Joined: May 03, 2010
|Posted: 2010-08-13 10:44 pm  Permalink|
Part 2: From the Information Centre to Taupo Quay
The second section of our Wanganui Tiki Tour starts downtown at the Wanganui tourist information centre, on Guyton Street:
This is where you can pick up tourist maps, guides and brochures, and visiting the centre provides the opportunity to admire this slightly mossy fellow:
The next two stops are definitely not marked on any tourist guides, but are worth a quick look, and are on Ingestre Street, just one block north-west of the information centre. Soak in the rusty corrugated iron feel and admire the seedy run-down environment as you walk up Hardy Street to get there.
Wanganui City College (one of the local high schools) has a strong syllabus in terms of Maoritanga, and features a Maori cultural centre which is also used as a marae and a soundshell for cultural performances (kapa haka).
The entrance gate:
And the building itself:
Detailed view of one of the carvings on the stage:
This is a very fine piece of contemporary Maori carving, although it is nonetheless inspired by the style of the early 20th century Rotorua school.
Walking further along Ingestre Street towards Victoria Avenue, just across St Hill Street is our next stop; the Maori Land Court:
Admittedly, it is not a very attractive building, which is probably why they tried to hide it behind that hedge, but if you walk into the reception area, you will find six finely-executed carvings of various Maori ancestor figures.
Te Aokehu, a local chief who slayed the taniwha Ekaroa:
So what's a taniwha? Link: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/taniwha/1
Hau Pipi, one of the crew of of the canoe Aotea:
More information on the waka Aotea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aotea_(canoe)
Usually there are four other carvings in this reception area, including one of Kupe, but they were away for cleaning when I paid a visit. And if you're feeling lucky, you could also ask the receptionist if they have any spare copies of the various posters they have up on the walls...
Walking back towards the Whanganui River, along Victoria Avenue, Wanganui's main street, you will see various tourist gift shops which sell things like greenstone (jade) carvings, but we are going to ignore them and pop into the Westpac Bank instead. Behind the counter are three Maori carvings well worth a look:
Detailed view of one of the carvings:
I would love to tell you who or what these carvings depict, but they are in an area off-limits to customers and the descriptive details alongside them are not at all legible. There was some fuss and bother from the counter staff when I asked to photograph them, and I had to get the manager's permission to do so, although I did manage to plant the germ of the idea in his head that maybe they would be better displayed if they were placed where the public could see them properly.
Still ignoring the tourist gift shops, we are now going to head across the road to the local branch of the ANZ Bank. In the foyer is this imposing carved stone:
I happened to be passing when they installed this stone earlier this year and it must weigh a ton as it took several men to carry it into the foyer and lift it onto its pedestal.
Walking further down Victoria Avenue, you may come across some local buskers:
These guys were singing reggae songs.
Further along Victoria Avenue, when you reach the city bridge, turn left into Taupo Quay. Fifty yards or so up the street, at No. 17 Taupo Quay, you will spot this building:
This is the WH Milbank Gallery, and features NZ Polynesian pop art:
At the back of the gallery was an assortment of images from an exhibition devoted to a Ratana church at Raetihi:
Background on the Ratana Church, founded south of Wanganui in the 1920s: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C4%81tana
A few doors along from the Milbank Gallery is an old building that was once the clubhouse of the Wanganui Rowing Club:
It now houses the local riverboat museum. Visitors are greeted by this figurehead clutching a paddle:
The Whanganui River was one of New Zealand's earliest tourist attractions, and the displays include an interesting collection of 19th-century tourist brochures, maps and other paraphernalia:
My favourite is the one that refers to the Whanganui River as "the Rhine of Maoriland".
The museum has exhibits on the riverboats that ran up and down the river in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including a riverboat that is currently being restored:
You can also buy tickets here for the Waimarie, a restored paddle steamer. Check the following site for details: http://www.riverboat.co.nz/
That concludes the second stage of the Wanganui Tiki Tour. In Part 3, we follow in the footsteps of Mark Twain as we visit Moutoa Gardens.
Toto, j'ai l'impression que nous ne sommes plus au Kansas !
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