Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Art Deco one day, a walk in the alpine the next

On Monday we drove to Napier, a town on the edge of Hawke Bay, thinking we might do some wine tasting in this preeminent wine area of NZ, but no, we ended up taking a guided walking tour through the CBD (central business district). Napier was devastated by an earthquake in February 1931, and the town was rebuilt in an Art Deco style, because that's what was considered modern at the time. This rebuilding took about two years because the town council resigned and handed over responsibility to two commissioners to make all the decisions. 

It wasn't until the 1980s that the people of Napier realized the scope of this historical treasure...to have such a collection of Art Deco buildings in a small area. Some were starting to be redeveloped or razed, and the protests began. New buildings now are built in similar style, or "inspired" by Art Deco. This is one example...

On Tuesday we drove south along Lake Taupo, stopping in Turangi to inquire about short walks in the Tongariro National Park. We learned how to correctly pronounce the name of the park's visitor centre: Whakapapa (the "wh" is pronounced with a soft "f" rather unfortunately!) We were hoping the clouds would lift so that we could see the volcanoes in all their glaciated glory, but no. At least the weather remained fine down on the loop trail to Taranaki Falls.

I have been intrigued by all the ferns--from tree ferns to ground cover--in the bush and forest, and now have a new appreciation for why the fern is the symbol of NZ (like the maple leaf for Canadians). The proposed designs for the new flag use the fern. Maori designs, new and old, incorporate the fern in all its stages from the tight fiddlehead to the gentle spirals as it  unfurls. These are some alpine ferns from our walk yesterday...small compared to a shoe! 

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