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Winter Memories of Snow in New Zealand

Updated on October 16, 2016
Elsie Hagley profile image

Elsie is a kiwi living in New Zealand, enjoys sharing articles of her country. Land of the long white cloud. First country to see a new day.

Winter Desert Road, Central Plateau, North Island, NZ.

Winter Memories in Taranaki New Zealand

My winter memories living under Mount Egmont/Taranaki in New Zealand for 45 years.

New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries for mountaineering skills.

The mountain slopes, on Mount Egmont/ Taranaki on the west coast of the north island in New Zealand is a beautiful mountain, but a mountain that can be very cruel especially in the winter, those clouds come very quickly and the temperature drops just as quick.

I have lived under this mountain for some 60 years, so I'm very aware of this big hill in the sky that is so well known for its iconic beauty and snow. I never underestimate its dangers, Mount Egmont/Taranaki has a higher death toll than any other mountain in New Zealand Weather on the mountain can change rapidly, which has caught inexperienced trampers and climbers unaware.

As of 30 October 2013, 82 people have died on the mountain since records began in 1891.

Walking up the mountain to the summit should only be attempted in good weather, even then it is best to be an experienced hiker.

The above photo of the plateau is on the east side of Taranaki, on a beautiful fine day you can see it, so we are in the middle of two mountains, very pretty, makes you feel happy to be alive.

Mount Egmont/Taranaki NZ.
Mount Egmont/Taranaki NZ.

Taranaki's landscape and the mountain's supposed resemblance to Mount Fuji led it to be selected as the location for The Last Samurai, a motion picture set in 19th-century Japan. The movie starred Tom Cruise. We were very lucky to have that film made in New Zealand, makes you really appreciate the beauty of our country.

Yes, we can put up with all the cold weather, but it's the wet weather that gets you down, mud and animals just don't go together.

This is a scene looking at that beautiful mountain above when it is snowing.
This is a scene looking at that beautiful mountain above when it is snowing.

Dairy Farming under Mount Egmont/Taranaki NZ

You may be wondering why I started this short story with the facts at the start of the article, well farming dairy cows was no fun over the years when it snowed, sometimes I wondered how the animals survived on our farm as it was on the out-skirts of the mountain, (just below the mountain reserve,) with many rivers and water outlets coming off the mountain.

One thing we had were many trees where the animals could find shelter and animals can tell the weather forecast better than humans, they would find shelter long before the snow set in, and settle down in the herd and the warmth from their bodies would keep the snow settling too heavy under trees.

The worst time to have a snowstorm was in August - September end of winter start of spring when the cows would be calving, we have loss calves due to freezing as they were born, sad but that's the facts of farming.

Many times we had animal caught in the snow and no way to help them until the snow stopped, but we never lost any, but in my heart I will never forget the stress of not being able to help them, having to wait until the snow storm stopped.

The sleepless nights waiting for daybreak to see the snow surrounding our house and wondering how we were going to cope with the day, whether it was milking or feeding the cows.


Hay-ledge covered with snow, which the cows required to survive.
Hay-ledge covered with snow, which the cows required to survive.

Cows looking for Food

My heart would ache watching those cows looking at us to feed them, I could feel the cold so I wonder how cold the cows were.
My heart would ache watching those cows looking at us to feed them, I could feel the cold so I wonder how cold the cows were.

Most Humans loved the Snowy Weather.

If you mention snow, living by a mountain everyone thinks of skiing, but I would dread the word snow, as there were always problems like feeding of hay, as when the snow melted there would always be mud and no grass, our cows were not kept in a shed in bad weather. like a lot of farms around the world.

New Zealand is a major skiing destination in the Southern Hemisphere and Mount Egmont/Taranaki was one of the best for it, but there is so much more than skiing or snow boarding, there's the climbers, trampers, and people that liked taking photographs also many sightseers, would turn up to play in the snow, that's all enjoy, the pleasure of such lovely splendor of beauty, "snow" especially in the winter months.

Snow Fun

Do you play in the snow?

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There was always fun for children and the not so young humans after a snow storm.
There was always fun for children and the not so young humans after a snow storm.
Having fun in the snow.
Having fun in the snow.

There are good Memories about Winter

The best thing about all the stress after a snowstorm was the warmth of an open fire, in the early years of farming we had an old house with a coal range that we use for heating, drying clothes and cooking.

I think the most welcoming was the smell coming from the oven, like fresh scones and hot soup simmering on top of the range.

I can still smell that welcoming smell when I think about it.

I had five children to feed in the 1970s, I can also see them playing with their toys in front of the open fire happily waiting for their tea.

(Memories aren't they precious).

Mount Taranaki Snow Boarding

Little about Mount Egmont Taranaki NZ

Mt Egmont/Taranaki New Zealand is a great place to visit, climb and explore.

There are three roads leading part-way up the mountain.

On the eastern side from Stratford leads to the Stratford Mountain House, and the ski field.

Then there is the visitor park centers at North Egmont.

Dawson Falls on the southeast side of the mountain.

Winter isn't always here and you can have a wonderful time, so if you are traveling down our way I hope you will visit this beautiful mountain.

Outside school holidays it's never crowded and so peaceful, this is what life should be about enjoying the beauty of nature, listening to the birds, looking at the waterfalls and maybe climb to the summit.

Mt Egmont, Taranaki, New Zealand

Please Comment below about these Questions

Do you have snow in the winter where you live?

Do you farm with animals living outdoors in the winter?

What kind of animals do you farm?

Love to hear from you, thanks for reading my winter challenge memories.

Hope 2016 will be a prosperous year for you with many happy days of laughter.

© 2015 Elsie Hagley

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    • Elsie Hagley profile image
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      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      rawspirit: Always got time to answer questions on HubPages.

      No, my children have their own lives and lived quite away from us.

      We do it all by ourselves.

      We used to live under Mount Egmont/Taranaki, sold the dairy farm last year, our son was running it, we have a beef farm 170 hectares, lots of bush.

      Must go, have a great day.

    • the rawspirit profile image

      Robert Morgan 2 years ago from Hutchinson Island, FL - Myrtle Beach, SC - Scottsdale AZ

      Oh my, goodness. I make the wish and here it is right here on your hub page. I had no idea there was so much snow in NZ during the winter. You guys must be high in the mountains. Look at those cows. Ok, it winter there right now right? Do the kids ever come up to help you and your husband with the animals? No need to answer if you're to busy. Heck with all those cow's you probably don't have much time to respond to silly questions from a city boy. Blessings to you all.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image
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      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      ladyguitarpicker: Winter memories are always nice to think about in later years, but at the actual time of the bad winter days there is nothing more challenging that looking after animals whether it is snow or heavy rain.

      Hope all is well with you, special blessings to you.

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Great story about your farm. I had plenty of snow before I moved to Fl. I lived on a farm and remember one winter when it was so bad in 1967 that we lost several hogs that froze. It is hard to raise animals during the winter months.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image
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      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      old albion:Appreciate your knock on my back door, yes we have time for a cuppa and a walk round the garden to smell the roses where I live, but I'm not too sure that you would find enough time in one day if you lived in Auckland.

      New Zealand has got beautiful scenery and you would enjoy travelling around it, but I do believe that Australia is a very nice place also with plenty to see like kangaroos and snakes, snakes would be the main reason I wouldn't enjoy Australia for, but otherwise it's good, a little warmer than NZ.

      All the best for 2015.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Elsie. A first class hub. Beautiful photos and videos. It certainly is a lovely place to live. I always fancied a visit to New Zealand more than Australia. I'm told that parts of NZ are like England used to be, a slower pace of life and there is time to smell the coffee. Tip Top.

      voted up and all.

      Graham.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image
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      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Georgescifo: Glad you enjoyed my photos of snow in NZ, we get a little bit of everything here.

      I'm sure you have many interesting things going on where you live, snow isn't always a nice thing to have especially heavy snow when you are a farmer.

      All the best for your writing in 2015.

    • georgescifo profile image

      georgescifo 2 years ago from India

      The pics of snow are really amazing and I really sorry for myself as there are no such wonderful phenomenon in my place and I just get to see such things only on the media and blogs or hub. Thanks a lot for sharing this hub..

    • Elsie Hagley profile image
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      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      DDE: Thanks for visiting.

      There has been many interesting stories about snow from people responding to Jackie Lynnley's challege for winter memories which have made great reading here on HubPages.

      Happy days writing, all the best for 2015.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I like the experience of snow. Memories are always so mind filling.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image
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      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      AshimaTan: Yes Mount Egmont/Taranaki is a beautifully shaped mountain, it is now mid summer, the last month has been very hot, we have had no rain in nearly four weeks and the mountain has lost all its snow, which is very early this year.

      So for anyone wanting to climb to the summit it is a good time to do it, as long as you can stand the heat, must take lots of water to drink.

      Thanks for your interest about such beauty that isn't seen anywhere else in the world, very unusual shape.

    • profile image

      AshimaTan 2 years ago

      New Zealand is a beautiful place indeed. I absolutely loved to know about Mt.Egmont,it looks stunning. Since it doesn't snow where I live so I'm always fascinated to see it.

      Great hub!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image
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      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      LynetteBell: It would be nice to see some rain even a little snow now.

      New Zealand is becoming very dry, with water restriction and fire bans in Taranaki, and it's only mid summer, farmers are starting to feel the pinch all ready and feeding off winter saved hay ledge.

      So as much as we don't like too much snow in the winter it would be nice to have some rain.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Happy days writing.

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 2 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Hi Elsie...I'm in Christchurch and wrote about 'Snow in June' a couple of years ago. Snow is lovely to look from the window at but I really am not keen on being in it!

      Thanks for sharing your memories.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image
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      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for the reply Manatita44 I have never heard of that faith.

      That's something special a male nurse.

      If I ever go to Auckland I certainly will look up the Blue Bird Cafe.

      No snow in Auckland, but you might have seen some in Christchurch.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Well Elsie,

      I'm a nurse and so I worked both at Middlemore and Auckland City hospitals. I stayed at Rockland Villas in Epsom.

      I am also a disciple of Sri Chinmoy. This is my Faith and we are about 8,000 around the world, about 80 of which are in NZ in Auckland, and about 40 in Christchurch. We met regularly and had many forest walks.

      We also have a Cafe called The Blue Bird on Dominion Rd, I believe. All great vegetarian food. You must visit sometime. In Love and Light.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image
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      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Manatita44: Thanks for visiting, nice to know you have been to New Zealand. What part of New Zealand did you live in?

      Did you see snow while staying here?

      New Zealand is only a little country, but it cover most things for exercising and having fun whether there is snow or not.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Beautiful Hub and quite picturesque. Yes, naturally I'm in London, UK. We have snow here but are snow-free just now. NZ is a beautiful country. I lived there for a year and did many forest walks with my friends. Thanks Elsie. Great Hub!

    • Dip Mtra profile image

      Dip Mtra 2 years ago from World Citizen

      Interesting read. Voted up.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image
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      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Phyllis Doyle: Thanks for the vote up, I appreciate it.

      Yes life in the winter would be easier for us and the cows if they were in barns.

      Not many, if any in New Zealand have cows in barns, I know there has been talk about it, but not sure if it's been allowed, people look at it a bit like farming chickens in cages instead or free range hens.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image
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      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Lorelei Cohen: Thanks for commenting you live in a beautiful part of the world also.

      I agree with you about winter, but we have shifted away from Mount Egmont/Taranaki now and farm a beef farm in East Taranaki, that's cold also but a different kind of cold.

      Still have to go out everyday to feed animals, at the moment it's summer so it's warm, not looking forward to winter though, too hard on my aching bones.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image
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      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      aesta1: I'm like you avoid the cold if possible.

      If I remember right you you lived summer all the year round, hope I'm right I think that would be a great idea.

      I love farming and I wouldn't change it for anything, not even the cold, just put more clothes on, once you get working you soon warm up.

      All the best for 2015.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image
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      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Say Yes To Life: If you love skiing, snowboarding and hot springs you will love New Zealand in the winter, I think you would like in all the year round as New Zealand is a beautiful place and we do have active mountains, but they have been quiet lately.

      We don't have snow where we live now as we retired from dairy farming,and living under that cold mountain, but we still farm only it is beef stock in east Taranaki, the only difference is we don't have to get up early and milk cows.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Elsie. This is such an interesting winter memory you wrote about. I remember when as a kid we would worry about our cows and other farm animals during the winter of heavy snows, but, there were barns and other shelters on our farm for all the animals. I really enjoyed reading about winters by Mount Taranaki. Voted Up, ++++ and H+

    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 2 years ago from Canada

      I live down in the Rocky Mountain trench but am not so close to the peaks as you are. It is beautiful. I must say though that I am not a fan of winter any longer. Too great a chance of falling and breaking something so now I spend the majority of winter indoors. Summer is my season. Loved seeing your little corner of the world.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I can only imagine what it is like for you Elsie. I have lived through many winters but not in a farm so it is totally different. I stay away from winter now.

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 2 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Interesting hub! I have always been fascinated by New Zealand. Besides snow, it is one of the most geothermally active regions in the world, along with Iceland. I am an avid skier / snowboarder, and I love hot springs. Nothing compares to soaking in a hot spring, then rolling in the snow.

      "Do you have snow in the winter where you live?" Actually yes, even though I live in Hawaii. Recently, there was a major ice storm on Mauna Kea, sealing the porta-potties on the summit and rendering them unavailable. The access road was closed for a week. But yes, I have skied and snowboarded up there, and wrote a hub about it. https://hubpages.com/sports/Snowboarding-on-Mauna-...

      "Do you farm with animals living outdoors in the winter?" I don't farm, but with Hawaii's mellow climate, yes animals stay outdoors year round.

      "What kind of animals do you farm?" Though I've lived in big cities most of my life, I have worked on a dairy farm. I did it in a suburb of Los Angeles, of all places!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Elsie, nice to meet you too. We don't have fire danger here at present having had more rain in the last two months than the whole of the rest of last year. When the rain has gone however the fire threat will be big because the grass is so long. Our chickens are mixed breed and only to produce eggs for ourselves. Have a great weekend.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image
      Author

      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Jodah: Nice to meet you, I know we have commented on our articles but I didn't realize you were a Australia living in Queensland. Must be pretty hot now with mid summer approaching, keep safe hope you don't have any big fire where you live.

      In taranaki we really have the best of everything, the mountain is in the middle and half an hours drive, you can be at the beach even in mid winter.

      What kind of chickens do you have?

      Are they for your own use or earning a living?

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Great hub Elsie, and it was really interesting to hear more about Mt Egmont/Taranaki. I probably know more about NZ than a lot of other hubbers, being close by in Australia, but it is always great to hear more. We have no snow here in Queensland in Winter. I'm sure it is great for recreation like skiing, but not so good when you are trying to farm. We only have chickens on our property so they aren't too much trouble. Voted up.

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 2 years ago from Minnesota

      Elsie, I do believe it is the simple things in life that make a difference. BUT, the internet brings us together to enjoy them together. - Keep warm!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image
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      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      billybuc: Thanks for the visit and comment. You are not the only one that doesn't know what the rest of the world is like, I'm like you have no idea what living in the US is like.

      It is through a fieindly site like HubPages that we learn from other writers what the world is really like and enjoy the company.

      You can't always believe what the media says in the papers and on TV, it is through the reader here that I learn so much.

      Congratulations for your 3 years at HubPages.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      So many of us in the States know so little about the rest of the world, and I'm ashamed to admit that. I had no idea you had that much snow in New Zealand. Loved your memories. Thanks for sharing them with us all.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image
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      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      colorfulone: Thanks for the visit, your Dad was right "Winters make hardship harder".

      Actually I can safely say that after 55 years of marriage we still have a farm and no money worries, winters didn't help when times are hard.

      Yes food and warmth helps you get through anything.

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 2 years ago from Minnesota

      New Zealand looks beautiful in the winter, Elsie. We had a very cold winter last year with too much snow. My dad use to say, "Winters make hardship harder." Those words echo in my ears some times. But, tis a great time to bake bread and other goodies, it helps heat the house.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image
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      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Jackie Lynnley: Thanks for giving us the opportunity to write about winter memories, it does the body good to stop and think about things that have happen in our lifetime, it makes us a better person, more able to cope with the hustle and bustle of everyday life in this busy world.

      Memories are good for the body it stimulates the brain and in most cases it leaves us with a contented body of smiles and laughter, all good for a long life.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Left one comment then got kicked offline so going again hoping they both don't take! lol Some really bad winters you had there and I love the soup and bread baking smells in winter especially too.

      Great winter memories, thanks so much for sharing them and I will share them everywhere I can!