Adventure Architecture Art Geology Lakes Landscapes Machinery Maritime Reflections Tora Wairarapa

August 31, 2018 … at the end of Winter

In New Zealand, there is an ongoing debate as to the boundaries of each season. We have a meteorological calendar which says that Spring begins on September 1, and an Astronomical calendar which has it beginning at the vernal equinox (about Sept 23) . Either way, I have been seeing daffodils and lambs for at least a month already.

Not so long ago, the Waiwhetu stream was notoriously polluted. It has been cleaned up in recent times, and can look pretty in the right light

Despite the arrival or approach of Spring, the weather has been extremely changeable so whenever there is stillness I am out and about. Sometimes, when the air is still, it is possible to get a pleasant image from the midst of an industrial zone. This image is of the Waiwhetu Stream as it passes through Seaview among all the light industry.

Some of Mary’s lavender

Then it turned rough again, so I played with my lightbox and some lavender that Mary grows in a pot at the back door.

Dominion Farmers
Dominion Farmers Building, Featherston St

I have an interest in architectural photography and chose to wander the CBD. I have always liked the old Dominion Farmers building on Featherston street. These days, only the facade remains as there is a modern building inside the shell. I am glad they retained the facade.

Lambton Quay
Lambton Quay

On Lambton Quay there is a mix of old and new. The Hallensteins building on the left was once home to Whitcoulls, the bookseller, but they vacated due to earthquake risk. I presume remedial work was carried out before Hallensteins moved in. To the right is one of Wellington’s new double-decker buses made by Xiamen Fengtai Bus and Coach International. The introduction of the new fleet with new routes and new timetables has been a total circus and has met with almost universal condemnation for its perceived  ineptitude. A major redesign is promised.

Through a pub door darkly, the structure of the floating crane Hikitia

I was walking along Cable Street and glanced into the door of Mac’s Brewbar, a popular waterfront hostelry. The door was closed but the glass panels gave an interesting view through the opposite window of the Hikitia. According to Wikipedia, she is thought to be the only working steam-powered floating crane of her type left in the world. She sailed under her own steam from Scotland to Wellington in 1926. That is seamanship.

Propeller from F69 HMNZS Wellington

While we are on a maritime kick, here is a phosphor-bronze propeller. It is one of  the two removed from the Leander class frigate, HMNZS Wellington before her hull was scuttled as a dive site off the South coast of the city. They were gifted to the city by Rotary as art works if I recall correctly. Her other propeller is on the Esplanade in Houghton Bay not far from the wreck. Imagine how fast they had to spin to get the 2,500 tonne ship up to 50 km/h

Rankine Brown
The Rankine Brown building from Dixon St

Back on the architectural kick, this image was made from Dixon St, looking west to Thorndon and Victoria University of Wellington. The Rankine Brown Building is home to the university’s library. The semi-circular protuberance is a stairwell which I trudged up far more times than I could count in my years there.

Pukerua Bay
Pukerua Bay

Even comparative calm is good. I took myself up to the Kapiti coast and went down to the rocky beach at Pukerua Bay. It used to be home to many ramshackle cottages. These are steadily giving way to some rather up-market seaside homes. Lovely as the place is, it is not where I would wish to live in the event of a serious tsunami.

Lake Wairarapa looking South

Yesterday, before the weather turned ugly, I deemed it worth a trip over the hill to Tora on the Wairarapa coast. On the way I stopped at Lake Wairarapa and just loved its perfect stillness.

A geologist friend once told me that you should get a geology degree in NZ by driving around on buses. He said all the workings are on the outside, and open to view

From there it is approximately 70 km over winding and mostly gravel roads to the coast. Just where the road turns North to Te Awaiti there are some rock formations off the coast that fascinate me. They put me in mind of what I am told is the impasto style of painting, wherein the artist lays the paint on the canvas thickly with knife or brush (think of Van Gogh) .

That’s it until Spring



Adventure Birds Lakes Landscapes Rivers Weather Whanganui

August 24, 2018 … nice to be home again

Mary and I spent a few days at the tiny settlement of Mowhanau (also known as Kai Iwi Beach) just North of Whanganui. It was a delightful break, though the lack of promised wi-fi caused me some withdrawal symptoms. Anyway, here we go.

Whitebaiters in the Mowhanau stream at Kai Iwi beach

Despite a somewhat gloomy forecast we drove up SH1 to Bulls and then SH3 to Whanganui, and through some back roads to Mowhanau. As soon as we unloaded the car, we walked the few minutes down to the beach where the whitebait season had just opened. There are blue skies in the image but believe me when I say there was a nasty bleak wind and the thermometer was reading 8°C. These guys were standing in water of varying depth for hours and getting meagre rewards in terms of the whitebait harvest. It seems the whitebait are critically endangered and near to extinction so time to re-evaluate.

Looking Northward along the Whanganui River near Pungarehu

The next day was surprisingly fine and we set out to travel the road beside the Whanganui River to Hiruharama (Jerusalem). This view is from the ridge soon after leaving the main road at Upokongaro. The road traverses some wild and beautiful country, but after some recent floods is in a very mixed state of repair.  Mary wanted to walk and enjoyed about 12 km leading up to the little settlement of Atene (Athens) while I played with landscape shots. When we reconnected we drove on through the even smaller settlements of Koroniti (Corinth)  and Matahiwi. We navigated the slippery grey mud of the road works and arrived at Hiruharama where we had a look at the historic church of St Joseph. From there it was on to Pipiriki where we enjoyed lunch by the river with no sound but singing birds and the fast flowing river.

Waverley Beach
Waverley Beach blocked off by driftwood

The next day was grey and a bit dull, but we drove up to Waverley to visit my brother and sister-in-law, and from there went down to Waverley Beach. When I first went there, some fifty years ago, this was a popular swimming beach with a well-known sandstone arch at the mouth of the river. The arch collapsed long ago (2012), and the beach is currently clogged with thousands of tonnes of driftwood.

Patea River
Patea River near Hurleyville

On day three, we explored the road to the Patea hydro scheme, some forty km by road from Patea through some of the wildest and loneliest countryside in the North Island. Like most of these West Coast North Island rivers, the water is brown with silt and often carries big logs out to sea. Lake Rotorangi, was formed by the dam completed in 1984 and meanders Northward for some 46 km towards Eltham. It is a magnificent land.

Terns and Piles in the Patea River

We came back to Patea for lunch, eating our sandwiches down by the river mouth. A set of piles near the Mole provided a resting place and launch-pad for a group of white-fronted terns.

Petone Beach
Southerly drama at Petone

Home once more, and yesterday was interesting in the morning. The harbour was calm at Petone beach, but the clouds in the South suggested a change was on its way.

Petone wharf and the incoming front

Looking for a different viewpoint I moved to the West and the clouds became more intense.

Cloudburst leads the way

From there I went up Ngauranga Gorge to Newlands and as I reached a new subdivision, the front was moving up the harbour dropping an intense burst of rain on the way.

It’s always nice to go away, but even better to come home.

Academic Children Day's Bay Evans Bay flowers Landscapes Light mountains Petone Seasons Upper Hutt Weather Wellington

August 17, 2018 … nor any drop to drink*

Though I am not an ancient mariner, I seem to find water, water everywhere*.

Hutt River
Hutt River rounds the bend

My first image this week is of the bend in the Hutt River near Totara Park, Upper Hutt. Apart from the patch of white water, the river looked clean and blue.

Children of Owhiro Bay Primary School listening to their teacher

A day or two later, I spotted what we used to refer to as “a crocodile” … a column of primary school kids walking in an orderly fashion down Happy Valley Road towards Owhiro Bay. A while after that I saw them again, all sitting on the beach listening to the senior teacher. Being nosy I asked what school they were from and what they were doing.

One eye open – NZ Fur Seal at Owhiro Bay

They were from Owhiro Bay School and were there because, while walking to work earlier, their principal had spotted a New Zealand Fur Seal  sleeping among the rocks on the shore. So I tagged along and when they had finished looking and then moved on to explore other aspects of the local environment, I got a close look. You can see that the lower eye is open, watching that I don’t get too close.

Sunset in Normandale

No water in this image, just a rather nice sunset as seen from our back door.

Magic morning at Petone

Then we had one of those days. I have mentioned them  often enough, the kind where the great expanse of the harbour is flat calm. From Petone Beach to the Miramar Peninsular just right of centre is eight kilometres, and apart from the few ripples close to the beach, there is nothing to disturb the surface.

Sailing in light airs

I drove round to the city and then to Evans Bay and looked back the other way. The solitary yacht was just ghosting along in a nearly non-existent breeze.

Red Yacht
Red yacht in Evans Bay

Further round Evans Bay at Hataitai Beach, the red yacht emphasised the utter stillness of the harbour.


Then the weather changed, so I played around again with my new light-box and a sprig of daphne provided by our kind neighbour.

Tanker in the rain

Did I mention that the weather changed? To avoid cabin fever, I went out anyway and from Lowry Bay looked back to the tanker “Ocean Mars” looming though the rain at the Seaview oil terminal.

Leaving port

My last image this week is the departure of the container ship “ANL Walwa” assisted by Centreport’s two tugs.

  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner  by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

A personal request now:

For readers not resident in New Zealand, family or friends. Though it is now six years since I retired I still like to assist students struggling to gather data for their post-graduate thesis. In this case, the student is Marlini Bakri who is exploring the influence of photographic images on friends and relatives who might decide to visit New Zealand. I provided a number of images to Marlini and said I would ask some friends and family if they would be kind enough to complete the associated survey.  I would be most grateful if you would consider participation.

The survey which can be completed on a computer or a mobile device, can  be found at

Here is her Participant Information Letter:

My name is Marlini Bakri and I am a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) candidate in Marketing at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW). Your friend/relative Brian has expressed interest to participate in my study, titled “More than words: Decoding the influence of user-generated images on VFR (visiting friends & relatives) travel”. They have provided your contact as a prospective participant for my study. The study would involve you completing a simple survey. The objective of this research is to understand if photographs shared online can communicate information about a destination to overseas friends and relatives.
You can access the survey on desktop computers and mobile devices (e.g. tablets and mobile phones). The survey should not take more than 30 minutes, and can be terminated at any time. The survey platform saves your answers automatically, allowing you to return to the form, using the same device, at different times. All information you provide is completely confidential, and only the researcher and her supervisor will have access to the information. The data will be destroyed three years after the completion of the thesis (estimated June 2021).
To participate click here:

Should you require further information about the study, please contact:

Human Ethics Committee information
If you have any concerns about the ethical conduct of the research you may contact the Victoria University HEC Central Convenor: Dr Judith Loveridge. Email or telephone +64-4-463 9451.

PhD Candidate:
Marlini Bakri
PhD Candidate
School of Marketing and International Business
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600 Wellington
6140 New Zealand

Dr Jayne Krisjanous
Senior Lecturer
School of Marketing and International Business
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600 Wellington
6140 New Zealand
+64 4 4636023

Dr James E. Richard
Senior Lecturer
School of Marketing and International Business
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600 Wellington
6140 New Zealand
+64 4 463 5415


Adventure Architecture flowers Horowhenua Landscapes Light Pauatahanui Reflections Rivers sunrise Tararuas Vehicles Wairarapa Weather Wellington

August 8, 2018 … undirected wandering

As I was uploading the images for this edition, I wondered how much of my allocated space I had used, and how many images were there. It seems that, since I started this photo-blog manifestation of WYSIWYG on January 1, 2012, I have shared 6,579 images with you. That’s a little scary. However, here we are again with another 12 images.

Relative calm at Owhiro Bay

You may recall that we had a wonderful sunny summer. Winter has gone the other way, and I can’t recall such an extended period of greyness. Still, I try to find something even when it is grey so here we are in Owhiro Bay, looking in the direction of Kaikoura.

Magic conditions on Lake Wairarapa at the Northern end of the lake

One of those days that started out misty at home, led me over the hill to Lake Wairarapa where the conditions were just delightful. I am unsure why, but there is some charm in the contrast between rusting relics and perfect nature. This jetty was constructed in 1973. It has not lasted well.

The morning sun sends its beams sliding down the hillside

There was even more mist the following day , leading to these long shafts of light echoing the slope of the hills in Naenae.

Rubber Duck: “looks like we got us a convoy …” (C.W. McCall)

I was lucky to be offered a seat in the lead vehicle of a club outing by the local off-road club, and we went up into the Tararuas near Levin to the Mangahao Hydro dams. It was a fantastic day.

National white water centre – Mangahao


At the Mangahao power station, which was the first, and for a long time the biggest generator in the country, I was astonished at the apparatus suspended over the river downstream from the station’s outflow. It seems that many of the world’s top slalom athletes choose to come here for their off-season training in various white-water sports.

Lowry Bay
Morning mist at Lowry Bay

More mist the next day and lovely still conditions on the harbour. Mist was wreathed over the Eastern hills and it was, to my eyes, beautiful.

Pt Howard oil terminal at Seaview

Even where there was no mist, the stillness itself was a delight.


A really rough day brought about a change of pace, and the opportunity  to try out my newly acquired light box. Mary had some early season tulips so here we are.

Pauatahanui (1)
Pauatahanui Inlet looking Westward

The rough weather stepped aside for a while and I found some nice reflections on Pauatahanui Inlet

St Albans
St Alban’s is a much loved landmark in Pauatahanui village

When the water is really smooth like this, I like to invert the centre column of my tripod, and have the camera dangling inverted a few centimetres above the water. The tide was low and I walked across the gravel bed at Ration Point to take in the view back towards the historic St Alban’s Anglican church at Pauatahanui village.


Chapel at the monastery of the Holy Archangels, Levin

Yesterday, I chose to retrace some of the area traversed by the off-roaders and went to Levin where I visited the Greek Orthodox monastery of the Holy Archangels. It is a delightful setting with a tint chapel and a retreat centre. I sought permission from the resident monk and explored it.

Chapel interior

The interior of the chapel was fascinating to my eyes, and the various icons were stunning.

Enough for this edition … oh good grief … I did everything but press the publish button so it has sat in draft for a week