Local Heart, Global Soul

June 16, 2018

Arty Waves And Windy Views…

There is more to the Petone Settlers Museum but I could of course not cover every item. Himself and I left the building and investigated the waterfront directly outside. I wanted to get some “arty” wave photographs, so this is a photographic post of a lovely (and on this day, very windy) part of Petone and its portion of Wellington Harbour.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 15, 2018

Not Quite A Certificate Of Truth…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I mentioned a few posts ago that the Centennial celebrations that took place in New Zealand in 1940 were heavily balanced in favour of Pākehā (white) settlers who had more or less comfortable lives, land, jobs and social mobility.

Maori on the other hand, had less access to higher education, social, economic, and financial opportunities so the sweeping statements that generalized the ideal that everything was rosy in paradise was far from the truth, Ugly truths were swept under the carpet and a bright smile was exhibited for the outside world.

There is no point in pretending that all was wonderful in New Zealand in the 1940’s but it’s also an ideal that was the product of its time, and I hope that we have come a long, long way from that situation in 2018.

Purely from an artistic point of view I was attracted to this document, a “New Zealand Centennial Exhibition, Certificate of Attendance November 1939.” which was on display at the Petone Settlers Museum when Himself and I visited just after Christmas in 2017.

I like the mixture of western and Māori motifs and the central figure that reminds me a little bit of the female figure from the Colombia Pictures Film company logo.

In 1940 New Zealand was of course still heavily bonded with “Mother England” so the cape-like flags that fall either side of the figure feature even a fraction more of the Union Jack than they do of the New Zealand flag.

The illustration is very much of its time, but it is the inclusion of the Māori and very “New Zealand” motifs around the border and illustrated within the central panel of the certificate that I like the most.

I’m also struck that it’s a very “official” looking document for something seemingly as mundane as an entry ticket, especially when I read the accompanying information: “The jewel in the centennial crown was the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition. Running from 8 November 1939 to 4 May 1940, it sprawled over 55 acres of land in Rongotai, Wellington. 2.5 million visitors came to the event, at a time when New Zealand’s population was only 1.6 million people.

Obviously with 55 acres the physical size of the exhibition meant that it could not be covered completely in one day, so many people probably did half one day and the other half in subsequent days, helping to tot up such massive admission numbers.

With rumblings of war in Europe, the mood of patriotism was probably very high at the time as well as many New Zealand young men prepared to fight for “Queen and Country”. Who knows, many of those young men may well have come to Wellington to join ships sailing for Europe and visited the centennial Exhibition before departure. It’s an interesting piece of art, which if you think deeper about it represented in fact many lies told at the time to both Māori and Pākehā, many of which sacrificed their lives for “Mother England” within a very short time of this Exhibition.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petone_Settlers_Museum
Wikipedia / Petone Settlers Museum / History / New Zealand

June 2, 2018

Kōwhai, Another Amazing Mural…

Filed under: ART,Mural,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,WELLINGTON — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another mural in the Wellington area is of one of New Zealand’s most beautiful flowers, the Kōwhai.

I think it’s a huge pity that the painters of this piece did not use the actual colour of the famous flower: a brilliant bright yellow gold instead of the sombre black they decided on for these walls.

If you are unfamiliar with the Kōwhai I strongly suggest you Google it because it is a stunning plant.

Our visits have always been out of season so sadly I have no photographs of my own to show you.

The Kōwhai in the garden of my parents’ house in Christchurch would have its branches bent almost to the ground under the weight of its blooms around the month of August.

It’s a flower that is both insect and bird friendly and a special favourite of the New Zealand Fantails and Bellbirds, the song of both we heard often through open windows or when outside.

The Scarlet Cianthus, is called Kōwhai-ngutu-kaka, or “Parrot’s beak,” by Maori due to the shape of its rich flowers, but does not carry any special association in their folklore.

One traditional Maori explanation for the Kōwhai’s singular habit of flowering on bare and leafless branches goes:
“On the shore of one of a lake, sat a young Maori man and a woman, the beautiful Kotiro. He sought her for his wife, but the maid laughed and said she’d see; she would wait until her suitor—who was an Ariki of high rank, performed some great and deed before she would become his wife. She would wed none but a famous man, a man whose exploits no one could outdo. The lover accepted the challenge. “You shall see what I can do,” he said, He turned to the tree under which they were sitting. It was a Kōwhai. It was August. The tree was quite bare of both flower and leaf.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

“I shall cause this tree to spring into flower before your eyes.”

He put forth the command taught him by wise men. And, all in a moment, a miracle! The tree burst forth into a blaze of blossom.

All its naked boughs were covered in a breath with golden hanging flowers. The amazed girl saw, and was smitten.

Ever since that day, says the Maori, the Kōwhai has flowered on leafless branches, a sign and a reminder of the ancient miracle.

Wikipedia also tells us:
“The Kōwhai is a native tree and the national flower of New Zealand.

Several of the seven varieties reach a height of up to 25 metres (82 feet), the smaller varieties to around 10 metres (33 feet).

Traditionally Kōwhai trees and flowers were used by Māori in making yellow dye, the bark to treat bruising, muscular pains and other injuries.”

Apparently too: “If someone was bitten by a seal, an infusion (wai kōwhai) was prepared from kōwhai and applied to the wounds and the patient was said to recover within days”. (yep, I’ll be sure to remember that if I’m ever bitten by a seal).

The hard yellow seeds are poisonous to humans, but the flowers are a guaranteed way to attract native birds into your New Zealand garden, Kōwhai necter being a bird favourite. The peculiarity of this loveliest of our small flowering trees is the fact that it produces its blossoms before the leaves. The flower also makes an appearance on local artwork, in folktales, and it’s featured on postage stamps, as well as the country’s old two-cent coin.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Golden Kowhai – A Folk Tale of the Maori // James Cowan
http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-Gov03_07Rail-t1-body-d12.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kōwhai
Wikipedia / Kōwhai Tree and Flower / National Flower / New Zealand

June 1, 2018

This Fish Gets A Thumbs Up…

Filed under: ART,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Design,WELLINGTON — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Whilst driving around Wellington, New Zealand, I saw this little fish and chip shop. Look at the sign: I mean, a fish wearing a hat leaps out of the water to give you a wink and a thumbs up… What’s not to like?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 31, 2018

Don’t Ruin Land, Sky Or Sea…

Filed under: ART,Mural,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,WELLINGTON — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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This next Wellington mural perplexed me at first because we sped by in the car and it wasn’t at first obvious what was being depicted here. Later, on the computer I see that there is a text in the top right corner that says “New Zealand, worth loving’ and that there is something behind the dolphin. That “something” is a large ship, container or oil freighter size of ship, and that scene shows one of the propeller blades cutting a dolphin clean in two. It’s a gruesome reminder that the ships that deliver the conveniences of our modern life also have a detrimental impact on the inhabitants of the oceans they cross. I can only hope that a more environmentally friendly method of future transport can be found, one that doesn’t ruin land, sky or sea.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 26, 2018

The Funniest Fish Faces…

Filed under: ART,Mural,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Design,WELLINGTON — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Directly next to the “hippopotamus” building of my yesterday’s post, we find this adventurous mural. It’s huge… the fish swim in a large school that covers the entire length of the building. Traffic behind us meant that pulling over wasn’t really an option, and the rain was getting harder. I had to compete with the windscreen wipers for space to see out of the windscreen: this is one funny mural, someone with an excellent sense of humor painted these fish. Wellington, New Zealand is excelling itself with beautiful murals and the decorative arts…Kudos!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 25, 2018

Let’s Put A …WHAT? On The Roof!

Filed under: ART,Mural,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Sights,WELLINGTON — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Visiting Wellington New Zealand in the summer rain is not the easiest of sight-seeing tours. (“Just more buildings Mam?”) Luckily we are having a small run of fun and whimsical sights to relieve the kid’s boredom. This one is a golden hippopotamus on the roof of the ground floor verandah. As you do.
I think it’s fun… and I’m adding it to my list of quirky, whimsical sights that brighten up my day.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 24, 2018

Bright, Humorous And Quirky!

Filed under: ART,Mural,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Design,WELLINGTON — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

Having visited the excellent Brickworld LEGO exhibition in Te Papa, rain or no rain, Family Kiwidutch decide to take a small look around Wellington City. We don’t have to drive far before we see this mural. As a “collector” of these kind of images, I quickly tried to get a decent close-up. This mural is bright, humorous and quirky… right up my street!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 23, 2018

“People Probably Won’t Even Notice”… But They Do!

Regular readers of this blog know that I am always on the lookout for quirky things. Detail stands out like neon for me, I see it everywhere. There are thousands of functional items on a single city street, somewhere, somehow , sometimes, someone had the opportunity to make part of these functional items decorative. I’m fairly positive someone also uttered the phrase “I wonder why we bother? people will probably not even notice this” (the decoration).

Well Mr or Ms Designer: I notice! Even whilst I’m waiting in the Te Papa, parking area for Himself to pack the wheelchair into the car, standing with the crutches so that he can put them in last, I notice that the top of the bollards around me are decorated with Kiwi’s! I haven’t had the chance to see if there are more of these around the city of Wellington, but hey, this is brilliant. Just sneak tiny little pieces of detail into some of the thousands of pieces of functional items on city streets, and make (at least some) people smile.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 20, 2018

From Concorde To The International Space Station…

The next pieces in the Te PaPa Brickworld LEGO exhibition concern Man’s innovations into breaking free from the confines of earthly barriers. The first is the breaking of the sound barrier in “normal” passenger travel, and then even further free from our atmosphere in the shape of the International Space Station. Family Kiwidutch visited a real Concord: (https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/new-1587/ This Old Lady Was Once Faster Than a Speeding Bullet… ) when we visited the Fleet Air Arm Museum in the town of Yeovilton, England, so we had a reference to compare the details of this model to the real thing. One thing that is very striking is the tiny space in the passenger cabin. To say that this plane is skinny is an understatement, Concord is positively anorexic in the width of the passenger cabin. I know one person who has travelled on Concord, he saved up for the trip and flew to New York. He rated it as a very special experience, but it was almost too short a trip for the amount paid for the ticket. Sadly the drain on his wallet meant an economy flight back to Europe, the experiences poles apart.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The model of the International Space Station was appropriately enough, far above our heads. I captured what detail I could, it’s a bigger model than I bargained on, and getting it to hang up must have been no small feat either.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concorde
Wikipedia / Aircraft / Concorde

Wikipedia / International Space Station
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Space_Station

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