Te Papa – our place – and floor talks!

Te Papa, the museum of New Zealand, here in our capital city Wellington, has regular  floor talks that are well worth attending – many of them are free. Make sure you check the website to see what’s on while you’re in the city.

The most recent one I attended was to view (well actually, to view for the third time) the exhibition of Brian Brake‘s photography.

Brian Brake (1927–1988) was New Zealand’s best known photographer from the 1960s to the 1980s. He first made his name as an international photojournalist, photographing for picture magazines such as Life, National Geographic and Paris Match.

His most famous work was on the monsoon rains in India in 1960. This essay yielded the widely reproduced Monsoon girl, an image of a young woman feeling with pleasure the first rains on her face.”

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Adele – a super yatch in Wellington

Yesterday I could see a very tall mast from my balcony,  so had to walk down Cuba St and see what was at the bottom of it … it’s the super yacht Adele …. I’d love to have a sail on this elegant looking vessel.


Adele - Wellington harbour


read more about Adele here

International Women’s Day in Wellington, New Zealand

International Women’s Day celebrates 100 years today, and to mark the day I,  and some 270 other men and women,  attended a breakfast in the Banquet Hall of New Zealand’s Parliament Building: I was seated at the VTNZ table.

Each table had flyers of reminding us of "100 Women Who Changed the World"- a wide sample of women.

This is an annual event hosted by the Minister of Women’s Affairs and the Zonta Club of Wellington and UN Women Aotearoa New Zealand.

“You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise”

– Maya Angelou from ‘Still I rise’


The Mayor Of Wellington Celia Wade-Brown

Minister of Womens Affairs Hon. Hekia Parata
Minister of Women's Affairs Hon. Hekia Parata











Next year, make sure the invitation has your name and I’ll see you there


World wide concern after Christchurch earthquake & aftershock

World-wide people are concerned about and for my home city Christchurch after the September 4th earthquake and it’s devastating February aftershock on 22nd February 2011 Of course concern and ‘sending good thoughts’ are important, but even more important is the need for cash to help the homeless, the now unemployed, the traumatised, and to rebuild the city, including schools. Money is also need to reconnect electricity, phones, sewage and rebuild roads.

Looking down from my balcony to grow from Here

One of my inner-city, Wellington, neighbours – Grow from Here –  a little green  oasis  in the Cuba Street area on the city  is having an old-fashioned bring and buy, see more here . . .

“Bring and buy stall raising funds for the Redcross _ Christchurch
Obviously there is a lot going on to help Christchurch this weekend but this is something a little different, and nice 🙂 There is going to be a little “Bring and Buy” stall selling cakes etc, Real Groovy have donated some vinyl, Aeon have donated some vintage clothes, Martha’s Pantry high tea vouchers, more info to come!! Everyone can participate! Bring baking and any other items people might like to buy. [more]

At the other end of the scale, Mr Key, the NZ Prime Minister has launched the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, a global fundraiser for the recovery effort. Donations for this will be accepted at www.christchurchearthquakeappeal.govt.nz

Donations can also be made to the Red Cross online or via the GrabOne website or fundraiseonline.co.nz, as the Red Cross site has been crashing.

Fore more information see Christchurch earthquake: How you can help

Sleepover at a zoo?

OUr noisiest neighbor in the zoo

I spend a night at the Wellington zoo to celebrate a birthday

the birthday gaI
A meerkat on its way. A group of meerkats is called a mob or gang, and can number up to 40.

We bed down for the night in the Zoo’s Archibald Centre which overlooks Monkey Island – if you want to stay also, this check it out here

we make our beds

It’s not long before we head off on a night-time tour of Wellington Zoo

In the morning after breakfast, we go for another special guided walk exploring as the Zoo wakes up for the day – during the half hour before the ticket office is open – it’s a real privilege.

To read more about another of my trips to the zoo,  and meet the one-legged kiwi  see here

And check out more photos here

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Happy Chinese New Year of the rabbit

Seems this year will be calmer! These photos are from Wellington, NZ, today (13th Feb 2011)

I’m an extra in Bollywood film (Wellington NZ)

A run through before filming starts - my position is to be below the fountain

A multi-million dollar Bollywood movie – an Indian remake of The Italian Job –  is being filmed in Wellington,  by IFC films– and I am an extra here in my new home city – one of about 600 needed!


My role? I am a tourist taking photos of my (real) grandson, we are right beside the “Albatross” fountain on the waterfront when suddenly three minis race around the fountain – followed by many motorcycles – making me have to quickly move out-of-the-way wondering “what’s happening?” as they race by. This extra-role meant I had my camera on set.

My grandson is an extra while on holiday!

Players features A-list Indian actors Abhishek Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor, and brother directors duo, Abbas and Mustan. They are often called as the ‘Men In White’ and have always been associated with many a super-hit Bollywood films.

The men in white

The chase sequence of the British original of The Italian Job (Michael Caine) featured robbers driving Mini cars and was filmed in Turin, and a 2003 American remake was shot on location in Venice and Los Angeles – it’s now set in Wellington – the capital of New Zealand.

Wellington is said to be “playing itself” in the Indian version and the varied terrain of the central city with its steep streets, leafy suburbs, dramatic coast and natural harbour will be on show to the world.

“It’s going to be huge. It’s not just the billion population in India back home, but also the Indian diaspora which is all over the world,” said Nirang Desai, the film’s line producer.

It is estimated that up to NZ$4 million of Bollywood money will be spent during filming in New Zealand, and Players could pave the way for even more films.

“I already have a few proposals lined up, people wanting to come,” said Desai.

I have motorbikes race by on both sides!

The film is due to be released first in India in October 2011.  See more here on TV1 News

The coolest capital in the 2nd best country to visit in 2011

What happens you move to another city, know very few people, feel down after a bout of giardia (an unwanted souvenir from India) and are sick of the still unopened cartons in the office-cum-spare-room.

Just one of the features on the waterfront

Well, if you have just moved to the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ according to Lonely Planet in the country  that’s second on CNN’s list of  the world top destinations for 2011, you put the blues away and go for a walk – after all, ‘you can’t beat Wellington on a good day’, and it’s a good day today.

It takes only minutes to walk down Cuba St (and Mall) to arrive at the Civic Centre and there, in the sunshine, a message awaits me from Lauris Edmonds, one of this cities favourite adopted daughters.

It seems appropriate as I once had a poem published –  A Message to Lauris and now, standing on the over-bridge, leading to the waterfront, I read her words as selected for a plaque on the Wellington Writers Walk

“It’s true you can’t live here by chance, you have to do and be, not simply watch or even describe. This is the city of action, the world headquarters of the verb – ” . From ‘Scenes from a  small city’ 1994

There’s my answer – be active: after all I’m a travel writer so must travel around this city and write. Already I have a list of Wellington places and events to write about (starting with Zealandia and the Carter Observatory so there is some of the action I need to do: thanks Lauris, I’m ready to become an active Wellingtonian – 1st January 2011