All posts tagged: New Zealand

Ruffles to Rebellion thedreamstress.com, images by http::facundo.pixieset.com/

Help restore the Katherine Mansfield House & Garden

There was a lot of damage in New Zealand in the recent earthquake – some obvious, some that is only beginning to be apparent.  My nearest and dearest came through relatively unscathed – but one place that is close to my heart was rather battered by the quake. The Katherine Mansfield House & Garden Museum on Tinakori Road, had a spectacular old-fashion garden, bordered on one edge by the neighbours old brick wall. The wall, plastered and painted grey, made a lovely backdrop for photshoots amongst plants mentioned in Mansfield’s writings.  Unfortunately it came crashing down on the house in the quake, crushing the garden and damaging the house. The museum is raising money to remove the wall, repair the damage, and erect a new (earthquake safe) boundary wall. If you’ve ever visited the museum, enjoyed my photos taken there, or at a benefit talk I’ve given for the museum, or simply loved Mansfield’s writings, and feel moved to help repair the museum, you can: donate here on their Boosted page.    Here are a few of …

Visiting Matiu/Somes Island, Wellington

It is bitterly, bitterly cold in Wellington today – it even snowed a little bit, which is extremely unusual in the capitol.  It’s not going to be a great deal better for the next few days either, so I’m thinking longingly of summertime, and warm days. That, and all the blogging I’ve been doing about visiting other places, reminded me that I have a local visit from this summer which I’ve never covered. This is Wellington, centred around Wellington Harbour (Port Nicholson, or, to be even more accurate, Te Whanganui a Tara): Right in the middle of the harbour is an island: Matiu/Somes Island.* Prior to Western contact, Maori used Matiu Island as a place of refuge during war.  Post-Western contact, the New Zealand Company took possession of the island.  In 1866 the first harbour lighthouse in NZ was built there, and it was home to the lighthouse keeper and his family.  The 1866 lighthouse was replaced circa 1900, and its replacement still stands on the island. In the 1870s the island was used as a …

Penguin crossing shirt thedreamstress.com

Penguin crossings

Because New Zealand is so close to the South Pole, it has penguins – four species in total, though only one, the little blue penguin, or kororā (the world’s smallest penguin – so basically as cute as a penguin can possibly be), is normally found in the Wellington area. Even though Wellington is a city, much of the coastline is quite undeveloped, and kororā still come ashore to nest.  They nest in underground burrows along the coast, and will happily use man-made ‘burrow’ spaces – such as under houses, if given the chance.  This is a bit of a problem, as this means they have to cross the road which divides buildings from the beach. So all along the Wellington coast you can see ‘Penguin Crossing’ signs: For 8 years, until we bought The Castle, we lived less than 300 meters from a ‘Penguin Crossing’ sign, but, to my everlasting dismay, I never managed to see one in the wild.  I finally had to go to the zoo to see a korora in person. This summer I sewed a …