The LUX festival is back for another year so we took the opportunity of a dry Friday evening to attend the opening night. The festival covers a smaller footprint this year with no extension into the city laneways. I think this is a pity as there are a few sculptures on display that would look better suspended in the narrow spaces rather than being held up by scaffolding along the waterfront.
Anyway, we spent an hour or so checking out all the sculptures. Alayna is currently wheelchair-bound because of a broken leg sustained while trampolining and this limited her ability to interact with some of the sculptures. Thankfully she was very happy to receive candy floss on a glowing stick and play with that as we pushed her around. It was worth a look but we’ve enjoyed previous years more.
Recently the Wellington ferry company Bluebridge announced that they had purchased a new ferry and it was sailing its way from Sweden to arrive on the 1st June. There was an associated photo competition to capture the best photo of the Strait Feronia’s Wellington arrival so I figured we’d get out and see if we could get some good shots. With a bit of pre-planning and the help of an app on my phone that tracked ships (MarineTraffic) we set out on the Monday morning towards Seatoun to capture the Strait Feronia as it entered Wellington harbour.
We parked near the start of the Benoit Trail above Breaker Bay and then walked up through the Oruaiti Reserve to the gun emplacements that were part of Fort Dorset. With panoramic views over the harbour mouth this was a fantastic viewpoint for watching the Strait Feronia arrive. The ferry was a dot in the distance as we arrived but soon enough she was cutting past Baring Head following a pilot boat. It was a still and overcast morning and we were surprised by a bit of rain which had us heading back to the car. There was time for a quick few photos of the Strait Feronia nearing Matiu/Somes Island and then we were driving towards Mt Victoria to see if we could catch the ferry reach its new home.
Watching the arriving Strait Feronia
Entering the harbour past Baring Head
The Mt Victoria lookout only had a few people in attendance and we got there in plenty of time to watch the Strait Feronia be introduced to Wellington. There was a tug boat in attendance spraying a fountain of water and two helicopters circled around as well. The cloud was starting to break up and then the sun came out to shine on the harbour. I got a few more photos and then we enjoyed some sun at the summit while Alayna played around.
A proud display, my competition entry
This morning I got a phone call on the way to work from Priscilla at Bluebridge telling me that I’d won the photo competition with my entry above! Keryn and I now have some planning to do as we’re won a Britz campervan for 5 nights plus accommodation and petrol costs and of course return ferry fares as well. Goes to show that a little preparation can pay off :).
On Sunday Keryn and I took part in the Adventure WellingtonGreat Pirate Treasure Hunt. In teams (crews) of five we all raced around the Wellington waterfront and beyond competing in tasks to be rewarded with coins. We were part of the crew of the Gabriel along with Suzanne, Sue and our Captain Robyn. The Gabriel had put some effort into costumes, we all had matching t-shirts and suitably pirate themed accessories like tattoos and bandannas, but we we’re left behind in the costuming stakes by many other teams. The organisers of the day were also impressively dressed and it was good fun running around as part of the pirate horde, with lots of appreciative comments from others sharing the waterfront. There was also the opportunity before the event started to get extra make-up effects applied for a small fee, so a number of pirates sported ugly scars, bleeding wounds and extravagant tattoos.
Another organiser in chief, Linc made a fine pirate.
We were sent off from Frank Kitts Park, each crew having a map showing the first and subsequent destinations. During the day we took part in statue dressing, snorkelling, digging, sailing, puzzling, kidnap, escaping, climbing, hack sack, caving, hill climbing, bobbing for fruit (and rum and a severed foot), practical angry birds, dodge-ball, hopping for rings, music making, dancing and knot tying. There was also a fair bit of skulduggery, piratical behaviour and more than one sword fight to be had all in the name of good fun.
We ended up coming a respectable 17th out of 29 crews, not a bad effort. The winning crew were transported to an island in Wellington Harbour where they had to locate and dig up their chest of treasure and the rest of the crews were split into two boats to head out and watch. As we ended up in the lower half of the rankings we were on the bread and water boat, our betters being fed pizza instead. Before we all headed out the final announcement was of the losing crew, and as it was a tie there was a pirate vote to see which Captain would walk the plank with Captain Gary of Sea King the unlucky soul sent to the sea.
On Saturday night Keryn and I along with Catherine and Paul attended a show at the Opera House in Wellington. Sir Ian McKellen was performing a one-man show with proceeds in aid of the restoration of the quake-damaged Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch. We had dinner nearby and arrived early enough to get to our seats near the front.
It wasn’t too long to wait before the lights went down and after a short burst of dramatic music from the Lord of the Rings movies we heard a voice from the darkness of the stage. Sir Ian was reciting a passage from the Fellowship of the Ring, specifically the encounter between Gandalf and the Balrog at the bridge Of Khazad Dum. And so the night began. Near the start Ian asked if anyone wanted to come on stage and have a play with the prop sword Glamdring that he had with him. He was looking for someone young, 10 or so, but when there were no appropriate volunteers he let someone somewhat older come up instead. The volunteer was invited to hold the sword and swish it around, Ian even suggested that she could attack him if she wanted though thankfully she declined. She also got to try on Ian’s copy of the One Ring that he was given while visiting Nelson recently, proof it was a copy given when she didn’t disappear once putting it on.
The first half of the show was then largely taken up with Ian answering questions posed by the audience, from reminiscing about meeting and acting with Ava Gardner while working on the movie Priest of Love to working with Ricky Gervais on his show Extras. We relived Ian’s encounter with Nelson Mandala, learned about Ian publicly coming out in response to a proposed British law change and many more things besides. The tales were funny, heart-warming and interesting and this part of the show ended in what seemed far to short a period of time.
After the interval, during which there were a few people wandering through the crowd hunting out signatures from actors and crew from the Hobbit movie still being filmed in Miramar, Ian was back on stage and the subject changed to Shakespeare. Marching about on stage Ian had an open clipboard in hand containing a complete list of Shakespeare’s plays and he invited the audience to try and name them all. As the names were shouted out Ian crossed them off, every now and again stopping to recite a favourite quote from a recently named play, reminiscing on his experiences playing parts, or letting us know his favourite characters.
As an encore Ian came on stage and explained about his efforts to help restore the Isaac Theatre Royal. With the help of ASB, Air New Zealand and the many theatres he visited on this tour all the money from ticket sales is going to the Theatre restoration project. As an extra effort Ian had a bucket to collect money and for a small sum he would have a photo taken with anyone, sign whatever people wanted or just have a short chat if that was requested. Ian then invited on stage the members of the Hobbit cast in attendance and they were all given buckets as well so they could also collect money.
As a final piece of theatre Ian then invited on-stage anyone who wanted to take part in a short bit of acting. I’m not normally someone who does this sort of thing but this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance so I headed up along with several dozen others. We mingled with the Hobbit cast, Martin Freeman expressing his general surprise at what was happening “We had no idea about this” (though with a grin on his face) and everyone then crowded in around Ian as he explained what would happen next. We were to be French soldiers on the battlefield and at the signalled time we were all to fall to the ground while Ian recited the names of the fallen. So we took our places and when indicated we all collapsed, playing dead for a few minutes while Ian lamented the fall of his colleagues such as “Moet, Chandon and Dom Perignon”. We were soon back on our feet and taking a bow to applause from the audience and then the show came to a close.
The Hobbit cast members were then arrayed around the theatre and lines quickly formed for people to give some money and collect some signatures and photos. Keryn and I (well, really I was dragging Keryn around) started by heading to Peter Jackson who happily signed our copy of the Hobbit. We then joined a line and met Martin Freeman (Bilbo), getting a signature from Stephen Hunter (Bombur, though most Kiwis will probably recognise him more for the Toyota flying fox television ad), then crossed the theatre to meet Billy Connolly (Dain Ironfoot, and he said he would be back in NZ next year for some shows) and then out into the foyer where we first bumped into Jed Brophy (Nori) before joining a line to finally meet Sir Ian (Gandalf). I grabbed a few photos along the way, such as Peter Jackson holding court on the stairs from the foyer to a line of eager fans. Everyone we met was very friendly and relaxed. There was a woman ahead of us in a few of the queues who was asking the actors for some odd requests such as getting Martin to hold up a sign she had something written on (a message for a friend) and then she very much confused Billy Connolly while getting him to recite a short message while she took a video (again for the same friend I’m guessing). While maybe a bit bemused at the turn of events the actors took it all in their stride and no doubt the sum of money taken for the Isaac Theatre Royal swelled accordingly.
Saturday we were in town buying bits and pieces for our emergency kit at home. We’ve still got water canisters to buy, the Bunnings we went too had sent all of theirs to Christchurch. In between shopping we spent some time at Lyall Bay watching all the Kite Surfers, Windsurfers and surfers attempting to enjoy themselves while avoiding everyone else on the water. A highlight of the day was found at Frank Kitts Park where we watched a matinee showing of Campground Chaos, a new show put together by the talented Fuse Circus people. Styled around a typical Kiwi camp ground the show had juggling, suspended acrobatics, crutches (for the circus member who had a broken metatarsal), cricket bats, tents, a unicycle, a large hoop, a bbq 3 meters off the ground, a picnic table 4 meters in the air, sharing of food, a strange dream sequence involving sausages and dancing girls, a bogan acrobat, a unicycling all black, a whip welding camp host, a dancing tui, a hobbling tourist and a lot of fun.
The audience was swelled at times by crews from the nearby Dragon Boat practice sessions, popping in to have a look in between heading out to the water. As we left I spotted a strange group of people across the lagoon and upon closer inspection found a mermaid convention also taking place. Wellington in the summer is an interesting place to be.
There is a conference underway in Wellington that goes by the name of Webstock, I did not attend. Two of the guest speakers were musicians that I like, Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley. This evening just gone Amanda played a ninja gig* at the Wellington Civic Square and invited Jason along for the party, and I was there to see and hear.
It was an interesting and engaging evening. True, half the time I couldn’t actually hear the music over the general hubbub of people but it was fun none-the-less. Jason’s arrival livened things up, his maniac accordion playing going down a treat. There were duets and requests, crowd surfing and an acoustic ukulele cover of Radiohead’s song Creep. It was wonderful, more so perhaps for being free. Naturally I took some photos.
Just a quick one this. These are photo taken last week around dusk in Wellington and a few from yesterday when I went for a walk at Kaitoke (though there are no photos to be seen of the interesting looking fake-stone arch and stone circle that were set up on the approach road to Kaitoke, the security made sure of that).
The zoom photos were taken by setting the camera on a tripod and making sure the exposure was set for a few seconds. The shot was then composed and taken and near the end of the exposure the lens was zoomed in, creating the light trails. It’s always interesting to experiment with photography.
Oh, and I changed the 2kiwis site template the other day. There will be tinkering over the coming days no doubt so if things look strange then let me know.
Friday and Saturday were spent at the Wellington Seven’s tournament, a sporting event that is really just an excuse for a huge costume party. Keryn and I are generally far too reserved for dressing up (unless we’re on holiday with like minded people) so it was just as well we were going with four others who were both more willing and better organised than ourselves.
Travis and Sophie ended up buying most of the costumes which you’ll see later on. Any reservations I had about heading into down dressed up as a colourful yet clinched Hawaiian were thrown out the window at Mana station where we caught our train in to the city, a bunch of Tui boys and two tennis players the start of what turned out to be a weekend of costume invention.
We arrived at Wellington Station and headed out the front to catch the end of the Sevens fashion parade, and the photos started being taken. It was then on to the stadium concourse where we stopped for a while to watch and photograph the people walking by.
Inside the stadium there were plenty of things to keep people entertained outside of the sport and the people watching. There were AirNZ staff giving out necklaces of beads for kisses (and plenty of people, usually guys, going around exchanging beads for more kisses), a few action events including dodge-ball and giant hamster wheels. Of course there were plenty of places to buy food and drink. I had thought that wandering around inside the stadium would be the way to get good photos of all the people but in the end it was much simpler to stay in one spot most of the time at our seats and watch people from there.
We watched people, wandered a little, talked, ate, drank, cheered and occasionally watched some rugby. This was pretty much the recipe for the next day and a half. Keryn, Lydia and Will arrived in the evening after work on the first day and we we all arrived within a half hour of each other on the Saturday. New Zealand won the rugby tournament which put everyone into a great mood. We also caught up with Marty and Bevan who we used to work with all those years ago at the Warehouse. The rest, you can just look at the photos.
As mentioned on twitter a while back I’ve become addicted to watching the Karearea (NZ Falcons) at Zealandia. The breeding pair have one chick this year and it has recently fledged. I was lucky enough to stumble upon the chosen resting spot earlier this week and got some good photos. I’m also lucky enough not to have been dive bombed by the protective parents, I guess I haven’t looked too threatening or got too close. Here we have a selection of photos from the last couple of weeks.
Our last day on the South Island and we had booked to walk a section of the Queen Charlotte Track, being ferried out and back by Cougar Line water taxis of Picton. There were no mix ups with the booking for this water taxi and we were sitting on the wharf waiting to go onto our boat with plenty of time to spare. Leaving the backpackers had been easy enough, not many residents awake at the hour we departed.
The boat was small and there were only two additional passengers, both heading out to walk the first section of the Queen Charlotte track from Ship Cove to Endeavour Inlet. We were on a day trip that had us first dropped off at the Motuara Island Scenic and Historic Reserve and then another transfer to Resolution Bay from where we would walk on the Queen Charlotte around to Ferneaux Lodge in Endeavour Inlet.
On the journey out we stopped for a short while to watch a small pod of bottlenose dolphin playing in the channel. The dolphin played around the boat and could be seen jumping from the water as we moved away. One dolphin poked its head out of the water and checked us out on the boat which was a nice moment. After dropping the two other walkers at Ships Cove we were taken to Motuara Island and we disembarked for a few hours of walking.
Motuara Island is a wildlife sanctuary and also a historical site of significance with a monument commemorating Captain Cook raising the British flag on 31st January 1770, taking possession of the South Island in the name of King George 3rd. There is currently only one public track on the island which spirals from the wharf to the top where there is a viewing platform to look over the island canopy out to the Sounds. We arrived during what seemed to be the bellbird morning chorus, there was a cacophony of singing surrounding us as we walked up the track. In addition to the copious bellbird we also saw a couple of wood pigeon and some friendly south island robins.
We took our time heading back towards the dock and had a snack at a small amphitheatre of seating built next to a small pool on the side of the track. Sitting here eating slice we watched bellbird and robin come in to either check us out or have a quick bath. A little way down the track there was a little blue penguin nesting box with one penguin, named Fish head, in occupancy. The penguin seemed mostly unconcerned as we opened the viewing door on the top of the box and peered inside.
We had three hours or so to complete our part of the track and this was meant to be plenty of time. Turns out that if you walk steadily but stop regularly to check out the view, the vegetation and the wildlife and also have a half hour for a lunch stop that you’ll only just make it. We arrived at Ferneaux Lodge and had time, barely, to by an ice cream before we had to leg it to the wharf where our boat had already arrived.
Thankfully we did get to take in the views, check out interesting plants like track side orchids and supplejack flowers and berries. There were plenty of weka as well, one cheeky individual circling around looking for scraps as we ate lunch and even jumping up on the table when it though Phil was going to feed it.
We had time to relax on the journey back to Picton and arrived to light rain. We spent the rest of the afternoon looking in a few shops and having a drink at a cafe until it came time to head for the ferry. The boat ride was fairly smooth and the ferry wasn’t very full so we got to spread out a fair bit. the only sour point was when the last of the slice was dropped on the carpet and had to be trashed.
So that was out South Island trip for 2010. Having had a taste of the West Coast I think we’ll have to go back again sooner rather than later, and hopefully we’ll also get to see some New Zealand whales too, maybe even in Wellington harbour if the luck returns.
Thursday evening I joined up with some other photographers for a walk along the Wellington waterfront. We walked from Shed 11 to Frank Kitts park taking photos of anything and everything, though none of us were keen enough to brave taking photos of the emo crowd queuing for the nights Paramore concert outside the TSB Arena.
Near Frank Kitts we happened upon a couple of guys free running (parkour) and ended up following them around as they practised on the features and fences of the waterfront path. They made the jumps and traverses look effortless at times, it was very interesting to watch.
Finished at Zealandia I met Keryn for lunch and as went in to the city to get food and a birthday present. This being successful Keryn was back to work and I took a drive to Lyall Bay on the off chance that there might be some surfers to photograph. It was a good bet, I counted 30 or so guys (they were all guys) in the water either on surf boards or body boards. So I found a rock on the shoreline that was passably comfortable and I watched the action.
I was asked by one surfer walking past “who are you taking photos for?” so I must look the part. He didn’t seem impressed that I wasn’t there on behalf of a magazine or website. There is a stiff northerly forecast for Wednesday so I’ll have to go back for another look after football at the University.