Local Heart, Global Soul

April 12, 2012

A Long and Winding Road…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The  road from Napier to Rotorua  isn’t so very long in distance of kilometers…  meaning that if you were a bird  flying in a straight line this journey would probably be a fairly quick trip.

However,  for us there are rather a lot of hills to be negotiated and even with the wonderful anti-motion sickness bracelets to help us there will be limits to how fast we can negotiate all of these hills.

The map below shows  the red line of Provincial State Highway 5 weaving it’s way from Napier in the bottom right corner of the photo,  leading in the direction of Lake Taupo in the top left of the photograph.

The crinkles of the red line on the page will reassure you that this is no multi-laned  motorway… it’s definitely the scenic route.

Listening to the radio in the car, we have news this morning that the top half of the North Island is about to be hit by the tail end of a large cyclone that’s been wrecking havoc over the Tasman in Australia and so the  immediate forecast is rain,rain and  then cats and dogs worth of rain.

Since we can’t control the weather we will just have to make the best of it.

We have been rather lucky so far as the North Island has had a less than perfect summer so far as the weather forecasts have been concerned but Family Kiwidutch have been fortunate to have found a few pockets of sunshine as we head northwards… today it seems that our luck will run out and any time soon we can expect to run into the wet stuff.

I’m surprised and  more than a little shocked to see how logging takes place in this part of the North Island these days…  entire hilltops are being denuded,  I would have thought that selective logging would have been better for the environment, less erosion etc but this seems to be the fashion these days and whilst we did see other hillside areas full of small replanted trees,  it didn’t lessen the sadness of the ugliness of some of the scared hills we saw.

Mostly the scenery consists of hills, hills and a few  many more hills:  The Kiwidutch kids take advantage of Nintendo DS in the back to keep them occupied and Himself enjoys driving on roads that by European standards are empty and which present a more enjoyable challenge than the wide multi-laned truck-filled  autobahn /snelwegs he’s used to at home.

(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)

April 11, 2012

One Last Look.. For This Trip at Least…

Filed under: LIFE,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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One last post from Napier… for this trip at least… we have to “make tracks” and hit the road.  Here’s a final photo montage of this lovely little city.

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 10, 2012

Dutch Roots Still Growing Strong a Long Way From Home…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We were due to leave Napier but out of the window of the car I spied a shop called “The Frying Dutchman”  …

What an great name!

…clearly it’s a take-a-way / fish and chip shop, but we have to get going to our next destination so we aren’t stopping this morning.

We have a giggle because in back in Picton we saw a bakery called the Picton Village Bakery which if the decoration of the building was anything to go by, was also run by Dutch people.

Between the late 1940’s and mid 1960’s New Zealand saw a wave of immigration of Dutch people, many of them in trades.

My father was one of them… that’s how I get to have a multicultural family history.

Now that I am back in New Zealand not only as a citizen but also as a Dutch “visitor” it suddenly hits me what an influence the Dutch have had in New Zealand  over the decades.

We didn’t get to stop at these businesses this time but who knows… another trip, another day…  more time…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 9, 2012

Zoomed in Close and STILL Missed a Vital Detail…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now, Come on people, this building has been stalking me for several decades now (or is it that the other way around?)

I’m a detail fanatic, so it should come as no surprise that I took a lot of photos of Napier’s Rothman’s Building. (a.k.a. The National Tobacco Company Building)

Of course I couldn’t resist getting up close and personal … the details here are so photogenic.

Annoyingly didn’t realise until I did my research on the building’s history later, that it’s possible to also see inside the building…

…if only I had known  that when I was standing outside!

Since I’m definitely not in the habit of  just opening people’s doors and peeking inside,  I now know that if we ever pass through Napier again, that this building in back on my list for a visit inside.

It’s probably fitting that the building that’s been stuck in my brain for so many years still has a reason to draw me back yet again.

Next time I return, I will be properly mobile,  not reliant on crutches and have more time.  A return visit will be a win – win situation.

I know that the photos abound,  probably overkill, but these are my references to keep me dreaming  about this building for as many years as it will take me to get back…

(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)

April 8, 2012

Kiwidutch, a Magazine Photograph of a Building Painted Blue and that “One Day”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Years ago I opened up a New Zealand magazine and my eyes rested on a photograph of a blue building.

It was a building that stood alone in it’s glory and not only did it capture my attention at that moment,  it’s beauty made such an impression on me that it embedded itself in my consciousness as a place I really wanted to see for myself in my lifetime.

I’d go as far as to say that  it’s probably the first time I ever said to myself:

I really want to go and see that myself one day“.

Back then, as a young adult in my early twenties I wouldn’t have said that I had any fondness at all for architectural detail.

In fact I probably would have laughed heartily at anyone who proposed the idea, but looking back, the detail fanatic in me was alive and well:  it was there in the fine lines of the etched zinc plates I wound with ink-stained hands through the printing press,  it was there in the wood and lino cuts I was busy carving out and printing, it was there in the pen and pencil drawings that I doodled incessantly in the notebooks I carried around with me everywhere.

I cut the picture of the blue building out of the magazine and stuck it in a little scrapbook of images that inspired me and whilst the scrapbook is long gone after various life upheavals, It’s one of the two building photos I had in it that I never forgot about.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

That blue building is the reason I wanted to come to Napier on our way north, this is the moment when I could actually see my blue building for the first time ever: up close and in person.

In the intervening years since I cut out the magazine picture the building has undergone a facelift, renovation and been lovingly restored to it’s original splendour.

This also entailed bringing it back to it’s original colour scheme so it’s no longer blue in colour but now a creamy beige-peach-pink colour which I suppose changes a bit in depth and hue depending on the light of the day and the season in question.

Finally I’m standing in front of it for real: the building I knew from the photograph as “The Rothman’s Building”.

I discover that this building has had almost as many name changes over the decades as colour changes,  it’s apparently now officially known as the “National Tobacco Company Building” but was also known as the “New Zealand Tobacco Company” building when it was first built.

The New Zealand Historic Places website has a nice history of this building and so I will take the liberty of giving you some edited text from their site (italicised) and of course the link to their site  http://www.historic.org.nz/TheRegister/RegisterSearch/RegisterResults.aspx?RID=1170  should you wish to read their entire text in full.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Rothman’s Building, regarded by many as one of Napier’s most elegant commercial buildings dating to the 1930s  can be regarded as a monument to Gerhard Husheer, one the founding members of the New Zealand tobacco industry, and an important work of the architect Louis Hay.

Johann Gerhard Husheer (1864-1954), a German by birth, immigrated with his family to New Zealand from South Africa in 1911, with the intention of establishing a tobacco industry in the country.

In 1913, following successful experiments in growing tobacco crops at Paki Paki, Hastings, Husheer established the New Zealand Tobacco Company and opened a processing factory at Ahuriri, Napier, in 1915.

In 1925 Husheer commissioned Louis Hay (1881-1948), a Napier based architect, to design a factory at the Ahuriri site.

Although the external walls of the factory were to collapse during the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake, the internal structure remained largely intact and production continued relatively unhindered following the disaster. The Depression also had little impact on the National Tobacco Company, as demand for the company’s product remained high.

By 1932 the National Tobacco Company was one of the wealthiest industries in Napier and certainly the largest employer.

Husheer commissioned Louis Hay to design a main frontage for his factory to replace the structure that had collapsed in the earthquake.

Hay’s initial sketches were rejected by Husheer for not being extravagant enough. Hay’s second plan, was for a deceptively simple building based on the idea of an ‘arch within a square’, decorated with detailed representations of plants such as roses, raupo, and vine leaves.

The motif of roses also featured on the lamps on the side of the entrance and lead-light windows. Leading up to the doors were steps decorated with tiles, and brass handrails. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Entering through an elaborately carved set of doors, the foyer featured a marble dado, and oak panelling, combined with a domed lead-light skylight to create an overall feeling of elegance and luxury. The entire design, particularly the use of simple geometric forms decorated with applied decoration, reflected Hay’s interest in the Art Nouveau style.

Although built in the middle of the Depression, Husheer suffered no adverse reaction for this obvious display of wealth, as he was also known for his philanthropic gestures, handing out food to those in need in during the hardest years of the economic crisis.

After Husheer’s death in 1954 the company was acquired by Rothmans of Pall Mall. The entranceway was largely disused after the 1960s when a new administration building was built adjacent.

In the mid 1980s interest in the older building increased and work was begun on restoring the building to its former glory. A glazed screen that had been removed at some time was rebuilt based on a photograph of the original.

During the 1990s the paint-work was restored to its original colour and a number of the lead-light windows that had been removed, were remade. In 1999 Rothman’s merged with British American Tobacco Ltd. The company continues to process tobacco at the Ahuriri plant, and the Hay designed entrance building is open to the public during working hours.

The Rothman’s Building (recently renamed the National Tobacco Company Building) is a testimony to the success of the tobacco industry in New Zealand in the early twentieth century, and in particular the role of Gerhard Hussheer, considered to be one of New Zealand’s foremost industrialist.

Architecturally it is regarded as the jewel in Napier’s architectural crown.

The building is perhaps one of Louis Hay’s best preserved public buildings, and it is an excellent example of the craftsmanship of local artists in post earthquake Napier. Today, located on a corner site amongst the industrial buildings of Ahuriri, it is a noted landmark, and is a popular destination for visitors to Napier.

Hmmm,.. not just generic statement of  “a popular destination for visitors”, but also a very special day  for a certain Kiwidutch for whom the “image” of this building, with me for so many years, finally became reality.

(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)

April 7, 2012

Bollard Beauties…

Filed under: ART,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Continuing with an Arty theme, Napier’s wide city centre shopping streets do include limited car access, so bollards have been placed in strategic places to keep assess to where it should be and to avoid run-in’s with pedestrians. On top of these tall, dark green bollards, little Art Deco style motifs have also been placed… again,  like the Deco seating decorations of yesterday’s post these have been designed and submitted by the local community.

Some of them look alike at first glance, but don’t be fooled, they are all unique.

I love the idea that little splashes of colour can be added to an urban landscape to make life more beautiful, uplifting and  interesting… and the fact that these fit in so beautifully with Napier’s Art Deco style… bonus!

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 6, 2012

Even Something Deco Going On Underfoot…

Filed under: ART,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Being the patterns / manhole cover etc geek that I am  https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/new-287/   I also delight in seeing that the manhole covers here are also in the Art Deco Style, as are the drain covers and grates…   is it only me? …don’t you find this cool?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And further along on the pavement itself, there is also a large star-burst style  metal emblem inlaid into the ground… the detail fanatic in me loves this!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 5, 2012

Needing a Breather… Let’s Take a Seat…

Filed under: ART,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One of the things that people said they really wanted in Napier after the 1931 earthquake were wide streets.

This was duly incorporated into the rebuild of the city and  gives a lovely relaxed feel to the shopping area.

There is also plenty of room for public seating,  something achieved here by placing simple large , white geometric  Deco inspired  forms  down the length of the shopping area.

On the top of these seats there are all sorts of Art Deco styled motifs in various tile designs.

Some of these are different,  with a more abstract, Pacific and Maori inspired designs within their patterns. These  ones were in  silver and gold colours.

I didn’t get photographs of them all because naturally enough sometimes people were busy sitting on these seats and well, it’s strange enough to be the kind of  foodie photographer who takes photos of their food in a restaurant or cafe before eating … but I draw the line at photographing people’s derrières whilst they sit in public places!

There is one photo that kind of looks like it might have been someone sitting there, rest assured it’s not,  it’s a coat that some people in a group next to the seat had put down on it whilst they had a chat close by. I think that they quite rightly figured that the camera lady on crutches wasn’t exactly going to grab it and sprint off it with it!

What was extra nice for me too was that I used these seats as  convenient resting places whilst making my way back to where Himself and a kids were, but  in the end they met me half way so these are the photos I managed to get during the smaller amount of walking that I did do.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 4, 2012

Let the Zoom Lens do the Talking…

Filed under: ART,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Today I’ve returned to my posts about Napier in New Zealand and the beautiful Art Deco buildings that make this the worlds most complete Art Deco City. Regular readers of this blog will know that I adore architectural detail, usually the older the better, but in the case the beautiful clean lines of Deco have has much allure as my usual more classical favourites.

Enough words though, this is a post where my Zoom lens should do the talking…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Hand beaten panels on the underside of the veranda in the previous photograph…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

next two photos, details of same building…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 2, 2012

Munster Chambers, Deco Through and Through…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our tour guide takes us into a beautiful little building called Munster Chambers. It dates from 1933 and Art Deco features not only on the exterior but on the interior as well.

We are lead inside and it’s stunning… from the New Zealand hardwood floors (I forget if she said they were Rimu or Kauri) to the panelled skylights, everything fits together amazingly and the simple elegance of the Deco style really suits and makes the most of this small foyer space.

As is often the case with architectre of the time, the details extend down to the smallest elements of the whole, so the guard rails match along the top floor leading to the stairs, knobs, finials, inserts and ironwork match and together are a beautiful example of craftmanship as well as elegant design.

I tried to fins out more information about Munster Chambers but the most I could come up with was that it’s a Grade 2 Listed Building on the New Zealand Historic Places Trust Register, that it was built as office space in 1933 (and still is).

From photos that other have placed on the web, I see that the outside used to be painted a white and very pale blue combination which has clearly been revised these days to better enhance the myriad of tiny details on the front of the building. With colours that provide better contrast, the facade of Munster Chambers really “pops’ these days and is a big improvement on the old colour scheme.

I’m think our guide said that owner was of Irish origon and that that’s why there is a little green clover on the front of the building. It’s clear to see that the owners of this building take great pride in it and well they should… it’s a beauty and deseves to be admired.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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