On the way to New Plymouth airport today for a 1 am flight to Auckland I made a detour to see a bird show in Waitara, prime specimens from bird lovers of this Northern Taranaki region were there. I’m used to going to orchid shows here in Taranaki, and once to a cat show, but hadn’t seen an exhibition of caged birds before, not to this degree at least. I didn’t know that this subculture existed here, my lack, not their fault. My father was part of it when I was young and always had aviaries. It was only in the last years of his long life did he give up on his pets.

It’s being held this weekend, in the Memorial Hall at Waitara, about 30 minutes north of New Plymouth. Peter McLeavey talks about it in “The Man in the Hat.” a movie I saw at Te Papa last Sunday night, exactly one week ago.