Auckland turns 175

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This weekend was Auckland’s 175th Anniversary. So on Sunday I headed along to the waterfront to check out all the action.

Lower Queen Street outside Britomart Transport Centre marked the start of a pedestrian friendly zone. Where buses normally departed people lounged in the sun on deckchairs and bean bags.

Quay Street was closed off to traffic between Lower Albert and Commerce Streets and large 7m by 3.6m billboards with historic black and white photographs of Auckland’s past lined the street. Parked between these giant photo billboards where classic vintage cars and modern BMWs.

The entrance to Queens Wharf was marked by a giant floral welcoming arch, which was modeled after the ones created to celebrate visits by royalty and admiral ships.

Photo billboard depicting the arch and decorations on Lower Queen St in 1908

Photo billboard depicting the arch and decorations on Lower Queen St in 1908

Welcome arch, Queens Wharf

Welcome arch, Queens Wharf

On Queens Wharf volunteers from Howick Historic Village offered horse and carriage rides. Also on display was the 18m-long Te Kotuiti waka from Ngati Paoa.

Shed 10 housed my favourite – ‘A Story of Auckland’ a multimedia show. After walking up the dark stairs visitors were first treated to 17 metre screen, which displayed a panorama of Auckland in 1840 morphing into Auckland today.

Next was Stories from Tāmaki Makaurau, in which live performers accompanied by musicians playing traditional Māori instruments told the myths and legends of Tāmaki Makaurau. The performance ended with a five minute animated film of Māori legends.

Last on this floor was wall of suitcases with a digital projection showing Auckland’s population growth from 1840 to 2015.

A Story of Auckland

A Story of Auckland

Screen and stage actress Elizabeth Hawthorne portrays Elizabeth Yates in Portrait Gallery

Screen and stage actress Elizabeth Hawthorne portrays Elizabeth Yates in Portrait Gallery

Downstairs was the Portrait Gallery in which portraits of 13 key early Aucklanders morphed into films of modern actors delivering in character monologues.

‘A Story of Auckland’ finished with a walk past a series of Kiwi living rooms from 1940 to today. Archival news clips from each time period were displayed on television sets in each.

In The Cloud there was a food and craft market showcasing Auckland’s diverse multicultural. There were also games.

Berthed at the end of Queens Wharf was the Royal New Zealand Navy’s HMNZS Otago, which was open to the public.

HMSNZ Otago

HMNZS Otago

Also on over the weekend was the ASB Auckland Seafood Festival on Halsey Wharf, Wynard Quarter and the 15th Annual Auckland International Buskers Festival. Nine street performers rotated around five outdoor performance venues Princes Wharf, Lower Queen, Queens Wharf, Eastern Viaduct, Karanga Plaza (Wynyard Quarter).

Street performer Bendy Em

Street performer Bendy Em

Port of Auckland opened up Captains Cook Wharf to the public and hosted SeePort’ a family event, which included free boat and bus rides to see port operations up close. There were also displays from the Royal New Zealand Navy, Scouts New Zealand, the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust and New Zealand Customs.

On Sunday afternoon Harvard War Bird flew over the harbour before an late afternoon concert kicked off at 5:30pm.

Harvard birds over the harbour

Harvard birds over the harbour

The concert held onboard the deck of the HMNZS Otago navy ship was hosted by Mikey Havoc. The concert included performances by the Royal New Zealand Navy Band, the Modern Māori QuartetMotor City Family Funk, Tami Neilson, and Annie Crummer with her father Will Crummer and the Rarotongans.

The Royal New Zealand Navy Band

The Royal New Zealand Navy Band

Motor City Family Funk

Motor City Family Funk

The Modern Maori Quartet

The Modern Maori Quartet

The night was finished with an eight minute fireworks display over the Sky Tower and from three barges located 300m off Queens Wharf at 9.30pm.

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