The 4th Auckland Triennial

“To hear a weathervane say yes.” This phrase was printed on an exhibit label for Walid Sadek’s installation at the 4th Auckland Triennial. It has haunted me ever since I viewed the exhibit.

The piece is comprised of two exhibition labels attached to the walls of a four-walled square room. The most substantial element is absence. Continue reading

Revisiting Tongaporutu, as sublime as ever it was (and will be)

Here we must deal with awe, fascination, and terror, with ignorance shot through with the lightning of certainty, and with feelings of exuberance, love and bliss. — Francis Huxley

I’ve always resisted returning to the same place twice, no matter how grand the landscape or transcendent the experience. The second time could never be as deeply felt, I thought. Why risk disappointment? What hogwash, I realize so many years later—such a wasteful, arbitrary restriction!

Revisiting Tongaporutu cured me. This beach, as any natural landscape might, will always freshen with epiphanies, no matter how many visits. Like a place of worship. I’ve not stopped thinking about this place since we first visited four months ago. Continue reading

Down, down, down into the Te Toto Gorge

The trail was relatively short, as New Zealand hikes go. It started as so many paths do—unmarked, barely discernible. But we knew it was there somewhere, as it was. After much poking around and second guessing we found the steep, skinny path that took us into the Te Toto Gorge. Continue reading

Old Quarry: Garden as Sculpture Park

I was thinking of my mother and my gardening friends on today’s afternoon outing—how they’re so fond of digging big holes, or more to the point, filling them. Holes don’t come any bigger than an abandoned quarry. Continue reading

A Horse of Another Color

Serendipity is key to some of our best experiences in New Zealand. We piggybacked our Wellington trip, for instance, with a visit to Masterton, where Kenton was invited to speak at the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Continue reading

Dipping into Wellington’s arts scene

I could easily become a Wellington groupie. Of all the cities we’ve visited for Kenton’s research—including Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin—this self-styled capitol of New Zealand gets my five-star award. Continue reading

Going coastal in Wellington

Hiking rocky coastlines—I never tire of it. Our friends Tom and Frances Preston feel the same. Their favorite spot is less than a five-minute walk to the shore from their hillside Wellington home on Miramar Peninsula. They’re on sabbatical from Washington State University. When we visited NZ’s capital city, the four of us tramped the glorious Breaker Bay outcroppings. Continue reading

Weekend at Athenree doing nothing—sort of, almost

Neither of us is adept at doing nothing. New Zealand is too tempting. We’d planned a busy weekend—the Coromandel Arts Tour. Friends loaned us a beach house at Athenree, close to the action. But after arriving, we decided to stay put and enjoy the solitude … Continue reading

Wedding anniversary & street festival in Cambridge

Kenton and I were married on Renaissance Fair weekend nine years ago. Yesterday, we found a festival in Cambridge, NZ that suited our celebratory purposes. Continue reading

Birds of play in the Rakaia Gorge

People say the Rakaia Gorge is the windiest place in New Zealand. It functions like a vortex for the notorious old man nor’wester that roars down the gorge on billowing clouds that look like a stack of pancakes, picking up speed as they hit the Canterbury Plains and rumble east to the Pacific. Continue reading