The New Zealand Sea Horse - the largest of the world's species
For those of you who don't know...I live in New Zealand (Aotearoa). Sometimes, due to the day in day out routine of domestic life and work, it is easy to forget how beautiful this country is. Now I know I've been belting on about our "green" misnomer since the introduction of my ICE (International Collage Exchange) series a few weeks ago. I certainly don't want to come across as a modern day Cassandra, so in a bid to temper my doom and gloom prophesies, I want to introduce you to a bit of heaven as I saw it yesterday.
Culturally, historically and visually, our country is still one of the most beautiful and spectacular countries in the world, so even though our green record might be a tarnished one, I want to show you that this part of the world is still a slice of paradise and that not all of it is going to the dogs, environmentally speaking.
Re-established wetlands - Ashhurst Domain
The Domain Cafe
...and immediately made a mental note to myself - this is one of the themes I have chosen for my ICE contribution: the regeneration of wetlands. Perfect, I now have the spot I want to look at in more detail...and being so close to home, it really is ideal!!
After having a lovely meal then watching the local dressage club show their horses and ponies at the domain (Jason's first encounter with "Haaawseeesss" - he's so cute), we hopped into the car and drove a long way before a smell in the car elicited a quick nappy change stop.
So we stopped here:
Well what do you know...we've just driven into the roaring 40s...how exciting. If Alicia's Finn is reading this, he would be interested to learn that the spot I've photographed here is, in fact, a parallel of latitude. Finn was telling me today that he'd learned at shool all about latitude and longitude. And, as a nice little touch, the sign reads "No whaling allowed past the 40 South". Now there's another ICE subject!
...of course, Jason immediately chases a rogue rooster through the roaring 40s...
Our next stop is Napier! Hooray!! We pull up outside the aquarium, and immediately get taken through to the dive prep room for Andy's debut as shark feeder. They let him go it alone, as he's racked up enough dives to make Jacque Cousteau look like an amateur. Jason and I race off around the aquarium like we're on the amazing race. First stop? A pirate ship:
Watch out for the shark, Jason! He might be vegetarian but Bruce can't be trusted! (and is this a prelude to what Andy has in store?)
Next, we stroke these slippery lovely things:
and admire "Lazy the Croc":
Unfortunately I only took a video of dad's dive, so this is pretty much what I've got - a photo that looks like Andy but isn't actually Andy, ha ha. Well, all blokes look alike in a wet-suit. Anyway, this shot is courtesy of the Napier museum and this is pretty much exactly what he was doing anyway.
So, now it was my turn to have some fun. Leaving the boy behind with his dad, I ran off down the street! He he. Here's what I saw:
I was struck by these buildings, above. Back in 1931, Napier was hit by an earthquake so big that it raised almost the entire city to the ground. These buildings I photographed are some of the surviving Victorian houses along Marine Parade.
As a result of the quake, Napier was soon to become quite a unique city. Because it was rebuilt during the early 30's, the city is now regarded as one of the best examples of Art Deco architecture anywhere in the world.
The houses I photographed, above, survived the big quake and are celebrated today as a unique landmark in an otherwise predominantly 1930's one. At the end of this street where these houses stand, is the Napier Museum and Art Gallery. I went inside and took a look...
As a result of the quake, time stood still:
Napier became a tent city:
I took this photo, above, inside a large display tent in the museum. The image you see above was printed on the canvas and backlit from lights outside of the tent.
Remnants of the past were everywhere; Napier was time-locked. After the quake hit, all things from the Victorian era were either destroyed or salvaged and preserved:
Fires raged across the city and the charred remains of jewellry and personal items were salvaged...
But after the rebuild, it was time to usher in the new...
and now, Napier is something to celebrate! On the 18 - 21st of February, the Geon Art Deco Weekend is about to commence. Held every year, people come from all over the world to celebrate and have fun. Highlights this year include The Great Gatsby Picnic, The Chuff and Burble, Murder at the Club, Steam Train Rides and Putt Putt on Parade (vintage cars).
Photo courtesy of nesthaven.co.nz. As you can see in nesthaven's photo - it is compulsory to dress up!
Well, I have so much more to write about...like The Miniatures exhibition I went to at the art gallery...
...but that, I think, will have to wait till next time. I think this posting is long enough!
Till next time then...I must bid adieu....