Pātea Photo Shoot

If you are addicted to taking photos of old buildings and ruins then the concrete jungle of Pātea Freezing Works will inspire avid photographers.

The derelict slaughter house is mirrored in the Pātea River, which leads out to an impressive breakwater at Pātea Beach.

The breakwater is an amazing artificial offshore structure which helps to protect the river from the huge west coast waves.

The Pātea Surf Lifesaving is currently looking for new members. They can be contacted through their Facebook page.

A walk though the town will take you past many historic buildings and features, including the Aotea Memorial Waka, St George’s Anglican Church and the building that houses the South Taranaki District Museum.

Aotea is a māori waka canoe that brought Turi and his people from Hawaiki, eventually arriving in Taranaki where they intermarried with the tangata whenua tribes.

Aotearoa means New Zealand – land of the long white cloud

ao -cloud, daylight, world

tea -clear, white

roa -length, long

Aotea Utanganui – Museum of South Taranaki is a noteworthy archive of district information, articles and items, offering a rich and varied history of the area.

utanga – burden, cargo, freight, load

nui -great, large, plenty

Pātea

-village, bush

tea -clear, white

Washed up sea turtle!

The kids and I were pottering in the garden, when one of our lovely neighbours, popped over to let us know that there was a sea turtle on the beach! My future marine biologist children and I dropped our gardening tools and hurried down to the beach!

About 500m along, we could see the tracks in the sand, leading up to the sickly turtle.

The sea was rather rough that day and the turtle looked exhausted. We knew not to touch it, as turtle can carry diseases, but to protect it from dogs, walkers and quad bike riders we created a visual barrier around it using driftwood. My daughter found a bucket lid, which she used to try and get some water onto its drying our shell.

I phoned the Department of Conservation hot line 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) who advised us to keep watch over it and to continue to protect it from danger. The tide was on its way in, so we hoped it would return to the sea when the water came.

DOC rangers did arrive later that day and took the turtle to Massey University where specialist veterinarians assessed the turtle. They named her Waiinu. We were told that she had pneumonia and unfortunately died the following day.

Making ceramic bowls and cups

Utilising an old concrete water tank, I set up my potters wheel and shelves and got to work, creating as many cups and bowls my clay supply could produce. With the music cranking and the kids at school, I was in my element.

Once made, I leave the pieces to dry over night, then cut (tidy) the bottoms of each piece, add any names using stamps and then put on my potters mark of LL.

After about a week or two of drying they are ready for a bisque fire to 1140 degrees C.

Once cooled, they are ready for glazing. The bottom (base) of the piece needs to be free of glaze otherwise once fired it would stick to the shelf. I like to coat the bottom with melted wax to ensure a clean line and a glaze free base.

Now the make or break moment. I’ve stuffed up a lot of work by getting carried away with glazing, but I’m often on the search for some crazy out-there results. I have the luxury of having my own kiln, which enables me to experiment. I would not want to create a mess or blow out a shelf in a communal kiln, damaging the work of others.

This is the retro Tea Dust glaze. Currently for sale at Honest Kitchen on Ridgway Street and in Whanganui Fine Arts Gallery on Taupo Quay in Whanganui.

Found our final destination

My husband and I get a little irritable every 6 months or so. Our marriage may be set in stone but the place we call home has been a little rocky.

Our first rental was a basement flat of the owners home in Auckland. Being ocean lovers, it didn’t take us long to find a quaint little  one bedroom bach at Muriwai Beach, just north of Auckland. We loved that tiny abode, but unfortunately our family had begun, and a cot in the lounge was only going to work for a couple of months. So began the 6 to 12 month bunny hopping of properties including homes in Auckland, Gisborne, Tairua, Hamilton, Raglan and Whanganui.

Our most recent of irritations has landed us with what we consider our perfect location. Our journey hopefully ends, in the quiet little community of Waiinu.

Waiinu – ‘Wai’ being water and ‘inu’ means to drink

waiinu waitotara south taranaki whanganui nz new zealand surf

 

 

I am the River. The river is me.

Ko au te awa. Ko te awa ko au

The river flows from the mountain to the sea, I am the river, the river is me.

The river gives to you and you give to the river by keeping it healthy.

The Whanganui River is the 3rd longest river in New Zealand, running from Mount Tongariro to the sea and is sacred to the regions Māori people.

Due to it’s importance the awa ‘river’ was granted its own legal identity in 2017, giving it the rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person.

Manu Bennett  explains in a Radio New Zealand interview that this agreement makes it recognisable to those people that weren’t brought up with the river.

European settlers called it Petre (after Lord Petre an officer of the New Zealand Company) however the name reverted back to the rightful original name.

Every bend and rapid has a kaitiaki ‘guardian’, who maintains the mauri ‘life force’ of the awa ‘river’.

These waters are navigated by the historical restored Waimārie Paddle Steamer offering guests a leisurely river cruise. She is New Zealand’s last steam-powered and coal-fired passenger paddle steamer.            Wai – water      Mārie – fortunate, peaceful, quiet
nz new zealand whanganui wanganui river maoriculture awa waimarie steam boat

Named one of the country’s top 10 swimming holes by the AA’s Directions magazine in 2015,  Mosquito Point welcomes river travellers keen for a quick a thrill. Also accessible by road the mōrere ‘swing’ is a popular place for picnicking and swimming, even though Māori legend tells of a taniwha in the waters, which is a warning to swimmers of the dangerous rapids that can form at the river bend.

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Rotokawau aka Virginia Lake

Being new to Whanganui I was wondering why this 4.5 hectare public space was more commonly known as Virginia Lake and not by its Maori name of Rotokawau. The answer to which I found in very small print on a rather large plaque hidden in a corner of the front entrance of the neighbouring Winter Garden.

Unfortunately the land was purchased for development by white settlers in the mid 1800’s. The Māori legend of the lakes origin can be found written on the plaque beneath a bronze sculpture of the beautiful Tainui.

The legend explains that the lake was formed from the tears of the grief stricken Tainui and the rain from the angry gods over the murder of Turere, Tainui’s love. Turere had been strangled by the jealous suitor Ranginui. Notice her tears as she gazes out towards the lake.

Rotokawau means ‘roto’ – Lake and ‘kawau’ – blag shag

Walking around the lake, the kids disappeared down a bamboo bush tunnel. Waiting at the end of the track I could hear a weird rather loud chattering. It sounded almost aggressive. I looked across the lake but couldn’t see the cause. The kids soon gathered around me and joined in the search for the sounds source. Then we looked up, and there in the trees were several nests with kawau fledglings. We watched as they continued their persistent squawks, calling out to their parents.

The lake offers a rich habitat for many bird species. Take your time and open your eyes

The rather large metal lily fountain sculpture was donated in 1970 by Mr Henry Higginbottom, a local philanthropist.

Don’t forget to spot the rather odd Peter Pan sculpture, who my kids found quite entertaining as it looked like he was peeing, complete with a puddle beneath him.

virginia lake rotokawau whanganui wanganui nz metal bronze peter pan sculpture

Whanganui Winter Gardens

Wondering what to do while visiting Whanganui? The Winter Gardens offers an all year round colourful display of flora amongst sculptures and garden art.

Built in the 1940’2, the Winter Gardens were built to commemorate the Centenary of New Zealand.

A walk in aviary was developed over the 1960’s and 70’s. Birds to be observed include pheasants, parakeets, finch and rosellas, and of course, what aviary would be complete without a couple of talking cockatoos.

Local artist have contributed to the sculptural garden next door. Exhibited pieces include punga carvings, mosaics and glass works.

More art can be found by continuing your journey to Lake Rotokawau (Virginia Lake), a half hour woodland walk. You can join in with the leap frogging children created by sculptor Hamish Horsley.

 

Potential investment of pottery supplies

Finding a good art supplier takes a lot of research. Prices can look quite reasonable online but once you’ve spent a good hour or so navigating a website, creating a cart of potential purchases, the freight charges can change the investment from a creative hobby to a financial risk pretty fast.

It felt like Christmas the day my first order of clay and glazes arrived from Decopots. A momentous day.

I had decided on 20 bags of clay. 10 wood brown stoneware and 10 cream stoneware. Both great for sculptural and wheel work. If you commit to 20 bags the price is reduced. I topped up the pallet with a couple of glazes and a brush, making the most of the freight charges.

Now that we have relocated to Whanganui, I am only an hour away from Palmerston North, the home of Decopots. While my mother (also a potter) was visiting, we thought it would be fun to have a little shop.

What I didn’t realise was that they aren’t open to the public, however they kindly showed us around their factory. This was such a treat. A behind the scenes experience.

We watched as clay was pressed through a rather large industrial pugmill.

We watched as ceramic blanks were reproduced in moulds and set to dry on shelves before heading to the kiln for firing.

Although we left empty handed, we would soon be putting our orders in.

Whanganui Art in the Garden

Pretty excited to be part of this year’s Art in the Garden.

Whanganui artists spent the Friday setting up their displays. Work included ceramic sculptures, glass ornaments, metal work and paintings. I decided on a bushy part of the walkway to display my lady sculptures, tikis and hearts, then disappeared.

The event is held over the weekend, with purchases sold as ‘cash and carry’. So hopefully there isn’t much for me to pick up on the Monday!

I took the family on the Saturday to spy on my work. Even though the weather was a bit dodgy it was good to see plenty of people wandering around the stunning garden venue, at QT Nursery on Papaiti Rd. The Whanganui Pottery Club were giving raku demonstrations throughout the day as displays started to show some gaps as fantastic pieces of art found their new homes.