Wednesday, August 20th 2003 – Day 183

Wednesday, August 20th 2003 – Day 183

I got up at 7.00am and packed. I started off on my trip at 7.20am.

The jewel in the crown of New Zealand scenic wonders is the magnificent Lake Matheson, famous for its reflections of New Zealands highest peaks Mount Cook and Mount Tasman. Just 10km from the Fox village on the Gillispies beach road. a tiny lake well protected from the wind. This means the waters are often incredibly still and they reflect the colour of the mountains so that in your photograph it’s difficult to tell the mountains from the reflection of the mountains. – The view is best at sunrise and sun set.

i asked the staff at the hostel about how much it would take. They said 30 minute cycle and 2 hours to do the circuit of the lake. That is why i left at 7.20am. There was no need. I nearly froze getting there. there was heavy frost on the road (it was below zero last night) and fog and mist. i have the walk to myself but it was tooe arly for good reflections of the mountains. It only took me 40 minutes to walk around the lake. it was dead easy. The cycle was also only 15 minutes althought its uphill on the way abck. i was back in the hostwel by 9.20am. Jsut as well as all the tour buses wwere arriving at the lake car park when i was leaving. I should have waited an hour and got good views.

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Fox Glacier to Quennstown – New Zealand – Lake Matheson (20-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Fox Glacier to Queenstown – New Zealand – Lake Matheson (20-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Fox Glacier to Queenstown – New Zealand – Lake Matheson (20-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Fox Glacier to Queenstown – New Zealand – Lake Matheson (20-08-2003)

I had coffee and spoke to a lad from kinsale who I met yesterday. Like yesterday we had a good chat about Cork, Cork hurling and football and Australia. He had bought a car for 1400 NZD but had no licence. He was right to do so as I have not seen the police since I have been here. They keep a low profile.

Anyway the mini bus arrived on time. There were two girls from Cork City on it. The price was 50 NZD (only 2 NZD cheaper than Intercity). It was a beautiful drive throught the Haast valley.

We stopped a few times to collect people. We also stopped for a break at Thunder Creek Falls

A 2-minute walk (wheelchair access) for a view of a 28 metre waterfall.

Arriving at Haast, you are surrounded by a landscape of rainforest, wetlands, sand dunes and surf-pounded shingle beaches. This wilderness forms part of the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area, so designated because South Westland and Fiordland have some of the most dramatic forest and mountain scenery and natural resources in the world.

The surrounding area has some well-developed walks including the Hapuka Estuary Walk, which leaves from the motor camp, and the Ship Creek Walk, starting half way along the road to Lake Moeraki. These walks and others cross the wild Haast coastal plain, where complex dune systems shelter tiny lakes and many fine stands of kahikatea, New Zealand’s tallest tree.

The coastal plain continues for some 50 km south to the remote fishing village of Jackson Bay, where the long West Coast Road finally ends. This former seal-hunting base, tucked in behind the sheltering Jackson Head, is one of the remotest places on the New Zealand roading system. It has the distinction of having a higher population of fur seals and penguins, than of humans.

There is a timeless, spiritual quality to South Westland. The booming Tasman Sea, deserted beaches, dense lowland rainforest and forbidding mountains are hauntingly beautiful.

Anyway the scenery was out of this world and there were snow covered mountains ina ll directions. Some roads were closed due to a snow fall alst night. Its winter sports time here at the moment.

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Fox Glacier to Quennstown – New Zealand – Bus Trip – Thunder Creek Falls (20-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Fox Glacier to Quennstown – New Zealand – Bus Trip(20-08-2003)

We arrived in Queenstowna t 6.00pm. it was misting and dark and cold. Anyway the driver took us to wahtever hostel we wanted. I chose the THE BLACK SHEEP hostel.

I had a long shower and shave. I also did laundry. I went down down to eat (met a kiwi couple with Irish parents and we spoke of rugby and Ireland) and went ont he NET. The place where I ate was the The Pig & Whistle. An early night I think.

Foun two good Queenstown sites. One is here and the other and the better one (official tourist site) here.

Tomorow is a new day.

Tuesday, August 19th 2003 – Day 182

Tuesday, August 19th 2003 – Day 182

I was up at 8.30am and got ready for the walk. It was leaving at 9.15am. They provide all the gear free including rain coat, socks, boots, hats etc. All you need is a camera and lunch.

I had decided to do the Full day walk . They say you will need to be a little fitter as this takes you further up the Glacier with a good chance of getting to the ice caves.

This is the walk for adventurous people who are reasonably fit and agile and wish to have a full day exploring the fascinating features of the glacier. Groups are kept small.

You approach the glacier using the same “secret” track that is used by the Half-day walkers. Outfitted with crampons, specially designed by Alpine Guides for Fox ice conditions, and traveling on ice steps freshly cut by your guide, you are able to journey on the glacier until confronted by the majestic pinnacles of the lower icefall where the glacier is moving up to two metres a day.

Duration:

6 – 7 hours

After changing gear and getting a prep talk we got a bus to the Glacier car park. There were about 9 on the tour with two guides. There were people from New Zealand, two from Australia, four from the UK, Isle of Man and one from Switzerland. The two guides were pretty cool and laid back. Its a professional outfit but theres a big fun aspect.

We walked towards the glacier for 30 minutes where we had some good views. We then out on our cramptons when we got to the ice. I have been on Glaciers in South America four times. I have been to the Moreno Glacier in Argentina, Cerro Torre in Argentina, the Martial Glacier in Ushuaia – Argentina and the Pastoruri Glaciar in Peru. So you see I have experience in these matters.

The day was a bit too easy. The weather was good but we followed the guides. They cut ice steps with axes when it was too steep. Not much of challenge. My ice trek in Argentina was 35 km over 13 hours. That was tough. We had a nice day and we got back at 4.00pm. The ice caves were cool though.

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Fox Glacier – New Zealand – Glacier Walk (19-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Fox Glacier – New Zealand – Glacier Walk (19-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Fox Glacier – New Zealand – Glacier Walk (19-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Fox Glacier – New Zealand – Glacier Walk (19-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Fox Glacier – New Zealand – Glacier Walk (19-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Fox Glacier – New Zealand – Glacier Walk (19-08-2003)

There was little to do after that and we watched Being John Malkovich (I love this movie) and Ronan Atkinson live on video. This is a cool hostel but there is little to do in the village.

I booked a bus to Queenstown for 10.50 tomorrow with Atomic Shuttles. Apart fromt he main Intercity bus service, they are the only service going past here. Our bus driver here had to deliver parcels for the post office as the place is so isolated. I also hired a bike from the hostel for tomorrow morning as I want to go to Lake Matheson, the famous reflection lake, is 6 km from of Fox township..

Monday, August 18th 2003 – Day 181

Monday, August 18th 2003 – Day 181

I thought the bus was leaving at 7.30am but when i got there at 7.15am. I rushed to pay for my ticket for the 10.5 hour journey (77 NZD). I thought about buying a bus pass, but it would work out dearer for the route I am taking. There was no need to hurry as the driver had Irish connections.

It funny with the bus drivers here. they all give a running commentary on the town you pass throught giving advice on attractions and local folklore. This guy was good though. He spoke on the loudspeaker for about 50% of the time. His name was Maurice and had been in ireland 5 years ago to trace his routes. He had been in Ballyporeen.

Anyway he gave a good history to the bus about the Irish who came in search of gold on the West Coast of the South Island. We saw some nice coastal scenery.

We stopped a few times for breaks and had 20 minutes at Punakaiki which is Situated half an just over a half hours drive north from Greymouth, or south from Westport. Punakaiki for most people makes for a good break to get some fresh air and walk out to the pancake rocks. I walked a five minute path to view the unusual pancake rock formations and the blowholes from which colunms of sea water can spray up in favourable sea conditions.

More information on national parks and these type attractions can be got from the Department of Conservation.

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Nelson to Fox Glacier – New Zealand – Punakaiki (18-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Nelson to Fox Glacier – New Zealand – Punakaiki (18-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Nelson to Fox Glacier – New Zealand – Punakaiki (18-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Nelson to Fox Glacier – New Zealand – Punakaiki (18-08-2003)

The Department of Conservation is the central government organisation charged with conserving the natural and historic heritage of New Zealand on behalf of and for the benefit of present and future New Zealanders.

Its mission is “to conserve New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage for all to enjoy now and in the future”.

Anyway we got to Fox Glacier the last stop for the bus. There were five others getting off. Its a isolated area and this is a tiny village with a few shops and a few accommodation providers.

I had picked the Ivory Towers hostel from the guide and it was a good pick. its a mixture of bunks and non bunks. There were two others in the room. Price was 20 NZd per night. Its a very relaxed area and hostel. big kitchen and nice TV lounge with sofas. Lucky as histel was not that busy. They had over 120 videos to watch on demand. They even had free tea bags.

The staff were also very cool and relaxed. There dogs slept in front of the fire.

Fox Glacier is situated on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand .

If you are traveling a long way to get to New Zealand and consider New Zealand to be very remote, than Fox Glacier would almost be beyond comprehension. The nearest Supermarket is just 175 ks away in a delightful wee town called Hokitika.

Our main service town and local hospital is only a little further, this being Greymouth and would be just 210 ks.

We are approx 200 meters above sea level , and have a permanent snow field at 2300metres. The west coast is a very narrow strip of land squeezed between the Tasman ocean and the mighty SOUTHERN Alps. in the Glacier region the distance between Sea and Mountains is only 24 ks. From Fox village the Alps seem to go straight up to over 12,000 feet with Mt Cook and Tasman towering above the Fox valley.

Our Glacier is approximately 13ks long and is currently the biggest on the West Coast, of course it used to be bigger. Approx 250years ago it reached the sea , but due to Global warming , and the need for ice in our soft drinks it has shrunk , but believe me it is still plenty big enough. Anyway, all we need is more heavy snow to collect the basin at the top of the glaciers to move them forward once more.

It was 5.50pm and I rushed to book a glacier walk for tomorrow with Alpine guides. It was expensive at 75 NZD. There was nothing else to do so I went back to pack my lunch for tomorrow and eat something.

I settled down in the TV room to watch The Theory of Flight which was quite good. I had an early night.

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Fox Glacier – New Zealand – Fox Glacier (18-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Fox Glacier – New Zealand – Fox Glacier (18-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Fox Glacier – New Zealand – Fox Glacier (18-08-2003)

Sunday, August 17th 2003 – Day 180

Sunday, August 17th 2003 – Day 180

I was up a 8.40am and had a shower. My ferry was at 11.00am but you could board at 10,,am. I bought a Sunday newspaper and had coffee. I walked the 20 minutes to the Lynx Ferry terminal. This is the faster of the ferries. It is only two hours and 15 minutes. The larger ferry can be twice that. See the following site for more detail.

The Lynx offers not just a quick way across Cook Strait, but also the smoothest and the most

luxurious way!

The Lynx is equipped with a Hi Tech ride control system allowing stabilizers to react to sea conditions (minimizing roll), and a wave-piercing twin hull which adds to the stability and smoothness of the vessel.

Travel time across Cook Strait is just 135 minutes

It was an uneventful ferry crossing. We were lucky as the weather was excellent. I bad weather this ferry is the first to be cancelled. We arrived at Picton on time at 1.15. You check in your luggage like as airport but I collected mine quickly. I bought a ticket at the terminal for Nelson for 22 NZD. The buses leave from outside and mine left at 1.45pm. Talking to the bus driver it seems our ferry is usually up to one hour late. He said of late due to bad weather and choppy seas it has been up to two hours late.

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Wellington to Picton – New Zealand – Ferry crossing (17-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington to Picton – New Zealand – Ferry crossing (17-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington to Picton – New Zealand – Picton (17-08-2003)

Nelson is 144km (89 miles) W of Picton; 226km (140 miles) NE of Westport; 424km (263 miles) N of Christchurch. We passed some nice mountains and wine making regions on the bus.

Nelson is the sunniest playground in New Zealand. Its 2,500 hours of annual sunshine, tranquil waters, gold-sand beaches, vineyards, and craft activities make it one of the most popular destinations of all. And the good thing is, this applies to winter as well. While the rest of the country is lashed with foul winter chills, Nelson sits in a sheltered haven, blissfully unaware of everyone else’s discomfort.

Perhaps this accounts for why the area is one of the last bastions of alternative lifestylers, especially in the Takaka-Golden Bay area. Immigrating Europeans and Americans have sought it out, too, so you’ll find plenty of mixed accents among the locals.

The combined population of Nelson City and nearby Richmond is about 51,000. An hour’s drive east is the small town of Motueka, population 12,000, and between the two is an area rich in tourist pickings. This is where you’ll find most of the 300 full-time artists and craftspeople. It is thick with orchards, vineyards, galleries, quaint shops, and cafes, and a visit here should not be rushed. It’s a laid-back province that quickly convinces you that laid-back is best.

We arrived in Nelson at 3.45pm (20 minutes early) and the bus driver offered to take any tourists to the places they were staying. I saw that a lot of hostels have reps and mini buses outside the bus station. I had picked the Palace Hostel. This is a nice hostel with no bunks! It is an old house with character and free breakfast. Check out their pretty cool website. I met a guy from Leeds there. I am sharing the 4 bed dorm with them. I have met a lot of Gay men in my life but this guy takes the biscuit (not mine) for been so camp. No offence but he actually does sound like a girl and he is so animated.

It was now 4.30pm and starting to get dark. As its Sunday, it was quite. I decided to visit Nelson Cathedral, 367 Trafalgar St. – nelson.cathedral@clear.net.nz.

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Nelson – New Zealand – Catherdral (17-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Nelson – New Zealand – Catherdral (17-08-2003)

From Church Hill, the Cathedral overlooks the city business district. Built mainly of Takaka marble, the cathedral is set in a garden with many outstanding trees.

Church Hill is rich in the history of Nelson. The Maori name for the hill is Pikimai (climb up here) and had been the site of a pa. Newly-arrived immigrants were housed there, as was the Post Office, the New Zealand Company’s storerooms and barracks, the Examiner offices, the courthouse, and the hospital tent. The grounds include part of the original ramparts of Fort Arthur, built by the early settlers after the Wairau Affray in 1843. The present cathedral is the third church building on the site and was completed in 1965. Open for public viewing.

It’s open daily free of charge to visitors, in summer from 8am to 6pm and in winter from 8am to 5pm. Built of local Takaka marble, the cathedral is known for its striking stained glass, carved features, and unique freestanding organ.

There was a choir practice on and it swas nice to listen. Nice and warm building. I have difficulty understanding why put up so many military flags (New Zealand and English) relating to the different wars Kiwi soldiers participated in. Its very Mother English etc. Cant be very welcoming to people of the Anglican fate from other countries. More churches in New Zealand here.

There is an EXCELLENT website about Nelson, what’s on etc. here. One of the more unusual attractions is the World of WearableArt. Too hard to explain… just vist their website.

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Nelson – New Zealand – the World of WearableArt. (17-08-2003)

Another site on Nelson here.I don’t know if I will take the 7.15am bus south tomorrow or stay another day. There are a lot of activities here including a MACS brewery tour.

Suggested Itineraries are available here (of all of new Zealand).

Anyeway there was not a sinner (or car) on the streets past 6.00pm. I thought about the cinema but decideded not. Went on the NEt forr 2 hours (3.50 NZD during happy hour) and eat some fish and chips. It was dead quiet.

Nice hostel but staff are lazy. I had to answer the phone and open the open for callers. They were in the Chillin room playing guitar and getting stoned. I decided to leave for Fox Glacier tomorrow morning.

Saturday, August 16th 2003 – Day 179

Saturday, August 16th 2003 – Day 179

Well I did have any major hangover. I was up at 8.30am but as I did not want to anything special this morning, went back to bed until 10.30am. I got breakfast and bought the weekend papers. I headed towards the wespac stadium which is about 20 minutes walk from the centre (past the railway stadium), This stadium is only a year or two old and is ultra modern. I stopped in a pub close to the ground to sample the atmosphere. It was lacklustre and there no was sign on the city streets that a big match was about to take place. Most talk was about the New Zealand V Australia tonight.

The gates were open at 12.00 but I entered at 1.30pm. There is a barcode on your ticket which you use you enter. No need for people and receipts. Very good. You get a aisle, row and seat number. Its so easy to find your seat without hassle and so many facilities from toilets to beer. Indeed some people are buying a few bottles of Tui ale for the match.

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Wellington – New Zealand – on the way to Rugby (16-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – Rugby (16-08-2003)

I enjoyed the match. It was close near the end. Southland went 1 point ahead with seven minutes to go. Wellington then scored a try and converted.

After the match we were asked to stay around so that a crew could record sounds for the 3rd Lord of the rings film. They asked us to chant six different things from roars to particular words. It was good and I hope they make it to film and in turn I become a small part of film history.

After that I booked my ferry ticket to Picton and the South Island. I did in online with Inter Island Line ferries. I have been checking this site since I arrived in Wellington. Last Friday was a fare free day and I could have the taken the trip FREE of charge but I wanted to go to the match today. I paid 40 NZD online and as it a paperless transaction, I got a booking number. Very easy and quick.

I usually eat in the Reading Centre Food court. I have not ate any western food since I arrived as I prefer the Asian (Thai, Malay, Chinese) food. Most plates are under 10 NZD ad one has self service. Its a dangerous move when backpackers are about. You can buy three empty sized plates. I usually go medium for 9 NZD. After that I stack food up until its about to topple (usually twice the amount of others). Ah hell, all is fair in love, food and war.

After that I visited Saint Mary of the Angels Catholic Church. I met a teacher from a Catholic School a few days ago and he told me to call in (because he said it was the nicest church in Wellington). The guys grandparents were born inn Ireland before they came to new Zealand. I called in. Nice church and nothing special. There were confessions on and as I have not been for a year, decided to do mine. It was very different from Ireland . More of an informal chat. The priest had studied with three Irish Deacons and we spoke of Ireland and new Zealand for about 5-10 minutes. He had been baptized by a priest called O’ Reagn. Anyway it was very different as you sit down in comfortable seats and and in a bright room with glass windows do people can look in. Its a far better system than the dark confessional boxes in Ireland where its all whispers and darkness with grilled windows and squinting eyes.

I went out for a few drinks (more than a few) at 7.30pm as the match was starting. The sports bar was packed and rowdy. Lots of booze and Australia bashing but all in good atmosphere and fun. It was a close match and all enjoyed it. There were great celebrations at the end. It was as if they won the World Cup. It ended 21-17.

After that I head down down for a few drinks .. I think Coyote bar. I did not stay long. I had one more in Molly Malones and was in bed by 12.00 midnight.

Friday, August 15th 2003 – Day 178

Friday, August 15th 2003 – Day 178

It was pouring rain and it was cold. I was not too happy about walking around in the mire. I decided to drop into the City Gallery Wellington. Its a nice building in the Civic Square with free admission.

City Gallery has a reputation for challenging viewers with the best of contemporary visual art–everything from painting, sculpture, film, and video to industrial and graphic design and architecture. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you want to find out what’s happening in the New Zealand world of contemporary art, it’s one of the best places to start. The gallery has a fully licensed cafe, bar, and restaurant.

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Wellington – New Zealand – City Gallery (15-08-2003)

The gallery was taken up by exhibitions by Shane Cotton – A Maori artist who was quite good even thought I did not get many of the references.

Upper Hutt born with Maori affiliations to the Nga Puhi tribe, in the past six years, Shane Cotton has emerged as a major presence in New Zealand art. His work is highly sought after by both private collectors and museum galleries. He has exhibited extensively in both New Zealand and Australia with highlights including the much coveted Seppelt Art Award at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and receiving the prestigious Frances Hodgkins fellowship at the University of Otago. More information on Shane can be found here.

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Wellington – New Zealand – Shane Cotton Painting. (15-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – Shane Cotton Painting. (15-08-2003)

I then walked to the National Archives Office. It was a 15 minute walk in the rain.

The real beginnings of a National Archives came in 1926, however, when Dr Scholefield, Librarian of the General Assembly Library was in addition appointed Controller of Dominion Archives, although he was given no extra resources to carry out the additional functions!

We are able to ensure preservation and access to this material by acquiring, describing and preserving significant public archives relating to almost every aspect of New Zealand life, and to the individual lives of New Zealanders from the beginning of British government in 1840 to the present day. The materials we hold take many forms including manuscripts, photographs, films, maps, tapes, plans, video recordings, books, paintings, drawings, and prints.

The Government records held at Archives New Zealand are a precious and unique resource. It is our aim to ensure that they are kept in the best possible condition and made available to the widest possible audience, not only to professional researchers, but also to the general public. This homepage is designed to give an overview of the services and facilities we offer.

It was free admission. There was an exhibit on the design and construction of the Beehive (one ugly Building) Parliament building. The most important exhibit on show is The Treaty of Waitangi

The Treaty of Waitangi has been a significant document – especially for Maori – since it was signed in 1840.

The Treaty of Waitangi has two texts, one Maori and one English. The English text is not an exact translation of the Maori text. Despite the problems caused by the different versions, both represent an agreement in which Maori gave the Crown rights to govern and to develop British settlement, while the Crown guaranteed Maori full protection of their interests and status, and full citizenship rights.

In 1975 The Treaty of Waitangi Act established the Waitangi Tribunal. This forum was created to investigate Treaty grievances by Maori against the Crown.

Introduction to the Treaty of Waitangi

Background

In the late 1830s, there were approximately 125,000 Maori in New Zealand and about 2000 settlers. More immigrants were arriving all the time though, and Captain William Hobson was sent to act for the British Crown in the negotiation of a treaty between the Crown and Maori. The Colonial Secretary, Lord Normanby, instructed Hobson that:

“All dealings with the Aborigines for their Lands must be conducted on the same principles of sincerity, justice, and good faith as must govern your transactions with them for the recognition of Her Majesty’s Sovereignty in the Islands. Nor is this all. They must not be permitted to enter into any Contracts in which they might be the ignorant and unintentional authors of injuries to themselves. You will not, for example, purchase from them any Territory the retention of which by them would be essential, or highly conducive, to their own comfort, safety or subsistence. The acquisition of Land by the Crown for the future Settlement of British Subjects must be confined to such Districts as the Natives can alienate without distress or serious inconvenience to themselves. To secure the observance of this rule will be one of the first duties of their official protector.”

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Wellington – New Zealand – the Treaty of Waitangi. (15-08-2003)

On 6 February 1840, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands by Hobson, several English residents, and approximately 45 Maori rangatira, Hone Heke being the first. The Maori text of the Treaty was then taken around Northland to obtain additional Maori signatures and copies were sent around the rest of the country for signing, but the English text was signed only at Waikato Heads and at Manukau by 39 rangatira. By the end of that year, over 500 Maori had signed the Treaty. Of those 500, 13 were women.

After the National Archives visit, I walked to the New Zealand’s National War memorial. This is a fine structure and very atmospheric. With the wind and rain howling outside, I was alone inside it was very serene.

New Zealand’s National War memorial consists of the War Memorial Carillon and the Hall of Memories. It commemorates the New Zealanders who gave their lives in the South African War, World Wars I and II and the wars in Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam. It is planned that an Unknown New Zealand Warrior will be interred in a specially constructed Tomb at the National War Memorial.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – New Zealand’s National War memorial. (15-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – New Zealand’s National War memorial (15-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – New Zealand’s National War memorial (15-08-2003)

The building was finished in 1932. The website is great and has all the relevant information. I found another great site about all the heritage sites and walking trails in Wellington. If you visit Wellington, check it out. There are hundreds listing in the index and reasons for their significance is given.

After that it was still raining but not as bad. I headed back to town for something to eat. I was going out tonight but many people (most people do not go out until midnight). I headed back for a shower and shave and decided to go and see American Spendor at the Rialto Cinema.

This is a great movie (read a review here and more resource’s here). He even has his OWN BLOG.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – Flyer for film. (15-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – Flyer for Film. (15-08-2003)

He about a guy who writes comics! I will say no more.

The movie ended around 11.00pm and I headed out to the town. It was very quiet and I stayed until 3.00am in the Courtenay Place. I visited most bars in the area with none been more than 1/3 full. Beer or a handle is between four and five NZD. For bar reviews visit Lucid and check out issues 3, 4 and 5 for reviews of different types of bars (rugby, trendy, sleazy). Issue 3 is pretty good.

Pretty quite night and I was in bed by 3.00am. Five people in my dorm tonight.

Thursday, August 14th 2003 – Day 177

Thursday, August 14th 2003 – Day 177

I was lazy and did not get up until 10.00am. Too much mind work yesterday. It was a pity as the sun was out and no sign of rain. Today is supposed to be the best day for at least 4 days. I decided to head to Mount Victoria. It was about a 30 minute steep walk.

The high point on Wellington’s Southern Walkway, Mount Victoria, easily accessible by foot or vehicle, is undoubtedly the capital city’s favorite lookout. Popular with the tourists for its spectacular bird’s-eye view of the city and surrounds, the site is also appealing to locals. On warm summer evenings there is nowhere better to enjoy your fish and chips than with a glass of red wine and a view of the setting sun as it descends behind the surrounding hills.

The weather was great and the views good.. but a little fog. I stayed about 15 minutes. It was a quick down hill walk (10 minutes) back down.

I then went to the Old St Paul’s Cathedral which can be found on Mulgrave Street. It about a 20 minute walk from the city centre. This is a really nice church very different from the austere Anglican church’s in Ireland. Lots of decoration and tradition.

The Cathedral Church of St Paul built also to serve as the parish church of Thorndon, was consecrated in 1866. It was designed in late Early English Gothic style by the Rev. Frederick Thatcher, noted for the churches he built in the North Island for Bishop Selwyn. This, his finest work, was built in native timbers: totara, matai, rimu and kauri. It was altered and enlarged several times over the years by several architects including Christian Julius Toxward and Frederick de Jersey Clere, Diocesan Architect from 1883.

In 1954 a new Cathedral was begun, with the intention of demolishing the old one. After much protest the decision was finally reversed in 1966 and Old St Pauls, as it is now known, was taken over by the government.

The church has a superb timber interior, stained glass windows and memorial brasses, with a carved oak pulpit in memory of popular Premier Richard (“King Dick”) Seddon.

Old St. Paul’s attracts thousands of visitors each year and is a popular venue for weddings and other services.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – Old Saint Pauls (14-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – Old Saint Pauls (14-08-2003)

I then walked to the NEW Wellington Cathedral of St Paul. This is one ugly church. Built in 1964, its looks like a 60s nightmare. Its also very austere inside. Like a big shed. There is NO decoration except for the stained glass. Picture can be seen in their website. Didn’t stay long here. Ugly.

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Wellington – New Zealand – New Saint Pauls (14-08-2003)

I then went to see CITY OF GOD at the Paramovnt Cinema. This is a great film.

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Wellington – New Zealand – Flyer for the Film. (14-08-2003)

The main character in Cidade de Deus is not a person. It is a place. Cidade de Deus is a poor housing project started in the 60’s that became one of the most dangerous places in Rio de Janeiro by the beginning of the 80’s.

In order to tell the story of the place the film tells us the stories of many characters. But all is seen through the eyes of the narrator: Busca a poor black kid too frail and scared to become an outlaw but also to smart to be content with an underpaid job.

He grows up in a very violent environment. The odds are all against him. But he discovers he can see the reality with a different eye: the eye of an artist. Eventually he becomes a professional photographer. That is his redemption..

Buscap is not the real protagonist of the film. He is not the one who makes the story moves on. He is not the one who makes the decisions that will determine the main chain of events. Nevertheless, not only his life is attached to what happens in the story but it is also through his perspective of life that we understand the humanity of a world apparently condemned to endless violence.

This is a great film. I was glued to the screen (It was 12 NZD in). Having been in Rio and the favelas, not much has changed. See my stories from there. I see one of the stars (all street kids and amateurs) was arrested in Rio recently for stealing.

After that I went straight to a Comedy show called Section 8 down been held in Indigo on Cuba Street. I wanted to see some live Kiwi humor. It was 8 NZD in.

Featuring the creme of Wellington’s comedy talent

MC Vaughan King (Pulp Comedy) – Excellent smutty songs playing guitar.

Ben Hurley (Pulp Comedy) – good but short set.

Dave Smith (2003 Raw Comedy Quest) – Crap

Steve Wrigley (Best Newcomer – Laugh! Festival 2003) – Crap, retold the Bill Hicks joke regarding Christians and forgiveness. unforgiveable. Get your own material buddy.

James Nokise (Young Guns) – Excellent. He is from Samoa and had some good lines.

Looking forward to the All Blacks VS Wallabaies next Saturday night.

Anyway, the show ended at 12.30am and I headed home. No one else in the dorm . Sweet.

Post note about the Return of the King which sounds are been recorded for at tomorrows rugby game which I am attending.

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Wellington – New Zealand – Poster for the forthcoming 3rd Lord of the Rings Film called The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King . It will open here (Wellington) in a world wide premier on December 1st. (14-08-2003)

Wednesday, August 13th 2003 – Day 176

Wednesday, August 13th 2003 – Day 176

I was up at 9.00am. The other two people were dead quiet when they let at 4.00am to catch a ferry. I got breakfast (scrambled eggs and toast) and headed to the tourist office for information and advice about the NPC rugby season (it starts Saturday). I then walked to The Parliament Buildings . I was a bit early for a public tour at 11.00am. I checked my bags and camera in and we headed off to a nice tour that visited the select committee rooms, the members library and the main house i.e the Dail, House of Commons etc,. It was a good tour as I have never been to Dail Eireann – Ireland’s equivalent. Nice area where different nations donated national emblems. Ireland had a nice embroidered flag.

New Zealand’s Parliament Buildings are on Molesworth Street in the city center and include the distinctive beehive-shaped building that is the administrative headquarters. They reopened to the public in 1995 after undergoing a NZ$165-million ($69.3-million) refurbishment. You can visit Parliament daily free of charge. The 1-hour tours include the Edwardian neoclassical Parliament House, the Victorian-Gothic Parliamentary Library, and, if the group is not too large, the 1970s-style Beehive. If you want to see and hear history in the making, call first to check when the House is sitting. The Debating Chamber makes for fascinating spectator sport.

The refurbished buildings also present outstanding examples of New Zealand art. The most impressive of all is the spectacular work by Malcolm Harrison, which occupies the three-story height of the new Galleria. The Maori Affairs Select Committee Room, at the front of Parliament House, is another interesting feature, worth visiting for the remarkable carvings and weavings specially commissioned for it.

Across the road, the Old Government Building is also worth a look. It’s the second-largest wooden building in the world and now houses the University Law Faculty. And since you’re in the vicinity, you could also check out the National Library of New Zealand, 70 Molesworth St. (tel. 04/474-3000). The ground-floor National Library Gallery showcases the art and history collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library and is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm, Saturday from 9am to 4:30pm, and Sunday from 1 to 4:30pm. The Alexander Turnbull Library, in the same building, is the research wing of the National Library, specializing in New Zealand and the Pacific. Books, serials, recordings, manuscripts, and archives are on the first floor and newspapers on the lower ground floor. On the second floor, visitors can peruse files of photographs. Drawings, paintings, and maps are available for research by appointment.

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Wellington – New Zealand – parliament and Beehive. (13-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – Library of Parliamanrt. (13-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – parliament and Beehive. (13-08-2003)

It was still raining bus I was in museum form. After a quick bite to eat, I headed to Kelburn Cable Car and its museum.

This is a splendid little 4 1/2-minute trip taking you to some of the best views you’ll see anywhere. Pray for fine weather, as Wellington city and the harbor look spectacular from up here on a cloudless day. It’s also the best way to access the Botanic Garden

Its NZUS 1.80 each way but the weather was crap on top with no clear views of the harbor. After 25 minutes in the museum (free), I headed back again.

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Wellington – New Zealand – Cable Car Museum. (13-08-2003)

I then walked to the Museum of Wellington City & Sea

There’s been a NZ$12.5-million ($5.25-million) refurbishment at this newest of Wellington’s museums, housed in a historic icon, the 1892 Bond Store. The history of the area is presented in six galleries with audiovisual displays, cinema screens, and traditional exhibitions of memorabilia and photographs. If you want an intense glimpse into Wellington’s past, this is the place to get it.

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Wellington – New Zealand – Museum of Wellington City & Sea. (13-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – Museum of Wellington City & Sea. (13-08-2003)

It was free in and had some nice stories about the city and its characters. Much of the museum has to do with its maritime history and shipping disasters. I spent about an hour here. Much of the museum has to do with a sinking in 1968 where 51 people died. It was called the Wahine. The NZ National Maritime Museum is situated at the heart of Auckland’s downtown waterfront area. It now has a NEW WWW site and another related site.

After that I walked to the National Tatoo Museum. The Moho tattos are unique to the Pacific and I have seen many people here with unusual tattoos. Some have a moko from their family heritage all over their face. The museum had many pictures of full facial tattoos. Many all get their tights done from the waist to their knees. It was 5 NZUS in and their is a tattoo business there as well if to want a tattoo. I stayed thee about 40 minutes. It was OK to see local practice and the long history of tattoos in the Pacific Region but missable.

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Wellington – New Zealand – National tattoo Museum. (13-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – National tattoo Museum. (13-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – National tattoo Museum. (13-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – National tattoo Museum. (13-08-2003)

After that it 5.30pm and I walked to the local tourist office to buy a ticket for the NPC game next Saturday. It is the first week of the Rugby Union season and they expect over 30,000 at Wespac stadium for the 1st Wellington game – Aug 16 Wellington v Southland Wellington 2.35pm . Another reason I am going is to become part of history According to the Dominion Post newspaper, I will be part of the 3rd Lord of the Rings film. I have the chance to to chant and stomp my way into the final film in The Lord of the Rings trilogy at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.

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Wellington – New Zealand – MARAUDING LIONS: Wellington rugby front-row forwards Tony Coughlan, Luke Mahoney, and Tim Fairbrother prepare for Saturday’s battle by donning Rings trilogy props at training in Upper Hutt yesterday. (13-08-2003)

Lions roar for Rings – 13 August 2003 – By TOBY ROBSON

Thousands of Wellington rugby fans will have the chance to chant and stomp their way into the final film in The Lord of the Rings trilogy at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.

Rings sound technicians will ask the crowd to stay behind after the Wellington Lions’ national provincial championship opening game against Southland to record sounds for battle scenes in The Return of the King.

It would take “five or ten minutes” to record the noises, sound technicians said.

Fans can hear the results when the film makes its world premiere in Wellington on December 1.

It is the second time the stadium has been used for Rings sound effects.

Last year, fans kicked up a din during the tea break of a one-day cricket international between New Zealand and England. The results were clearly audible during battle scenes in the trilogy’s second film, The Two Towers.

On that occasion, the crowd was led by director Peter Jackson but this time around the Wellingtonian is overseas.

The Lions will be hoping they can display some of the warrior spirit on Saturday as Wellington attempt to break a two-year drought against Southland.

The Wellington Rugby Union had sold 22,400 tickets yesterday.

I was looking up stuff about Wellington Rugby. They are one of the best teams int he league. At the heart of this renaissance is the new “home” of Wellington Rugby – the 34,500 seat WestpacTrust Stadium, located in the heart of Wellington City.

Completed at the start of 2000, the colosseum-style Stadium has already proved a hit with rugby fans. Wellington Rugby now boasts 14,000 season ticket holders compared to a total of 1,800 in 1999, and all three of the Hurricanes Super 12 matches in Wellington were sold out in 2000.

Iam looking forward to it. i checked out the weather forcast. it is supposed to be raining heavy so I booked a seat in the covered Silver stand. it cost 25 NZUS. I was easy to book via the Post office and handy.

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Wellington – New Zealand – WestpacTrust Stadium. The papers call in the cake tin or the baking tin. (11-08-2003)

You may or may not know Jonah Lomu playes for Wellington althought he has not trained for the past two days. Hopefully I will see him play on Saturday.

I did not too much the rest of the evening. I was the only person in the dorm for the night so that was sweet. I borrowed another duvet and a pillow.

Tuesday, August 12th 2003 – Day 174

Tuesday, August 12th 2003 – Day 174

Did little last night. I watched TV with others from the hostel. Many are long time inhabitants as its a university town. I love the TV ads here, very male oriented and very sexist. They even show a show here called extreme makeovers where contestants get cosmetic surgery. Anyway, the hostel is OK. The bathrooms, TV room, lounge and kitchen are great but the rooms are too small. I think I had three snorers in my room last night and one guy who made rasping voices and licked his lips the whole time. I usually would not sleep, but this time I did.

I was up at 8.00am and found it difficult to decide whether I should stay another night and relax or take the bus to Wellington. Either I could relax for a day and spend 3 days in the capital including a good Friday night out on the town or spend four days there. I decided to get the 10.10am bus to Wellington. The journey takes just over 2 hours and the bus ticket was 27 NZUS. It was cold and raining when I got to Wellington. I walked outside and took a local city bus (1 NZUS) to the city centre.

Some see Wellington as a miniature Hong Kong–there’s a beautiful curved harbor surrounded by hillsides dotted with houses and elegant high-rises clustered into a central fist. There is an immediacy and a vibrancy here that you don’t get in other New Zealand cities.

Once seen as a stuffy, bureaucrat-filled political capital, Wellington has reinvented itself to become New Zealand’s entertainment and cultural capital and the fastest-growing weekend destination in the country.

With the opening of the long-awaited Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand, the waterfront is alive again. The Courtenay Place neighborhood has one of the best bar, cafe, and restaurant scenes in the country, and some say there are enough restaurants per capita to rival New York City.

Galleries, theaters, and shops abound, and the beauty of Wellington is that so much is within walking distance. It is a compact place with a pronounced cosmopolitan elegance, and an exciting corporate component adds to the rich urban atmosphere: Morning, noon, and night, “the suits,” as they are affectionately called here, crowd the streets.

Today’s Wellington is diverse and sophisticated. The fact that it can be extremely cold and windy here in winter is understandable if you consider there is little between the capital and Antarctica to stop the gales. And the fact that so much of the city of glass-fronted high-rises sits on a major fault line seems of so little concern to its inhabitants that I almost feel picky raising the issue. Speaking of raising, it’s interesting to note that a large portion of Wellington’s waterfront playground is located on reclaimed land (just like Hong Kong)–much of it forced up by a giant 1855 earthquake and finished off by clever acts of reclamation.

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Wellington – New Zealand – Waterfront. (12-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – Waterfront. (12-08-2003)

It took me a while to get my bearings in the city centre. I was dropped off close to Courtenay Place. As I had no breakfast I went to a food market and had an Indian. I had a nice Curry Chicken and rice a few days ago in Napier. Anyway after that I walked to the Cambridge Hostel and Booked in. I had rung them from the bus station (which is beside the parliament). It was 22 NZUS per night. Its ran and build like a hotel. Nice central area and big roomy dorms. The place also has good bathroom facilities. There were only two other people in my eight person dorm. I just dropped by bags and headed to Te Papa Tongarewa–The Museum of New Zealand

One of the largest national museums in the world, Te Papa is redefining the word museum. Built at a cost of NZ$317 million ($133 million), it is believed to be 5 years ahead of anything of its kind in the world, combining interactive technology with stunning world-class displays that tell the story of New Zealand–its history, art, and natural environment. Advanced motion simulators take visitors back in time to the explosive formation of New Zealand and the prehistoric landscape, and in the present you can try virtual-reality bungee jumping, shear a sheep, or ride on the back of a whale.

Te Papa is also a partnership between Pakeha (the majority culture of European descent) and Maori culture. It includes a range of magnificent exhibitions featuring * Manu Whenua, some of the country’s most significant Maori treasures, as well as * Te Marae, a unique 21st-century carved meetinghouse. Visitors can share in formal Maori welcomes and iwi (tribal) ceremonies, see how the Maori navigated the Pacific, and learn the stories behind the carvings and the Treaty of Waitangi.

The second level contains Mountains to Sea, which puts the spotlight on the natural world. From minuscule insects to the gigantic skeleton of a 21m (69-ft.) pygmy blue whale, it presents both the familiar and the bizarre of New Zealand’s natural inhabitants. Mana Pasifika explores how Pacific Island cultures have influenced and affected New Zealand. On the Sheep’s Back examines the place of those friendly, woolly creatures in the lives of New Zealanders, often in a surprising and witty manner. * Passports explores the migrant story of New Zealand in a fantastic exhibition and audiovisual presentation that is one of the highlights of the museum.

Spread over five levels, the museum includes much more and warrants at least half a day’s exploration. It’s playful, imaginative, bold, and more than impressive. It is an essential destination if you’re keen to learn more about New Zealand. Few people leave unmoved. It’s stunningly high-tech and loads of fun. On top of that, the architecture isn’t bad, either.

Special guided tours must be prebooked. The 45-minute Introduction To Te Papa Tour runs at 10:15am and 2pm and costs NZ$9 ($3.80) for adults. Request foreign-language guides at the time of booking. A self-guided tour booklet is available at the information desk for NZ$2 (85¢), an excellent investment.

Te Papa has three eateries: the impressive Icon, Food Train for light meals, and Espresso Bar for coffee and snacks. It also has a superb gift shop, Te Papa Store, featuring original crafts and top Maori designs.

This is some amazingg museum. As the blurb says its all high rwch interactive games and quizes and visitor participation. Its free entry and I spend 4 hours (until I was kicked out at closing at 6.00pm). I did not see half of whats to be seen and I will be back. Its great. Had some nice stories about immigrants from Kerry.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – Te Papa. (12-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – Te Papa. (12-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – Te Papa. (12-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Wellington – New Zealand – Te Papa. (12-08-2003)

After the museum I walked around the bay area and went on the NET for an hour. There is a alternative movie house, cinema called Paramovnt near the hostel and were showing The tunnel, about a real life attempt to smuggle people below the Berlin Wall. City of God is on there Thursday which I MUST see.

East German Harry Melchior wants out – but not without his sister Lotte. She however feels that an escape attempt into West Berlin would be too dangerous for her little daughter, and decides to stay behind. Harry swears that he will return to rescue them. Once safely in the West, he teams up with his best friend Matthis, an engineer, and together they plan a nearly impossible rescue project. Nine harrowing months and 145 meters later – despite cave ins, flooding, and the everpresent danger of beeing dicovered by Stasi spies – the team breaks through the cellar of a building in East Berlin?

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Wellington – New Zealand – Flyer for the Film. (11-08-2003)

It was 11.30pm at night when the film ended and it was still raining. I enjoyed the film even though its in German with subtitles. As the cinema says – Cinema for Grown-ups Since 1917. I wasnt bored by the film as knowing its a true story makes it all the more compeling. I headed back to the hostel.

Monday, August 11th 2003 – Day 174

Monday, August 11th 2003 – Day 174

I was up at 8.00am to have a shower and catch the 9.15am bus to Palmerstown North. there was a 8.00am bus but I was too lazy for tat as its a 20 minute walk to the station. I bought a ticket for the 3 hour journey for 20 AUS. It was raining when i left Napier but dry when i got to Palmerstown North.

The station was about a 15 minute walk from my chosen hostel called Pepper Tree YHA (121 Grey Street) whose email is peppertreehostel@clear.net.nz . Anyway i paid my 18 AUS plus 2 AUS for a duvet and headed down town for lunch. I ate and subway.

The New Zealand Rugby Museum was open at 1.30pm. Its about a 12 minute walk. I styaed there nearly two hours. its good if your interested in the game and when a National team like the All balcks you need to take an interest as its the most important subject of conversation. It went through the game itself and all the tours to Europe including the Irish matches. It even had a portrait of Tony O Reilly. A world-class sportsman, Dr. O’Reilly played rugby for Ireland 29 times and for the British and Irish “Lions” team 10 times. He is a member of the Test Series winning British Lions Tour of South Africa in 1955 and of the Tour of New Zealand and Australia in 1959, where he established scoring records on both tours that have remained unbroken. An article about fameous rugny players here which includes –

Richard Harris: He also portrayed a rugger in “This Sporting Life.” Rugby magazine columnist Buzz McClain interviewed him once on another subject, but when rugby was introduced Harris perked up. He apparently still has a healthy interest in the sport. According to Peter Fitzsimons, 40 years ago he was a contender for the Irish national rugby team until he contracted tuberculosis. He said this to British journalist Peter Jackson, about his various acting awards: “Do you know what? I’d give it all up tomorrow, the whole lot, for one Irish cap. Just one. There is hardly a day that passes that I don’t think of what it would be like to run out on to Landsdowne Road as one of the Irish team.” (Click here for an eloquent rugby article written by Harris.)

If you are in to rugby please send your ties and club pins to the museum. They will be proudly displayed. Tell them Michael from MUNSTER, Ireland (its on there visitor book for the 11th of August) told you to:

New Zealand Rugby Museum

87 Cuba Street

PO Box 36, Palmerston North

NEW ZEALAND.

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Palmerston North – New Zealand – Rugby Museum. Picture with Murdock creating the Super 12 Competition and adding professionalism. Lots of features in the pictures including sponsors and Mc Donalds Arches under the tanble. laments the passing of the ameteur game. (11-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Palmerston North – New Zealand – Rugby Museum (11-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Palmerston North – New Zealand – Rugby Museum. Tony O Reilly from a portait painted in NZ. (11-08-2003)

After that at around 3.30pm, I went to the Te Manawa Museum which is the state museum here. It was pretty good on the local city. I syed until 5.00pm when it closed.

Situated on the banks of the Manawatu River nestled at the foot of the impressive Tararua Mountain Range, a growing city of 75,000, Palmerston North is unique. The subdivision of Palmerston North began in 1866, with the most important stimulus to the growth of the town being the development of pastoral farming. As early European settlers cleared the native forest with axe and fire, a new vegetation of grasses and clovers provided the basis for cattle and sheep farming. The city has been able to maintain a complementary relationship between the modern conveniences and technology of big city life, and the quality and ease of small town lifestyle, offering visitors and residents alike ‘the best of both worlds’.

Palmerston North is a vibrant youthful city with the active student population, nearby Linton Military Camp, and several knowledge organisations. Since 1930 the establishment of Educational and New Research Institutes has broadened the City’s economic base. The city hosts an impressive range of educational institutions. Local primary and secondary schools have a proud tradition of academic, sporting and cultural achievement. The home campus of Massey university provides an enormous number of courses and supports research in many fields. UCOL is the leading regional polytechnic in New Zealand. Other institutions such as International Pacific College and Te Wananga O Aotearoa also welcome students from around the region and around the world.

The population of Palmerston North is estimated to be 75,000.

Palmerston North is New Zealand’s sixth largest city.

Population of the Manawatu-Wanganui Region was 220,089 at the 2001 Census.

Over two-thirds of New Zealand’s population live within 400km of Palmerston North city.

More information can be found here.

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Palmerston North – New Zealand – Te Manawa Museum (11-08-2003)