The Mountain Parrot is a Kea. It is a New Zealand native bird. It is called a clown bird. The Kea is related to the kaka.

The back of a kea’s wings are green and at the front it has got orange.

Between 1,000 and 5,000 Kea live in the wild on the western side of the Southern Alps, Kaikoura ranges.

Keas eat food scraps, dead meat, snow berries and grubs.

Keas are one of the most interesting birds in the world. It is our funny, naughty native parrot.

Illustrated and written by HunAme




Kingfisher is a diving bird.

A Kingfisher has blue feathers and a black beak and a white body.

Some kingfishers live in New Zealand.

The Kingfisher dives in the water to get a fish. They lay eggs and the kingfisher babies grow big. Then they fly away.

I like them because of their colourful wings.

Illustrated by LatJos and PedMax.  Written by LatJos

Counting Heritage

My Great-Grandad John (Jack) Porter & Me
My Great-Grandad John (Jack) Porter and Me

I mentioned to some one the other day that I don’t use my own voice for talking.  I still have an accent and it’ll never go away, but the edges are softened, my glottal stops have all but disappeared and I dont say “tha noz” at all anymore.  It made me think about those that came before me, my grand-parent and their ancestors, where they came from and how they would have spoken.  I know my mum and dad had some novels written entirely in Tyke dialect, but dad gave them away (to a girl from New Zealand they met in Australia).  After a brief foray into dialect sites, Tyke poetry and Ilkla Moor Baht ‘At, I found this gem on Wikipedia.  Yan, tan, tethera is something my great grandad used to say when he was counting.  It’s a fives based counting system and (from what I can remember) my great-grandad’s version went something like this.

Yan, tan, tethera, methera, pip.  Sethera, leathera, overa, dovera, dick.  Yanadick, tanadick, tetheradick, metheradick, bumfit.  Yanabum, tanabum, tetherabum, metherabum, jiggit.  It doesn’t quite match up with any of the charts on Wikipedia.

What a fascinating way of counting, though who knows what comes after jigget?  I’m pretty sure this has all but died out, so I’m going to teach it to my daughters and son to try and keep it alive.  I’ll also share it with my class at school, although if they can get past ten and fifteen without giggling I’ll be very surprised!

Opera Mini +

I’ve been on holiday for a week – so that was no internet for me unless I paid $$$ for a 15 minute session.  Or was it?

opera mini

It wasn’t at all.  I have Opera Mini on my phone and most of the web, e-mails, social networking and news that I access on my laptop were there on my phone.  Yippee!  So I could check my gmail/hotmail, read my rss feeds, browse my favourite sites, tweet on twitter and check in with Facebook.  Great!

I’ve noticed more and more that people are using their phones and mobile devices for some of their internet browsing.  Companies like Vodafone or Telecom want you to use their portal to do this.  It’s easy to see why.  To get anywhere you have to pass their “homepage” complete with ads and downloads, which must be a real revenue earner for them.  Coupled with the fact that you pay them for any data you use (basically if you’re connected to the internet via your phone you’re paying for data) they have little interest in optimising your phone web browsing for minimum data use.  You don’t have to use their browser.  Don’t click that Vodafone Live! button or little blue globe.  Download and install Opera Mini on your phone instead!

opera mini dowload page

First choose your download method.  The recommended way is to got to using your phone’s built in browser.  Opera will detect your phone’s make and model and ensure you download the correct version.  When it’s on your phone just install it.  Different phones and operating system will vary in how you do this, you may get a series of permissions dialogues, but just go with the flow and follow it through.

Once installed Opera Mini will be sitting in your applications folder or similar location. Click/open it and you’re off.  It’ll ask you to mash the phone keys a few time and accept a user agreement before it opens the startpage.  The startpage is preloaded with bookmarks, you’ll soon replace these with your own.  Here’s my startpage.

The default setting has most webpages opening as minimized images of the full page with an area that zooms in to view your selection. I apologise now for the news story, but that’s life.

If this works for you then you don’t need to make any changes.  Personally I find the tiny page version too difficult to see.  I changed my default view to mobile view like the image below.

It’s easy to do.  Just follow these screenshots below, tick mobile view and press the left softkey to save.

That’s it.  You’re all set to go. Like anything else you’ll learn by doing, so get to it.  Visit your favourite sites, login to your webmail, check your rss feeds. Post any questions you have in the comments and I’ll help if I can or there’s the opera mini faqs page.

To tweet from your phone I recommend Just enter it into the address bar at the top of Opera Mini or google it.  Log in with your twitter details and then save the page as a bookmark when you’re logged in.  It’s pretty easy to use, though the icons can be difficult to see.

Have a play. Have fun and remember it’s cheaper than texting to twitter! $$$!


Hello new Room Niners.  Only 3 weeks of holiday left – make sure you enjoy them.  I suppose you’ve all been away to the beach and if you haven’t you’ll be off somewhere soon.  I’ve just got back from Napier where I’d been camping with my family for a week.

We had a look around the town at all the buildings that were rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake. Later we went for a walk by the sea and a drive up to a viewpoint on Bluff Hill that overlooks the port.

Napier Port from the top of Bluff Hill

Napier Port from the top of Bluff Hill

The next day we went to The National Aquarium of New Zealand – Te Whare Tangaroa o Aotearoa.  There were heaps of things to see, sharks, stingrays, piranha, a crocodile, eels, a 3 metre long giant squid (dead) and lots of others.  I made a video to show you some of the things we saw. How many animals can you name in the video?

Now I’m starting to get ready for school, the new term and a new class.  What have you been doing? E-mail me at and let me know.





The Kea is a New Zealand native bird. It is a kind of parrot.

The kea has beautiful wings. The keas have gray or black hooked beaks. Keas have beautiful orange and green long feathers.

Keas live in mountains and mostly live in the South Island.

Keas fly up to the mountains to eat snow berries.  When people brought sheep to the mountains keas found a new food – dead meat. Some Keas killed live sheep and all the Keas were blamed.  Thousands of keas were killed until 1970.   They also eat berries, seeds, tender roots, and leaf buds. Keas use their beaks to pick up sticks to make nests. They use their beaks to eat rubber from cars.

Between 1,000 and 5,000 still live in the wild in New Zealand.

Illustrated and written by CasAla






The Tui is a New Zealand native bird.

Under its neck it has little white fluffy feathers. On the wings blue and green shines. It has sharp claws and a beak and a short tail. The male Tui size is 30 cm and female size is 29 cm.

It can be found in your kowhai tree, pohutukawa tree and also your garden. If you’re lucky you might see them perching or singing.

Tui suck on nectar out of kowhai tree flowers and they eat fruit and insects. Sometimes they catch moths on their wings to eat.

Tui have three to four eggs and the colour of the eggs are plain pink with reddish brown specks.

Illustrated and written by TarRub