Kura Moana by Lisa Reihana

As part of the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of The Artist this huge sculpture came to the Whairepo Lagoon on Wellington’s waterfront. This giant octopus – Te Wheke-a-Muturangi was chased by Kupe across the Pacific Ocean, so the story goes. In the words of the artist themselves:

“Kura Moana focuses on Te Moananui a-Kiwa, the great ocean, and its role as connector between Aotearoa and across all the Pacific nations. I have created a series of installations that invite families and communities to discover iconic locations on the Wellington waterfront in new ways, to think about some of the local histories and stories that relate to this place. It’s about travellers, those who dared to traverse the Pacific, people who seek something new, another life. Kura Moana is a treasure hunt across the waterfront and I’m hoping that kids will go on a journey to discover the different installations – there’s music, song, playful inflatable sculptures and an augmented reality experience. I can’t wait to bring this art experience to Pōneke.”— Lisa Reihana, Artist in Focus

This is one of the best sculptures I’ve seen in Wellington. I only wish I had stayed a little longer to see the sculpture lit up at night.

Riverside market – Christchurch

Opened in 2019 Christchurch’s Riverside Market is well worth a visit. Overlooking the Avon River in the heart of the central business district. It’s an indoor farmers’ market open 7 days a week selling local produce, meat, seafood, baked goods, coffee and more. For me it has always been a fantastic place to get lunch. I’ve eat great dumplings, Indian food, coffees and cookies from here. The design is very timeless and it looks like it’s been here for much longer than just a few years.

I always knew you would come back

Wondering through the streets of central Christchurch you can’t go far without coming across amazing street art. I Always Knew You Would Come Back (2015) is one of the biggest. Australian artist Numskull’s bold typography brings Hannah Herchenbach’s words to life. The phrase was the winning entry in a competition and speaks of people’s relationship with the inner city. This wall is part of Canterbury College. In the foreground is the 605 Colombo Street car park. Getting the camera lens close to this puddle of water gave the photograph a nice reflection. Which I think is much more interesting than a gravel carpark.

Polynesian Spa at sunset

After long days of travel, with hours spent driving or walking around with a camera, a spa is the perfect treat. One of the best I’ve so far experienced in New Zealand is the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua. This was the second visit, this time at sunset. There are two natural springs that feed 28 hot mineral pools with geothermal waters. For the best experience the lake view private pools, shown above, are the way to go. You get this pool all to yourself for about 30 minutes. The water is 38.5 degrees C even in the evening. The perfect way to relax.