1. The "Wh" in Whanganui in this area is pronounced approximately like "W", not as "F"; thus, "Whanganui" sounds much like "Wanganui", which is the more common spelling.
2. The birds: Plovers — spur-winged plover, Vanellus miles novaehollandiae; kahu — Australasian harrier, Circus approximans. The ducks were probably mallards.
3. Macrocarpa — Cupressus macrocarpa. Harry Ricketts has written a most informative and entertaining piece about macrocarpas in Thirteen ways of starting a New Zealand novel called macrocarpa. Do check it out.
1 & 2. Pohangina valley fenceposts. Out in front of my place, on the edge of the terrace.