Trip Start Oct 27, 2008
23Trip End Dec 01, 2008
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Anyway, back to basics, what have I been up to recently? Eating out mainly, so that's good, sort of, well not for the waist line, but it is on the social side of things. On Tuesday night, I was at the Tinakori Bistro, the food there was excellent. For info, 'tina' means food, and 'kori' means without (or something like that). What it represents is that when the road where the bistro is was being dug and constructed a long, long time ago the Maori workers were not allowed to eat whilst they were doing all this heavy manual labour.
And on Wednesday night, I was taken for an after-work drink and food to the Backbencher, which is a pub/café/restaurant housed in one of the many colonial buildings there are here (as is my apartment on The Terrace). Now the Backbencher really is one on its own. It has huge 'Spitting Image' type puppets fixed to the walls. They gave me a copy of the menu, which is headed up 'Post Election (in) Action Menu #27: A John Key Event! (John Key is the PM elect). We were sitting under Peter Dunne (current MP) in sackcloth and ashes.
It was a splendid evening so afterwards I took a walk to the Lambton Harbour, past the Frank Kitt playground with the lighthouse and the slide, Chatters Marina and Overseas Terminal. I thoroughly enjoyed the late evening sunshine. The Old Government Buildings looked very impressive in the evening sunlight; the restored buildings are now occupied by Victoria University's Law School. The area between Lambton Harhour and Clyde Quay Wharf on Wellington's Harbourfront stands entirely on reclaimed land. The wooden, colonial type villas on the hillside are amazing, in that you just wonder how they manage to stay there rather than slide down to the bottom of the hill!
Fuel is now down to $1.48.9. What else? Well, the population of Wellington can't be that large as on two different occasions now I've met people that I know when I've been out for a walk, and I only know a handful! (Have just discovered that Wellington is New Zealand's third populous urban area with around 381,900 residents.)
I'm trying to get into this super teddy bear shop (Bears with Attitude) on Woodward Street, but the opening hours just aren't working for me. They've got wicked gollys in the window, both boy and girl ones; they're real cute, and I'd really like to get one to take back home.
I'm running out of the 'right' clothes for presentations, I did one on Wednesday and there's another this evening (Thursday). Some of the same people will be there, but so too will folks who were at one of the Auckland presentations so it's all a bit tricky to give the impression that I've got this really large wardrobe with me!
It takes about ten minutes to walk from the apartment to the railway station, but you've then got to add onto that even longer to cover the length of time you're waiting to cross the road. Some of the roads are six lanes wide, and it takes forever for the little green man to say it's safe to cross the road. And then you've got about six seconds before he's back to red, and you've got to virtually run the last part to reach the pavement. And your hair just doesn't stand a chance, even with silk fibres and hair spray - Windy Welly creates the 'windswept' look quite naturally, within about ten seconds of setting outdoors.
After the presentation on Thursday evening, I was taken for dinner to the Thistle Inn, the oldest pub in Wellington - 1840 - but not at all 'old' by English standards. Usually, I lose weight when I'm on holiday as I'm not that close to food but on this particular one I can't get away from it, we're eating out nearly every evening. And tomorrow/Friday, we're going out for lunch; my expanding waist line is becoming an issue!
I can't describe just how privileged I feel to be working and living in Wellington, if only for the one week. Victoria Uni in Wellington is very close to the Beehive and other Parliament buildings, and one of my ways to and from work passes real close to these important institutions. On the other hand, Wellington doesn't feel like a capital city at all, certainly not if you make a comparison with London.
I'm completing this entry on Friday morning (NZ time), and today really is my last day of work in NZ. We've just had lunch at Archives, New Zealand, which is where there's a reading room for research and information, special exhibitions and so on. The real claim to fame is that the Archives store the Treaty of Waitangi (Mâori: Te Tiriti o Waitangi), a treaty first signed on February 6, 1840, by representatives of the British Crown, and various Mâori chiefs from the northern North Island of New Zealand. The Treaty established a British governor in New Zealand, recognised Mâori ownership of their lands and other properties, and gave Mâori the rights of British subjects. However the English and Mâori language versions of the Treaty differ significantly, and so there is no consensus as to exactly what was agreed. From the British point of view, the Treaty gave Britain sovereignty over New Zealand, and the Governor the right to run the country; Mâori seem to have had a range of understandings, many of which conflicted with the British understanding. After the initial signing at Waitangi, copies of the Treaty were taken around New Zealand and over the following months many other chiefs signed. (all this lot comes from Wikipedia, by the way, so I'm not plagarising!).
Today, the Treaty is generally considered the founding document of New Zealand as a nation; despite this, the Treaty is often the subject of heated debate. Many Mâori feel that the Crown did not keep its side of the bargain, and have presented evidence of this before sittings of the Tribunal, despite a contrary view from some in the non-Mâori population that Mâori pay too much attention to the Treaty and use it to claim 'special privileges'. The Crown is in most cases not obliged to give effect to the recommendations of the Tribunal, but nonetheless in many instances has accepted that it breached the Treaty and its principles. Settlements to date have consisted of
hundreds of millions of dollars in money and assets, as well as apologies.
And on a different subject, did you know that women in New Zealand got the vote in 1893?
OK; the 'leave' part of my trip starts in a few hours - yippee!! And tomorrow afternoon I'll be flying from Wellington to Whangarei in Northland (which is north of Auckland, so I'm going from one end of the North Island to the other). Remember I talked about flying in a teensy, weensy plane a few entries ago - well, that's tomorrow's excitment! I'll be with my friends in Whangarei (who were living in Wellington when I was here in 2004), and there's lots of trips planned. One includes an overnight stay in the Bay of Islands, and up there the weather should be great: warm (hot?) and not windy! We're doing a cruise around the islands, and to make it more of an adventure we're on a tall ship. I'm told that clambering up the rigging is compulsory, the option is whether you do it with or without the G&T in your hands!
See you later.