Local Heart, Global Soul

September 5, 2018

Ssshh…Nothing To See Here!

I wish we had had a little more time in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square. This intriguing blue box is something that will apparently take you on a tour of various city artworks.  If I understand it correctly it is sort of an arty puzzle or treasure hunt. This very blue box tells us: “nothing to see here“, so maybe the casual passer-by would assume that it’s just here to make you think, or at least wonder, is this a practical joke, or something more? I think that it may be a play on words, there might be nothing to see here, but plenty to see all around the city. I regret not looking at this more carefully, and not following up on where a push of a button may have taken me.  I rushed past this one without investigating fully. I will add the photographs, and leave you to make up your mind… is this a puzzle, or a treasure-hunt guidebook to arty treasures?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 3, 2018

A Cairn To Inform, So That Rocks Do Not Build Into Walls To Divide Us…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My father is a fisherman, well sort of a “semi-retired’ one these days since he no longer goes out very much, but one thing I have heard him complain about for years is the amount of irrigation water farmers do and want to take more of, from the big Canterbury rivers each year, regardless of how high or low the river levels are.

River levels are partly determined by rainfall in the Southern Alps, partly by small springs and the rest by snow melt, but as everyone knows, weather patterns have not recently been what they were a century or even half a century ago.

I had thought that this was an old issue and one that had been long since sorted, until I heard about the sharp rise of dairy farming in the South Island.

Historically most of the South Island’s dairy industry has been located in Southland, at the bottom of the island where copious rainfall grows lush grass for the livestock, so I assumed that expansion had taken place here.

Instead I was horrified to hear that it was taking place in the Mckenzie Country, where sunshine hours abounded but in the driest area of the South Island. Where was the water coming from for pastureland? It’s being taken from the rivers.

It’s being taken not just in small quantities either, it appear that the farming industry is hell-bent on using every last drop of water if they see a short term profit in it.

For me this goes deeply against the grain, my ideology here is very much aligned with that of Maori; we should stewards of the land and not masters of it. We should surly use resources wisely and leave the earth in good shape for future generations, or most preferably; in even better shape.

Not only is the McKenzie Country area one of outstanding natural beauty, it also an important one for tourism and furthermore has it’s own ecosystems, flora and fauna, and weather patterns that it is famous for.This is the area of New Zealand closest to my heart and the thought of it being messed with like this makes me very angry. It was therefore to my horror that I read the messages attached to this cairn in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square. I can but hope that the environmentalists and people supporting them can persuade the government to overturn this policy in farming that can only harm the natural landscape and the countries long term future.

I’m not sure if readers find the text on the plaques easy to read or not: I’ve written it out in typed text to make it easier for anyone who may find it difficult.

‘In order to advance the massive irrigation schemes proposed for the Canterbury Plains, the hard won conservation orders on our headwaters have been disestablished, our elected Enironment council have been diembodied, and our right to appeal to the Environment court has been removed. Indeed, Cantabrians are now subject to laws seperate fom any other province of our country: This is a breach of the Bill of Rights and its principles of natural justice. It is the will of the people who built this cairn that it remains here until democracy entire is returned to us.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A visiting tour group getting information about the history of Canterbury, Cathedral Square etc…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

” A cairn by tradition is a mound of stones at the edge of a river by which travellers in the high country indicate a place of departure and a place to regain the shore. This cairn is constructed of boulders from the Rakaia, Selwyn, Waimakarari and Hurunui rivers and has been placed here by citizens concerned that democratically evolved protections of these waterways have been broken. This cairn is a marker, it marks the river of unease that presently flows through our community, a river whose turbulent waters threaten to divide us.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 27, 2018

A Triangular Threesome Of Trees, Scores Points With Me…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There are some new decorative pieces in Cathedral square from when we were here last.

I have a bit of a “thing” about trees and leaves at the moment, and keep a small box of dried leaves, acorns and a few twigs so that I can practice drawing.

I also take more than my fair share of photographs of trees for the same reason, it’s a fascination of form, texture and colours that for me at least never gets old.

It therefore pleases me to see a tree as one of these decorative forms, and in a way two, because the second “tree” is a sort-of-Christmas tree form, made of sheet music.

There the appeal is just the “old paper” look, it’s like viewing an old book, the kind in which the reader had to cut the pages before they could read.

The sheet music “tree” even has a top which extends past the top of the roof of the little kiosk it is located on. On the third side is another “tree” this time a very stylized one, consisting of a triangle made up of smaller triangles all in different colours.

It’s possible to walk inside this little booth, but stupidly at the moment I was going to move around and photograph the inside a tour group arrived and I got distracted. They all took up position just a few metres away from me, so naturally I could also hear the tour guides commentary.

I have to confess at this point that since it was early morning, quiet and with not too many other people around, I became guilty of eavesdropping on the information provided and it was a very interesting commentary too.

Much of it I already knew: the history of the “First Four Ships” that bought the original white settlers, their journey over the steep bridle path track over the Port Hills, but there were other snippets that were new and since they were literally metres away from me, well, my ears could not help but flap… just a little. A short time later when I was inside the “marae” (Maori meeting house structure covered in grasses, directly in front of the Cathedral, I ended up answering a few questions of several of the tour group as they explored around this area of the Square on their own. It was a mixed nationality group of mostly younger people and they were on a whirlwind tour of the city as part of their trip. They would have an afternoon to themselves later so I recommended the Gondola on the Port Hills as a possible excursion. Meanwhile the group had split up and were busy looking at the Cathedral, murals, information boards and statues in the immediate area.

(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)

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(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

May 8, 2018

This Historic Building Took A Jolt…

Filed under: ART,NEW ZEALAND,Objet d'art,PHOTOGRAPHY,Wellington & Region — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Continuing from yesterday’s post, we have traveled into Wellington for a special exhibition, chosen specifically by Little Mr.

We see various historic buildings, some of which are closed for repairs.

The Kaikoura / Hanmer Springs earthquake of November 2016, and several other quakes before and after it, have also ben a wake-up call for New Zealand’s capital city.

Historic buildings have been especially hard hit and now that the standard of the already tough building code has been increased yet again to allow for the even larger quakes that have been hitting.

Therefore many buildings in the city need additional strengthening to some degree or another.

Even though it’s being done for safety reasons, it’s sad to see beautiful buildings boarded up and fenced off.

The exhibition we will be going to is located in the Te Papa center, but before we get to that section, there are displays and souvenirs of Maori style items, so I take a look around. Some of these items were for usable for spinning and weaving, so I immediately thought of fellow artisan and long time reader “Lulu” who shares my passion for thread and fabric. The little Kiwi’s I photographed because they caught my eye, I found them a challenge with all of those shiny surfaces. The coasters indulge my passion for shapes… so along with all of the architectural detail this post turned out to be unintentionally arty!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 21, 2017

Who Can Resist Stopping And Getting A Photo?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sorting out my archive photo files brings many older folders to light.

The Hague doesn’t have the many canals that makes Amsterdam the tourist draw, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have it’s share of beautiful buildings.

Architectural detail is a passion of mine, old buildings, decorative elements, and things of beauty in brick, stone, wood, wrought iron and the like.

I also like that in the Netherlands bikes come in all shapes, sizes and styles: these ones both sport wicker baskets on the front, but the one on the left is twice as big as the one on the right.

In fact I haven’t seen a basket that big before (or since) so I was delighted to have my camera in my backpack.

I also spotted a map shop that looked inviting but we were in town for an appointment so didn’t have time to go inside. I did get a few quick snaps of one of the stunning old maps on a stand outside though. It’s a detail fanatic’s dream. Then there is a door that has decorative grate work incorporated into it and two caved figures into the stone above it, Who can resist stopping and getting a photo? Not me that’s for sure.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 24, 2017

Spotted Around The Hague…

Today’s post is a photographic one: camera on hand, I take photographs on the move, this time these places were spotted around The Hague.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 17, 2017

Dragonflies: Nature’s Brilliant Feats Of Engineering…

We have a glass window over the first set of stairs to our house, at the bottom of which is a stone shelf that is on the inside facing the stairs.

After one of my hospital appointments, Himself and I arrived home and I went to go up.

Himself was already at the top of the stairs, unlocking our front door.

I on the other hand was slowly bringing up the rear as usual and on this occasion stopped on the bottom step because I could hear a strange fluttering sound.

It was a sound similar to the ones that flies make when they are fluttering their wings in frenzy, attempting to fly outside but the pane of glass of the living room window is stopping them in their tracks.

It was similar, but different, so I stopped to try and figure out what the noise was. As it turned out it is just as well that I did because the frenzied fluttering was coming from a trapped dragonfly. I carefully put my hand out towards the little beast and to my surprise instead of trying to flee, it climbed onto my fingers. I made my way to a bike leaning on a pole outside our stairs and stood in the semi-shade as I tried to see if the dragonfly had damaged itself in it’s attempts to get out of the stairwell.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There seems to be a tiny bit missing off the very tips of both top wings, it had collected some dust from the shelf, but for the rest it appeared to be more or less intact. I was lucky to be bringing my camera in from the car at the time, so with the dragonfly still balanced on the fingers of my left hand, I started to take as close-up photographs of it with the camera with my right.

The DSLR was heavier than I anticipated without having two hands to balance it, and the front wanted to swing about a bit, something I had to take great care to avoid so that my little insect did not get accidentally swiped.

My newfound friend seemed in no hurry to leave, so I had time to get the wavering camera under control and press the shutter as I did. Slowly, after a rest lasting several minutes the dragonfly started to recover, miniscule shudders passing through it’s wings as it seemed to be checking that everything was in working order.

In the meantime Himself had come back to the street to see why I had not followed him upstairs and several of our younger neighbours arrived home with their parents. We called them over to take a closer look at this beautiful creature and they, like us, marvelled at the delicate wing structure, flecks of colour and intricate body.

After at least five minutes and the dragonfly still on my hand, I started to wonder if I suddenly had acquired a pet, but I was luckily not in a rush. I wanted it to have the time it needed to recover so that in it’s weakened state it did not get eaten by birds. Another two minutes later, after an unsuccessful attempt to lower it onto the tan bicycle seat, it slowly turned around and then took off. These are my “studies of a dragonfly” photographs, it’s a little creature that is beautifully made, one of natures brilliant feats of engineering. I hope that my assistance means that it eventually lived to a ripe old dragonfly age.. at least on this day, it had a second chance at life.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

September 14, 2017

Like Cash Burning A Hole In Our Pockets…

Filed under: ART,Objet d'art,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

About six months ago (Ok, it may have been longer and I just didn’t notice), a new edition of the Twenty Euro bank note was issued.

The five and ten Euro notes have already been updated, this time I managed to find a few of the older ones before I forgot, spent them and then could not find any old ones again.

All of the new notes have a series of similar design features, the placement numbers, width and placement of the holograms and security strips etc.

The easiest way to tell if you have an old note is to look for the red cathedral window instead of two blue-ish ones and the coloured arc underneath the number ’20’ in the center of the note.

This arch also features on the five and the ten, and probably will on the new 50 Euro note when it arrives in the near future.

In my photographs where the two notes are side by side, the top one is the new note and the bottom one the old.

Regular readers will know that I’m a fan of historic architecture so I never tire of looking at the detail of these up close. I also think that if we never document the changes, they will slip through our fingers and out of memory like cash burning a hole in our pocket.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 28, 2017

So Much To See, Even More To Make You Curious…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Gouda has some beautiful public buildings but there are some very interesting and quirky private ones there too.

Looking through the trees at the back of St Jans Church, I see something that catches my eye: a fish.

It’s a fish of the architectural variety not a real fish but why on earth am I seeing it on top of a building?

Later during my visit I wheel myself around to the street it is on (I was separated by a canal from it earlier, so I had to make a small detour to get to this house). There I find it standing on the corner of a canal and accompanied by some unusual architecture.

First there is a curved piece nibbled out of the corner wall. It’s not for a door, there is only a tiny round window here.

Internally this would mean that the building must surely lose quite a lot of space in this corner. Then there is the window on the side, some times  (I think) called a “hanging window”. Above the chipped out alcove corner is the decoration that is topped with the fish ornamentation. The front door  is around the corner on the bigger street, nothing unusual there. On the far side of the front door I find another fish ornament. It makes me wonder what this building’s history is… some link with the sea can I think be safely assumed: sailor? sea captain? fish monger? Who knows. I love discovering buildings like this: so much to see and even more to make you curious.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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