Thursday, January 31, 2008

A rose between two horns ... #246

A florist dressed for work .... picking the gap and rushing between tooting buses to do the morning corporate decoration delivery. Lambton Quay

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Wellesley Club ... #245

The Wellesley Club has a proud tradition dating back to 1891. Its magnificent collection of members' caricatures, which grace the walls of the Members' Lounge, (by now famous artists such as McIntyre and Hunt) is in many ways a pictorial history of the eminent persons who shaped the face of Wellington and indeed, New Zealand. What interesting conversations within these cloistered walls!

The Wellesley Club is steeped in Wellington tradition and history. The Club is named after Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, the architect of the British victory at the Battle of Waterloo.

It was the Duke of Wellington who sponsored Wakefield's New Zealand Company, in its settlement of Wellington. Hence the name of our City. It is indeed a rare privilege for the Club to be allowed to bear the Wellesley family's Coat of Arms.

The building itself, which has a Historic Places Category 1 listing, is undoubtedly one of the finest examples of neo-Georgian architecture in New Zealand. Built in 1929 and designed by Gray Young as a dedicated club building, it won the prestigious Institute of Architects Gold Medal. The building is a heritage treasure with its wonderful timber panelling and plasterwork, stunning collection of art and memorabilia and restful proportions.

In 1997 it was beautifully restored by the present owners who, with the help of Members, maintain this wonderful asset.

Today as a Member, the Wellesley Club can be your Home away from Home in the central business district. You inherit a wonderful tradition and can always be sure of a warm welcome, especially by the fire - still the only working open fire place in central Wellington.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008

Attention! Reflections ... #243

Fashion on the "golden mile" .. a regimented shop window on Lambton Quay with Kirckladie & Stains (Kirks) reflected in the window

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Staying in touch ... #242

Outside Shed 5 ... another well known restaurant & bar on Queens Wharf ... the outdoor furniture ... the hair ... and the fashion ... appear to have come from the same palette.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Race Day ... #241

Not the usual place on Race Day .. but we all have to get there somehow ... many Wellingtonians take the train out to Trentham ... avoids the drink drive hassles and only takes 30 minutes. The ATM "money machines" were doing a good trade .. and it is uncertain if any money will get deposited back into the bank at the day's end !!

Trentham is an iconic Thoroughbred Racing venue in New Zealand. The course is located 30 minutes from Wellington, New Zealand’s Capital City, and appropriately the course is used for premier quality thoroughbred racing from October to July each year. The track itself is a perfect circumference recognized by trainers and jockeys worldwide as offering top class racing, the term ‘Champagne Turf’ was coined by past CEO John Cameron to describe the immaculate presentation of the track over the Wellington Cup Carnival every January. The Smokefree Members Stand offers Wellington Racing Club Members superb facilities on race days while the historic Public Stand is often packed to capacity for its view of the Wellington Cup and Wellington Steeplechase. One unique feature of Trentham is the ‘Figure 8’ Steeplechase Course, which offers a spectacle second to none in New Zealand Jumps Racing.
Feature Meeting:Wellington Cup Day – ‘Are you ready for a good time?’Saturday 26 January 2008 is Wellington Cup Day at Trentham. Over twenty thousand race goers flock to Trentham for a tremendous day of fun and action. As well as top class horse racing there is the Fashion in the Fields, Centre of Course Party, Boot Parties and a Young Peoples’ Marquee.Check out for details!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Alien tiff ... #240

These two "alien" looking vents ... for the carpark below Queens Wharf give the impression of a tiff between friends who have decided not to converse for a while.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Walking in Great Company ... #239

The morning commuters mimic the stride of the statue the man who led India to independence from the British, Mahatma Gandhi. The life size bronze statue is a gift from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and sits on the front lawn of the Wellington railway station. The Indian High Commissioner to New Zealand says the statue is in recognition of New Zealand's history of being a tolerant open and inclusive society.

The Wellington Railway Station is currently going through an internal makover for the University while the external facade gets repairs and maintenance.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Graffiti Busters... #238

Outside the main gates to Parliament ... one of these guys was working hard removing graffiti from rough cast concrete ... however if you look back at earlier postings of Waitangi park on the eastern side of the city you will see designated billboards for street artists .. and their work is good.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Exquisite Mussels... #237

A cool lager and a couple of dozen of Marlborough green lipped mussels ... a simple but superb lunchtime snack
from Leuven Bar & Cafe on Featherston Street

The green lipped mussel as a shellfish is economically important to New Zealand. It differs from other mussel species in that it has a dark brown/green shell, a green lip around the edge of the shells and only has one abductor muscle. It is also one of the largest mussel species growing up to 240 mm in length.

This species of mussel is endemic to New Zealand, and is also an introduced pest in Australian waters. They are commercially farmed and the main producing region is the Marlborough Sounds which are located at the top of the South Island of New Zealand. This is a beautiful part of New Zealand with great scenery and unpolluted waters.

The mussel farming industry in the Marlborough Sounds started in the sea's. The early days of the industry were dominated by research and development, local sales, and an extract used to help alleviate arthritis.

New Zealand today has over 550 mussel farms totaling 4500 hectares, most of them in the Marlborough Sounds. Large farms proposed for open coastal regions could result in a 10-fold expansion in area in the near future, and increased awareness of mussel farming’s impact on the marine environment. We know that the Marlborough Sounds is a place of outstanding beauty, where wedge-shaped hills shelter a network of shining waterways. With few roads connecting the Pelorus, Queen Charlotte, Anakiwa and outer Sounds, many bays and coves are seldom visited. This is the environment where several hundred mussel farmers cultivate New Zealand Greenshell mussels, inconspicuous beneath barrel-like floats. This paradise is the workplace where marine farming staff, utilising world leading technologies, cultivate Marlborough’s world famous products.

Green-lipped mussels contain high levels of glycosaminoglycan which is reputed to assist in the repair of damaged joint tissues.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Beat Girls ... #236

Another great night in the Capital .. warm balmy evening, no wind and a large crowd in the Botanical Gardens for The Beat Girls @ ASB Garden Magic... and Elton says thanks to the young lady "with electric boobs"

The Beat Girls present a high energy, fully choreographed and costumed show featuring hits from the 60's to the 00's. As they take the stage by storm an evening of musical and visual excitement unfolds with a string of hits by everyone from The Beatles and Abba to The B52s and Kylie Minogue. Noted for their professionalism, The Beatgirls have performed in many diverse situations. With a background in party and social situations as well as theatre, they are able to adapt and improvise to suit the occasion. From boats and private residences to major corporate events and festivals, this group is equally at home on stages big and small and also specialise in humorous cabaret style shows should the event require the audience to be seated.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Image on Image ... #235

Leuven Bar on Featherston Street ... after work relaxation & recorded fun

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sushi Q ... #232

The ever popular "hole in the wall" sushi outlet ... Midland Sushi ... just across the road from Midland Park. They always have a different and more interesting selection than the mass market sushi shops

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Food & Friends ... #231

Good company ... good food at Calzonne in Courtenay Place ... next to the Tripod.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

From Viard to Texas... #230

Last minute fund raising at the underground concourse, Wellington Railway Station .. a beautiful sound to greet the morning commuters. Bishop Viard College’s barbershop chorus, One Voice, is to compete in the first annual International Youth Barbershop Chorus Festival from 22 to 29 January 2008 in San Antonio, Texas!

The journey for the 16 boys began on 26 May when the Boys Barbershop Chorus was placed third in the Wellington Regional competition. After meeting with families, staff and coaches, they decided to aim for the national competition in Christchurch in August.

This meant concerts and sausage sizzles on top of music rehearsals to raise the necessary $400 per student for fares and accommodation in Christchurch. The boys and their parents worked together to achieve this.

With the help of Matthew Gifford, from the international champion quartet Musical Island Boys, and a very experienced barbershop singer and winner of national titles, Peter McGregor, the group was placed second in the national competition with ‘Heart of my Heart’ and ‘Hello Mary Lou’. Fired up to improve still further, the group found they could compete in the first-ever World Youth Barbershop Competition and Convention in San Antonio, Texas. The boys are now looking forward to singing, listening to and mixing with the best barbershop singers in the world. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

A concert at Bishop Viard College hall last month brought together an amazing line up of talent. MIB, Vocal FX, One Voice, and the Viard quartet, Pacific Flavours, and quartets from the other colleges in the Porirua area, Fantastic Four and Island Boys United, all generously supported us. Viard’s Miti Family country singers also featured with soloist Elman Avallone. With less than a week before they leave for San Antonio there has been a lot of singing, rehearsing and fundraising. It is costing each boy $2900 for their trip and they are very grateful for the sponsorship and support from the community received so far. The group is available for hire until 19 January 2008. For more information or to donate, phone Bishop Viard College, 237-5248 or email

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Meet under the Tripod ... #229

Another perspective of a favourite meeting place at the eastern end of Courtenay Place. Downstage Theatre is in the background. ... for previous post and some history go to the Celluloid Embassy

Downstage began as an alternative theatre in 1964. When it proved impossible for national touring companies to stay solvent, theatre practitioners who had worked with the New Zealand Players and enjoyed a reasonable continuity of radio drama, needed a professional theatre. Something that began small and grew out of its own community was the answer.

Another group of Wellingtonians – academics, lawyers and business people – desperate for a richer, cultural nightlife, coalesced with the theatre people to make it happen. In form and content, Downstage was very much a product of the 1960s social revolution.

Over its first forty years, Downstage has ‘parented' a range of related activities and been a central support system for other theatres. It has reinvented itself at least a dozen times, in line with the visions of new artistic directors and in response to prevailing economic imperatives, and has come through at least two near death experiences. Mistakes have been made and learned from and its continued survival is a testament to professionalism, good governance and the determination of its community to keep revitalising this nucleus of Wellington cultural activity.

Downstage Upfront explores the evolution of Downstage, characterises its changing stages of life, investigates the means by which it has managed to survive let alone succeed, and celebrates its achievements and continued existence. In the process the book also touches on the wider context of professional theatre practice in New Zealand and throws a special spotlight on Downstage's role in producing New Zealand plays.

The purpose of theatre in any society, and role of state-subsidised theatres in New Zealand especially, are always matters of debate. In enquiring into the past forty years of professional practice, Downstage Upfront answers some questions and raises more that will spark further debate. But that's theatre.
thanks to John Smythe for this historical note

Monday, January 14, 2008

Oriental Ball ... #228

Several truckloads of soft dune sand was temporarily spread on Oriental Bay Beach to make life less abrasive for competitors in the International Beach Volleyball event on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 January.
Relatively coarse sand was used when Oriental Bay was redeveloped in 2003 so that it would not be picked up and blown about by strong winds. However the sand has proved hard on the skin of competitors at previous beach volleyball events – so it will be temporarily covered with a layer of finer sand.
Wellington City Council Events Manager John Dawson says when competitors dive for the ball the existing sand can act "a bit like sandpaper – it's not pleasant".
The dune sand was trucked in by contractors and placed by front-end loader.

This montage is of the women's final between Susan Blundell and Anna Scarlett of New Zealand and Camiliia Saldanha and Lili Maestrini of Brazil.

Scarlett and Susan Blundell went down fighting in yesterday's final. After losing the first set 21-18, they fought back to claim the second 21-19, before losing the third 15-8. "We're athletes and we're competitors, so we want to win. It's not nice coming third or second, but we've got to take the positives out of it, which are things are coming together slowly," Scarlett said.

"We've got time on our side looking ahead to 2012. This is a frustrating time, because I want to be good now and I know that we can be." The pair are aiming to qualify for the London Olympics in 2012, and will embark on the world tour for the first time this year. "It's going to be a huge learning curve this world tour. There are so many countries that play it, the skill level is far higher than us, but we do have the talent to get there.

"For us this year is going away and learning, and writing everything down -- come back at the end of the year and say we need to do this and this and we'll succeed in 2012. "It's a long journey. You can't be awesome straight away, which I want to be, but we'll get there," Scarlett said with a grin. The former Silver Ferns defender said she was focused on her consistency and ability to stay in the game, and aimed to play more intelligently. She was satisfied, however, that she and Blundell were able to stick close to the Brazilian duo of Camilla Saldanha and Lili Maestrini.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Giant Kauri has Fallen ... #226

Sir Edmund Hillary undoubtedly the greatest New Zealand of our lifetime died yesterday ... Friday 11 January 2008.
" A giant kauri tree has fallen"

When he died in sleep in Auckland this morning flags were lowered to halfmast throughout the country – and at Scott Base – and will remain so until midnight Saturday... Ever-modest, Hillary told one friend recently, "when I kick the bucket I don't want statues, I just want my work to continue in Nepal." But he'll have a state funeral. Everyone would agree it's the least the country could do for Ed. By MAX LAMBERT - NZPA. FRI 11 JAN 2008

A 2.3-metre (7.5 ft) bronze statue of Sir Ed was installed outside The Hermitage hotel at Mt Cook village, New Zealand, in 2003. It shows Ed looking up at his beloved mountains. I took the photograph during a visit to Mt Cook in the summer of 2005.

Sir Edmund Hillary
Born 20 July 1919; Tuakau, North Island, New Zealand.Died 11 January 2008 (aged 88,Auckland, New Zealand was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) on 16 July 1953; a member of the Order of New Zealand (ONZ) in 1987; and a Knight of the Order of the Garter (KG) on 23 April 1995. Various streets, schools and organisations around New Zealand and abroad are named after him. A few examples are Hillary College (Otara), Edmund Hillary Primary School (Papakura) and the Hillary Commission (now SPARC). Hillary was name as one of the 100 most important people of the century by Time magazine

In 1992 Hillary appeared on the updated New Zealand $5 note; Hillary was the only New Zealander to appear on a banknote during their own lifetime.

To mark the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the first successful ascent of Everest the Nepalese Government conferred honorary citizenship upon Hillary at a special Golden Jubilee celebration in Kathmandu. He was the first foreign national to receive such an honour from the Nepalese.

Obituary: Sir Edmund Hillary, a Kiwi colossus. By MICHAEL FIELD - Fairfax Media Friday, 11 January 2008
Quotes from Sir Ed.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Generations of shopping ... #225

Three generations of visitors to Wellington doing the "Golden Mile" shop along Lambton Quay .. and maybe from a hotter Asian climate given the jackets !

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Dance of the Cranes ... #224

The skyline ballet of the year ... an aero-dynamic performance with exquisite aerial action and extreme elevation in a gravity defying show ... the season runs for the next 12 months at least, with performances 6 days a week !!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The party is over ... #223

Once the centre of festive attention .. and now discarded as the dead among the living ... Oh what an unglorious end to to a month of red carpet treatment.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Hunter Building ... #222

In 2004, Victoria University proudly celebrated the 100th birthday of its first home, the Hunter Building. On 27 August 1904, Lord Plunket, the Governor of New Zealand, laid the foundation stone for Victoria College on an unlikely site in Kelburn, Wellington. The building, designed by architects F. Penty and E. M. Blake, was opened on 30 March 1906, providing the first official home for the students and staff of the fledgling University.

The building housed the entire university, and as student numbers grew, extra wings were added to the building, including the impressive north wing, with its imposing stained glass memorial window. The south wing was completed in 1923 and the building remained largely unchanged, servicing generations of students, until the 1970s.

In 1974, the building was declared an earthquake risk, evacuated, and seemed destined for demolition. A group of determined alumni and friends formed the Friends of Hunter Society to save the building, which was strengthened, refitted and reopened in 1993. Today, the building acts as the centre of the university, housing the offices of the Vice-Chancellor, official reception areas including the Council Chamber and the Victoria Room, and a number of pieces of the Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Music in the Gardens ... #221

The first night of the Summer City Programme of Music in the Gardens. The Warratahs played at the Sound Shell in the Botanical Gardens .. families brought along picnics .. others just grab a drink and enjoyed the evening .. a beautiful balmy evening .. with just enough breeze to drift the bubbles across the crowd ... MAGIC WELLINGTON

Some History
New Zealand 1985 – at the height of 'new wave' and Kiwi pub rock - was an unlikely time to form a country band. However, a bunch of Wellington's musicians did just that. Called The Warratahs, the band's two-year residency at inner-city tavern The Cricketer's Arms drew increasingly large crowds, attracted by the mix of covers and originals in the style of Hank Williams, Jimmy Rogers and Hank Snow played in an acoustic style.

The Warratahs began touring and in 1987 turned up in Gore, at the bottom of New Zealand's South Island, for the legendary Gold Guitars country music awards. It was no surprise when, three days later, they walked away with the title of Best Group.

The band went into the studio in 1986 and recorded a Barry Saunders/Wayne Mason song Hands of My Heart. Released as a "single", the song received significant national airplay and led to the recording and release of The Warratahs' first long-player Only Game in Town in late 1987. The album spent 26 weeks in the charts and clocked up "gold" sales.

Covering the country, The Warratahs were now a full-time touring band reaching almost every part of New Zealand with their distinctive sound. A Saunders-penned song - Maureen - was lifted from the album and also received heavy airplay. Both "Maureen" and "Hands of My Heart" are still among the most-requested songs in The Warratahs' repertoire.

Like most bands who have extensively toured the relatively small New Zealand market, Australia soon beckoned and The Warratahs quickly built up a steady following in Sydney and Melbourne. New Zealand tours with Billy Joel and Johnny Cash (twice) followed, as well as their own headlining shows on both sides of the Tasman.

Also during this period, in 1991, a second album was released; Too Hot To Sleep featured the singles "St Peter's Rendezvous", "Fool's Paradise" and "Bruno's Last Ride". Two more albums followed, as well as a Best Of which went platinum - but after eight years of flat-out touring it was time to take stock.

With differing song writing styles and directions emerging Mason left and was replaced with accordion/piano player Alan Norman. Singer and songwriter Saunders used the hiatus to write and record two solo albums -"Weatherman" and "Magnetic South" - the latter winning the New Zealand Music Country Album Award.

By now it was 1999 and time to take the Warratahs out on the road again. The band joined legendary performance poet Sam Hunt and headed out on the "Drivin' Wheel" tour - to find that their following in heartland New Zealand was as strong as ever. In November of the same year a new Warratahs album was released - One of Two Things, featuring guest appearances from Hunt and singer Caroline Easther, garnered much critical acclaim and also picked up the NZ Music Country Album gong.

Four years later, a Warratahs Collection album spent six weeks in the charts and reminded fans of the vast catalogue of (largely Saunders-composed) songs that the band had amassed over the years. Around the same time a new Saunders album "Red Morning" was gathering considerable critical acclaim and marked a milestone of his 'singer-songwriter' career.

Now, twenty-odd years on, The Warratahs are a New Zealand music institution. The distinctive vocals of Barry Saunders and individual violin style of Nik Brown reach all the way back to the band's beginning in 1985 and, along with Saunders' elemental songs, form the core of 'The Warratahs Sound'. ... have a listen to the instrumental "Bruno's Last Ride". Still touring and playing shows and festivals, they continue to pull the crowds and deliver strong and exciting performances. Although they play songs from their five albums they have always continued to develop and record new material.

The Warratahs - Line up
Barry Saunders - vocals & guitar
Nik Brown - fiddle & mandolin
Sid Limbert - bass
Alan Norman - keyboards & accordian
Mo' Newport - drums

Only Game in Town - 1987
Too Hot To Sleep - 1991
Wild Card - 1994
Big Sky - 1997
The Best of The Warratahs - 2000
One of Two Things - 2002
Collection - 2004
Keep On - 2006

Playtime ... #220

Midland Park ... A mother and her two daughters enjoying the space and the sunshine ... while those who are less energetic sip their latte ... come Monday lunchtime and all the "suits" will be back here for lunch

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A New Year Beer .... #219

... well a ginger beer really .. but still a pleasant way to start the year ... Shed Five on Queens Wharf

Friday, January 4, 2008

a small journey ... #218

Photographed in Kelburn Village ... a couple from the UK touring New Zealand in a classic red Mini ... with matching red suitcase that filled the boot ... they are off on a South Island "tiki tour" (n. roundabout way to get somewhere; scenic tour) ... and sometime will get to Queenstown to see their daughter who is working in the tourist centre of the lower south.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A whale of a protest... #217

...some Wellington college students outside Parliament voice their protest against commercial whaling

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Best of the Bunch ... #215

Well this is a very alternative perspective of Best of the Bunch ... when I found out that such a real business with this name existed and withing about 15 metres of where I work ... how could I resist

It is actually a small florist & gift shop next to where I work in Pipitea Street, Wellington ... a tad off theme but unique in Wellington. They do profile gifts, flowers and gifts. Suppliers to corporate and personal clients for any occasion, local and international delivery. The inset aerial photo shows the location ... you can easily pick out the Westpac Stadium ... all ready for summer cricket.

Theme Day Participants
Paris, France - London, England - Hyde, UK - West Sacramento (CA), USA - Grenoble, France - Stockholm, Sweden - Riga, Latvia - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Manila, Philippines - Silver Spring (MD), USA - Weston (FL), USA - Prague, Czech Republic - New Orleans (LA), USA - Wichita (KS), USA - Cleveland (OH), USA - San Francisco (CA), USA - Hobart (Tasmania), Australia - Greenville (SC), USA - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Mainz, Germany - Melbourne, Australia - Portland (OR), USA - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Toulouse, France - Naples (FL), USA - Jakarta, Indonesia - Brussels, Belgium - Stayton (OR), USA - Selma (AL), USA - Mexico City, Mexico - Ocean Township (NJ), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Port Angeles (WA), USA - Toruń, Poland - Fort Lauderdale (FL), USA - Budapest, Hungary - Baziège, France - Nashville (TN), USA - Saint Louis (MO), USA - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Chicago (IL), USA - Prescott (AZ), USA - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Nottingham, UK - Miami (FL), USA - Philadelphia (PA), USA - Evry, France - Trujillo, Peru - Arlington (VA), USA - Denpasar, Indonesia - American Fork (UT), USA - Seattle (WA), USA - Chandler (AZ), USA - Coral Gables (FL), USA - Montpellier, France - Joplin (MO), USA - Pilisvörösvár, Hungary - Crystal Lake (IL), USA - Bucaramanga (Santander), Colombia - Boston (MA), USA - Torun, Poland - New York City (NY), USA - Dunedin (FL), USA - Quincy (MA), USA - Stavanger, Norway - Chateaubriant, France - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Jackson (MS), USA - Wailea (HI), USA - Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Budapest, Hungary - Austin (TX), USA - Montréal (QC), Canada - Cypress (TX), USA - Bicheno, Australia - Wrocław, Poland - Brookville (OH), USA - Minneapolis (MN), USA - Nelson, New Zealand - Cheltenham, UK - Wellington, New Zealand