All posts tagged: Wellington

Waitangi Day

Today is Waitangi Day – New Zealand’s version of Nation Day or the 4th of July. As an outsider, I find Waitangi Day a most peculiar holiday, because it isn’t a celebration.  It is, at best, a sort of uneasy acknowledgement of the beginnings of New Zealand as a nation. This is my understanding of Waitangi Day: Waitangi Day specifically commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands on 6 Feb 1840. The Treaty of Waitangi is to New Zealand what the Magna Carta is to the UK, or the Declaration of Independence is the US: it’s our founding document. In some ways, it’s a good founding document.  It’s short, and simple.  It did three basic things: it establishes a British governorship over NZ (the NZ government essentially inherited this governorship), recognised that the Maori owned NZ, and had a right to their land and properties, and, finally, gave Maori the rights of British citizens. Well, sort of.  At the same time, it’s a terrible founding document. You …

Sunset at Lyall Bay

Recently I had reason to drive around the back coast of Wellington from Island Bay to Lyall Bay just at sunset.  The glow on the hills was so striking I had to stop and capture the moment. I stayed a while to watch airplanes take off from the airport, and to see seagulls squabble over the choicest seats on the rock.

Weta on a Wet Day

Last week it was raining, and I was hurrying off to give a lecture on textiles.  As I dodged raindrops down the sidewalk, heading for my car, I almost stepped on a peculiar New Zealand native, the weta. What is a weta?  It’s kind of like an awesome, freaky, spiney, scary grasshopper. Oh, and some of them are 4″ long, and that isn’t counting their legs or antennae.  With those they are almost a foot long.  And they can weigh as much as a sparrow.  And the males hiss and bite when threatened. Luckily, the weta I found was a more common, garden variety female Wellington tree weta (I think – my weta identification skills are pretty rudimentary), but even the garden variety weta need protection, so I reached down to pick up the weta so it wouldn’t get squashed on the sidewalk. Unfortunately for me, my weta decided it liked my leather gloves, and didn’t want to let go. What was I going to do?  I had a weta on my glove that I …