Friday, August 31, 2007

Absolutely Uniquely Wellington... #100

This at first appears to be just one of the many directional signs that litter the global environment ... so why choose this one! ... well this is very unique and only found in the capital city in that little country somewhere in the Pacific.

"Te Papa" clearly establishes the sign as New Zealand and you are forgiven if its locale is unknown ... however having established that the sign is somewhere in NZ ... "Parliament" most clearly defines that the sign is in New Zealand's capital city ... Wellington.

This sign sits on Customhouse Quay and is passed by thousands of people every day as they drive to work .. and like the sign indicates .. if you turn right you go straight to Parliament ... but sorry you can not collect $200. The Government does that !! 1st September is officially the end of winter downunder but we can get some crap weather through September and October ... ho hum.

Here are all the other participants in the September Theme Day
Seattle (WA), USA - Ocean Township (NJ), USA - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Cleveland (OH), USA - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Singapore, Singapore - Boston (MA), USA - Mexico (DF), Mexico - Kajang (Selangor), Malaysia - Mainz, Germany - Evry, France - Port Angeles (WA), USA - Sequim (WA), USA - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Nottingham, UK - Toulouse, France - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Manila, Philippines - Mumbai, India - Montpellier, France - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Stayton (OR), USA - Moscow, Russia - Paris, France - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Austin (TX), USA - Lyon, France - Stockholm, Sweden - Hyde, UK - Hong Kong, China - Joplin (MO), USA - Seoul, South Korea - Chandler (AZ), USA - St. Louis (MO), USA - Arlington (VA), USA - Anderson (SC), USA - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Villigen, Switzerland - Sydney, Australia - Ampang (Selangor), Malaysia - Montego Bay, Jamaica - Norwich (Norfolk), UK - San Diego (CA), USA - Bandung (West Java), Indonesia - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Melbourne, Australia - Nelson, New Zealand - Quincy (MA), USA - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Bend (OR), USA - Wellington, New Zealand - New Orleans (LA), USA - Cypress (TX), USA - Nashville (TN), USA - Bucaramanga (Santander), Colombia - Detroit (MI), USA - Saigon, Vietnam - Selma (AL), USA - Phoenix (AZ), USA - Miami (FL), USA - Arradon, France - Sheki, Azerbaijan - New York City (NY), USA - Inverness (IL), usa - North Bay (ON), Canada - Melbourne, Australia - Port Vila, Vanuatu - Tenerife, Spain - Auckland, New Zealand - Forks (WA), USA - Rotterdam, Netherlands - Chateaubriant, France - Madison (WI), USA - Wailea (HI), USA - Orlando (FL), USA - Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation - Ajaccio, France - Baltimore (MD), USA - Crepy-en-Valois, France - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea - Budapest, Hungary - Lyon, France - Saarbrücken, Germany - Adelaide (SA), Australia - Le Guilvinec, France - River Falls (WI), USA - Stavanger, Norway - Naples (FL), USA - London, UK - La Antigua, Guatemala - Philadelphia (PA), USA - Montréal (QC), Canada - Paris, France - San Diego (CA), USA - Trujillo, Peru - Haninge, Sweden - Prague, Czech Republic - Oslo, Norway - Grenoble, France - Shanghai, China - Toronto (ON), Canada - Durban, South Africa - Zurich, Switzerland - Cape Town, South Africa - Singapore, Singapore

The Celluloid Embassy ... #99

Todays image is for Imran who works at the Embassy ... I met his delightful mother while in Australia last week ... and our conversation progressed to the fact that her son had gone to see the world and got as far as Wellington when affairs of the heart slowed him down and amongst other things also fell in love with our city.

The Embassy Theatre in the background, is New Zealand’s grandest picture palace and was fully refurbished inside and out just in time for the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King. In the foreground is "The Tripod"

Built in 1924, The Embassy is a Wellington icon and landmark situated at the head of New Zealand’s most famous entertainment precinct – Courtenay Place – drawing people from throughout the region and beyond to see all the latest movies in a real cinema environment that is lost in the modern multiplexes.

The Embassy was fortunate to not succumb to the demolition ball like most other picture palaces and fortunately had retained many fine features such as marbled staircases, wrought iron handrails, original tiled foyers and exquisite plastered ceilings despite many upgrades over the decades. With this to build on, the refurbishment included a new; giant cinemascope screen and state-of-the-art sound system, luxury seating, stylish environs and a restoration that is faithful to its origins of the last century yet sympathetic to the new millennium making this the ultimate cinema experience.

Living up to its reputation as being more than just a cinema, within its stylish foyers, the Embassy houses Blondini’s Café & Bar – Wellington’s pre-eminent live jazz venue which draws big crowds on the weekends for something that is both special and unique as it overlooks the nightlife of Courtenay Place.

The Tripod
Weta Workshop was commissioned by Wellington City Council to design and manufacture a public art sculpture as a tribute to the New Zealand Screen Production Industry.
The finished sculpture was installed on the corner of Courtenay Place and Cambridge Terrace, in the heart of Wellington's entertainment district, in November, 2005. The tribute is a film camera on a tripod that appears to be composed from a collection of recycled mechanical parts including a video game console, toasted sandwich maker, radio and railway sleepers, with the camera made from an engine block and a hairdryer for the view finder.
Described by Richard Taylor as an out-of-control giant robot running amok in the city of Wellington, he says it symbolises the ingenuity and unbounded imagination that the New Zealand screen industry thrives on. "We wanted to pay tribute to the New Zealand screen industry's number 8 wire attitude and ability to create with whatever is at hand,".

Thursday, August 30, 2007

You've gotta have balls ... #98

One of the city blogs from the Northern Hemisphere had a photo of and art installation of what looked like sandstone balls in the city square ... well we are also a city with balls ... "steel balls" . These ones sit on the edge of the wharf between The Boat Shed, The Brewery and Circa Theatre .. I havent found anyone that knows much about them yet. However they form a great image of geometric shadow and light.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Saintly Glow ... #97

St Gerard's: The church sits on the hill overlooking the city and Oriental Bay. It was built between 1907 and 1910 (architect J C Swan). The monastery was built for the Redemptorist monks in 1932 and was funded by public donations during the middle of the Great Depression. The Redemptorists first arrived in NZ in 1883 and they required a base from which they could travel the country inspiring Catholics to a greater faith. The 3 storied monastery allowed the priests to accommodate guests and hold retreats. The monastery was designed by Frederick deJersey Clere, a well known architect who also designed St Mary's in Boulcott St. It was built as an extension to the church. Increasing rates and declining numbers forced the Redemptorists to sell the building in 1988. The proposed sale caused great concern, but this was relieved when it was bought by the International Catholic Programme of Evangelisation in 1992 for use as a retreat and training centre.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Engrained in History ... #96

This is one of the tables at Caffe L'affare .. see my previous posting on Caffe L'affare 'Tis interesting the record of passing life that ends up on a table.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Courting Builders ... #95

This is the site for our new Supreme Court ... just across the road from the "crap" book shop ! This used to be a park .. a secluded restful place at the Government end of Lambton Quay. City Councils fight developers over reducing our green areas and Government promotes clean green NZ till they require a bit of it for their own purposes ... and that seems to be a trait of all political parties. So now we have a bare building site waiting for years of construction.

The Supreme Court sits in Wellington. The Court is to get a new $67millon home to be built beside, and to expand into the historic High Court building, located near Parliament, although the court is being housed in temporary facilities while the new building is built and the High Court building refurbished.

For more information

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Wicked Camper ... #94

Spotted this camper van in Marion Street, Wellington last week and it reminded me of my black, white and grey beatles shirt I have ... YEAH I have been around the block a few times. The graphics are the same. There are now a few companies operating in New Zealand that have quite eclectic designs on their camper vans .. certainly brings urban art to the road. This one is provided by Wicked Campers. See also Escape Rentals
Escape Rentals

PS. This post is early for tomorrow as I may not have access to the Internet. We are still on the Sunshine (sic) Coast in Australia .. and YES there is some sunshine today after rain for the last five days. In 24 hours Noosa had 420mm of rain .. even the kangaroos were sheltering under the roofs of the buildings around Coolum !!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Quiet Saturday Meditation ... #93

Outside the City Council Offices and the City Gallery in the Civic Square ... enjoy the sunshine, some mood music and fresh air .. all coducive to sound mediation .. even the seagulls appear calm. The painter having a break on the left has his thermos of coffee and is also enjoying the fresh air away from the paint odours.

A Clear Friday Perspective ... #92

for the buildings wher you can get access without having to use the gantry system, the windows can be cleaned by the guys with the very long handles window cleaners ... BVUT be careful when walking underneath .. not superstition but preservation from the dirty water !!!. This is in Boulcott Street which runs from The Terrace down to Willis Street.

PS. Weather in Brisbane and the North Coast is some of the worst they have had in years but despite the chaos most people are welcoming the rain to this drought stricken area

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Vivian St. Thursday ..."Trompe d'oeil" ... #91

OK this is early for Thursday as I have access to technology today
Well this piece of urban wall art is relatively famous aound here .. it is a play on the red light street "Vivian St" and is on the corner of Marion and Ghuznee Sts. Marion Street runs through to Vivian St at the southern end. To give it some perspective I accosted this helpful guy who happened to be passing by ... he seemed to find it quite amusing and it is better than putting a crate of beer on the ground to give you an idea of the scale. The actual building is concrete and the large bricks and column are also painted on. Click on the image to view the larger version of the photo.

There have been moves to Reignite Old Red Light District. The Wellington sex industry leader Michael Chow wants to re-establish Vivian Street as the city's premier adult entertainment strip. Vivian St was the hub of the city's red light district from the sixties to the early nineties and boasted Wellington's premier strip joints, peep shows and illegal brothels.
The street was also the home of the famous coffee bar operated by the flamboyant transsexual Carmen.

Following Carmen's decision to leave and live in Australia, along with redevelopment, the street's fortunes began to wane. Over the years the pioneering sex clubs began to slowly close down. Fire destroyed others and now all that remains is the run-down Liks joint, once part of a stable of clubs operated by the self-styled sex king, Brian Le Gros is all that remains.
Any hope of Vivian St being redeveloped as a sex industry centre were also dashed several years ago when newcomer Michael Chow established the Mermaid Bar and Splash Club in Courtenay Place. The Wellington City Council was caught off guard by Mr Chow's successful planning applications and swiftly moved to change the by laws, stopping any further sex industry operation in Courtenay Place.
Crying foul, an angry Le Gros, who was also a successful property developer, quit Wellington, vowing never to return to the Capital City. With the passing of the Prostitution Law Reform Bill, Mr Chow believed the time was ripe to once again re-establish Vivian Streets the city's prominent red light district. His is about to open the street's first-ever legally operated brothel, Il Bordello and has plans for further outlets. Mr Chow describes his latest venture as an "up market gentleman's club."

He says the Act legalising prostitution has opened the way for the development of "high class" operations like Il Bordello. Uptil now the sex industry has operated in an uncertain dodgy environment with no quality of service standards. "Il Bordello is a state of the art operation, professionally run and I believe, will see the rebirth of Vivian St as the leading centre in the provision of quality sex industry operations in Wellington," Mr Chow said.

Tony ... She'll be right ... #90

Well this is Tony who does the afternoon and evening shift at the Shell petrol Station at Crofton Downs which is on my way home. Tony is delightful and treats his customers as special. It's nice to come across little rays of sunshine in our daily lives .. where the mundane of filling the car with petrol can become a pleasure .. even if the wallet still hurts with the price of petrol !!! .. Thanks Tony .. you always bring a smile to the mind !!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Tuesday Twighlight ... #89

Looking from the city towards the western skyline above Kelburn ... the Northland hills .. the clouds catching the last of the sun.

APOLOGIES ... Tuesday comes early as we have flown across the ditch to Brisbane for a week and access to technology may not always be guarranteed ... so have to publish when I can

Monday Menu ... #88

This is the Wellington Trawling Company Fish & Chip Shop at 222 Cuba Street .. the southern (or top end) of Cuba St. .. and it is pretty typical of Wellington chippies .. although it also sells freah fish.

This is one critics review ...

Cost: $5.30
Fish: The fish itself was really nice and fresh, but I could taste that it'd been cooked in oil and well, it's just not the same.
Chips: Nice but nothing to write to Grandma about.
Comments: Very average. They were obviously busy but a little slow just the same. And I would expect a bigger serving for the price.
Cooked in: Oil
Rating: 7/10 ... however we got "dinner" there on Sunday night and it was OK .. say 8/10 .... before Joshua and I went to See Sir Ian Mckellen in King Lear .. Shakespeare

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Crap Story ... #87

This is an image of the Bennetts Book Store window promoting the idea that books are so cheap you could use them for toilet paper ... now that would be a very knowledgeable wipe !! ... or maybe because this particular book shop is across the road from our Parliament they were trying to make a less than subtle statement about the copies of legislation and government reports that they also sell. Well its a different promo for a traditional book store .. well done guys but it leaves my face flushed !!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Nga Mokopuna... #86

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori schools are New Zealand schools for children aged 3-14 who learn fully in the Māori language.

Kohanga reo is the pre-school equivalent - a Māori-language kindergarten. These pupils are from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Nga Mokopuna in Seatoun, Wellington. They were on a school trip to Parliament and I met them coming past the New World Supermarket in Thorndon. They were sing away in Maori and obviously enjoying the day depite the wet foul weather. I asked the teacher if I could take a photo and in delightful school fashion she lined up all the smiling happy kids for a group photo. Thanks and I hope you all had a great day !!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Majoribank Street ...#85

This is looking West down Majoribank Street towards the city. You can pick out the Majestic Tower and the black State Insurance building. This image shows well the hilly nature of Wellington and the mix of old and new. Majoribank Street runs from the western side of Mt Victoria and the Town Belt ( a public green area) down to the start of Courtenay Place .. the Embassy and Downstage Theatres. Note the older power and telephone utilities strung up on the lamp post. Most newer suburbs have all these services underground.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Khandallah Tractors ... #84

OK my farming background tells me that these are not really tractors. This term for the large four wheel drive vehicles in the city environment was probably first used for the 4x4s that frequent the higher socio-economic area of Remuera in Auckland ... where generally there is not a lot of "mud" ... apart from the political sort.!! Hence the term Remuera tractors. The term has become more generic to refer to country or potentially off-road vehicles in an urban environment.

Khandallah is a higher soci-economic area in Wellington and the Khandallah Village has about 20 shops ... hairdresser, butcher, cafe, post office, real estate, fashion, doctor etc ... and one would have to bring one's own bag of designer dirt and a bucket of water to make any sort of mud !!! ... so to see five of these small, delightfully fuel efficient city cars lined up ready for the after school pick up service was an image waiting for a blog .

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Albatross Fountain ... #83

This is another in the series of sculptures around our city and is located next to the Lagoon in Frank Kits Park on the harbour edge. Behind the fountain is The Boat Shed which houses rowing skiffs and equipment downstairs and a function facility upstairs .. many a great night has been had there !!!

If you look at a previous photo you can pick out the edge of the fountain wall right on the left hand side of the image

Tanya Ashken: Albatross
Location: Frank Kitts Park
Materials: Ferro-cement
Date of installation: 1986

Originally designed for an Auckland location, this was the first Wellington Sculpture Trust project. The Trust raised funds for the sculpture with the assistance of a donation from Wellington City Council.

"The Wellington Sculpture Trust came into being with the creation of of Albatross, under the inspiration of Dr Ian Prior and Henry Lang. The sculpture itself started life as an idea for three abstract shapes interacting with themselves and their intermingling spaces. The water was always a part of it, evoking feelings of rocks and the sea. The name came suddenly in a moment of inspiration!

''I have always been fascinated by the Albatross, its size, its power and its awesome grace. My sculpture is large and white and of the sea. There is a realistic albatross there too, as I realised when the sculpture was being built. I now think of it as a lament for the albatrosses as they disappear from this planet."
Tanya Ashken

Hone Tuwhare wrote a poem in honour of the occasion:
'without skin and flesh to hold you together the division of your aerodynamic parts lies whitening licked clean by sun and air and water.'
From Toroa, 1999 Steele Roberts, Albatross page 85.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Get your Mojo back ... #82

Mojo is located at one end of The Old Bank Arcade. For those of you not in Wellington, this building is a piece of history. The tiled floor is simply amazing and it retains the atmosphere of an esteemed financial institution. Conversations occur in hushed tones and footsteps echo down the banking chamber as shoppers wander down past the boutiques.

Coffee arrives very quickly and it is very very good. Great head and lovely body and in a tall glass. Some of the cafes in town superheat the glass in a small blast furnace prior to delivery to you which results in burnt fingers and it takes nearly 4 hours to drink. This one was perfectly hot to drink and easy to gulp with no skin scorched to the glass. As is usual from Mojo, a great flavour, with a smooth creamy consistency.

"a great cafe and a neat place to sit and drink and watch the world go by. A firm 9/10 for coffee quality"

Mojo Coffee was the brain child of Steve Gianoutsos and his wife Julie. Mojo started out as a small boutique roastery in Wakefield Street in 2003. Steve has worked and lived in the hospitality industry for most of his working life and has owned and operated several successful cafes in the Wellington area. Mojo has grown steadily and now has six Mojo sites operating in the Wellington area and have 45 employees. They have a solid loyal customer base, as demonstrated in the recent Capital Times reader survey where they were voted number 1 coffee in Wellington. As well as the cafés they also supply several popular cafés and offices around the lower north island with their premium blended coffee beans.

Thank You Tana ... #81

We were there on a cold wet night .. and it was great !!! Apologies for the television microphone on the boom .. but there was a media scrum for this event.

Rugby legend Tana Umaga closed the chapter on his New Zealand rugby days by bringing his children on to the field and making a stand against child abuse. In an emotional end to his New Zealand career, Umaga's daughters joined him on the field after his 100th game for Wellington yesterday - his last before he leaves for France. Umaga, famously protective of his family's privacy, told the crowd it was possible to play tough rugby then go home and be a loving father.

Umaga was the last to come out for the start of the match which saw him play his last game for Wellington in front of an excited crowd of 20,000. His home team beat Manawatu 37-3, a fitting end to his 14-year career. There was a standing ovation for the former All Black captain, and a farewell from the hometown crowd and the Wellington mayor. He has been honoured with the renaming of an access way: aisle 13 is now Tana Umaga Aisle, identified with his Number 13 Wellington team jersey hanging at its entrance. Umaga delayed his departure to France, where he will coach Toulon, to take his tally from 96 to 100 games.

The Wellington-born rugby player with the trademark dreadlocks retired from international rugby at the end of 2005 with 74 test caps. He began playing for the Wellington Lions in 1994, and was selected for the Hurricanes in 1996. He took over the captaincy of the Wellington team in 2003. Graham Henry named him as All Blacks captain in 2004 and he led the national team to win 19 of their 21 games. He became the first Pacific Island player to captain the All Blacks in a test match.

A special thanks to for these words

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Blackrock Rd UPDATE ... #80

This is the progress on the house that Louise first blogged and then I did an update .. Well here is the latest view .. the scaffolding has been removed but like all construction sites before everything is completed and landscaped .. it looks a bit bare .. however you can now get an idea of the design for a difficult Wellington building site ... there are 3 car garages on the roadside and I am not sure what is intended to be built behind the house. The foundations have been completed but ... maybe that will be the subject of the next update.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I'm leaving on a jet plane ... #79

Vibrant Gold award for Wellington Airport ...
Wellington Airport was selected as winner of the "Vibrant Gold" Award at the Gold Awards, Wellington's premier business awards night.
The "Vibrant Gold" award is for excellence in facilities that help enliven our community and draw visitors to our region. The award is recognition of Wellington Airport's investment in a better customer experience, better air services and a destination brand for Wellington.

.. and for many there is also that nail biting side to Wellington Airport .. just have alook at exciting landings to see what I mean. The airport has an interesting history
The current site opened in 1959, after lobbying by the local Chamber of Commerce for a location that was much closer to the city centre. Wellington's main airport was previously to the north at Paraparaumu Airport on the Kapiti Coast, which was deemed unsuitable for large planes due to adverse terrain. The original length of the runway was 1630 m (5350 ft) and was extended to its current length of 1936 in the early 1970s, to handle DC-8s.
Wellington Airport's original domestic terminal was built as a temporary measure inside a corrugated iron hangar, originally used to assemble de Havilland aircraft, and was not replaced for many decades. It was known for being overcrowded, leaky and draughty. An upgrade of the domestic terminal, budgeted at NZ$10 million, was announced in 1983 the plans were shelved after cost projections more than doubled. The terminal was extensively refurbished in 1986 by Air New Zealand, and Ansett New Zealand built a new terminal as an extension to the international terminal when it commenced competing domestic air services in 1986.
In 1991, the airport released plans to widen the taxiway to CAA specifications and acquire extra space, which were abandoned after protests from local residents. The plan involved the removal of the nearby Miramar Golf Course and a large number of residential and commercial properties. The Airport purchased land from the Miramar Golf Course in 1994 for car park space.
A major new terminal was completed in 1999 and integrated with the international terminal, which had been built as an abortive first stage of a whole new terminal in 1979, and construction is under way to create a 90 metre safety zone at the south end of the runway in order to comply with safety regulations. A similar zone will be constructed at the runway's north end. Since the airport has been two-thirds privately owned by with the remaining third owned by the Wellington City Council.

In late 2003 the airport installed a large statue of Gollum on the terminal in order to promote the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ... this has since been removed ... however the new branding "Wild at Heart" is absolutely positvely Wellington.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Trompe d'oeil .. #78

Trompe d'oeil is an ancient wall technique meaning "eye-deception"; it is based on the concept of a way of painting images that we look at and they seem real or 3 dimensional when they are only 2; they let us believe in things that do not really exist, like false doors or windows, false flowery terraces etc.
This example is on the non-descript concrete retaining wall at the end of Oriental Bay .. where Carlton Gore Road goes up to Roesneath.

I have tried to find out who, why, when it was created but have drawn blanks with my many approaches to the Wellington City Council officials. They do have a detailed database and register for many of the scupltures around the city .. some of which have been shown on this blog .. but for murals all I got was strange blank looks ... maybe it was just me !!!

So when I was taking my daughter Anna to the airport for a flight to Christchurch .. we did a quick stop and got Anna to walk inside and say hello !!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

What's yellow on green and wet ?... #77

Well this was one of those moments when you manage to be in the right place at the right time. I was up the Parliament end of the city in the afternoon and thought some photos of Parliament and The Beehive from some different angles maybe good for the WDP blog. I walk up the path to Parliament and there are two fire engines, fireman, security guards, serious looking officials .. and the main steps to the Parliament Building all roped off with what looked like a yello suited, gas masked goon sweeping the steps. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm !

It turns out that someone spilt some suspicious chemicals on the steps and this was the cleanup underway. They finished that and then they had to put the yellow suited fireman through a special de-contamination wash process ... YEAH RIGHT! .. basically a hose down by his mates on the front lawn of New Zealand's Parliament House. more photos

In the photo behind the fireman with the hose you can see the offending steps. with the columed facade of the lower level of the Beehivebehind them. Above the zuit suited fireman you will pickout the statue of Richard John Seddon ... "King Dick" was our longest serving Prime Minister. The tall building in the centre background is the one on Midland Park, Lambton Quay

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Wellington Americana ... #76

I was driving down Ngaio Gorge road to work and what do I see but a bright red fine example of Automotive Americana ....This Impala two door hardtop shows the new more crisply styled full size 1960 Chevy body. The parking lights moved down below the bumper and the fins became flatter .. and the proud owner is Andrew .. also on the way to work. A unique and delightful touch is the red dice (white spots) caps on the tire valves !! ... and note that this still has the original left hand drive. In New Zealand all but a very few imported vehicles are right hand drive as we drive on the left downunder .. just like Australia and the UK in the Northern Hemisphere.

I recall as a school boy watching a local farmer (only 5 foot 4), Norm Kingston driving his baby blue Impala ... I was amazed that such a small man had such a loooooooooooooong car.

...and now some automotive history

The 1950's Impala was big, very big. Chevrolet decided to create the Impala as its own model. Its styling has been termed 'bat-winged' due to the rear-styling of the vehicle. A variety of engines were available ranging from an inline-6 cylinder up to a triple carburetor, 348 cubic-inches V8 capable of producing 315 horsepower. A fuel injected V8 became available in 1959.
From the front of the car, the design was fairly normal for the 1950's era. Extensive amounts of chrome littered the front end. Two headlights, located side-by-side, were placed on each sides of the vehicle. A front grill was used to help keep the engine cool. View the car from the side and it becomes immediately clear that this is a big vehicle. The length of the vehicle could be extended an additional 11 inches (275mm) by adding the Continental spare tire cover to the rear of the car. Viewing the car from the rear, the car quickly ends up in a league of its own, with only a few other vehicles such as the Cadillac Series 62 / DeVille having such a radical rear-end. The vehicle featured rear-fins that resembled cats-eyes. To top it all off, this car was not-only long, it was also very wide.

Chevrolet's aim of creating a vehicle known as a "prestige car within the reach of an average American citizen" proved to be a success when a large crowd of enthusiasts welcomed its production. This positive response encouraged Chevrolet to utilize the best possible materials for the Impala.1960 Chevrolet Impala bears a wide painted spear in its rear quarter. A notable appearance is the short trim that runs from the headlights with two pieces of trim above and below it.

Drum brakes were used and due to the weight of the vehicle, tended to wear out rather quickly. The Impala came in three different body styles including a four-door sedan, two-door coupe, and a convertible coupe. Even though the vehicle weighed 3650 lbs, it could achieve a zero-to-sixy run in about 9 seconds. Top speed was in the neighborhood of 130 miles-per-hour.
Considered to be ‘the best selling full-size car in the U.S.,' in 1960 the Chevy Impala was designed and built by the Chevrolet division of General Motors.

The name Impala originated from a southern African antelope known for its speed and prowess. Introduced in 1958, the Impala was developed by chief engineer automotive executive for General Motors, Edward Cole. Michigan born, Cole was the son of a dairy farmer whose lifelong aspiration was to become an automotive engineer. Beginning as a lab assistant for the General Motors Institute, Cole worked in engineering before gaining recognition and becoming promoted to chief engineer in 1952. Cole eventually became president of Chevrolet in 1967.
Introduced with a trim package, the new sporty model was unique with its six taillights. Eventually becoming the ‘best selling car in the Chevrolet product line', in 1959 it became a separate model in both two and four-door versions. Within the second year of production, production reached 473,000 units. Continuing for a decade as the best-selling automobile in the U.S. Impala broke the record for sales with over 13 million units sold. The Impala held this record until 1977 setting an ‘all-time industry annual sales record of more than 1 million units.'

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Misty Morning .... #78

Well we are in the winter months now ... this is a shot from my backyard, looking towards the Mt Kau Kau communications mast ... YEAH RIGHT. It is there behind the low clouds and mist. The image gives you a good impression of the little boxes on the hillside amongst the green and rugged landscape of parts of Wellington.

In the foreground on the right you will note the flax flowers. For centuries, Māori had collected the abundant nectar from the flowers to make a crude honey and to generally sweeten foods, but it was the myriad of medicinal uses that made the plant so important to the everyday health of Māori. Flax roots were boiled and crushed and applied externally as a poultice for boils, tumours and abscesses, as well as to varicose ulcers. Juice from the pounded roots was widely used as a disinfectant, and taken internally to relieve constipation or expel worms. It was also applied to bullet or bayonet wounds.

The gum-like sap produced by flax contains enzymes that give it blood clotting and antiseptic qualities to help healing processes. Though unaware of the enzymes, Māori were fully aware of its curative properties and that it is a mild anaesthetic, and widely applied the sap to boils and various wounds, to aching teeth, to rheumatic and associated pains, to ringworm and various skin irritations, and especially to scalds and burns.

Our native bird, the tui loves to suck the nectar out of these. The latin name of the Tui is Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae but it used to be called the Parson bird because at first glance the Tui appears completely black except for a small tuft of white feathers at its neck and a small white wing patch, causing it to resemble a parson in religious attire.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Food for Thought ... #77

These places have to be some of the consistently busiest places in Wellington .. the supermarkets.

Within the central business district of Wellington we have four New World Supermarkets .. one down by Waitangi Park, the New World Metro in the centre of the city, New World Thorndon and the Railway Station Metro store. Wellington also has a number of fruit and vegetable markets on the weekend which are always well patronised.

This image is at the Thorndon supermarket which is on the northern side of the Wellington CBD .. about 500 metres north of the Beehive and Parliament .. YES I suppose our politicians have to eat as well. That's my daughter Anna in the photo .. hoodie, puffer jacket and Cuba Street Festival cap. I recall when we were in New York, Christmas 2006 .. going to Columbus Circle and shopping in the Wholefoods supermarket downstairs ... no matter which city your in you've gotta eat !!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

"Red Shed" gone ... #76

The face of city keeps changing ... a few days ago this was the site of The Warehouse .. a big building that was the home of the unbiquitous " red shed". The building behind is Te Papa .. our national museum.

An now for some history ... Since 1982, The Warehouse Group has grown from one small store on Auckland's North Shore to a retailer with over 128 stores throughout New Zealand. There are about half a dozen in the Wellington area alone.
The company strapline, "Where Everyone gets a Bargain", was the brainchild of founder Stephen Tindall. Stephen saw an opportunity for innovative price driven retailing. His timing was perfect, as New Zealand’s buoyant marketplace was overdue for new and exciting products at competitive prices. This, combined with an era when import restrictions were removed, created an ideal environment for growth and success in the retail area and so The Warehouse Group was formed.

During the early years, The Warehouse invested capital in computer and software packages, which enabled the company to instantly identify fast or slow moving products. This lead to an extraordinary influx of new and exciting products never before seen in New Zealand and at the most competitive prices.
From 1982… An advertisement in Auckland’s evening newspaper - the now defunct Auckland Star - on Thursday 18 November 1982 was the first public announcement about the opening of the first Warehouse store. ‘BUY DIRECT FROM THE WAREHOUSE’ screamed the headline, followed by the announcement: ‘Now you can buy manchester, furniture, matting, toys and hardware, etc at massively reduced prices - direct from the WAREHOUSE!’ And across one corner, the historic words: ‘OPENS SATURDAY!’. Due to customer pressure, however, the doors had to be opened a day early, on the Friday, and the company’s first cash book shows sales that day of $1,978.38. On Saturday 20 November, 1982 - the official opening day - sales worth $4,490.87 were recorded. By the end of the company’s first full week of trading, sales had reached $30,132.99 including sales made on the non-official Friday. Total sales for the first four weeks of its existence to a handsome $101,308.57.

Now race forward twenty years, to Thursday 9 May 2002,and the opening of the company’s new $10 million Warehouse store in South Dunedin. Consider this typical new-format store and how it exemplifies twenty years of change. It has a floor area of more than 8,850 square metres compared with the first store’s 550 square metres. Instead of displaying its goods on plywood sheets supported by trestles - the standard fittings in 1982 - the South Dunedin store is fitted with twenty kilometres of hungry shelves which take up to six truck-and-trailer units a day to keep filled. In comparison, the South Dunedin store’s equivalent figures, twenty years later, were $427,485 for the first day and more than $1.4 million for the first week.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Caffe L'Affare ... #75

Founded in 1990, Caffe L'affare is Wellington’s iconic and irreverent café, and coffee roastery.
The flagship café showcases our signature espresso to a backdrop of the roaster, busy packaging plant, equipment showroom and bean store.
Whether alone, with family, friends or colleagues you are bound to feel at home in the bustling atmosphere of the café. Take refuge in the corner banquette seating or people watch from the communal high tables. The café is large so you’ll never have to wait too long for a table... and this is one cafe that is children friendly , even to the exten of providing toys for pre-schoolers .. and that's why you will always see mothers and children here most days.

This is a typical comment from a customer "fantastic coffee! The coffee is great, the food is delicious ... but be prepared for a crowded, quite noisy environment "

This place has an old world quirky eclectic style but is also thoroughly techno savy ...There is a trend worldwide for cafes to provide Internet access to customers, and Caffe L'affare had been looking at ways in which they could offer the same service. But using the cafe's own network was going to create security issues. Caffe L'affare's IT manager had read about CityLink's CafeNET service in Computerworld magazine - and thought it seemed an ideal solution. CafeNET gives people with Wi-Fi-enabled laptops access to the Internet via CityLink's Metropolitan Ethernet Optical Fibre LAN. Users get all the benefits of broadband without being tied to the office.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Portals to the City ... #74

This is a view of the city from the Hutt motorway . Many Wellingtonians see this view every morning as the drive in from the Hutt Valley to the city. The best and most relaxing view is from the train which skirts around the northern end of the Harbour as it makes its way to the Wellington Railway Station.

The 2 tall buildings framed by the steel portal for the overhead wires for the electric trains are the Majestic Tower to the left and Grand Plimmer Tower to the right .. and remember tall in Wellington is something just over 30 floors!! as we live on an earthquake fault line. The news always has something about the big one. The Wellington Region is criss-crossed by many faultlines that also run under Cook Strait. Just to the right of the lefthand column of the steel portal you can pick out one of the "Hurry-Crane" container cranes on the wharf and if you click on the image and view it in larger size you will easily pick out all three cranes. Just below and to the left of the 'red' train control lights you will be able to see the Westpac Stadium .. like the side view of a cake tin !!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

On the back of a car ... #73

As I understand it, this could have been the theme for the first day of August as it was one of the suggestions. You see with being one of the first places in the world to see the new day I find out about the theme the day the day after the first day .. if you get my drift. Anyway waste not- want not ... so here was the back up daily "theme" photo blog

This is the paint company's van I followed up Ngaio Gorge yesterday .. it had the personalised number plate [COLR4U] ... and as a bonus we have two photos today ... as I couldn't get my number plate and this one in the same photo ... as it was on the car I was driving .. a tad awkward !!!

This image is the number plate on my car .. a 1984 Rover SDI 3500SE .. a sort of classic British car of the 80's. The British Police used to use them .. painted white with a blue red blue stripe along the side .. hence they became known as "The Jam Sandwich"

As you have now realised ... in New Zealand we can purchase personalised number plates for our vehicles and there are some very interesting ones. Like the [VOL123] series purchased by the local Volvo dealers for all the cars they sell, they just change the numbers for each car they sell and obviously no more than 999!!; [COLON] which is on a surgeons car, [CME2P] on a urologist's car, [SEWNSO] which is on a blue Mercedes coupe I see every morning, [DECOR8] on a house painters van but perhaps one of the most clever in the NZ context is [FLAH] ... and yes you might well ask. This plate is owned by a rugby fanatic in the South Island whose favourite position in a rugby team is the "half back" .. that's the player behind the forwards scrum ... so do you get it now ?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

1 Aug ... make a date of it ... #72

A downunder contribution for the August "theme" photo. Perhaps not the usual breakfast image but these date scones from Cafe Villa in Ngaio are reknown. On many weekends we will go down to the Cafe just to get some fresh baked, delicious date scones .. very tasty with a crunchy top ... I can personally recommend them.

I managed to catch the breakfast chef tidying up the bench, sticky dough hands and I had the privilege of seeing the goods cooking in the oven along with some cheese scones. Cafe Villa is in an old house at 61 Ottawa road, Ngaio and is open 7 days for brunch, lunch and light snacks.

I can imagine the taste NOW .. and I have to ... as the first batch was not quite ready when I called in this morning. !!!

For other world DAILY PHOTO "theme day" contributors, have a look at:
Saint Paul (MN), USA - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - New York City (NY), USA - Tel Aviv, Israel - Hyde, UK - Port Angeles (WA), USA - Mainz, Germany - Stockholm, Sweden - Paderborn, Germany - Singapore, Singapore - Haninge, Sweden - Nottingham, UK - Ampang (Selangor), Malaysia - Manila, Philippines - Boston (MA), USA - Seoul, Korea - Singapore, Singapore - Joplin (MO), USA - Chandler (AZ), USA - Paris, France - Sequim (WA), USA - Greenville (SC), USA - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Boston (MA), USA - Chennai, India - Madison (WI), USA - Baton Rouge (LA), USA - Toulouse, France - Seattle (WA), USA - Mexico (DF), Mexico - La Antigua, Guatemala - Selma (AL), USA - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Cleveland (OH), USA - San Diego (CA), USA - Lubbock (TX), USA - Jakarta, Indonesia - Sheki, Azerbaijan - Sydney, Australia - Mumbai, India - Seoul, South Korea - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Cypress (TX), USA - Saarbrücken, Germany - Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - New Orleans (LA), USA - Budapest, Hungary - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Austin (TX), USA - Singapore, Singapore - Villigen, Switzerland - Montréal (QC), Canada - Stayton (OR), USA - Melbourne, Australia - Silver Spring (MD), USA - Moscow, Russia - Springfield (MO), USA - Inverness (IL), usa - Arlington (VA), USA - Cologne (NRW), Germany - Anderson (SC), USA - Oslo, Norway - Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation - Manila, Philippines - Kajang (Selangor), Malaysia - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Bandung (West Java), Indonesia - Stavanger, Norway - Bastia, France - Hong Kong, China - Wailea (HI), USA - St. Louis (MO), USA - Chicago (IL), USA - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea - Sydney, Australia - Bucaramanga (Santander), Colombia - Kansas City (MO), USA - Grenoble, France - Paris, France - Evry, France - Saigon, Vietnam - Prague, Czech Republic - Cape Town, South Africa - Brookville (OH), USA - Brussels, Belgium - San Diego (CA), USA - Wellington, New Zealand