March 12th, 2007


Some architecture in Wellington

During our stay in Wellington among other things we went to see St Paul's and Old St Paul's Cathedrals. St Paul's is a huge modern Anglican church built in 1964 but only recently finished. One of the interesting things about this building was the history of the bells. Eight of them came from a church in Northampton, England that had been demolished; a plaque from 1910 commemorated a series of 5040 changes rung in 3 hours and 14 minutes. They were installed in Old St Paul's Cathedral in Wellington and when that was decommissioned they were moved to the new church with some additional bells.

We also went to the old St Paul's, which was a beautiful building. Early plans had been to demolish it, but it was saved. It is one of the nicest old wooden buildings I've ever seen. Interestingly the two flags on the right are a US Marines flag and the US flag. It remains consecrated but has no congregation and is only used for special events such as weddings.

The Capitol is an interesting mishmash of architecture. The building on the left is called the beehive and is used for offices although there are lots of complaints about the difficulties of using a round building. The middle building is where the Parliament meets and looks like such a building. The one on the right which I thought might be a church at first but since there was no separation-between-church-and-state in this case clearly wasn't - it is a library. There are many other examples of modern architecture juxtaposed more conventional buildings or wooden sculptures.


A couple of cars

On the road from Wellington to Napier we espied this car in front of us - fortunately rsc was driving so I could easily photograph it.
nooks, did you suddenly move to NZ?

In Napier I've seen lots of vintage cars. This Bentley roadster was parked in our motel's parking lot. It's owner drove it away this morning wearing one of those cool leather helmets. There is a Bentley sedan in the parking lot now and I saw among other things a gorgeous Buick, and a right hand drive Fiat 600 - I didn't know they made them,
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In 1931 a 7.8 earthquake demolished Napier. They rebuilt it quite rapidly (it was during the depression) and many of the buildings are in Art Deco style. There has been a preservation movement, but some of it is kind of messed up because of signs on the marquees and buildings, but there is lots of nice detail. It is an interesting city (small with population ~50,000).
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This morning we went to the Napier Aquarium which was pretty neat. They had a tunnel through a tank and you could see fish including a good sized shark and a ray swim above you. They also had a dark section and we got to see a couple of Kiwis. They were in the background and since it was pretty dark it was hard to see much detail - especially their distinctive beaks.

For our afternoon's entertainment we went out into nearby wine country for some tastings of the local wine and had a sumptuous lunch at one of the wineries as well.

When we returned to town after walking about a bit and seeing more cars we went to the historical museum. They had a film with interviews of people who had witnessed the earthquake. It was quite interesting to hear these people's accounts of this horrifying event so many years before. The museum also had pictures and other information as well as some modern art and Maori sculptures. This fellow seen on the street yesterday was neither Art Deco nor Maori!