Amanda Giorgis

Mackenzie and his dog

Something a bit different today for you country music fans!

Introducing FRIDAY


Introducing FRIDAY. There is no doubt that Friday existed as James Mackenzie’s faithful and unusually clever working dog. There are differing theories as to what happened to her. (Yes, Friday is a girl – that rather surprised me when I was doing some research). It is possible that she was shot because she would not work unless spoken to in Gaelic, but one theory suggests she saw out her days at the Levels Station where she became something of a celebrity. There is even a photo of her there, although she would have been at least 17 by the time this was taken. Who knows? Read The Wideawake Hat to find out what I think became of this clever wee dog!

Photo Credit – Sheep dog owned by James MacKenzie. Ref: 1/2-007818-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23198202

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The Wideawake Hat – meet the characters – James Mackenzie


There is no doubt that James Mackenzie existed, but the details of his life are sketchy and obscured by legend. Here’s what New Zealand History Online has to say about him:-


But, as you will find, our story will tell you more about James’ life and what may have happened to him in later life.

The Wideawake Hat – meet the characters – Atewhai’s family

nature forest plant leaves

Photo by Pixabay on

Our pioneers were, at first, suspicious of the native Maori people they met, but Sophia and Nancy become good friends with Atewhai, an elderly Maori woman who has a knack of turning up just when she is needed most. Her mother, Hinewai, taught her how to use things around her in nature to mend bones, heal sickness, soothe pain and make childbirth easier. Atewhai means ‘kind and loving’. Her husband is called Hunu, meaning ‘sun’. Although they were never blessed with children of their own they love their nephews, Taiko and Aperehama, and treat the children of the pioneer families as if they were grandchildren. Hunu enjoys telling stories to these youngsters and they, in turn, love to learn how the Maori people explain natural events through such stories.