn’t stop soon, I’m going to have to trade my rental car in for a rental Waka, that’s Māori for canoe and you are going to have to endure a THIRD blog post from today.  Ha!

Later taters.


A note about commenting, should you be so inclined, which I hope you will because I love hearing from folks following along!

If you type your name in the Name Box, your comments won’t show up as Anonymous and I’ll know it’s you.  Also, should you choose, you can fill in your email address in the provided box next to the Name box.  If you do this, you will get an email telling you I have replied to your comment and what I said.



  • hill

    November 23, 2022

    Excellent post! Enjoyed finally learning about Phantom, the interesting history and the special honey you were speaking about. ha!

  • Pam

    November 23, 2022

    I find joy when I see your blog has arrived. Love reading every word. Pam

  • Silver Hjellen

    November 24, 2022

    ditto as Hill and Pam wrote–what a bummer about the rain. Your photo of Phantom is gorgeous!

  • Wendy Cutting

    November 29, 2022

    It’s bloody funtastic bro!
    Just love your writing style and reading your stories.

    • Margie

      December 28, 2022

      Thank you Wendy! That dove is bloody funtastic indeed!

  • Tena

    December 23, 2022

    Phantom is so beautiful. The honey sounds delish – just like you said. I know you’ve had way more rain on this trip than you’d like, and that you have had some clear days. I’m hoping the prediction for a dry sunny Christmas comes true!

    • Margie

      December 28, 2022

      I loved having the, Phantom experience. What a bonus treat, for sure. And, fast forward…I did indeed enjoy a dry and sunny Christmas day! Lots of sun here at Waikawa Beach.


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