When I was a student teacher (1971) my first posting was at Tainui School (which is situated opposite these trees).
I was terrified at the thought of standing up in front of a class of kids, let alone opening my mouth and saying something - I was such a mouse.
The student who was in the classroom with me (I still remember his name, Struan Robertson ... a chain-smoking poet in a black coat who walked as if he was forever heading into a snowstorm ... I wonder where he is now?) told me I was a 'shrinking violet'. I think he meant well. Strangely, it was a description which pleased me. Ironically enough, I think it made me feel unique.
The other thing I remember was how cold it was; frosty mornings catching the early bus. I remember noticing a stand of trees (I think they could have been the ones in the photo above, although with their clean-shaven look, they don't quite seem large wild, ragged and dramatic enough to be the same trees). Plus I think the trees I remember were closer to the school. They have probably been cut down.
I remember back then the sound the trees made when they caught the winter storms, or towered black in the mist and frost. They certainly became a feature of my time there at the school
Little did I know then, while waiting for the bus home, shivering at the bus-stop in an insubstantial, un-lined, home-sewn jacket and a (coincidentally enough) violet, woollen scarf wound around my neck, that I would end up living in this very neighbourhood. Little did I know then that my future husband would be a member of the golf course the trees grow on, or that my future children would be pupils at the school .
These cabbage trees (kouaka) grow at the front of the school. They weren't there back when I was a student, but were likely there when our sons were attending.
Spring has arrived, even though it isn't yet September (the official start of Spring in New Zealand). However, try telling the plum trees that.