Robin & Linda in New Zealand travel blog


interesting piece of art in the gallery

Maori mask


Today we drove to Wellington, a 5 hour trip, but with a stop in Napier, a walk around the lovely art déco-buildings and a nice lunch, it took us quite a bit longer.

We stayed at the QT Museum Hotel, full of art – some of it quite strange. We ate in Hippopotamus, the hotel restaurant – quite French, but very good nonetheless. The rack of lamb was super.

Tuesday, Nov. 19,

We had a tough morning – we walked across the street to The Museum of Te Papa Tongarwa, the most amazing museum. We met Tina, our guide for our behind the scenes tour. She took us for a whirlwind walk through the museum. It is built on reclaimed land above the Wellington fault and its rubber and lead foundations are designee to counter the effects of a quake. There is some amazing art here, as well as the usual stuff – flora and fauna, Maori history – all beautifully displayed.

There is a marae here that is representative of the traditional meeting place. This one is in modern materials, and the images, when closely examined are really interesting. They represent every group in NZ. Tina took us behind the scenes to the archives room where we walked through walls of carvings, spears, decorations from wakas, then to the drawers, stacked high, each containing a beautiful woven moari cloak. My kind of heaven!!

Maori weavers made many types of cloak, from rugged rain capes to garments of great prestige. They developed new styles and techniques over time, weaving in materials introduced by European settlers. We had seen some of these earlier, but woven with wool and other new materials. Here there were originals, woven entirely of feathers, or of reeds with feather, including peacock feathers for that “bling” look. I was able to examine them in detail, and look see the techniques that were used.

It was a good thing we were on a schedule, otherwise I would have been there until closing.

Sorry, we were not allowed to take pictures in most places here so there are only a few pictures with this post.

We went upstairs to the reading room and had a lovely lunch. Smoked King salmon, and other treats. Tina was very forthcoming and we had an interesting conversation about the Maori and how they have fared. They did not have residential schools as we did, but the young people, including her father, were forbidden to speak their language. They were also resettled into the towns to do manual labour, but scattered around the cities, rather than in groups or “settlements”, so they were isolated.

We had dinner at Logan Brown, a beautiful restaurant in an old bank building. We have really enjoyed the food here, as well as the wine.

Wellington is a small place, situated in a lovely bay that seems to be a wind trap. The wind howled all the time we were there!

Next stop – Nelson.

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