Tuesday, 18 June 2019

An Eclectic Mix- Wellington


Pauatahanui Boat Sheds
From Mangatainoka we headed west over the Tararua Range via the Pahiatua Track, into the Manawatu and south to Wellington & the Plimmerton NZMCA Park...

...where, with rain and gale force winds forecast, we tucked ourselves into a corner hoping for a little bit of shelter and also to protect our slide-out from the southerly winds. Others also had the same idea although I think they may not had any TV reception due to the boundary building. The sun also didn't reach them until early afternoon and then only for a short time before it disappeared over the hills behind the park. 

We had a couple of places to visit in Wellington and friends to catch up with so we weren't in any hurry to board the ferry and cross over to the South Island. Which was just as well, what with the weather forecast & a holiday weekend coming up. It was time to do a little exploring.

The first place we visited was the Southward Car Museum at Paraparaumu, 30kms back up the highway. After a casual conversation with Dad when we were in Hawkes Bay, there was one particular item I wanted to see.

Southwatd Car Museum- don't you love the sign.
And here it is. This is Len Southward's speed boat 'Redhead', the first boat in Australasia to exceed 100mph on water, which he did on 22 Feb, 1953 across the Wellington Harbour. Later that year while attending a boat regatta after-function in Wellington, my father (aged 17) was invited with two others to take a ride in the boat with Len.....across the harbour at 100mph! Very cool eh? 

Here's the information and specs on 'Redhead', click on the photo to enlarge.

Once we had finished looking at 'Redhead' and watching the film clips of Len and the boat racing across the harbour, we checked out the rest of the museum's collection...

...which included a number of planes suspended from the ceiling, including this ex RNZAF de Havilland Vampire jet fighter.

We've visited a number of vehicle museums around the country and also attended various events where vintage vehicles are paraded including Napier's Art Deco, the Arrowtown Autumn Festival, the Whangamata Beach Hop and Southland's Crank Up amongst others and it never fails to amaze me how many vintage vehicles there are in this country and how well they are looked after. 

And because I already have hundreds of photos of very shiny vintage vehicles I decided to take photos of the more unusual cars at the Southward Museum. Problem was there were so many, including this 1920 Dodge Coupe 'Copper Car'.

And look at all these weird and wonderful creations! Rather than include photos of the information sheets for each vehicle, I've uploaded all my Southward Museum photos to a Flickr Album, click on this link to check them out.

I had to include this photo purely for sentimental reasons. After my sister & I got our licenses at 15, Mum & Dad bought us a car (living on the farm we used it to get to school, after school jobs, running errands & ferrying friends about). I really wanted a cool Ford Anglia (#2 car in the lineup) so was very disappointed when we only got a blue Ford Prefect (#1). Once we had our own money, my sister bought a Ford Escort (#3) and I bought a Ford Cortina (#4). Those were the days....

I'm sure the young lady who was polishing the cars while listening to her music thought I was taking a photo of her. I talked to her twice (but she didn't hear) and then I waited for so long to see if she would move on down the line but she just kept on polishing and polishing the first four cars.

Tony & Sue Collins 1926 Chevrolet 'Motorhome'- 3-1/2 years, 20,000 miles around the world
We enjoyed the museum, both reminiscing as we came across cars we were familiar with and we were pleased that we visited but we were both of the opinion that the best vehicle museum by far in the country is the Bill Richardson Transport Museum in Invercargill.

We have passed through Wellington many times as we've travelled up and down the country but have never stopped longer than a day or two and that has usually been at Evans Bay near the city centre. Now that we were parked up at Plimmerton I wanted to check out the Pauatahanui boat sheds, something I had wanted to photograph for a long time. 

It was a pleasant surprise to find out that they were only a few kilometres down the road. It wasn't pleasant that the weather packed up and I never got a chance to shoot the reflections and an early morning sunrise over the Pauatahanui Inlet though. I also didn't manage to capture the boat sheds at Titahi Bay, another perfect subject. 

I was quite excited to find a painting of Sam Hunt, his dog and one of his poems. I thought that this might have been his boat shed but on further research I found out that he owned Number 5, and darn it, I didn't take a photo of that particular shed! I'll just have to come back again. And on a sunny day.

We did manage to have one day out of the box, one of those days when Wellington shines with no wind, blue skies and warm sunshine. And as luck would have it, it was the day we decided to catch the train into the city. The Plimmerton Railway Station is just a short distance across the sports field next to the NZMCA Park. 

Luckily we decided to head into the city on the Friday (not only because of the weather), it wasn't until later we saw a sign saying that the trains wouldn't be running over Queens Birthday Weekend due to maintenance.

From the Wellington train station we walked along the waterfront towards Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand)

Photos clockwise- 1) Sealion' has an interesting paint job; hundreds of penguins and a few dozen sealions peering out at people passing by 2) Colourful Public Piano 3) Love Locks- Frank Kitts Lagoon Footbridge 4) Circa Theatre  5) Te Papa 6) Kapa Haka pedestrian lights

I had been disappointed that we didn't make it to see Peter Jackson's Great War Exhibition before it closed so when I heard that Te Papa & Weta Workshops' Gallipoli: The Scale Of Our War Exhibition had been extended I was keen to visit before it too closed (I've since found out that it won't close before ANZAC Day, 2022 at the earliest).

Te Papa- Museum of New Zealand
There was no missing where the exhibition was once we got inside.

No flash photography was allowed inside the exhibition and with it being quite dark and gloomy to suit the solemn atmosphere it would have been hard to photograph many of the displays anyway. I did manage to take photos of the life-like figures by winding my settings out to the max though.

Te Papa, working with Weta Workshops (Lord of the Rings fame), developed 'Gallipoli' into an interesting but sobering journey through the eight- month WW1 Gallipoli campaign in which 2,779 New Zealanders lost their lives.

Weta Workshop spent 24,000 hours of labour on the project, creating eight hyper-realistic (a genre of sculpture) human figures. The exhibition tells the story through the eyes and words of eight ordinary New Zealanders who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances. Each is captured frozen in a moment of time on a monumental scale – 2.4 times human size. The bowl under the last figure's feet is full of poppies that have added as people leave the exhibition. Visitors are invited to make a poppy up and write names on them to remember lost relatives or just the war itself.

It is truly an amazing exhibition, so well researched and displayed with 3-D maps and projections, miniatures, models, dioramas, and a range of interactive experiences that bring New Zealand’s Gallipoli story to life.

Sadly it is so realistic and very distressing to read about some of the experiences, that some people will find they may not be able to follow it through to the end- David included. Oh, the horrors of war.

Afterwards we took some time out to regather our thoughts and bring us back into the 21st century by visiting the revamped (since our last visit) Nature Zone exhibition which is on the same floor. I was pleased to see that the Colossal Squid (the only one in the world on display) has been returned for permanent viewing.

From Plimmerton we took a drive around the Pauatahanui Inlet stopping to get a photo of the beautiful historic St Alban's Church (of course) which was built in 1898...

...before blowing away the cobweds on the Pauatahanui Wetlands track which was just across the road. We walked right to the end visiting the two bird hides but of course at this time of the year there's not much to see on the ponds other than the usual ducks.

Although on the way home we did find a small flock of Royal Spoonbills/Kotuku Ngutupapa sheltering from the freezing cold wind and heavy rain that had begun to fall. Rain that didn't stop for a few days and overflowed the NZMCA Park's boundary stream which flooded the sports field next door.

Once the weather cleared and before the next winter low was due, we shifted 20kms over to the Petone Workingmens Club to catch up with friends on that side of the city. The Petone Club is an NZMCA CAP (costs apply parking), the cost is $10 per van per night and  power is available at no extra cost but it's first in first served; the caravan & bus in the bottom photo are on power.

Larger rigs need to come in the 'Out' gate, keeping an eye out for departing vehicles of course, as they won't get around the Club's building beside the 'In' gate. Also be aware if you are leaving to catch an early ferry sailing the 'Out' gate will be closed & locked. Luckily we were able to squeeze around the building and exit through the open 'In' gate because the carpark was nearly empty.

We had a good catch-up with our friends (fellow 5th-wheelers) and afterwards a lovely meal in the club with them (you don't need to be members, you just have to sign in at reception). 

With a day spare before we were due to cross Cook Strait, I went for a drive over to Wainuiomata. On the way back I stopped at the lookout overlooking Petone. Somes Island and the Wellington harbour are on the left.


  1. you got some amazing photos and I am drooling over those old vintage cars.

    1. Thanks Amy, much appreciated and I'm pleased you enjoyed the blog.


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