October 19, 2015 … in the shadow of history

We saw Catherine and Mark off at the airport yesterday.


An old storehouse nearing the end of its life is the target for the graffiti artists.

I am glad that  they are safely home, but a little melancholy that they are so far away. After they had booked in Mary patiently sat in the car and read her book while I prowled the back streets of Te Aro looking for some images. Though they are gradually being demolished and replaced by more modern and utilitarian buildings, there remain many buildings that reek of history.


In isolation, pending destruction

This little church which I came upon from the rear, is fenced off, presumably in preparation for demolition. I clambered up on a wobbly pile of stacked pallets to try to get a view above the fence. It was definitely higher off the ground than my bathroom scales so I soon ran out of nerve, but managed a couple of white-knuckled  shots while I was up there.


The remaining letters along the facade are ” NES M SION” … Once it said “Chinese Mission”

From the front there were just sufficient of the raised letters on the facade to reveal the building’s history as a Chinese Mission. This part of Wellington has a long association with the Chinese community, including one of its darkest days, 24 September 1905, when the murderous bigot, Lionel Terry randomly shot a Chinese man, Joe Kum Yung to achieve publicity for his campaign against the so-called “yellow peril”. He was sentenced to hang, but this was commuted to life in prison by reason of insanity. Terry died in a mental hospital in 1952. There is a plaque memorializing the murder of Joe Kum Yung in  nearby Haining Street.

Soup Kitchen

Soup kitchen. Breakfasts are free, dinners are $2. It caters for up to 100 people per night.

Another interesting building is the Compassion Centre on upper Tory Street. Named for the saintly nun, Mother Suzanne Aubert who worked in this area at the beginning of the 20th century, this “soup kitchen” carries on her mission by providing meals for the homeless.  The “graffiti” on its exterior walls is clearly purposeful though the message eludes me.

That’s all for now.



About wysiwygpurple

I am a family man, a passionate amateur photographer and a retired academic . What's the purpose of this blog? Well in the first instance it provides me with a platform from which to resume writing, an activity I greatly enjoy. What will the blog be about? Anything that takes my fancy but it is likely to arise from things I see and experience, in my family, in my travels, or anything else I feel like. Each daily post will contain one or more images made the previous day. Sometimes the image will illustrate the points made in the prose, and sometimes the prose will attempt to interpret the image. What kind of images will they be? Always safe for work and family. Usually they will be representational, and sometimes they will be impressionistic or experimental.
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