leaving Christchurch

I was on the early am flight when I  flew out of Christchurch to Adelaide via Melbourne.   We left Christchurch as the sun was rising  over the Canterbury Plains. 

The early morning  light flickered across the tops of the high country before as we fly over them before crossing  the Southern Alps on our way to  the West Coast of the South Island. 

I was very fortunate to  see the early morning light over the high country  though which the Waimakarri River flows on its way to Peagasus Bay in the Pacific Ocean.  

Re-Start, Christchurch

Re-Start is a temporary mall built from 64 shipping containers in Cashel St in the CBD of Christchurch, New Zealand. It was a response to the 2011 earthquake,  and when I was there in  early 2017 Re-Start --basically a pop up mall---was a very  successful, people gathering place.

The containers were bright and colourful and the place had a funky, vibrant  vibe.   It was such a contrast to the rest of the CBD. 

Re-Start's  days are  numbered. The place is due  to be closed down on Sunday, April 30, as  its role as a transitional space is complete  as  the new CBD retail spaces come on stream. I understand that there will be a  permanent Farmers Market. 

The story of Christchurch’s iconic transitional shipping container mall is being farewelled with with a farewell photography exhibition-- 61 Days to Re:START: An Exhibition in Photos. Unfortunately none of the photos in the exhibition are online.  

Christchurch street art

One of the notable characteristics of the CBD in Christchurch that I realised from my walking around the city was the amount of street art on the walls of the earthquake damaged buildings. I was also  surprised about how  good work the street art  was.  An example:

This eagle mural  (by DALeast?)  is one of the many murals that I saw around the CBD whilst I strolled around.  The quality of the work Christchurch suggested that  international artists as well as  New Zealand’s street artists.  Is that the result of street art festivals since the 2011 earthquake?

Merivale, Christchurch

In February, just before going to Tasmania,   I dashed over to Christchurch, New Zealand, to attend my mothers' funeral. She was 97. 

I stayed in a motel in Papanui Rd, Merivale with my sister.   In the early morning I would walk down to the local shops to have breakfast and  I would take  a few snaps along  the way. 

Merivale is one of Christchurch's  more upmarket suburbs. In contrast,  to say Sydenham,  it is where the old money is. It didn't seem to have been that badly damaged by the 2011 earthquake. Or if it had, then the  insurance money flowed in quickly to repair the damage to the buildings.  

photographing in Wellington

Suzanne and I spent a week in the lower part of the North Island of New Zealand. This included Wellington,  Tongariro National Park,  parts of the the Waikato district and New Plymouth. It was a holiday built around us walking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.  

 I was able to do some photography in and around Wellington as well as the standard tourist snaps of  the Tongariro National Park.  The picture below was made from our  room at  the Travel Lodge,  which was where we were staying whilst in Wellington:

Due to the short time we had in New Zealand,  I  mainly photographed through  the windows of the hotel  and when I was walking the streets in the early morning and in the early evening. Walking the city  was limited by being on holiday but I was able to build on my previous visit. 

Wellington is a very visual city and I enjoy walking  it and exploring it's nooks and crannies.These  allow me to see beyond the obvious and to find things that are hidden away amongst the ever changing shade and light.  

in Wellington, New Zealand

I spent a couple of days in Wellington, New Zealand. I hadn't been there since I worked in the CBD as an economist and lived in Hataitai on a ridge above the shoreline of Evans Bay in  the early 1970s.  I was expecting a lot of changes and I was prepared to be  rather disorientated. 

It was a quick photography trip built around renewing my NZ driving licence and I spent the two days that I had available walking around the CBD and  the inner suburbs such as Thorndon; then seeing  photography  exhibitions and checking out the art hubs/centres when the wind turned into a gale and/or it started  raining heavily.   

Wellington is a very walkable city, it is easy to get around, and it offers good photographic opportunities due to  the  CBD being on a narrow coastal plain located between Wellington Harbor and the Wadestown  hill face.   

The art hubs/centre that I came across was the Toi Pōneke Arts Centre that is run by the Wellington City Council. Its gallery featured paintings by Sally Griffin. I wasn't able to see her photographs at the PhotoSpace Gallery  as the exhibition was not hung. I did see a small selection of the 8 x10 black and white Ahu Ahu Ohu  work  of Andrew Ross, a Wellington photographer, made during his  residency at  Tylee Cottage in Whanganui in 2009. 

I also managed to see the Photoforum at 40 exhibition at the City Gallery, which is also run by the Wellington City Council. The Photoforum exhibition traces the development of art photography in New Zealand and  the  growth of photography as an academic subject.  The general acceptance of the practice of serious photography today in New Zealand, are part of PhotoForum's success. Whilst the exhibition  is primarily a visual history of PhotoForum it is also  a chronicle of the development of modernist photography in New Zealand.

I bought the book, PhotoForum at 40: Counterculture, clusters and debate in New Zealand which is edited by Nina Seja, and Fiat Lux - 51 photographs by Andrew Ross, which is  based around  his Wellington images that focus on what is disappearing---the  fading past.