The Year of the Snake

So I went with a friend to the Chinese Gardens and made another photo journal of the trip!

Blue skies and clear water

Blue skies and clear water

I’ve always enjoyed my trips to the Chinese Garden over the years, it was one of the first places I visited when I first arrived in Dunedin. This may be in no small part due to the Tea House, their set menu is a bargain, and the lychee tea is my favourite.

Lychee tea for two, perfect way to spend an non-windy afternoon!

Lychee tea for two, perfect way to spend an non-windy afternoon!

So if you have for some reason not been yet, by all means do. Stop in for a cup of tea, sample the set menu, enjoy the peaceful and tranquil spaces, play around in the rock garden, and have some calm fun!

The photo journal can be found here at the blogs imgur account

Toitū & Immersing Oneself in the Past

Photo Journal time again! This time it’s Toitū, Otago Settlers Museum. Toitū was reopened last December, and has been a local success since.

Inside the entrance of Toitū

Inside the entrance of Toitū

With various displays, ranging from Maori explorers and first settlers, to what the future of this little city could be it’s quite the experience. It also features the latest in interactive museum exhibit technology, with touchscreen interactive displays located throughout the museum.

First Great City interactive display

First Great City interactive display

There is also a research centre where anyone can research Toitū’s collections on Dunedin and it’s inhabitants. There is even a small section on Creative Cities!

Creative Dunedin - The story of Dunedin's literary past

Creative Dunedin – The story of Dunedin’s literary past

All in all a fun place to go for an hour, or an afternoon, however much time you have! It can be a learning experience if you want it to be, or it can simply be a good place to immerse yourself in the city’s past.

The photo journal can be found here on the blogs imgur site

Away at Sea: How to Feed the Blues Some Sole

Apologies for the title, couldn’t resist the opportunity.

I was lucky enough to grab a last minute ticket to the Port Chalmers Seafood Festival. If truth be told I only really discovered I actually enjoy seafood a when I moved to New Zealand in 2010, living in a landlocked area of Middle England results in not the best options in terms of fresh and quality seafood. So thanks to my newfound appreciation for food found in vast bodies of water the opportunity to try fresh, well prepared and delicious varieties of seafood was not one to be missed!

Before I popped along to the festival I paid a quick visit to my favourite weekly market, the Otago farmers Market.

Stalls along the platform at the Otago Farmers Market

Stalls along the platform at the Otago Farmers Market

Resplendent with fresh, tasty food option all made by local producers, and local preserves, drinks, foodstuffs, and even plants. I had already had breakfast however, so did not indulge in my usual bacon buttie from Bacon Buttie Man.

Breakfast Heaven, curtesy of Bacon Buttie Man

Breakfast Heaven, curtesy of Bacon Buttie Man

A ticket for the festival included a free bus ride to Port Chalmers and back, which was very much appreciated and utilised by myself.

Luckily i took a quick picture of my ticket because it got taken away when I arrived at the festival!

Luckily I took a quick picture of my ticket because it got taken away when I arrived at the festival!

Upon arrival my ticket was exchanged for a green bracelet to let the bars know it was ok to serve me alcoholic beverages. The Port Otago A-Shed held the majority of stalls, offering a large variety of tasty seafood.

A-Shed entrance, full of people and stalls

A-Shed entrance, full of people and stalls

While outside was the Classic Hits stage, cooking demonstration tent, and children’s tent, a few more food stalls and some fishing information stalls all looked out onto the water.

The Classic Hits stage was behind the white tent on the left.

The Classic Hits stage was behind the white tent on the left.

I bumped into some of my tutors which was really nice as I had gone on my own. One of them had brought their family along with them, and in the spirit of curiosity I embarked into the children’s tent with them. The pirates, Festus McBoyle and his friend, were in fact remarkably entertaining considering I was at least 15 years above the intended age group.

Festus McBoyle and his friend I think named Crusty Carbunkle

Festus McBoyle and his friend I think named Crusty Carbunkle

After this some of my friends from uni turned up and I went and ate with them. I ate a really wonderful Garlic Prawn Bap thanks to the Otago Polytechnic Culinary Arts students, followed by a very tasty Salmon Pattie from Gilbert’s Fine Foods, I washed those down with two glasses of the Gibbston Valley Gold River Pinot Gris before finishing off my day with Calamari Rings from Fish Hook.

On our way our we checked out a couple of the stalls inside A-Shed, the one that caught my eye was The Naked Scotsman

The Naked Scotsman Stall

The Naked Scotsman Stall

Their selection was impressive, and the whiskey butter simply delicious, if I hadn’t spent my last $5 on some special salt I would have bought a pot of it, it really was wonderful!

I had a really wonderful time and am looking forward to next year, and possibly being able to take some of my friend who I know love seafood.

A Not So Scarfie Week

SO while this blog is usually my write ups of the various places to visit and things to do in Dunedin that involve creativity, I’ve never really described them in the context of my life as a student at the university. So I thought this post could remedy that; I present my week as a student in Dunedin.

Thursday

In the average scarfie week Thursday night is one of two nights to have a bit of a party and go to town (clubbing) before heading home and invariably consuming either Surfin Slices or MacDonalds while on your way. However, I have maybe been out on a Thursday twice this year. So once again, I was at home working.

Friday

Friday is usually a quieter night, everyone is saving their energy for Saturday night. However, my friends and I had a BYO at Manilla Grill, where I was intrigued to discover they actually offer karaoke! Keen to have a go at some late 80s classics my friends found the courage in their respective bottles of red and white!

After we had finished our meal and the antics offered at Manilla Grill we headed to Refuel. Tucked away on the corner of the Union building on campus, and underground, Refuel features live music most week nights, this Friday was local band Two Cartoons headlining. Two Cartoons : Get Happy Black Friday w/ Friends featured a fair few local bands, MalesAstro ChildrenErnesto AnemoneDeux Enfants, and DJ Tom Tremewan supporting the headline act before their set.

Astro Children's set, I thought their set was really good!

Astro Children’s set, I thought their set was really good!

Two Cartoons set was good, I had a really good night, although at this point I was on my third/fourth drink of the night and details get a little fuzzy. We got a taxi home, and went to sleep!

Saturday

Dunedin held its first (and hopefully annual!) Craft Beer & Food Festival at the Forsyth Barr Stadium. Now as an eternally poor student I actually scored a job at one of the stalls thanks to my flatmate also having the same job. I was working for local brewery Green Man, I got a really awesome shirt for my uniform and my pass as a stall worker to wear for the day!

Green Man top and Festival Stall pass!

Green Man top and Festival Stall pass!

The festival ended up being a really fun place to work, and when we wrapped up we got Churros as a treat, and as anyone who has followed my adventures this year will know, they are my favourite!

After I had finished working and the festival was closing up, I left to go to a friends party, it was a good night and we all enjoyed ourselves.

Sunday

Sunday is universally accepted in Dunedin as recovery day. I spend mine having a lie in, watching TV, and catching up with my friends. Occasionally if the next week is going to be a busy one I might even get some work done, that is a rare occasion though, and this Sunday was not an exception to my usual pattern.

Monday and Tuesday

I spend these days working on my various papers and assignments, unless its someones birthday I don’t really get up to much these nights. It was nobodies birthday, and hence I spent it being studious.

Wednesday

Refuel hosts its weekly Pint Night on Wednesdays, and my friends band was playing there too. So after using Velvet Burger‘s new weekly Grababurger vouchers for dinner, and meeting up with friends before going to Refuel, we finally arrived at Pint Night for the $4 pints.

The music part of the night – Independant Records Presents: ink Mathematics, Ded Sparrows & Paul cathro Feat. Alex Vaatstra – was really good, I think it was one of my best music experiences at Refuel in ages.

I got to hear Ded Sparrows set thankfully, and I really liked their music.

Ded Sparrows jamming away.

Ded Sparrows jamming away.

ded sparrows 2

My friends band was the headline act, Ink Mathematics. They played a fantastic set and kept the audience entertained throughout. The lead singer has a really engaging act and connects with the audience. All round great night and a great set by Ink Mathematics, my friend played an awesome set!

Goku was apparently playing drums, although he was sporting a new haircut!

Goku was apparently playing drums, although he was sporting a new haircut!

DSC_0054

The lead singer was really engaging, spoke to me and my friend at the end, nicest guy.

DSC_0055

Ink Mathematics, if you get a chance to see them take it, they were amazingly good!

And so there it is, my not so scarfie week!

Spring in Pink, Red, and Green!

Finally, I have managed to complete the second part of my photo journal!

The first of many pathways through the gardens.

The upper part of the Botanical Gardens is vast, and remarkably easy to get lost in, particularly the Rhododendron Dell! It is also one of the few places with flowering plants at this time of the year. And they are vibrant colours! Although the most common colour is green at the moment.

Pink Rhododendron Blooms

Once you leave the top part of the Rhododendron Dell, you enter through into a maze of woodland passages. You can catch glimpses of Logan Park, the central city area, and the university campus. When you finally find your way out, and that can be quite hard as there are no signs in the deepest part of the woodland tracks, you can connect back down to the South African garden and the onto the Aviary.

Rocko is always a friendly guy whenever I visit the Aviary

The Aviary is home to a large number of native and exotic birds, some of who make taking their picture easy and some who just aren’t feeling quite so co-operative!

It roughly took me around an hour and a half to navigate this sojourn through the upper part of the gardens. If you missed out the woodland tracks you could probably manage it in under an hour though. And now, after covering both parts of the gardens, a short review!

The gardens are one of my favourite places in Dunedin, if you want a quiet place to read a book, meet up with friends, have a coffee, get lunch, its a great place. If you’re feeling more adventurous, all the walks offer something different, and the birds are always fun to visit! With the gardens celebrating their 150th anniversary this year, each month they are hosting talks on horticulture and other areas relevant to the botanical gardens. A sculpture has also been commissioned, the winner has been selected and the concept work can be viewed in the information centre. The history of the place itself is interesting, from the founding through to the future developments. i particularly enjoy how many cultures and countries are represented across the gardens (the Geographic Collection). Maybe it’s because I only moved here 4 years ago, and feel  welcomed by the diverse communities that are present in Dunedin that the gardens has chosen to include.

At the end of the day, it’s still my favourite place in Dunedin, whatever the weather. The Imgur album for the journal can be found here

I hope this encourages you to go on your own adventures in the upper garden

A Short Jaunt In The Gardens

Two ducks taking a nap at the botanical gardens.

Two ducks taking a nap at the botanical gardens.

The Dunedin Botanic Garden has been open for 150 years this year. It happens to be my favourite place in Dunedin, even if the weather is bad, as it often is. The gardens are massive, so I decided to do a short photo journal of my 40 minute long tour of the lower half of them. I thought I’d just put a few of my favourite images here though. This will be followed by a photo journal of the upper half of the gardens for my next post.

The Otaru Tien - developed to celebrate Dunedin's Sister City relationship with Otaru, Japan, and Otago provinces 150th anniversary.

The Otaru Teien – developed to celebrate Dunedin’s Sister City relationship with Otaru, Japan, and Otago provinces 150th anniversary.

The Otaru Teien

The Otaru Teien

Looking right as you cross the bride to the Teien

Looking right as you cross the bridge to the Teien

Water of Leith

Water of Leith

The Rockery. I think this is my favourite photograph I took.

The Rockery. I think this is my favourite photograph I took.

Overview of the gardens from the top of the rockery.

Overview of the gardens from the top of the rockery.

The imgur album for the photo journal can be found here.

Dunedin Midwinter Carnival

The Dunedin Midwinter Carnival has been held annually in Dunedin since 1997. This years theme was ‘Journey’s of Discover’ and the lanterns were simply amazing. I went along with some friends to watch the precession and soak up the atmosphere of Midwinter Solstice. We had a fantastic time, and the festivities were very enjoyable. The stalls that lined the central Octagon were selling food and drinks, all of which smelt amazing.

IMG_7151

HMS Endeavour Lantern

The Dunedin Medieval Society was offering Mulled Wine and Cider, and serving in costume none the less! Unfortunately I had driven and only had so much cash (I will be better prepared next year!). So we decided to just get some Churros, and they were definitely a winner for us.

I am always my happiest when I have food!

I am always my happiest when I have food!

After the precession had finished there were fireworks, followed by live music from Tahu & The Tahakes, all of whom were dressed suitably for the event and weather! There was also a fire poi performance, which was quite enjoyable.

Tahu & The Takahes

Tahu & The Takahes

For me though, I think my favourite memory will be all the kids from the precession running around, followed quickly by their parents, dutifully carrying their children’s lanterns for future posterity.

Sailing on to the next adventure!

Sailing on to the next adventure!

The album for my photos can be found here.

Audacious Top 40 Awards

Award Ceremonies always have such wonderful mood lighting!

Award Ceremonies always have such wonderful mood lighting!

Thursday night was the 9th annual Audacious Top 40 Awards, having participated in the competition last year I volunteered myself to go help set up the event and help out the wonderful audacious team. Setting up was fun, I got to move some really cool furniture around, have a good natter to my friends, and better still I got to have a look round the newly renovated Sargood Centre.

Before the Sargood Centre, as it is now named, the buildings original purpose was as an Art Gallery for the New Zealand & South Seas International Exhibition that Dunedin held in 1925. After the exhibit closed, the building was purchased by Mr and Mrs P R Sargood (the inspiration for the buldings new name), who bestowed it to the city, it was then the cities Art Gallery until a new one was later built nearer the city centre, and until 2011 was home to the New Zealand Academy of Sport. It’s current incarnation as the Sargood Centre makes it a hub for the Otago Polytechnic Institute of Sport and Adventure and Sport Otago.

So with that little history lesson, I’ll get back to the main event, Audacious. The Audacious Awards is a student entrepreneurship competition, open to Otago Polytechnic and Otago University students and is sponsored by Upstart, WHK and the Dunedin City Council. Running across both semesters,  the Top 40 Awards mark the end of stage one of the competition, only competitors awarded a Top 40 place can continue on into stage two of the competition.

Now, I’m quite fond of this competition, I actually competed last year and won a special category award! However my former glory is not the reason I am so fond of it, it’s the sense of community I got from the other competitors, the audacious team, and the people who devote their time and energy into helping out with the competition. I made some great friends last year, and I also got to know that I could achieve so much more that I had ever expected of myself. That award was the first thing I had ever won in my life. I was 21 and I had just realised I had the potential and ability to make something of my life. It was fantastic, but it would not have been possible without all the time, effort and help from the people I met through Audacious.

Now while Audacious is a business competition, it’s about innovative ideas. You can’t have an innovative business idea without a large dollop of creativity, and from the brief descriptions of the winners last night, there were some really creative ideas and businesses out there.

Full house inside the Sargood Centre

Full house inside the Sargood Centre

I thoroughly enjoyed myself on Thursday night, I wish all the Top 40 winners luck in the next stage of the competition, I truly hope you have as much fun as I did last year.

And just for laughs, here on page 7, is the Critic article on last years stage two award ceremony.

 

 

Public Screenings

I really love e-tickets, I think it's the personalisation.

I really love e-tickets, I think it’s the personalisation.

So this evening I went along to the Otago Museum with my friend, and we watched this rather wonderful little film. Coming in at around 90 minutes long it’s not by any standards a short film, and despite being about design it was not an art house film, rather a snappy modern documentary.

Before the film started there was a brief introduction to it by Matthew Ellingsen of Empathy where we learned how the film was funded by a Kickstarter campaign and made for $18,000! Which when I consider how slick the film seemed, it is honestly remarkable.

So, Design & Thinking, during Matthew’s introduction he talked about how everyone takes something different away from the film. Personally, I found the film gave validation to how I find my work process as a designer, all the frustrations I have when trying to interact with others who have a preconceived notion of designers, and putting names to faces of all the literature I have been perusing over the course of my degree.

I enjoyed how divergent the people interviewed were, it reinforced how the methodologies I have been learning about, particularly strategic and participatory design, are applicable in so many areas, and coincidentally how useful and effective they were.

The screening itself was packed, over 150 people turned up to watch the film. I don’t know why I am always surprised by how busy these events are. I suppose when I am working on a project I tend to be alone or working within a small group or community, I never get to interact with the greater design community we have here in Dunedin, which is a huge shame. We are so lucky here to have a vibrant design community, I hope that the longer I am here the more I will get to work within that community!

So I guess what I took away was that design maybe a globally undervalued process, but it’s a vital tool in helping to shape our future. That instead of just accepting the preconceived ideas people have of design and the design process, we should be making a concerned effort to alter them.

If I have sparked an interest to go see Design & Thinking it is showing again in June, tickets can be bought here. (Although I have recently found Rialto’s website to be rather useless and would recommend ringing them if you do in fact wish to get tickets.) And I highly recommend going along to see it!

Also, further information on the film can be found on the Design & Thinking website.