If I take one more step it will be the furthest away from home I’ve ever been (Samewise Gamgee),


Not all who wander are lost (Gandalf)

You’re leaving Taranaki, said the panel…and this is what the next one asked!

In my quest for Native People and Cultures, I’m about to leave temporarily the lovely people I’ve met all the way up to now. I discovered


Kat Clark and her family (see my previous post) who gave me great tips for the best possible use of my quality time in The indeed very windy Willy

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on my way to Wellington from Oakura, I met Gillian and her extremely bright daughter Zoe in Pateaon their way to Wanganui. We chatted about their lives and they introduced me to native food



Hangi pie

to compensate for the utter disappointment that the local indigenous museum was closed!

I finally reached my Wellington haven at Janice and Brent. This adorable couple of Scottish and Welsh descent are both first generation born Kiwis on their fathers’ sides and told me wonderful stories of what Wellington was like when your dad was in the merchant navy or fisherman at the time when the Kiwi keywords were Rugby, Racing and Beer!l, when the 6 o’clock swill was still in function, when it wasn’t rare to get into a bus with a drunk bus driver and when the train bringing back these lads home after the swill has the evocative name of “Vomit comet traine” something that apparently still exists to this day in Her Majesty’s Commonwealth when you didn’t belong to a cosmopolitan ou bowling Club.

They also encouraged me to visit the Roxy cinema (Miramar), told me about the way seamen went to find a job at the Pier Hotel and slept in Bolt hole, bet at Barra tracks… the Homeboats, liberty boats, Paddy the bookmaker thanks to whom Brent’s parents met… and how their district, Strathmore Park used to be an Army zone and retains some precious memories of the Battle of Gallipoli


After a short visit to Parliament where I wasn’t allowed to take any photos but learned about the Yeahs and Nos conscience doors, their absence of Māori language debates, their numerous maori language displays including some making fun of Kiwi English…

I wandered along the Wellington linguistic landscape

and I wandered along


At the impressive and exhaustive Te Papa Museum presenting

the trilogy of Māori identity :Peace prayer art

Whose Ancestors came from Hawaiki (“our ancestral homeland”)

Mauri: life force

Tukutuku: latticework panel

Te kooti arikirangi

Hēni Materoa

Rongowhakaata Halbert (1894-1973)

Wiremu Kīngi Paia-te-rangi

Passports exhibitions

and the Treaty of Waitangi exhibit 6 II 1840, NZ founding document! It reminds us that in 1830 there were 100,000 Maoris and 200 Europeans and that the latter were 10 times more 10 years later! It narrates the crucial part played by the Church missionaries Williams Brothers (Henry and William) of William Hobson who drafted the treaty in haste due to the threat of a French annexation of NZ

and in the City of Peter Jackson and the Weta Workshop it is hardly surprising that the celebrations of the Battle of Gallipoli and the ANZAC involvement in the Great War which gave rise to national sentiments of both Aussie and Kiwi Nations was celebrated in style with two absolutely superb exhibition at the Te Papawith absolutely huge and impressive representations of the destiny of selected representatives of ANZAC soldiers

as well as at the War Museum more focused on the Great War

And the various reminders through the whole city of the tragedies suffered for democratic freedom so remote from their motherland and to whom Kemal Ataturk gave a vibrant tribute

however the region reserves other surprises including charming


in Martinborough, a city founded by a traveling Captain Martin…

I used the precious tips given by Kat :

  • Poppies- best wine and platters

  • Tirohana vineyard-delicious wines and lunch/ dinner

  • Margrain-lots of selection of wines

  • Ata Rangi

  • More info on Martinborough-village.co.nz

Where’s Charlie…? This is the name of a Vietnamese fast-food restaurant in Welly…. a city full of great people, good food and spectacular views!

and of course a bit of Hobbits and Rugby along the way!


Rugby Museum (Palmerston North)

Top of sidlaw Street B&B

Barbershop Chronicles will be played in Wellington (see my London post about it)


Champions of the world and Rebel sports

The Faucet and Unity bookstores Cuba Street in general, its galleries and Ans Westra’s Museum

6 thoughts on “À la Recherche des Maoris (7): Memory Lane (New Plymouth-Wellington)

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