New Zealand, Part 2: Tirau

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When one thinks of a vacation in New Zealand one thinks of the tourist spots like Queenstown, Wellington, or Auckland.  But today I’m going to write about a marvelous little town called Tirau.  According to Wikipedia the name is Maori and means “place of many cabbage trees.”  Well, my daughter Halley and I didn’t go there to see cabbage trees.  We went to see the Big Sheep and the Big Sheep Dog.

The Big Dog in Tirau

The Big Dog in Tirau

Since I provided an image of the Big Sheep Dog, which is also the location of the i-SITE visitor center, I suppose I should also show you the Big Sheep.  Erected in 1994, the Sheep was the first of the corrugated iron buildings.  It was followed by the dog, then in 2016 the Sheep gained a neighbor in the form of a Big Ram!

The Big Sheep and the Big Ram in Tirau

The Big Sheep and the Big Ram in Tirau

I love that sidelong glance the sheep is giving the ram!  He seems to be saying, “Hey, what are you doing on my patch?” Or is that a smile?  One can never tell with sheep.

Well, once the corrugated iron trend was started, there was no stopping it in tiny Tirau.  As we discovered there are metal signs just everywhere you look.  We walked along the main road, almost the only business street in town, and photographed every possible combination of signs and displays.  Some were standard fare and others rather charming.  No other creations were quite as ambitious as the buildings shown above but all were fun to discover.  How about this blue goose?  Is it a goose?

Blue Goose in High Heels in Tirau

Blue Goose in High Heels in Tirau

She has great eyelashes and her pearl earrings and necklace probably come from the store she’s perched over, Silver & Some Fashion Jewelry.  Joining her on the rooftop of the porch is a gander, also blue, but not nearly as well dressed.

Blue Gander on Porch Roof in Tirau

Blue Gander on Porch Roof in Tirau

They made a lovely pair and perhaps encouraged couples to shop for jewelry in the store.

Not all the iron signs were in the shape of animals, although many were.  They came in all sizes and could be just about anywhere.  Need you car fixed?

Tirau Motors Corrugated Iron Display

Tirau Motors Corrugated Iron Display

Lest you think I could go long without eating, never fear.  We found a sensational cafe called Heidi’s on the Hill.  Actually we ran into a local man who told us they had the best coffee in town. That’s all I needed to hear!  We followed him inside and had scrumptious sweets with our usual coffees, Halley’s mocha and my Long Black.

Coffee and Sweets in Tirau

Coffee and Sweets at Heidi’s on the Hill in Tirau

I asked our waitress, Zoe, about  the corrugated signs.  She told us about how her grandfather had helped to build the iron buildings.  He even had a shop in the Big Sheep at one time. I like Tirau and it sounds like the families who live there like it too, staying for generations.

By the way there was a corrugated iron sign above the cafe!  For a picture of that, and to see other images from Tirau, click here.


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