New Zealand is a small country which basically has nothing much to report generally.
This was really captured a while back by an article I saw in the Dominion Post (a Wellington newspaper) giving a round-up of Auckland news…that’s right, the headline from Auckland was that a man was hurt by a glass bottle in a fight.
I suppose I should be grateful that this kind of thing is still newsworthy in NZ and that more serious things don’t occur too often but I do wonder why on earth they bother printing newspapers if this is all they can manage to find…why can’t we save a few trees?
A few months ago, I went to watch a film at the Roxy Cinema in Miramar, Wellington. This cinema has been lovingly restored in the Art Deco style, at least partly thanks to Peter Jackson as it was his childhood haunt (hence the memorabilia from his movies).
It truly is marvellous to go to a building with a bit of character for a change instead of the identikit structures we are presented with on a regular basis. And it has a lovely restaurant and bar area in it too.
I imagine this place is a bit unknown but great to visit…albeit the movie wasn’t the best.
For those of you who read my posts regularly, you will perhaps have noted how over time I have gained something of an interest in the conservation efforts which occur in New Zealand on an ongoing basis. It is interesting to note how man has noted the impact he has caused on native wildlife since arriving here and is taking steps to try to avert the devastation…would that man the world over would try to have similar thoughts and take similar actions although perhaps it is often too late.
On the edge of Wellington lies the pest-free “island” of Zealandia. The first mainland attempt to give native plant and animal species a chance to live in peace without the introduced threat of rats, stoats, possums etc. It truly gives a window into what NZ could be (and indeed once was) like…albeit it is only 20 years old and this is a long term project.
Similar to Sanctuary Mountain, near Hamilton (see previous post), you can see Kaka here, Tui, Tuatara, Robin…and also…Saddleback, Stitchbird, Bellbird, Shag, Kakariki (parakeets), Takahe and much more. It is built on a fault line which used to be the site of an old reservoir until someone noted that said water could flood Wellington in the event of an earthquake. When looking at these pictures it is worth bearing in mind some context…these birds are quite fearless…I was stood within touching distance of Kaka (native parrots), I was playing with a Robin in the leaf litter…it even sat on my shoe…and perhaps more sad…I was told that the world population of Takahe is around 250 so the two in the photo below (Puffin and T2 are their names) are just under 1% of the entire species. These birds eat grass and I was struggling to think of another bird that does likewise. Here is hoping that their numbers can recover!
Most of the birds are free to come and go as they please and are starting to spread out beyond the park. If you are ever in Wellington, give them your support! It really is a jewel in the conservation crown…click here to see their website.
While in Wellington, myself and colleagues went to a bar near the Houses of Parliament called “Back Benches”…a watering hole where politicians gather and where they film a weekly political Q&A chat show called, unsurprisingly, “Back Benches”.
Suffice to say, I was on TV…in the background…not quizzing anyone. It was pretty good how we stood out on TV as almost the only people in the pub not wearing suits! A good few drinks of the local drop – “Panhead” – and a fine evening which involved my asking the leader of the Labour Party, David Cunliffe, for a photo for a laugh (What politician ever refuses a photo? How dare you say they are shallow!). Sorry for photo quality of the pub…and enjoy the Mana Party leader, Hone Harawira, under his puppet on the wall.