Tuesday, March 31, 2009

#665 ... Chocolate Hit

It seems that most people think of Easter as a celebration of chocolate as opposed to the religious context. However it appears that like the origin of Easter, the origin of the Easter Bunny has roots that go back to pre-Christian, Anglo-Saxon history. The holiday was originally a pagan celebration that worshipped the goddess Eastre. She was the goddess of fertility and springtime and her earthly symbol was the rabbit.

Thus the pre-Christian Anglo-Saxons worshipped the rabbit believing it to be Eastre's earthly incarnation. When the Anglo-Saxons were converted to Christianity, the pagan holiday, which occurred around the same time as the Christian memorial of Jesus' resurrection from the dead, was combined with the Christian celebration and given the name Easter.

Originally, there were some very pagan practices that went along with the Easter celebration. Today, Easter is often commercialized, with all the focus on eggs, the Easter bunny, especially 6the chocolate kind

Monday, March 30, 2009

#664 ... Getting around Moore or Less

Sitanun navigating her way around a Henry Moore ...The Botanical Gardens, Wellington ... Henry Moore's sculpture, Bronze Form which has been in the city since 1988 .. originally placed in Midland Park, it was coated with a wax and resin to retain the original bright bronze colour. However if you have had the pleasure of seeing and touching one of Moore's sculptures in the wild, you will know that an integral part of the sculpture is the manner in which it ages in its surrounding environment. I spent a month during the winter of 1996 at Arden House Harriman, NJ and hidden in the woodlands on the hills around this gracious old world estate .. are some Henry Moore sculptures. Billy Apple is creating the debate about "less" environmental protection for the sculpture will actually create "more" ... and be a work of art as Moore anticipated.

Less Is Moore
For just 24 hours leading New Zealand artist Billy Apple presented a work in Wellington’s Botanic Gardens. This may seem an unlikely venue for an artist better known for his gallery-based conceptual text-works, objects and installations, but Apple is seeking to draw attention to Henry Moore’s iconic sculpture, Bronze Form, a landmark well-known to Wellingtonians.

He has decided to undertake this in response to an invitation from the Adam Art Gallery to present a project as part of One Day Sculpture, a New Zealand-wide series of temporary public art works initiated by the Litmus Research Initiative at Massey University working with British-based curator, Claire Doherty.

Apple’s Less is Moore however, is not designed as a confrontation between two very different artists, but rather as an opportunity to reconsider the fate of sculpture in public space and to turn attention to the context where it is located.

Billy Apple®
Saturday 28 March 2009
Salamanca Lawn, Botanic Gardens, Wellington

Read about Arden House Arden Estate
Located in the Town of Woodbury, New York, Arden House was completed in 1909 by E.H. Harriman. The house was built at the highest point on Mount Orama, with commanding views of the Hudson Highlands in all directions, an area OSI has been actively protecting for decades, conserving more than 25,000 acres. The Arden House property has important conservation value with extensive open spaces including a lake and distinct rocky outcroppings visible for miles around.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

#662 ... Pedal Power

Triathlon bikes all lined up ready at the transition point at Waitangi Park .. waiting for the athletes to finish the swim stage ...

Friday, March 27, 2009

#661 ... Dinner Time

Cities are always in a state of flux ... offices always seem to be relocating on some floor in some building somewhere ... well these are the "shifters" ... and YES ... even they need to stop for dinner ... last night it was fish'n'chips off the BOAT ... Back Of A Truck.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

#659 ... A New View

The view at work this morning. We build high rise office blocks without a thought for those that have to keep the windows clean ... slightly more challenging than the windows at home. This is looking north from the State Services Commission building in Molesworth St.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

#658 ... Night Rugby

Walking home from the Friday night rugby at the Stadium ... the Hurricanes lost .. but a superb evening otherwise. View looking south towards the Wellington Railway Station .. the crane is working on the new buildings on the waterfront

Monday, March 23, 2009

#657 ... On the street where you live

Terralink International is filming the view from every road in New Zealand over the next two years, in an initiative that will benefit local authorities.
Streetcam, a van (this one pictured in Cuba Street, Wellington) with six video cameras strapped to its roof, will drive down every road in the country on a journey of 144,000kms. The resulting video record will take New Zealand into a new era of geographic information, providing a new level of understanding for police, councils, tourism, utility companies and road accident research.

Street view video is beginning to be used around the world in a variety of applications, such as Google Earth, where street view video is available for select areas of some US cities.

“This is the first time such detailed video data combined with GPS has been collected from every corner of New Zealand. It’s going to allow us to enrich our base data,”

“We currently use our aerial photographs to assist us with collecting data and Streetcam will enable us to have a fuller picture. It will be very useful for quickly and accurately pinpointing locations.

“For instance, the police and emergency services could use Streetcam data to quickly pinpoint a particular building, and road accident experts could use it to rate the safety of roads. It’ll help local councils and government organisations manage their assets by giving them the exact location of their asset as well as a photo. Assets can range from a power pole to a drainage cover. This will minimise loss of time by contractors trying to identify exactly where that asset is.

Streetcam is expected to take around two years to complete filming of the entire country. The data will be regularly updated, which will provide a unique historical record of changes to vegetation and streetscapes.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

#656 ... Umbrella Day

Apologies about missing the daily photo yesterday ... but my PC had an off day and I have had to crank up the old steam driven laptop. This image is taken at the northern end of Cuba Mall at what used to be well know as James Smith's Corner because this department store used to be here .. to the right of the umbrella. The building behind the umbrella is the old BNZ bank building which now houses Burger King !! ... YEAH RIGHT

Down the end of the street to the right of the photo is the Town Hall and the Michael Fowler Centre. Manners Street is off to the left of the photo

Friday, March 20, 2009

#656 ... My Clean Waka

The Wellington Girls College "Waka ama" (outrigger canoes) team doing car washing to raise money for going to the competitions in Rotorua ... the Cat looked clean for once!!! Thanks Team

Waka Ama website and here is an article from the NZ Herald about school sport Waka Ama:

Waka Ama is much more than just another sport at James Cook High. It is THE sport of choice for many of the 1200 pupils at the Weymouth school. And, they are pretty good at it.Victories in the division one boys' and girls' championship finals at the Auckland Secondary Schools regatta at the Orakei Basin on Saturday followed hard work put in by the school's 60-odd paddlers under the programme run by George Pomana and Richard Schuster.

Waka Ama, outrigger canoeing, is an extension of the school's bilingual unit administered by Pomana and based around their Te Pou Herenga Marae.

"There is a majority of Maori and Polynesian boys and girls at the school who mix in with the mainstream pupils for Waka Ama," said Schuster, who introduced the sport to the school while his daughters were there a few years ago.

"We have the resources and it is just a short walk from the school to where we train at Weymouth."

Many past pupils have gone on to join the Te Pou Herenga Club at Weymouth, which Schuster also started. The canoes - five six-person and six singles - are owned by the club but made available to the school.At $11,000 and $2500 respectively, they don't come cheap but Schuster does not let that dampen his enthusiasm.

"We have put in a lot of work already this year but we will have to do more before we go to the nationals in Rotorua at the end of the month," said Schuster, who has been paddling for 18 years after competing in dragon boats. "But that won't be easy as a lot of the kids are also in the ASB Polyfest which also takes a lot of their time as it is quite intense."

Keen to provide Waka Ama year round, Schuster has introduced a Year 9 programme at the school. "While some of our paddlers go off and play league, rugby or netball in the winter, some want to stay with Waka Ama - so we are extending our programme which will take them through to the junior regatta in term four."

All eyes will now be on Joshua Perese, who won the J16 and J19 titles at last year's national secondary schools championships and will be back to defend this year in Rotorua from March 31-April 3, hoping to give James Cook High further recognition on the national stage.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

#655 ... Sky High Dramatics

Dramatic sky over Wellington ... taken by my good friend Rumi. Note the power transmission pylon to the left and the punga ferns to the right ... both typical icons of the NZ world

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

#654 ... The Log o' Wood

Held by many .. but won by few. Well at least I can now qualify for the the first ... yesterday at the BNZ Bank at the north end of Lambton Quay. They were displaying the Ranfurly Shield and other memorabilia to raise funds for the bush fire victims in Victoria, Australia.

One intersting snippet about the shield was that it was originally designed as a trophy for soccer, not rugby. This was because the picture in the centrepiece was a soccer one. The picture was modified by adding goal posts on the soccer goal that comprised the picture, to create a rugby scene. The ball was round and had to be modified to the oval shape of a rugby ball!!

The Ranfurly Shield colloquially known as the Log o' Wood, is perhaps the most prestigious trophy in New Zealand's domestic rugby union competition. First played for in 1902, the Ranfurly Shield is based on a challenge system, rather than a league or knockout competition as with most football trophies. The holding union must defend the Shield in challenge matches, and if a challenger defeats them, they become the new holder of the Shield.
The Shield is currently held by Wellington, who won it from Auckland in Round 8 of the Round Robin in the 2008 Air New Zealand Cup.
Although the professional era of rugby has seen competitions such as the National Provincial Championship and its successor, the Air New Zealand Cup, and Super Rugby detracting from the pre-eminence of the Ranfurly Shield, many still regard it as the greatest prize in New Zealand rugby, thanks to its long history, the fact that every challenge is a sudden-death defence of the Shield, and that any team, no matter how lowly, has a chance to win.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

#653 ... A stunning evening

Perfect evening looking across Evans Bay ... with the NIWA vessel "Tangaroa" " at the Miramar wharf and a slight ripple in the bay from the back draft of plane landing at Wellington airport.
PHOTO courtesy of Noel Turchie .. thanks mate

NIWA is the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research and its research vessel the Tangaroa is capable of working throughout New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in conditions ranging from subtropical to subantarctic, Research Vessel Tangaroa is well equipped for a wide range of stock assessment work. Because some of New Zealand’s most important commercial fish species (such as orange roughy) are found at great depths, Tangaroa can trawl down to 2000 m. It can also accommodate a wide range of commercial and research midwater and bottom trawl gear. Powerful, low pressure hydraulic winches feature up-to-date autotrawl technology. Electronic monitoring systems give full information on gear depth, doorspread and net opening. Tangaroa is also fully equipped for fisheries acoustic work. Recent modifications for marine geological research include a deepwater coring system (to 5000 m) and air compressors for seismic surveys.

Monday, March 16, 2009

#652 ... Aclimatisation

Triathlon cometitors either cooling off or aclimatising by standing in the cool water at the harbour edge ... great for ducks

Sunday, March 15, 2009

#651 ... Give us a lift

Working on the weekend ... removing construction equipment and machinery from 180 Molesworth Street ... which is home to NZ Police Head Office , parts of the Ministry of Health etc ... the building has been under refurbishment and this was part of the tidy up ... with a very tall crane taking up most of the street.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

#650 ... Triathlon

First out of the water ... the swimming leg of the triathlon ... Wellington Harbour on the eastern side of Te Papa ... this morning and the water was not very warm!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

#649 ... Flanders Field

Although ANZAC Day is more than a month away ... 25 April .. this photo was taken earlier in the week during a welcome for one of our new netballers ... imported from Jamaica. The school girls are from Chilton St James College in the Hutt Valley ... and their red uniforms spread out against the grey stone of Parliament steps .. evoked images of ANZAC and the red poppies on the WW1 battle fields ... so aptly captured by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae's famous poem.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

McCrae's "In Flanders Fields" remains to this day one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915. Here is the story of the making of that poem:
Although he had been a doctor for years and had served in the South African War, it was impossible to get used to the suffering, the screams, and the blood here, and Major John McCrae had seen and heard enough in his dressing station to last him a lifetime.

As a surgeon attached to the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Major McCrae, who had joined the McGill faculty in 1900 after graduating from the University of Toronto, had spent seventeen days treating injured men -- Canadians, British, Indians, French, and Germans -- in the Ypres salient.

It had been an ordeal that he had hardly thought possible. McCrae later wrote of it:

"I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done."

One death particularly affected McCrae. A young friend and former student, Lieut. Alexis Helmer of Ottawa, had been killed by a shell burst on 2 May 1915. Lieutenant Helmer was buried later that day in the little cemetery outside McCrae's dressing station, and McCrae had performed the funeral ceremony in the absence of the chaplain.

The next day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the dressing station beside the Canal de l'Yser, just a few hundred yards north of Ypres, McCrae vented his anguish by composing a poem. The major was no stranger to writing, having authored several medical texts besides dabbling in poetry.

In the nearby cemetery, McCrae could see the wild poppies that sprang up in the ditches in that part of Europe, and he spent twenty minutes of precious rest time scribbling fifteen lines of verse in a notebook.

A young soldier watched him write it. Cyril Allinson, a twenty-two year old sergeant-major, was delivering mail that day when he spotted McCrae. The major looked up as Allinson approached, then went on writing while the sergeant-major stood there quietly. "His face was very tired but calm as we wrote," Allinson recalled. "He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer's grave."

When McCrae finished five minutes later, he took his mail from Allinson and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the young NCO. Allinson was moved by what he read:

"The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene."

In fact, it was very nearly not published. Dissatisfied with it, McCrae tossed the poem away, but a fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

#648 ... Blue Tag

The graffiti tag on the back wall of Felix Cafe ... northern (bottom) end of Cuba Street ... across the road from the Wellington Town Hall and the Michael Fowler Centre

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

#647 ... Sport Injury

Wellington Hospital, Accident & Emergency ... Josh was tackled heavily during his football game last night ... so we had a trip to the After Hours Medical Centre .. waited for an hour to see the doctor ... suspected dislocated shoulder ... but could not do an xray as the technicians had already gone home .. so another kilometre down the road to A&E for an xray etc. ... 2 hours later they took the pictures ... after another hour we saw another doctor ... badly wrenched muscles and ligaments on the shoulder ... pain killers ... immobilisation for 24-48 hours and then physio-therapy to gradually increase movement over the next week ... beats sitting on the couch watching reality TV ... why not experience it for yourself!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

#646 ... Newtown Shines

The thirteenth Newtown Festival attracted a crowd estimated at 70,000 people to its annual street fair on Sunday. The suburb’s main streets were closed to traffic and filled with visitors, who watched entertainment on five stages, sampled a variety of food, and bought bargains from 330 stalls of ethnic food, clothing and assorted knick-knacks.... with a Brazilian parade ending the sunny afternoon.

Event organisers are buzzing after staging the annual events, saying the great weather helped woo huge crowds. The Newtown Festival turned into a double-header when 9000 visitors took the opportunity to walk through Wellington's new state-of-the-art regional hospital.

Monday, March 9, 2009

#645 ... Sticky Fingers

Promotion promotion promtion ... pasting up the posters on the pipe billboards at Midland Park ... the paper on the billboard is now about 2cm thick ... apparently it gets cut off every now and again ... making for a unique artwork piece.

An interesting aside is that I saw the Terracotta Warriors in Xian in 1988 ... and managed to get arrested by the Military for using a video camera in the exibition building ... and was fined USD100 for the pleasure !!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

#644 ... Morning Coffee

Pandoro bakery and cafe .. Wakefield Street ... some inside .. some outside .. they make great breads and pasteries

Saturday, March 7, 2009

#643 ... The Gingerbread House?

Nada Bakery in Johnsonville .. tradition comes to one of the northern suburbs ... 15 mins from the city centre

Friday, March 6, 2009

#642 ... Night Blues

The blue neon sculpture in the Post Office Square ... building (out of frame) to the right of the sculpture is the Intercontinental Hotel ... a photo of interesting lights, shades and patterns ... taken on the way home from the circus performance

Presented to the city in 2006. The principal funder was TOWER Group, with major donations from Creative New Zealand and the Wellington City Council. Numerous private individuals and trusts, mainly from Wellington, contributed the balance of funds.

The artist Bill Culbert is internationally famous for his work in neon and other light forms. He has written of SkyBlues: “In daylight the neons are against a blue sky, fragile glass blue lines with fine steel supporting structures. Night time will make the artwork vibrate in a different way with the strong vertical movement of electric light at full power. The writing hand moves vertically up and down in space always changing to the moving viewer. Dawn and dusk the blue neon will be ever changing as with rain, winds and clouds. SkyBlues is light energy, the verticals and drawn lines that move, shimmer, swirl blue in cityscape.”

Thursday, March 5, 2009

#641 ... Night Moves

Last night at Queens Wharf ... entertaining real live theatre & circus ... warm calm evening with a good crowd ... amazing colours and imagery against the night sky ... if you are in Wellington get along to something that can make you smile ... and laugh.

Magic, danger and death-defying stunts are all part of this spectacular outdoor circus adventure. Inspired by ocean voyaging, these intrepid explorers whirl you along on their expedition searching for lost worlds. Journey through storms as acrobats soar above you at dizzying heights, fall in love with the oddball performers as they dangle nonchalantly from ropes, and laugh at their antics as they try to reach their collective destinations. Presented by Fuse Circus, creators of the acclaimed Gravity and Other Myths and Heavenly Burlesque.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

#640 ... The Southern Cross

This may seem non-descript and not very awe inspiring ... however probably most of the student population in Wellington since at least the early 60s has partyed at this watering hole ... and it is still a hot spot today

This is Wellys funky and contemporary heritage bar! With history stretching back to before colour photo’s the Cross has been Te Aro’s meeting place and watering hole for hundreds of years! The new interior is so intriguing and homely it drove us to the finals for ‘Best renovated bar’ in ’06.

Everyone fits. All the different spaces and daily local happenings have sussed the place with an exciting and down to earth atmosphere. And ambiance with more character than a flying sheep.

The backyard’s cool. Taking out ‘best garden bar’ in The Capital Times in ’06 and ’07 it’s a bit flash but without the fireplace, comfy seats, hot water bottles and blankets it wouldn’t be the cosiest backyard for the winter that it is!

Check the website

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

#639 ... Another Coffee stop

Midnight Espresso ... 178 Cuba Street ... an old faithfull that hasn't changed after all these years ... a great place for alternative food, a game of pinball or a healthy muffin at a 'Formica' table ... the store on the on the left is Frutti .. an eclectic fashion boutique, loved by many young ladies

Monday, March 2, 2009

#638 ... Mast Head

A view of the city through the yacht masts at the marina next to the Overseas Passenger Terminal .. Te Papa to the immediate left and you can pick out the two tallest buildings .. the Majestic Centre "IBM Tower" and the State Insurance Building.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

#637 ... Harbour Fun

The day after the rain ... a turbulent harbour .. just right for the jet ski racing .. a great Wellington day .. Warm and Windy