You've found the home on the net for romance writer, LaVerne Clark. Thanks for visiting! :)

I write suspense and light fantasy/paranormal set in the beautiful country of New Zealand. A land of myths and magic, Aotearoa (Maori for Long White Cloud) has always been a storytelling nation and it is my pleasure to share mine with you.

Make yourself your drink of choice, stay a while and feel free to leave comments. I love to meet new friends.

Heartpounding suspense and fantasy Downunder

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hoppy Hallowen

Welcome to my stop on the Howloween Blog Hop AND A Haunted Garden Halloween Hop. Yep – that’s right. TWO stops rolled into one. I’m a true multi-tasker! J Actually, it’s because I’m a terrible multi-tasker and rather forgetful at times that I forgot I’d signed up for two!)

Just let me know when you comment which hop you’re on, along with your contact email – because I’m giving away one prize to a lucky commenter for each stop! (Just quietly, there’s nothing to stop you from writing TWO comments to double your chances)

The prize is a choice between a PDF copy of either Guardian of the Jewel OR Affinity.

I thought about regaling you with a story or two of my own scary experiences with the spooky kind in honour of Halloween, but then thought you might think me kookier than ever J So, instead, I decided to send you on a quick ghost tour of my country instead.

I came across this gem of a list written by Kirsty Johnson from the website who has kindly allowed me to reproduce her awesome list. Enjoy – and have a Spooktacular Halloween J

Top 10 Ghostly spots

1. Kingseat psychiatric hospital, Karaka.
Kingseat is a former psychiatric hospital where many patients claim they experienced maltreatment, and a number of patients died during their time there. Its reputation for hauntings spread so far and wide it is now run as a "haunted house" tourist venture by a company named Spookers.

2. Racecourse Hotel, Riccarton.
The ghost of former licensee Donald Fraser is said to walk the corridors of the hotel looking for his killer.
According to The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, in 1933 Fraser was killed in the middle of the night in his bedroom, where his wife was asleep, by two blasts from a double-barrelled shotgun.
The movements and circumstances of everyone in the house at the time, and of guests at a party held in the hotel earlier in the evening, were checked and rechecked but no one was ever found guilty of the murder.

3. Larnach Castle, Dunedin.
New Zealand's only castle is reportedly haunted by several spirits including the William Larnach himself and one of his vengeful wives.
Larnach shot himself in the head in 1898 after learning of an affair between his young third wife and one of his sons from his first marriage.
Both the first and second Mrs Larnach’s, who were half-sisters, died in the castle at age 38.
Larnach's daughter Katie is said to haunt the ballroom, built to celebrate her 21st birthday in 1886. She died just a few years later from typhoid.
4. Waitomo Caves Hotel, King Country.
This is New Zealand's most haunted hotel.
Bathtubs reportedly drip blood, orbs bounce around the driveway and a Maori princess is reputed to stalk the corridors, according to
The website says some people have experienced the dining room going cold, laughter, the feeling of 'something' walking through them and even the noise of a maid's trolley going along the long stretch of hall in the lower part of the hotel.

5. The Vulcan Hotel, St Bathans.
The Vulcan is haunted by the ghost of a murdered prostitute named 'The Rose'.
A review of the hotel from Suite 101 says the tale begins when, one evening in the early 1880s, The Rose invited the wrong customer back to her room.
Her body was found the next morning on the bed where she made her living. Her killer was never caught. She now haunts the room where she was killed, targeting male guests with her nasty nocturnal visits.

6. The Abel Tasman coast.
This legend dates back to the late 1820s when Maori chief Te Rauparaha and his allies sacked the Waimea pa in Appleby, and found the hiding place of the magnificent waka Te Awatea.
A Nelson Evening Mail article says a phantom Maori canoe, with a warrior crew chanting, can be seen in the area on still nights.
Sightings of the canoe are often accompanied by the sound of wailing women, representing the laments of the Ngati Apa people as their beloved waka was paddled away.
7. Waimate Hospital, Waimate.
Waimate Hospital is closed, but a tortured spirit dwells within.
It is the Grey Lady, and she is restless. The Christchurch Press wrote about the haunted hospital in 1996, saying locked doors were found open, the sound of breaking glass was reported but nothing found, and ambulance officers had told of disturbing encounters with a spirit.
Former nurses believe the Grey Lady is the spirit of a former woman patient, who died at the hospital, seeking company in an afterlife.

8. St. James Theatre, Wellington.
There are numerous ghosts reported to haunt this theatre.
According to, one of the more regular sightings is the ghost of Yuri, a Russian performer who supposedly fell to his death from above the stage.
Yuri has been encountered playing with the lights, in particular switching them all back on again once the theatre has been locked up for the night.
There is also the 'Wailing Woman', a frequent apparition who is said to wail and moan about, and a boy's choir who is said to haunt the theatre.

9. The Masonic Hotel, Napier.
The Masonic was built in the 1860s, and then rebuilt after a fire in the 1890s and again after the 1931 earthquake.
In the hotel rooms there have been several natural deaths as well as suicides - and a chef once died in the hotel's bath. Witnesses report music that comes on by itself, lights that turn on without being touched, and apparitions that appear in the night.
10. Spirits Bay, Far North.
Perhaps New Zealand's most famous spot for supernatural beings, Spirits Bay is believed to be a jump-off point for spirits leaving this world.
According to Maori legend, during the night hours, groups of spirits and individuals can be seen moving down the beach to a certain point and then disappearing. These spirits are very focused on reaching a particular part of the beach and will not be distracted from their goal.
Thanks so much for coming by this stop in the blog hop. I hope you had fun! Don't forget to comment for your chance to win an e-book - and make sure you stop by these blogs for another chance to win some more great prizes:


  1. La Verne

    No 11 for your list.
    The day before the Tarawera Eruption in 1886 a ghost canoe was seen on the lake with kuia (pronounced kweea)heads wreathed in leaves, wailing and crying. This canoe was seen by Moari and Pakeha alike. The Tohunga (witch doctor) who survived the eruption and was found days later, still alive, in his ash covered whare was later beaten to death by the survivors of the tribe because he didn't heed the warning.
    The buried village, a few miles from Rotorua, is one very spooky place.
    My great-grandfather, James Tanner, wrote the best description of this eruption I've ever read. The famed pink and white terraces, regarded as the 8th wonder of the world, were destroyed in the eruption.

    1. Shirley - do you know whats spooky? Once again, you've hit the nail on the head of EXACTLY where my WIP is being set! I've also opened the book with an account of the Tarawera eruption! :) I've been to that village, and the feeling of the place has never left me. You're quite right - that deserves to be on this list!

  2. Hopping from the Haunted Garden Hop

    Thanks for sharing that interesting post


    1. Hi Beckey!! Lovely to see you here - thanks so much for popping by :)

  3. I want to visit NZ now! lol Thanks for the great and informative post, LaVerne.

    1. Ooo! You so HAVE to vist Calisa! I'll put you up if you do :)

  4. I like the picture of Spirits Bay and I have heard that New Zealand is a hot spot for paranormal activity so Halloween should be busy. Enjoyed your post.

    1. Isn't Spirits Bay spectacular, Christine?! For a young country, we do seem to have our share of paranormal activity. One day, I might be brave enough to share some of my own experiences. Just reliving them are enough to scare me though! What a wuss!

  5. Hi, LaVerne
    I'm a Halloween Hop gal. Enjoyed your list of haunted New Zealand sites. Reminds me of the five weeks we spent in NZ...on of my favorite trips of all time. I'd say the scenery was haunting, but besides that, the idea that more sheep inhabit NZ than people made it the most pleasant place in the world to be. You are one lucky woman to live there!

    1. Oh, Rolynn - that makes me so happy to hear you loved your NZ visit! I DO adore it here and am a proud Kiwi girl, can you tell?;) Would love to see you here again one day.

  6. Hey LaVerne,

    If I ever make it over to visit with you, I don't want to go to any of these places, okay? Just saying. ;-)

    psst! I forgot I signed up for both of these hops myself.

    1. LOL, Mackenzie - I'm with you all the way! Ooo - I'll go and visit your blog hop posts too. Multi-tasking women, huh? Hope you're better at it than me! :)

  7. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  8. Hey Cassandra, thank YOU so much for stopping by - and for following my blog. Good luck with the giveaway!

  9. Halloween celebrations fun so one can make us dress up like crazy. But if Criters still have not found what costume to wear, while the party is in sight Hallooween ... her costume is most easily imitated.

  10. Loved the list of ghostly NZ spots...seems to be similarities no matter what country! Thanks for sharing!
    On the Haunted Garden Halloween Hop.

  11. Fellow Blog Hopper stopping by to say 'Hi and Happy Halloween. I enjoyed your post and the ghostly stories.