RAMBLINGS : About the author

Ramblings is moving! Go to ramblings.nz to check out my new site...





Kia ora and welcome to Ramblings, a fairly random collection of travel yarns, reportage and photos by Peter de Graaf. I'm a journalist, photographer and occasional travel writer based in Kerikeri, in New Zealand's Far North. When I'm not tinkering with this website I work for the Northern Advocate, a regional daily newspaper based in the city of Whangarei.

Before shifting to Kerikeri I lived in Napier, also on the east coast but closer to the bottom end of the North Island, where I worked for the regional daily Hawke's Bay Today.

The author in NZ's Kaweka Mountains

I made the switch to journalism in 2001 after returning from what was supposed to be a six-month trip overseas but somehow lasted 12 years. In that time I made a brief and spectacularly unsuccessful attempt to live and work in the UK; spent a few years in Amsterdam, getting to know the land of my ancestors; and accidentally ended up in what was then still Czechoslovakia. I stayed for seven years, mostly teaching at Anglo-Czech High School in a town called Ceske Budejovice, where I forged some wonderful friendships and a fascination for the post-communist world.

The author and a young mullah named Ali at the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran

In that time I travelled as far as my wallet would allow, which was not always very far.
My personal highlights so far have been Central and Eastern Europe (especially Albania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia), the much maligned Middle East (especially Syria and "Axis of Evil" Iran), Laos (possibly the most laid-back country on Earth) and the shambolic, scenic Caucasus states of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

It was in the Czech Republic that I was inspired to become a journalist. The epiphany came at a concert by a rock band formerly known as The Plastic People of the Universe - but that's a whole other story...

The author and friend at a tea shop above Imam Square, Esfahan, Iran

My interests are photography, languages, tramping (that's hiking for anyone not versed in New Zealand English) and exploring this crazy planet we live on.

If you have a question or want to use a photo or a story somewhere, flick me an email:

PANPA Awards 2013

Olympic silver medallist Blair Tuke is mobbed by schoolchildren
My photo of Olympic medallist Blair Tuke being mobbed by children from Kawakawa Primary School won the award for best community newspaper sports photo in the 2013 Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers’ Association Awards. Tuke's town, Kerikeri, organised a tickertape parade to welcome him and fellow sailor Peter Burling home after winning silver in the 49er sailing event at the London Olympics.

Canon Media Awards 2011
My first-hand account of 2010's whale strandings was one of three finalists in the senior feature writing section, science/ environment category of the Canon Media Awards 2011, New Zealand's premier print media awards.


Thanks to...
Donna Russell of e-Builders, Michal Tuma and Dana Vitaskova of Foto MIDA, Czech Radio (Ceske Budejovice), Evrah, Andy, Lex and Martina; Iva, Denisa and Krystof at DECROS; everyone at Anglo-Czech High School.

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Copyright Peter de Graaf 2011 : Ramblings designed and built by Peter de Graaf : Last updated September 2014