Monday 5 February 2024

Athletics Auckland Champs

We had a busy and satisfying weekend at the Auckland Track and Field Championships.  The results are here.

Miya has newly gone up to the Under 16 grade, and she competed in three events.

Long jump was Saturday, and it was tough competing on a day with blustery winds and sharp downpours.  But happily she got a couple of great jumps in, including a 4.47m, which earned her 9th place.

Then on Sunday it was triple jump and high jump.  The weather was perfect, and Miya was on fire in the triple jump, with three of her four jumps well over her previous best.  Her best jump, of 10.04m (wind 1.2), earned her a silver medal.  It's also easily over the entry standard that allows her to compete at the Nationals in March.

In the high jump, Miya pleasingly didn't miss a height at 1.35m, 1.40m and 1.45m.  She was close on her attempts at 1.50m, but didn't quite get it this time.  This earned her a bronze medal (equal with two others).

Miya has now qualified for the Nationals (and Auckland team) in both high jump and triple jump.  She's got another three weekends of competitions to qualify for long jump and hurdles (fingers crossed for legal winds, as her performances will likely be good enough).

Mulan's still in the Under 18 grade, and she also competed in three events.

Shot put is mostly just a fun and relaxing event for Mulan.  Her 9.09m was not bad, but on other days she's occasionally got it out into the high 9s and she's hoping one day to get it over 10.

Her long jump, also in tough weather conditions, was a satisfying season best of 4.50m, and this earned her a bronze medal.

And finally, Mulan triple jumped soon after Miya's huge new PB.  Sibling competitiveness meant Mulan was also looking to get over 10m, but she had to settle for an excellent new PB of 9.89m (wind 0.4), which earned her silver.

I'm still in the Master's 45-49 age group, and I competed in five events.

On Saturday I ran the 60m in 8.25sec and the 100m in 13.17sec.  I also jumped 5.16m in the long jump.  Then on Sunday I jumped 1.40m in the high jump and 10.46m (wind 1.1) in the triple jump.  This earned me two gold medals and one silver medal (and two 4th places).

A big thing for me now is endurance, and I needed to pace myself so I had enough energy left for the later events.  In all three jumps events I didn't use up all my attempts -- just two long, two high, and four triple.  It was probably about right, though who knows whether in the long and high one more attempt might have given better results.

Wednesday 31 January 2024


Today is Miya's first day at school (ever).

It was a slightly unusual start, as this morning, at 7:30am, we dropped her off at Westlake Boys High School.  No, she's not going to a boys' school, it's just that she's in the senior Westlake Concert Band, and that's her practice time/place.  After practice, at 8:30am, she walks to the girls' school.

We've now officially stopped homeschooling, and the plan is for Miya to spend the next five years of her schooling at Westlake Girls High School.

She's already been there a few times, for orientation day and music auditions/practices, but this is the official first day.

From what I understand, however, today there'll be little to no learning happening -- it's mostly just administrative stuff with earnest speeches and team-building.  So, an easy and gentle first day (as long as she can stay awake!).

Based on the school financial statement sent to us, it seems that mostly Miya got the subjects she asked for.  The only exception is that she asked to learn Maori, and instead she's got French.  (Given the way New Zealand culture is these days, we thought Maori would be extremely useful to learn, so it's a pity that Miya will miss out.)

Miya's other subjects are English, maths, science, social studies, PE, health, music, Spanish, digital tech, fabric tech, food tech, and hard material tech.

As I wrote before, Miya is in the music extension class, as well as the senior concert band and junior symphonic band.  She'll have instrument lessons through the school in clarinet and French horn.  She'll go to two weekend music camps this term, and later in the year will play at concerts and festivals.

Unfortunately, the two music camps exactly clash with two school athletics competitions (the school athletics day and school North Island Champs), so Miya will miss those.  But there's still the school zone champs and Auckland champs this term, along with the nationals in December.

And I'm sure Miya will find lots of other activities to get involved with.


Meanwhile, Mulan is returning to Westlake for her final year at school.  Her school year started yesterday.

Her academic results last year were very satisfying, and we are super proud of her.

At the school academic prizegiving last year Mulan was awarded Distinction in Biology, and in her NCEA results she got Excellence Endorsement in two subjects (music and chemistry), and Merit Endorsement in the other four (maths, biology, physics, English).

This year she's studying music, maths calculus, physics, biology and chemistry.

At the end of last year she applied to be a prefect, and her job this year is to help mentor the new Year 9 students.  The downside is that today she had to wear her school prefect's tie, blazer and stockings!  (She was feeling uncomfortably hot!)

She's continuing with a lot of school music -- symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra, and cello lessons.  She's also newly joined the Cigno Voce choir and will have singing lessons.  She also has two school music camps.

And she'll again join the school athletics competitions.


With no longer homeschooling I (theoretically) have one less job to do.  For the short/mid term, after homemaking and being admin assistant for our family business, I'll likely find a bit of time to paint/renovate our house.  Plans for the mid/long term will sort themselves out in time.

Monday 29 January 2024


As I said in my last post, we've just got back from the South Island.

We were there, in part, because Miya was competing in an athletics competition.  So, let's talk athletics first.

We're now getting into the second half of the athletics season, when most of the big competitions happen.  But we've already had a few bigger comps.

On the 26th of November, Miya was part of the Takapuna Club team competing at the CNW (Central North West Auckland) interclub children's relay competition.  Miya's Grade 13 team got 1st in the 4x400m relay, 2nd in the 4x100m relay, and 2nd in the field relay (where Miya did the shot put).

On the 15th of December, both Mulan and Miya competed at the Launch athletics competition.  This is a fun and different competition for teens, where the athletes are randomly put into four teams, and then compete for team points during the Friday evening competition.  Each team is lead/mentored by two senior New Zealand rep/champ athletes.  For the field events (even high jump), competitors have three attempts only, of which the best two are added together for their final result. The track events have unusual distances.

Delightfully, Mulan won the trophy for the best female field event competitor.

While Miya had a huge new PB of 4.50m in the long jump.

Then in the New Year Miya competed at the Colgate Games.  This is the big children's competition, which is divided into the North Island (this year held here in Auckland) and the South Island (this year held in Dunedin) events.

For the North Island comp, held over three days between the 5th and 7th of January, Miya did the 80m hurdles, high jump, discus, shot put, and 4x100m relay.

Miya came 6th in the hurdles, though once we exclude the foreigners (those not from the North Island), she came 4th.

After a busy Friday she wasn't quite at her best in the high jump on Saturday morning, and her below-average 1.40m placed her 8th.

She did the throws just as fun extra events -- 20.38m in the discus and 7.27m in the shot put earned her two 10th placings.

Finally, and delightfully, her Grade 13 Takapuna Club team earned themselves a bronze medal in the 4x100m relay.  They came 4th in the final, but since the first place-getter was the Victorian (Australia) team, they were the 3rd North Island team so got on the dais.

Then a week later Miya competed at the South Island Colgate Games in Dunedin.

Again, the discus was just a fun extra event, and her 18.10m earned her 12th.

Then, delightfully, she came 2nd in the 80m hurdles.

(This time Miya was the foreigner, getting the white-ribboned medal.  There was a medal mixup, and Miya was initially presented with gold -- she changed it afterwards.)

Then finally it was the high jump.  Having learnt from the North Island comp, Miya was careful to manage her energy levels before the event, so was in good physical shape.

And she got a new PB of 1.51m!

This earned her another silver medal:

(Six athletes got medals, as the first three were all foreigners from the North Island.  Another medal mixup meant that initially Miya was presented with the red-ribboned South Island medal, rather than the white-ribboned foreigner medal -- they swapped it afterwards.)

Coming up, we've got two more months of big competitions:

  • the Auckland Senior Champs this coming weekend (3-4th February), with long hurdles on the 17th,
  • the Auckland Children's Champs on the weekend of the 23-25th of February,
  • the Auckland Children's Pentathlon Champs on the 9th of March,
  • the New Zealand Senior Champs on the weekend of the 14-17th of March,
  • the Auckland Senior Multievents Champs on the weekend of the 23-24th of March,
  • and finally the Auckland Schools Champs on the 26th of March.

Wednesday 24 January 2024

China / Solo-dad-ing

This is old news (olds?).

For five weeks, from early-December to early-January, Mama (Xiaoying) was in China, visiting Laolao (her mum).  It was all good, and she enjoyed the winter snow in Beijing.

Meanwhile, I was solo-dad-ing with Mulan and Miya here at home.  It was also all good -- we work well as a team together and life went on as normal (except for missing Mama).

Mama arrived back in New Zealand just two days before we headed off to the South Island for a two-week family holiday.  We returned home a few days ago.  I'll write about it soon.

Tuesday 12 December 2023

Holiday job

For some years now both Mulan and Miya have helped out with the family business.

We're Chinese4All, and throughout the day we have students of all ages coming to our home to have Chinese lessons in the classroom we have set up here.

With some of the younger students (preschool and primary age) Mulan and Miya help out as assistant teachers, getting involved in the lesson activities and role-modeling the language points.

A couple of years ago they also both had paper delivery runs, until the delivery contractors changed and they were no longer needed.

But now Mulan has a real job.

This summer she has a part-time job at Kyoto, a sushi restaurant at our local shopping centre.  She bikes there, and at the moment it's two days a week, from 7:30am until 3:30pm.  For the morning shift her main job is making the sushi in preparation for the incoming customers.

I'm hoping it's a transferrable skill, and she'll occasionally make us sushi dinners.

Monday 11 December 2023


Here's another end-of-year summary.  This time for music.


Miya's main instrument continues to be the clarinet.  For the second year she's played in the West City Youth Concert Band, and they had their final playout of the year last Saturday, playing at the Te Atatu Christmas Parade.

She's also been having private lessons and working towards her clarinet Grade 7 Trinity exam, which she sat on Thursday.  (UPDATE: Miya passed!!)

We're coming to the end of homeschooling, and Miya has enrolled to start at Westlake Girls High School at the beginning of next year, in Year 9.  Westlake emphasises music, and a few weeks ago they had their auditions for their 2024 orchestras and bands.  Miya had two auditions -- one at Westlake Boys High School for their senior combined schools Concert Band, and one at the Girls school for the girls' orchestras.

Happily, her auditions went well and they accepted her into the Westlake Concert Band.  Junior students who are in one of the senior groups are also required to be in a junior girls group, and Miya has been accepted into the Symphonic Band.  She's also signed up for the Year 9 Music Academy, which is the extension subject course.

Next year Miya will have private lessons for her clarinet through the school, and has also decided to try out the French horn, with lessons in that, too.  (If/when Miya does NCEA Music, it's good to have a second instrument.)

Miya's thinking she probably won't continue with the West City band next year, as she's going to be pretty busy with everything else.


This year Mulan also played in the West City Youth Concert Band, playing her third instrument, flute.

She played her second instrument, cello, in two Westlake school orchestras -- the Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra.  She also had private cello lessons through the school.

And she continues to have private lessons in her first instrument, recorder.

Mulan sat NCEA 2 Music this year, and achieved excellence in all her music internal assessments.  She's now finished her exams, and we're awaiting the results.

Next year Mulan will do NCEA 3 Music, and again, after auditioning, has been accepted into the Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra.  She's also decided to join the Cigno Voce choir, and will have singing lessons.

We're also not sure if she'll continue with the West City band, as she'll also be pretty busy.

Tuesday 28 November 2023


We're coming to the end of the year, and the girls' activities are starting to wind down.  So, it's time to overview what they did.

First up, dance.

Both Mulan and Miya continue to do dance.  They both have unlimited dance plans at Mainly Dance Studios, attending classes a few times a week.

This year Miya sat the RAD Intermediate Foundation ballet exam, and achieved High Merit (71/100).  She also sat the NZAMD Level 3 contemporary exam, and achieved High Honours.  At the Mainly Dance prizegiving she was awarded Most Dedicated contemporary dancer.

Next year she'll continue with both ballet and contemporary, and has been wondering about trying jazz.

Mulan continues to do ballet, and is at Advanced 2 level.  She didn't do any dance exams this year, but is aiming to do the RAD Advanced 2 exam next year (Advanced 2 usually takes two years to prep for).

Last year Mulan did contemporary, but had to stop this year as Mainly Dance doesn't offer it at higher levels.  Last year she sat the NZAMD Level 6 exam, and achieved Honours with Distinction.  She was also nominated to join the 2022 NZAMD National Scholarship Awards (in Lower Hutt).  It would have been awesome to attend, but Mainly Dance made a few administrative mistakes with the exam, and Mulan didn't get her results until well past the deadline.

Mainly Dance had their end of year concert a few weeks ago, and Mulan and Miya were both in a few dances.  Here's Mulan (second from left) doing the classic Swan Lake little swans dance: