Something different today. New Zealand is not all landscapes and bird life. It’s not all hiking, surfing and spring lambs.
In our real world, we do mundane things like work for a living, in offices and factories, shops and schools. That usually involves some element of a daily commute. In our cities that means cars, buses, trains, ferries, or the for the occasional very fit and hardy person, or the merely obsessive, a bicycle.Let’s get the geography of today’s image out of the way. The standpoint is adjacent to SH2 in Percy Reserve at the bottom of Dowse Drive, Maungaraki, in Lower Hutt, looking South towards Wellington City.
This is rush hour on one of Wellington’s two main arterial routes North. It was at 5:30 pm on the Friday evening of a long weekend (Monday will be the Waitangi Day holiday). It doesn’t look so bad, does it? Aucklanders would kill for such a rush hour. To be fair, it doesn’t take much of an incident to turn this into a 20km long parking lot.
The tower on the ridge on the extreme left hand side is the Tinakori radio mast (if it is hard to see in the thumbnail … click on the image). To the right of centre is the microwave tower on Wright’s Hill at the back of Karori.
The new concrete bridge nearest us, takes traffic across the recently widened, lowered and straightened section of SH2, from what used to be Koro Crescent in Petone, to the bottom of London Street, Korokoro. The white-painted pipe bridge behind that is the pedestrian overpass giving access to Petone Station from the Western Hills. Further back again is the new road bridge that gives access to the station car park for people who “park and ride”.
On the left, in the distance, you can see the red tail lights of a city bound train that has just arrived at Petone Station. The yellow fronted train with its headlights on coming towards us, is on its way to Upper Hutt.
The background cluster of houses are in Wilton on the North facing slopes of the Tinakori Hills. I think the few houses visible on either side of that nearer pine plantation are at the Southern end of Khandallah, just North of the Ngaio Gorge.
It struck me that, while I like making “pretty” images, there is much to see and celebrate in the ordinariness of life. The daily journey from home to work and back, whether by car, bus, bike, train, ferry or on foot can offer a rich experience.
I have no idea whether this image will do anything for you, dear readers, but I set out to get a sense of rush hour as it is experienced by some of the people who live in the Hutt Valley.
Why this particular image? I liked the curve of the road contrasting with the rigid geometry of the bridges, and the organic shapes of the distant trees and hills. The receding planes in the hills also appeal to me.
I liked the fact that there is a lot happening. Did you notice the indoor sports centre just to the right of the train? When I came to Wellington, in 1980, that was part of the Todd Motors group, where Hillman and Chrysler cars were assembled.
Toetoe flowering on either side of the road, lead our eyes along the path towards that mysterious portal through which people from the Hutt Valley disappear each morning, only to reappear each evening like starlings flying in formation back to their nests.
Happily for me, I need no longer join that daily ritual.