Adventure Cars creativity Newtown Wellington

January 5, 2016 … watching the traffic go by

Hello and welcome to the first of my revised efforts for 2016. Many thanks to so many of you who sent messages of thanks and encouragement at the conclusion of the blog in its earlier daily form. Your kindness was much appreciated.

It will take me a while to find my feet and to live up to my own hopes and expectations, so I hope you will bear with me, and at the same time be kind enough to offer any constructive criticism that may occur to you.

Mt Vic (1)
Mt Victoria Tunnel looking towards the Basin Reserve

Today I concentrated on one topic at four different locations in Wellington City. There is still a degree of “happenstance” in today’s edition. All I knew when I left home was the approximate location where I intended to start, and that took me through the Mt Victoria Tunnel. There can be few people who grew up in Wellington who don’t remember the habit of tooting in the tunnel. There are the odd curmudgeons who write disapproving  or enraged letters to the editor about this eccentricity, and I am sure the people plodding along the pedestrian walkway hate it. Anyway, the tunnel itself sparked an idea for me.  A day on “traffic”. After parking in Hataitai, I walked back to the tunnel and about thirty metres inside to see what might be done.

Mt Vic (2)
The traffic through the tunnel pulses, sometimes the lanes are empty, sometimes busy in both directions. It would be a rare transit though the tunnel that you didn’t hear at least one other car blow its horn, and hardly ever for legitimate reasons. It’s just a local custom that is not applied to the other tunnels

Various shutter speeds assisted by the ND400 Neutral Density filter gave differing results.  There were several more in similar vein, but by now I had decided my theme for this blog would be traffic.

Busy Adelaide Rd in Newtown

Adelaide Rd in Newtown is always busy by Wellington standards, and the busy-ness is compounded by the heavy presence of the Wellington Hospital at the North, and the Newtown shops in the South. I began at the intersection of Adelaide and Rintoul St. Again using slow exposure on this glorious day, I tried to give a sense of Newtown’s main street.

North view
There is always something moving in Newtown. This view is at the Constable S intersection, looking North towards the hospital.

Undoubtedly the most cosmopolitan centre in the region, Newtown has a lot of quirky shops including Bookhaven, Don Hollander’s very fine second-hand bookshop. The number of serious bookshops dwindles each year, so I hope this one continues the battle. My next standpoint was on the corner of Constable street, looking back to the North.

Molly Malone’s stands empty. I hope someone revives it. Meanwhile the traffic races up and down Taranaki St.

My last choice for the day was on the intersection of Taranaki St and Courtenay Place in the central city.  Most Western cities, including Wellington, seem to have an Irish pub called Molly Malone’s. Sadly, the one across the road went broke and has been closed since early last year.

Anyway, I have left you with five images that give you a sample of traffic in Southern and central Wellington today. I am not sure if this will be how the blog evolves, but would welcome any and all feed back.




Architecture Newtown Weather Wellington

January 1, 2016 … Happy New Year

This is not my last blog entry.

It is merely the last of the entries based on the self-imposed discipline of a photo a day. That has been a splendid misnomer too. Last year, for example, I made 10,555 images, or an average of 36 a day. Of course most of them were, at best, mediocre, but they gave me sufficient that I could hope for some reasonable shots to place before you. They helped me to learn why I liked some shots more than others. It has been a useful learning experience, including the late-dawning realisation that the obligation to make a photo at any cost did not necessarily result in better images. Anyway, let’s get the last of the old regime out of the way.

Newtown suburbia

Yesterday was New Year’s Eve, and I wandered around Wellington which seemed an appropriate way to conclude the original project. In case you had wondered, I love my city, and have been privileged to explore many of its lesser known corners, so it seemed a good way to bring the project to its end. I decided to look for the textures of the city from places I had not used often before. The first shot is from Hutchison Rd, just above what I once knew as the “winter show grounds”. As I understand it, it is now the New Zealand School of Dance. The (former) church in the left middle ground was St James Presbyterian Church on Adelaide Rd, and I speculate that the red roof next to it was probably the church hall. On the left edge, near the town belt, the two identical grey roofs are part of the Mary Potter Hospice.

Mt Vic
The lower slopes of Mt Victoria with Newtown in the foreground

Finnimore Terrace is a quirky little street just a little further up the road. An exposed knoll at the top overlooks McAllister Park and gives some nice viewpoints of the city from the South. For orientation purposes the church on the skyline to the right is part of the landmark St Gerard’s Monastery that overlooks Oriental Bay. The glorious pohutukawa in the foreground will forever mark this image as a December shot.

Te Aro
Basin Reserve, Cambridge and Kent Terraces

From the same knoll, the view to the North looks across the manicured green of the Basin Reserve and straight down the surprisingly leafy lines of Kent and Cambridge Terraces. They look far more industrial at ground level. As the poet observed, “‘Tis distance lends enchantment to the view”*My final shot in the series is also of Newtown from Finnimore Terrace. Again, for orientation, the curved roof in the right foreground is St Anne’s Catholic Church. The distinctive rooflines of Mary Potter Hospice are towards the upper left with Mein St in the top left corner.

Newtown (2)
A closer look at Newtown

So where to from here?  WordPress tells me that in the last year the blog had 26,000 visits which  is gratifying. I shall probably post at least once a week, but the images may be less geographic in nature than they have been thus far. There will still be landscapes and birds as the mood takes me, but my picture making will be more mindful and definitely not every day. I hope you will continue to keep me company as and when I post. Thank you all for your support and encouragement, and the warmest wishes to you all for a happy, healthy and safe new year.


The Pleasures of Hope by Thomas Campbell

adversity Architecture Birds Butterflies flowers harbour insects Maritime Military Newtown Plant life Wellington

November 11, 2015 … consolation prize

For the second time I trudged up the steep tracks of Te Ahumairangi in a  fruitless search for the New Zealand falcon.

This plant has some regrettable common names of which the least offensive is Wandering Willie. It’s sale is banned in New Zealand because of its invasive nature. Nevertheless, it is pretty in the right light.

I saw one in the far distance, but I obviously followed the wrong track. Nevertheless, it was a delightful walk, despite the mean inclines which encouraged me to turn frequently to admire the view unfolding below. And close at hand, nature put on quite a show. Even the Tradescantia fluminensis weeds were attractive.

Yellow Admiral on another invasive weed.

There were birds and butterflies, bees and flowers. Since this is the national week for butterfly survey, I include this Yellow Admiral (Vanessa itea) sitting on a purple ragwort flower.

HMNZS Te Kaha waiting for her companion

I mentioned the unfolding view. Down in the harbour, the frigate HMNZS Te Kaha (F77) was sitting patiently while HMNZS Wellington (P55) was flying the red refuelling pennant as she took on oil near the ferry terminal. Not often we get to units of the Royal New Zealand Navy in port.

Architecture (1)
Cross the bush on the lower slopes to the houses on Bolton St, and beyond to the tower blocks on The Terrace

There are those who despise all modern architecture preferring to cling on to the perceived superiority of ages past, no matter that the buildings are unsafe and inefficient. It reminds of W.S. Gilbert’s “I’ve got a Little List” –  Then the idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone, All centuries but this, and every country but his own … they’ll none of ’em be missed!  I like modern architecture unashamedly and I love the colour and contrasting textures of a cityscape.

Architecture (2)
A wide mixture of architectural eras looking South towards Newtown

There are zones within the city that have a transitional quality but I still enjoy the variety as we take the long view.

Architecture (3)
A concentration of black and white cladding on the Terrace

To be clear, I don’t dislike the old buildings, though I am glad I no longer have to work in them  I just refuse to join in the fashionable distaste for glass and concrete. I particularly enjoy the proximity these buildings with a predominance of black and white on the Northern end of the Terrace.


Tinakori Village

In case anyone is hankering for yesteryear, there remains plenty of it in Wellington and this collection of houses on Tinakori Rd is a fine example. I particularly love the little building with the splendid arched window towards the right and desperately hope it serves as an artist’s studio.

No falcons, but I am content.


Adventure Maritime Newtown Railway South Coast Weather Wellington

June 22, 2015 … exploring the South

Looking for a different viewpoint is a constant challenge.

Rows of cast steel which are nothing at all like the Rose of Castile

I usually set out  with a very vague idea of where I shall go, and tend to turn towards the conditions of light or circumstances that might make a good image. I began yesterday on the waterfront where an all but disused chunk of railway line was gleaming in the sun. The geometry of rail yards always appeals to me.

Faded glory in Newtown

I followed some lesser travelled suburban roads up to the Prince of Wales Park where there were some different perspectives on the housing near Newtown. The big old house stripped of its paint was eye-catching, especially since there seem to be no arrangements to repaint it.

Tapu Teranga
Tapu Teranga in the sun … deceptive because it was very chilly

Down Happy Valley Road to the South coast, I came towards Island Bay from the West. Taputeranga  Island was picked out in the low sunlight.

Eye to eye with the fishing fleet at Island Bay

My last shot for the day is in the bay itself., getting down to water level. The fleet was looking smart in the last glow of the day.

That’s the day done



Adventure Architecture harbour Maritime Newtown Wellington

March 26, 2015 … around the edges

Twin cruise liners in port together is uncommon.

Identical twins, Sea Princess and Sun Princess

Yesterday the Sea Princess and the Sun Princess arrived more or less together and berthed stern-to-stern at the cruise terminal. I imagine the retailers in the city’s golden mile were delighted.

Arahura near the end of its life

While I was in Oriental Bay, the Interisland Line’s ferry, Arahura was leaving port and I liked the contrast with the Hong Kong registered log carrier, Yangtze Classic. Arahura is at the end of her life and is due to be discontinued this year, I recall seeing her enter harbour on her delivery voyage way back in 1983, in her original green and cream colour scheme and the tugs doing the tradition water cannon welcome. Her replacement will be the Stena Alegra which was chartered last year while the Aratere was out of service. That will reduce the capacity for interisland rail traffic.

The city
Steal and glass can present a variety of textures

Also from Oriental Bay, there is a nice view of the textures of the CBD. It’s terribly unfashionable to make urban landscape images. I love rural landscapes too, but have a fascination for the shapes and colours of the city.

Looking North from Newtown

Later in the morning, I was above Newtown in Finnimore Terrace, looking back towards the harbour. I always enjoy finding a new place from which to view our city, and am continually surprised at how different the view is when you move just a few hundred metres.

That will do for today.

Architecture Berhampore Newtown Wellington

November 12, 2014 … on the old South side of town

It is all to easy to drive through a place on the way to somewhere else, and fail to see the place you are passing through.

Berhampore, Wellington, Just South of Herald/Britomart Sts.

For me, Wellington’s Southern suburbs are a bit like that. I am usually on my way to the coast, or back to the city. Yesterday the coast was uncooperative, or perhaps it was that I was failing to see. I came up through Island Bay to Berhampore and via various back streets to Rintoul Street. Across the valley, I saw a row of houses which haven’t changed much physically since they were built, perhaps in the 1920s. When I first laid eyes on Wellington in February 1954, I recall the impression that every house seemed to be painted a drab buff colour and had a red “tin roof”. The post war utility colour seems to have gone now, though the corrugated iron persists. The colours have exploded and some people go to a lot of trouble to make these old houses look smart and lived in.

I am not sure if these are as old as they look, but they fit the local architecture

My wandering delivered me to Newtown which has always had the reputation of being a “working class” suburb, and rarely the choice of the elite. Now it is a very cosmopolitan place, lively, active and full of the foods and clothes of various ethnic minorities.  It’s architecture remains that of a century ago.

Newtown 2
A “stately home”? Perhaps not. I am sure the people who live here are grateful for it.

Newtown has many “character buildings, and this stately old lady seems to be a hostel or boarding house of some kind.

Newtown 3
“No fuel tank, no emissions, no oil wars, no regrets” … if only life were so simple

It is probably a universal truth that the less affluent areas of any city are likely to be home to activism of various sorts. I am not sure how recent the slogan on the window of this boarded up shop is, but it was unsurprising to find it. I don’t normally look in people’s windows but I swear I can see the rear of a zebra in the second upstairs window from the left.

That will do for today.


Architecture Newtown Weather Wellington

July 14, 2014 … in the older part of Newtown

A grey start is not necessarily bad.

Hutt Valley
A grey beginning … stray beams cut through light drizzle

I have never read fifty shades, but have always liked the delicacy of receding planes in a grey landscape. A few stray shafts of light in the Avalon area painted a pretty picture so this was my first image of the day, taken from my bedroom window.

Rintoul Street and Riddiford Street corner … a nicely renovated landmark building

Then, as has often happened recently, the day got away on me and I found myself scrambling for pictures before the day shut down on me. I found myself in Newtown, beginning at the corner of Riddiford and Rintoul street. Today’s young people are unaware of the pitched battles between anti-apartheid protestors and police that took place here in 1981. When you think about it, people who were born that year are 33 years old now.

The same intersection and same ugly trolleybus wires

On the same intersection, there are still some of the old style two-storey commercial buildings, most of which see to contain a small shop or business downstairs and a residence upstairs. Nothing of any consequence, perhaps, but buildings like this are the heart of Newtown.

Newtown shop window
The workbench of an old-style craftsman

On such small business is a jeweller whose workbench is open to the public gaze. It’s an odd-looking collection of tools and supplies, and not at all what I would expect in a trade such as this.

Defensive graffiti

The area is plagued by graffitists and one business has taken pre-emptive measures by getting a  graffiti artist to advertise the business in that style. It’s colourful, if nothing else.

That’s all for now.