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Taking tea with a tuatara.

The funky collection of ‘60s teacups took my friend and colleague Jen Miller a lifetime to collect.

Generously, she kept most of them at the Christchurch office of Forest & Bird, the environmental organisation we both work for.

I never saw them; they were lost in the 2011 earthquake that shook Christchurch to its core. The only pieces that survived were a few bowls, such as the Palissy and J&G Meakin bowls Jen served us homemade soup in at lunchtime today.

Finding genuine replacements for the cups is proving difficult, so while she hunts, Jen’s making do with modern china with a retro theme.

My marks out of 10?

CUP 7: Citta mug, not too big, china and with a groovy pattern.

TEA 9:  Loose-leaf Twinings orange pekoe, made in a stainless steel pot just like one my grandmother had.

SETTING 8: It is work, but the Christchurch office is always a good place to be, and not just for the quality of the catering.

Note: the green guy checking out the chocolate brownies is my prop for talks on the impacts of climate change on New Zealand’s weird and wonderful native species. Tuatara are not lizards, but the last remaining species for the ancient order Rhynchocephalia that included dinosaurs. If the climate warms,  all the baby tuatara will be boys – wrong on so many levels.

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