Friday morning found me outside Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand. I was looking for Michael Tuffrey, an artist from the area who was going to show me around some of the collection rooms in the belly of the building, where the public could not venture. ‘I know you, bro! I saw your picture on the internet!’ From that introduction onwards, I had a fascinating couple of hours with Michael. I tagged along as he helped some visitors select items from the collection room for use in upcoming exhibition to be held in Porirua. Michael had a wealth of knowledge as well as artistic skill, and I could have spent many more hours looking at war weapons of the Pacific Islanders with him.
Wellington is unique in many ways – surrounded by hills on 3 sides and the bay on the other it is permanently restricted to its current size. This compact aspect is a large part of its appeal – the manageable nature facilitates the highly discernable artistic and cultural vibe that pulsates through the city. Places such as Te Papa, Zealandia and Te Poneke can be much more effective within the community because of just how tightly knit the neighbourhood is. Added to this the city boasts immense natural beauty – from the steep hillsides that enclose the centre, out to the rugged coastal features which lie past the bay. There is a lot to love about this place, and plenty to make one wish for a return visit. It’s definitely on my list.