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.

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

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.


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.



41 Wharf Street Developments

The main purpose of this blog is to talk about Dunedin and the things that make it a creative city, but sometimes in life we come across things that are so bafflingly oppugnant to us and our values, we just have to take a deep breath and remind ourselves what we believe in.

Now the proposed hotel development on Wharf Street has been a major concern of mine since the news first broke last May, and was initially believed to be a very belated and misguided April fools joke (original article). However, when it became apparent that it was, in fact, no laughing matter, each new development in the story just became more frustrating.

I have absolutely no issues with modern developments, I am a designer, it’s sort of what I do. I am not opposed to increasing tourism opportunities. Although I was recently lucky enough to attend a workshop on Science Communication run by Elizabeth Connor, and during the workshop she showed how tourism is actually a non sustainable industry in New Zealand. I have no issues with Dunedin having a 5 star hotel. I have no issues with revitalising the harbour/waterfront area.

What I do object to, is a design that is completely insensitive to our cities architecture, character, skyline, community needs, harbour view, surroundings and local environment. The proposed structure is 28 storeys high. Twenty-eight. It will cast a shadow over areas that benefit greatly from the sunlight and harbour views.

Below is a video of the proposed hotel development on the Dunedin waterfront

The What If? Dunedin … blog featured a passionate and eloquent diatribe of the new development by Grahame Sydney (found here) where he covers a few inconsistencies with the video as well.

In response to this, sculptor artist Shane McGrath organised the Gelber LuftBallon, to provide Dunedin with an accurate representation of just how high the proposed building would be by flying a bright yellow zeppelin in front of Customhouse Quay (article and images here). This was followed by an open invitation to attend the Gelber LuftBallon (Dunedin Research Project) exhibition at the Blue Oyster Club, with a talk by McGrath on the final day of the exhibition. I had intended to go down and catch the end of the exhibition and McGrath’s talk but sadly was unable to attend.

So then today turned out to be a Snow Day! I had time to check my news feed this morning, and what greeted me was this article. So either way, it seems there is going to be a development on the waterfront. Coming in at a whole 25 storeys less than the original site usage proposal, and with the intention of being mainly offices, you have to seriously wonder: Just what do the people behind the proposal actually want to achieve? Quite honestly, I have no idea what they are up to, and that worries me more than anything.

The decision on the hotel is only a few days away, so until then I can hope that common sense prevails and the proposal is rejected. Otherwise the belief held by my friends and family will be wholly accurate, that I live in Middle Earth, as I will inevitably end up looking at the Dunedin equivalent of Mount Doom on a daily basis.

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.

IMG_6784a1SHT logo 1

Images and Post by Elizabeth Kerr

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Their Place In The World

Parading down Stuart Street

Parading down Stuart Street

It’s mid Autumn, meaning that here in Dunedin it’s Graduation time. For me this meant taking pictures of my two flatmates who both graduated on Saturday. Unlike my graduation in December last year, they were lucky enough to have a beautifully clear day, with azure blue skies and crisp autumn foliage.

It also marked some of my classmates graduation, meaning that the last Design Studies students from the University are now graduates. I’m pretty proud of us, the last Design Studies class, we certainly had an interesting experience, but we came out the other side and now have degrees!

As I  wasn’t graduating, and technically working as a photographer, it was really lovely to see how everyone’s friends and families were there for them. It was hard not to get caught up in the day with my flatmates and their families.

Graduation is a big tradition in Dunedin, and everyone chooses to celebrate it slightly differently. For me it was a personal dinner with my family, but walking around Dunedin in the evening it was evident that everyone else had their own interpretation of how best to celebrate.

So congratulations to everyone who graduated and will be over the next few weekends. If anyone is in need of a photographer, I’m free!