Culture · Geography

Neighbourhood Walk: Wellington, New Zealand

As you will know if you have been visiting The Patch for the past couple of weeks, we have been taking a neighbourhood walk in a huge range of countries.  I have been enjoying the visits immensely, but now it is my turn to show people around.

For the purposes of this walk we are taking in, technically speaking, two cities.  We currently live in Lower Hutt, which is part of Hutt City, but for the first year after moving from Auckland we lived right in the centre of Wellington.   As there is barely 15 minutes worth of driving (unless it is rush hour) between the centre of each, I think that we can share the best of both worlds with you.

So we shall start off with the local version of a postbox.  Like many places we have a variety of styles.  I’m sharing one of the more recent versions.

Post Box

This is the nearest corner store to our house.  These little general purpose shops are known as dairies, as in “I’ll just go to the dairy and get some bread.”  Wikipedia nicely explains it’s usage in New Zealand English.

Local Dairy

As for manhole covers, there are as many of these as there are reasons to be underground.  Most of them are functional (read: ugly) with company logos on them.  But I managed to get a photograph of one functional cover right next to a spiffier version for you.

Manhole Covers

Then we go on to the park. This is my daughter’s favourite park in the whole wide world.  It is Frank Kitts Park and it is right in the centre of Wellington, on the waterfront.  It was less than five minutes walk from our apartment in town and she loves to be able to slide down from the top of that huge fake lighthouse.  Thankfully Master Oh is usually more content to play on the smaller scale climbing and sliding equipment.

Frank Kitts Park

This is our street.  I can’t say that it is typical as there is such variation here in New Zealand, both in housing style and physical location.  A good proportion of residential Lower Hutt and Wellington is to be found sprawled up the sides of the hills, but this is where we actually live.

Our Street

Now Wellington is known for a number of things here in New Zealand.  One of them is the extremely windy weather and the other is the commuter train network that takes people from many kilometres away right into the heart of the capital.  I popped along to our local station and took a shot of one of the newer trains.

Transport

And now we move on to my choice of what to share from around our cities.

I couldn’t let you leave without showing you an image of one of our iconic buildings.  It is the executive wing of our Parliament Buildings and is known colloquially as The Beehive.  I’m sure you can tell why.

The Beehive

And while we are on a bit of a buzzy theme, I thought I would share one of the central city’s interesting signs.  There are quite a few of these signs in the middle of town pointing the way to specific venues.  They all have very interesting and arty tops.  This one pays homage to a classic Kiwi toy – Buzzy Bee.

Buzzy Bee

And while we are discussing things arty, Wellington has a love affair with public art like pretty much no other city in the country.  Turn a corner here and you are likely to stumble on an interesting work of art.  I’m choosing a maritime theme today, because we are an island nation.

Seashell Art

But you could as easily look to the wind sculptures all the way along the road to the airport.

Staying on the nautical theme takes us to another major form of transport here in Wellington.  The Interisland Ferries.  These ply their trade between Wellington and Picton and are a great way to travel from the North to the South Island if you are visiting. The close up photograph below is courtesy of the efforts of Mr Oh Waily when he was about to do some work on board.

A Ferry

And of course you couldn’t visit New Zealand without a small taste of Maori culture.  I did want to get a good photograph of the front of the local wharenui but unfortunately they had a rather large marquee up.  Very modern, a great way to keep the proceedings going in inclement weather, but not particularly photogenic.  So I have for you instead a carving from the entrance and another from the fence surrounding the front.

Carving

You can see the carving on legs and arms, as well as the tā moko carved and painted on his face. Behind him you can see the apex of the front of the wharenui. It is such a beautiful entrance, I’m disappointed that I couldn’t share it with you.

Post Top Carving

And finally before I leave you, I want to share another piece of local culture.  Much more modern than that just above.
When we moved to the city here I would go out in the morning for a walk, roughly when everyone was arriving to their days work.  I was astounded by the fact that close to 90% of the people I would pass in the street had an equivalent of this…. in their hands.

Coffee Culture

Yes, a takeaway coffee cup.
I think Wellingtonians appreciate a good coffee as much, or more than, their art and their books (the Central Library is a wonderful thing here).

I would love to show you around some more, but that’s a pretty long post as it is.  I hope you enjoyed your visit to the greater Wellington area and that you come see us again soon.  In the meantime, enjoy those neighbourhood walks that have been or are about to happen by clicking through on the links below.

June 25th – jojoebi-designs – Saitama, Japan
June 26th – akatsuki ra-ra-ra – California, USA
June 27th – little red farm – Sweden
June 28th – “Je veux une ‘tite soeur-fille” – Canary islands
June 29th – Knitty Lorn – East Devon, UK
June 30th – We Don’t Need No Education – Michigan, U.S.A
July 1st – Jeollanam-do Salad – South Korea
July 2nd – Merita’s Playground – Slovenia
July 3rd – kids, craft and chaos – Scotland, UK
July 4th – Zonnah’s Addictions – Washington State, USA
July 5th – Adventures of a rainbow mama – Australia.
July 6th – Se7en – South Africa
July 7th – Talia’s Travel Web Log – New York, USA
July 8th – Monkey Magic – Japan
July 9th – The Pukeko Patch – Wellington, New Zealand
July 10th – Cami Daily – Berlin, Germany
July 11th – Crazy Cambridge mum – Cambridge, UK
July 12th – Schaeresteipapier – Switzerland

16 thoughts on “Neighbourhood Walk: Wellington, New Zealand

  1. I thought only Japan has those beautiful manhole covers. 🙂 Great to see that that`s not the case. And I have to say, you have a very modern post box. 🙂

    1. Hi Melita,
      Thanks for stopping by. I think it is a bit of trend in public utilities now, the making them prettier as it’s not only the manhole covers that are improving.
      As for the post box, we don’t have many old ones still in use, but then our old is not the old of many other countries.
      I hope you enjoyed your virtual visit to NZ. 😀

  2. What a fantastic representation of our beautiful city. Absolutely love this and want to thank you for being a wonderful ambassador for us in this project. Yay you!

  3. I didn’t realise Wellington was such an arty city! Love the modern postbox and the fancy manhole cover, I was starting to think Japan was the only place that had them!
    thanks for joining in, it will be sad when the tour ends!

    1. Hi Jo,
      Thanks so much for creating this. I have loved seeing everyone else’s photographs. It’s a wonderful idea, and it will be sad to see it end.
      Yes, Wellington is quite arty. It has lots of theatre and film too (Weta being the most well known in the film world).

    1. I can’t answer for the efficiency as I’m not a commuter, but they certainly are a nice upgrade from the older trains. Very shiny and new. 😀
      Thanks for visiting.

  4. What a lovely tour! Thank you. I especially lie the buzzy bee as I recently learnt all about Kiwiania! I had never heard about it before but I keep noticing little bits and pieces now 🙂
    The park looks lovey too – great location. x
    We have a lot of requests for families from New Zealand in the culture swaps I organise and I think it’s because most people know so little about your lovely country.

    1. Thank you Rachael, I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      Buzzy Bee is a very common gift for young children, in all his many forms. They’ve even made a cartoon of him and his friends.
      As for culture swaps, I’ve been meaning to head over and see what is involved as I’m sure my little people would love to get mail from all around the world. Expect to see me some time soon. 😀

    1. Yes, I found it quite surprising when we first moved. I could understand it in winter where something warm in your hands for the walk to work might be welcome, but in Summer?
      I think I’m a true local in this respect now as I have my own personal favourite coffee cart. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by.

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