Our Trip Down Under

Australia and New Zealand
January 26 - February 16, 2012
(Final Leg - New Zealand's North Island)

Wellington, near the south tip of the North Island, is New Zealand's capital, and this is the NZ Parliament House, occupied in 1918 and completed in 1922.  We got to walk around the floor of the parliament per se, after all our cameras were confiscated.  New Zealand has a unicameral parliament. New Zealand Parliament
"The Beehive" is the common name for New Zealand's Executive Office Building.  It was completed in 1979, and it houses the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and offices of various ministries. New Zealand Executive Office Building
It seems like St. Paul's is the most common church name in New Zealand.  This is Wellington's "Old St. Paul's."  It was consecrated as a cathedral in 1866, and its architecture is Gothic, like any other Anglican cathedral.  However, it is entirely constructed from native New Zealand timbers. Old St. Paul's Church
The Wellington Cable Car is a local icon.  It runs from the downtown shopping district to the pinnacle of the Botanical Gardens.  The rise is about 400 feet, certainly a hard walk up. Wellington Cable Car
From the top, we walked down through the Wellington Botanical Gardens, which were established in 1868.   That is not all that long after the nation was founded, 1840, and even closer to 1865, when Wellington became the national capital. Botanical Gardens
The Museum of New Zealand is known as Te Papa Tongarewa, the Maori name.  The founding document of New Zealand gave a lot of status to the Maori, so their language appears in most official names. Te Papa
This is a Maori totem inside Te Papa. Maori Totem
Unlike the Ian Potter Center in Melbourne, where I found the art disappointing, the art in Te Papa was very worthwhile.  One big difference is that no photography is allowed in Te Papa.  This is a memorial to my scolding. Painting at Te Papa
In 1931, Napier, NZ, on the shores of Hawke's Bay, was totally changed by an earthquake.  A large, deep bay effectively vanished because the ground level changed by 10 feet.  Given the challenge of rebuilding in 1931, Napier's new construction was almost all Art Deco. That is exemplified by the National Tobacco Company.  This building was built in 1933, when tobacco was a massive business in Napier.  Since 2000, that business has wandered off, largely to Australia. National Tobacco Company
The Daily Telegraph managed to put out a tear sheet on the day after the 1931 earthquake.  This building was built in 1932.  During the 70's and 80's, the Art Deco buildings started to be replaced, but sometime in the 1990's, the town realized it had a living museum that was comparable to Miami Beach, and Art Deco was protected, then promoted. Dailly Telegraph
In 1937, the Municipal Theater was rebuilt in Art Deco style.  This is the light fixture in  the auditorium. Theater Light
Bertie Codding, who drives a 1935 Austin Grasshopper, has made himself the face and spokesman for Art Deco Napier. Bertie
The Rotarua area of New Zealand is geothermally very active.  We visited two Maori villages.  This is this the first of the two, Ohinemutu.  It sits on the shore of Lake Rotorua, and the ground is perforated with thermal vents. Ohinemutu Village
This vent is being used to prepare corn on the cob, and some other stuff that is less visible. Cooking at Ohinemutu
St. Faiths Anglican Church faces a Maori Meeting House across a plaza in Ohinemutu..  This church is a replacement for the original 1885 church, and it was consecrated in 1918.  The architecture is New Zealand Tudor on the outside, but the inside is decorated with Maori carving and weaving. Anglican Church
As steamy as Ohinemutu is, the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village is even steamier.  These residences are occupied in spite of the steaming pools all around.   Actually, we saw one house that had to be vacated when a new vent opened under the kitchen.  

The true Maori name for this town is Tewhakarewarewatangaoteopetauaawahiao.
Thermal Village
There is one geyser in town and several thermal pools.  This pool actually has a region where the up-coming water is boiling. Boiling Pool
This is the Maori Meeting House in Whakarewarewa, and it is typical of the several meeting houses we saw.  Since this is a sacred place to the Maoris, no tourists were welcome.  That is the sense of the sign across the door. Thermal Village Meeting House
After leaving Rotorua, we spent a day cruising in the Bay of Plenty.  It lies to the southeast of Auckland, and it got its name from Captain James Cook in 1769.  The Maori arrived 500 years earlier, and they named this bay after their explorer named Toi.  The most dramatic feature of the Bay is the White Island Volcano, or Whakaari. White Island Volcano
Up until 1914, this island was mined for sulfur.  However, in September of that year, there was a massive eruption (lahar) that killed all 10 workers.  One cat survived, though.   White Island Volcano
White Island is not totally barren.  You can see a few bits of green on this peak, which was more photogenic than the flock of Australasian Gannets that breed on the  flanks of the volcano. White Island Volcano
Auckland in the rain.  This is a view from Tamaki Drive, looking across Okahu Bay toward the central business district of Auckland.  Auckland has about 1.4 million residents, and that is 31% of the whole country.  New Zealand is less populous than the San Francisco Bay region. Auckland from Tamaki Drive
The central harbor of Auckland is dominated by its Ferry Building, just like another town we know.  While this harbor is not as busy as Sydney Harbour, it is still very active. Auckland Harbor
It is a little surprising to come across this large memorial to Michael Savage.  He was the first Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand, and he is revered as the architect of their welfare state during his time in office, from 1935 until his death in 1948. Michael Sauvage Memorial
The Auckland War Memorial Museum is dedicated more to history than to arts.  It has a detailed record of New Zealand's participation of wars since Europeans settled here in the 19th century. Auckland Museum
The Auckland Museum also has several Maori galleries.  One includes this deconsecrated meeting house, meaning that we can go in and look around.Interior of Maori Meeting House
The Maori extended tongue is a symbol of defiance.  It appears in their haka, a chant/dance that resembles a war dance.  The haka has been exposed to the world by the New Zealand rugby teams that use it prior to their games.  And the extended tongue appears in these carved figures.Maori Statues
Somehow, I was surprised to find Westfield in Auckland, just like Oakridge and Valley Fair.  My surprise was misplaced; Westfield Holdings has their corporate headquarters in Sydney, even though almost half their shopping centers are in the United States.Ubiquitous Westfield
In 2011, Auckland hosted the Rugby World Cup, and this structure was built on Queen's Wharf as a Fan Zone.  Rugby aficianados who could not get into the stadiums watched the matches on big screens here.Rugby Viewing Tent
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