On Monday, 11/28, Jan and I finished getting our gear all together and went out for a bite to eat at the local organic place.
Our flight to Wellington was really a quick one. You actually fly mostly over the south island first (We had great views from the plane.) and begin the landing approach even before you finish crossing the sea to the north island. That is because the islands are really close together.
We were very pleased with our room at Quest Terrace. We have an equipped kitchen and a comfortable space.
After getting unpacked and looking over the maps we went out in search of the information center. We got there just before 5 and discovered that it had moved to a new address. No problem.
We went to explore Cuba Street. It is Wellington’s famous inner city slice of bohemia. Cuba Street was named after an early 1840 settler ship of the same name, not an island country in the Caribbean. But a number of the street’s residents have since run with the latter theme.
Part of the street has been turned into a mall with no cars. We walked down one side of the entire street (including the parts that are not on the mall) and back up the other side stopping in stores as we explored.
There were several buildings that had old tiles on them.
Many of the buildings were Art Deco and mixed in with other buildings. It is hard to get photos of buildings with people and cars.
I really liked this building, but it is not being used now.
Some of the buildings had signs that said that they were inspected and “Earthquake Safe,” and others (including stores and restaurants that were opened) had signs that said that there were “Not Earthquake Safe.”
By the way, we heard that Wellington felt the nearby 4.6 earthquake just before we hiked Abel Tasman last week. They cordoned of several of the streets because of some damage.
On the way back we discovered this funky outdoor restaurant called, “Ekim.”
This collage shows:
- The 40 gallon barrel chairs near the entrance
- The menu
- Jan ordering her dinner
- The counter where they had set up all of the fixings for the hamburgers because they expected to be slammed with customers
- A bit of the atmosphere of the other outdoor seating
- The metal chair that I thought would be uncomfortable, but was quite comfortable
- The grill where they cooked
- The drain pipe that took the water from the downspout and watered the plant
- The napkin holder
The hamburgers were hand-made and went well with my chocolate, mint, caramel milk shake. I think we were lucky to find this place.
On the way home we passed this cool sculpture of a man with his dog.
We decided to check out the location of he train station before we returned to our hotel because we will need to be there very early on December 2nd. There was a sculpture of Gandhi near the station,.
We were out until after 10:30.
I am finding myself much more impressed with Wellington than I expected to be. Some of the reasons are:
- The combination of old and new buildings makes for really interesting walking and viewing the skylines at various corners. (I haven’t done many photos of that because I don’t like the cable lines in my photos.
- Streets go off in all different directions.
- There are both elevators and stairs to get us from one level of street to another.
- The waterfront is a very pleasant place to walk
We didn’t get on our way until almost 10:00 am this morning. We were headed towards the Te Papa Tongarewa Museum. But Jan and I seem to get waylaid by stores. I bought another new Icebreaker shirt. I may find out that I am paying more in New Zealand for Icebreaker clothing than I would when I get home but, oh well, we are having fun.
When we walked through Civic Square there was an artificial soccer field where people were playing.
We walked down more stairs and came to a place where people were walking; eating lunch; and just milling around the area.
If you look at these from one direction, you see the city. If you look the other direction, you see the sea.
An Artist named Para Matchitt created several sculptures in 1993 to reflect the bridge between the sea and the city. The sculptures of whales and birds serve as barriers.
I liked the use of wood for barriers and benches.
Today people arriving at the waterfront can cross to the heart of the city.
We walked down some more stairs and past a shop with some interesting clothing and I found a jacket made out of old kimonos. After trying on several of them for fun, I couldn’t resist getting one. It is a bit funky and is reversible. This is my favorite side of it.
Jan liked them too, but the one she liked was too small on her.
Finally we were ready to make our way to Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. We walked by the Central Fire Station which was built in the Art Deco style.
Te Papa is New Zealand’s bold and innovative national museum and a recognized world leader in interactive and visitor-focused museum experiences.
New Zealand’s geology and natural environment, and the stories of New Zealand’s indigenous people (the Maori) are celebrated in Te Papa’s permanent exhibitions. An exciting range of exhibitions display New Zealand’s diverse art and visual culture and top-rating international exhibitions tour regularly.
We arrived right before there was a tour scheduled which would give us an overview of the museum. Our guide was very knowledgeable. We learned about the various areas of the museum that we planned to return to see over the next couple of days. One of the places he showed us was the Treaty of Waitangi: New Zealand’s Founding document and how it had been broken.
Jan and I were both hungry so we went out to a Turkish place for lunch. Then we took a walk along the waterfront. Here is another place with varried architecture mixed together. The original houses with the hills above them looked like a great place to live.
The staircase near these seems pretty steep.
St Gerard’s Monastery is above these houses behind the trees. We did not get there because we wanted to go back to Te Papa to see the history of the Maori section. It would take me all night to write about the displays we saw.
One of the displays showed the story of Haka chant. The Haka is a traditional war cry, dance, or challenge from the Maori people of New Zealand. It is a posture dance performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment.
War Haka were originally performed by warriors before a battle, proclaiming their strength and prowess in order to intimidate the opposition, but Haka are also performed for various reasons: for welcoming distinguished guests, or to acknowledge great achievements, occasions or funerals.
The New Zealand sports teams’ practice of performing a Haka before their international matches has made the Haka more widely known around the world. This tradition began with the 1888 -89 New Zealand Native football team tour and has been carried on by the New Zealand rugby team since 1905.
I had never heard it before.
On the way back to our room at Quest Terrace we passed the Embassy Theater. Jan remembered being there before.
The Embassy Theatre is recognized as a place of historical/cultural significance by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and is the only custom-built 1920’s cinema still in use in New Zealand. It was originally built-in 1926 and held 1700 people at that time.. It was fully refurbished inside and out in 2003 for the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
The Embassy has retained many fine features like its marbled staircases, wrought iron handrails, original tiled foyers, and exquisite plastered ceilings despite many upgrades her the decades.
I took a few photos:
Some of the original tiles…
The staircase …
The inside of the theater with refurbished seats.
The women’s bathroom sinks…..
We decided to see, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and it was a pretty good movie.
We stopped at the grocer to get some light food for dinner.
We planned to take the Wellington Cable Car this morning, but it was cloudy and raining a bit. So we changed our plans and went to the Wellington City Gallery . The exhibit was a photography exhibit by Cindy Sherman. It was lucky for us that the orator was showing the exhibit and doing some lessons with a group of high school students. She did several very interesting exercises with them. We listened to her and their discussions through several of the displays.
Cindy Sherman is a master of impersonation and is known as one of the world’s most influential artists. Since the mid 1970’s, the New York based artist has been her own model playing out a range of characters in staged photographs. It was a fascinating exhibit.
After going back to the room for a while this afternoon, we returned to Te Papa to spend some time viewing the ANZAC display of Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War.
This ground-breaking exhibition tells the story of the Gallipoli campaign in World War I through the eyes and words of eight ordinary New Zealanders who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances.
Each is captured frozen in a moment of time on a monumental scale – 2.4 times human size. The large-scale sculptures took a staggering 24,000 hours to create, and countless hours were spent researching their rich histories. They were so realistic and I was absolutely amazed at the incredible detail in each of them. This is just an example of one. You could actually see the hairs on his arms and legs and the sweat on his brow.
Cutting-edge technology was used to create 3-D maps, projections, miniatures, models, dioramas, and interactive experiences to bring this story to life.
In total, 2,779 Kiwis lost their lives on Gallipoli, and many others were scarred for ever. Gallipoli: The scale of our wartakes you to the core of this defining event.
We spent about 90 minutes there and did not finish before closing time. I was very overwhelmed by this exhibition.
We had a delicious dinner of mussels, ravioli, and garlic bread at Nicotine’s Bistro. Then we went to the Circa Theater …
… to see the theater production of “Scarlet and Gold.” It was a play depicting the dramatic Waihi strike of 1912 was the first union action in New Zealand where women played an active and innovative part. Scarlet & Gold follows the changing fortunes of women from the three sectors that clashed so dramatically in Waihi: the striking miners; the mine owners and shareholders; and the workers who crossed the line. The Waihi strike changed New Zealand’s industrial law, and out of the ashes of the long and bitter strike the New Zealand Labour Party was born. We enjoyed it very much.
I think I am finally learning to navigate the intricate street system in this town. We sure have done a lot in the last 2.5 days in Wellington and still have tomorrow to explore some more.