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

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.

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.



I Missed The 24 Hour Book Sale!

This past weekend (well, Friday through Saturday) was the annual Regent 24 Hour book sale. This year marked the 33rd consecutive year the event has been held, with profits going towards the Otago Theatre Trust who run the Regent Theatre.

Sadly, due to one part forgetfulness, and one part other commitments I was unable to attend the event. However, a few of my friends were able to make it down, and I know that even around 11pm the Regent was still pretty busy. There was even live music, which was meant to be on for the duration of the sale.

With a huge range of books, from gardening to science fiction, there really was a book for everyone; and over half of them were available for just $1. It reminds me somewhat of the car boot sales I grew up with in England, except those were always outside (and it was England so it rained 9 times out of 10), and there was definitely no musical accompaniment either, unless you included the various attempts at haggling going on all around.

I was also unaware that the event is the biggest sale of secondhand books in the Southern Hemisphere! Quite impressive really, that Dunedin holds an event of that scale. Only in Dunedin would we hold a 24 hour book sale in a theatre! Makes you wonder what else we could have quietly going on down here.

The Regent Theatres description of the event can be found here. The claim about being the biggest sale of secondhand books in the Southern Hemisphere can be found here.

Open Talks

As I mentioned in the previous post I was fortunate enough to attend a talk on Dunedin’s adaptive reuse of buildings last night. The talk was given by Michael Findlay, who I was lucky enough to be taught by while earning my degree at Otago.

A rather full Burns Hall, First Church audience.

A rather full Burns Hall, First Church audience.

I really appreciated the talk, especially the prehistory about the formation of Dunedin. I had no idea The peninsula was actually an ancient volcano, or that there were so many fault lines around Dunedin. The condensed history lesson at the beginning created a firm grounding for the rest of the talk and provided an insight that I hadn’t received from my previous attempts to learn about Dunedin.

Michael also showed us the original layout for the city drawn up by the surveyors, accompanied by some wonderful original photography of the area as it was built and developed from the invention of photography until the late 19th century. It was wonderful to see how the city has evolved and developed, despite this happening before most of our lifetimes, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic for the images of those grandiose and ornate buildings of yesteryear.

He then displayed some of the work currently being done towards restoring some of our original building stock, and how they were being made fit for reuse. It was great to see the original, before and then after pictures. Some of the buildings were completely unrecognisable. I struggled to recognise the ones I walk past regularly!

The conclusion was an explanation of the planning of the tentatively named ‘Warehouse Precinct’; and the projects aim to essentially reclaim what is currently a ‘traffic island’ into a more pedestrian friendly area that people want to explore and potentially live in.

I particularly enjoyed the questions, I found out that we actually have a circus in Dunedin! There were obviously some very passionate people in attendance with a keen interest in heritage buildings, I met some really interesting people and had a few brief but insightful conversations.

The talk was arranged by the Southern Heritage Trust, more information on them can be found here. While the DCC revitalisation project currently called the ‘Warehouse Precinct Revitalisation Plan’ can be see here, the plan itself can be viewed and downloaded here.

Where House?

I was lucky enough to be able to go along to this last night. It was fascinating to learn about Dunedin’s architectural heritage, and how the city was planned from the very beginnings!

What if? Dunedin...

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Where House ?
Adaptive reuse of buildings in Dunedin’s warehouse precinct

A presentation by Michael Findlay –professional practice fellow in Applied Sciences, University of Otago

When: Tuesday 14 May 2013 at 7:00 pm
Where: Burns Hall, First Church, Moray Place, Dunedin

All welcome

Hosted by Southern Heritage Trust –enquiries 03 471 8265

The Otago Branch of New Zealand Historic Places Trust recently merged with Southern Heritage Trust.

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Images and Post by Elizabeth Kerr

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