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Wellington and Te Papa Museum

On the streets of downtown Wellington:

After Roland and I disembarked from the train from Plimmerton to Wellington, our first mission was coffee. To Cuba Street! Haven of lefty, punk rock sensibility and superb coffee. The revolution must be caffeinated, and no crap coffee for us!

Midnight Espresso:

It’s not just the yuppies who know how to make a sweet cup of joe:

Hanging on the wall in the back was this very familiar sculpture. You don’t have to be a pinko these days to appreciate this message:

Off to the Te Papa Museum – the national museum of New Zealand. I wish I hadn’t been so out of it for this. What a great museum. Started off in the “Awesome Forces” exhibit. How volcanos, earthquakes and weather played a part in shaping New Zealands landscape. I had guessed right earlier, Lake Taupo is a volcanic lake. One of the largest in the world – or THE largest?

Then I wandered into the natural history section called “Mountain to Sea” to look at the stuffed New Zealand animals. Spent a little time trying to figure out the names of some of the birds I have seen. Not much of that has stuck, though. I did see a Shag at some point. Pied Shag? How one can tell a petrel from an albatross is beyond me.

Immobile Kiwi:

A Nautilus shell cut in half to see the inner workings. Fractal?

My first night in Raglan, I stayed at the isolated tipi and camping site up the hill. To get there, I had to walk for about five minutes on a dark and muddy path through the woods. I heard the strangest bird song on the way. A combination of singing, clucking, train noises….so bizarre it stopped me in my tracks. The description and recording of a bird at Te Papa made me think it might have been one of them. Of course I can’t remember the name now, nor find it on the Te Pape website. I can tell you exactly where it was in the exhibit, but that helps almost no one. Unless someone from Te Papa Museum is reading this. Highly doubtful.

I really enjoyed the carvings in the free-standing old meeting house on the fourth floor – Te Hau ki Tūranga. Here are some photos:

Centered above the front door:

View once inside the door:

Here is some information about this wharenui (meeting house) that is on the Te Papa website:

“Te Hau ki Tūranga is one of the Museum’s most prized taonga. It was first exhibited in 1868 when it was moved from its home in Manutuke, just south of Gisborne and reassembled in the Colonial Museum on Museum Street, the forbear of Te Papa.

Te Hau ki Tūranga, or ‘the breezes of Tūranga’, is a wharenui (meeting house) built of tōtara. Here people met, slept, and recorded their history and art. It was built in the early 1840s by master carver Raharuhi Rukupō, of the Rongowhakaata iwi (tribe), as a memorial to his brother. It is one of the oldest and most significant carved houses in existence, and one of the first to be built using steel tools.

This meeting house of the Rongowhakaata people was taken out of a wall, which was its former location in the National Museum at Buckle Street, and brought to Te Papa for restoration using traditional methods and materials. It was then re-erected as a free-standing structure for the first time since its installation in the Buckle Street Museum by Apirana Ngata in 1936.”

The harbor looking out the back of Te Papa Museum:

Just some cool art stuff on the walkway nearby:


  1. Why the train from Pimmerton to Wellington? The cloud formation over the harbor is really interesting. Maybe Kerry can find the name of the bird. You are probably swimming with the dolphins as I write, hope it is a magnificent day. Love, PLOB

  2. was tired of driving

    and didn’t want to have to bother with parking. the train was about 25 minutes, no big deal. And I like trains! Well, if I don’t have a bike that is….

  3. oh yeah, and the clouds. amazing. i really like looking at and photographing clouds. haven’t seen a formation like this before I don’t think…

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