TSB Festival of Lights

The TSB Festival of Lights is an annual summer light held at Pukekura Park in New Plymouth.

The festival is New Zealand’s longest-running light show, which has been running since 1993.

The event runs for six weeks over summer. The lights are on from 8.30pm to 11pm. A siren sounds at 10:45pm to notify visitors to vacate park before the lights are turned off.

The 2020-21 festival closes 31 January 2021. The main entrance to Pukekura Park is 10 Fillis Street, New Plymouth.

The Crescent Playground and Lookout, Wellington

The Crescent Playground in the Wellington suburb of Roseneath on the north-eastern slope of Mount Victoria provides stunning views of the city and harbour.

I had arrived in Wellington early before most attractions and businesses had opened so I went for a Sunday morning stroll along Oriental Parade around Wellington harbour.

At one point I crossed the road and walked up the path for the Mount Victoria Southern Walkway. But rather than following the walkway towards Newtown I walked up to the Crescent Play Area for views of the city and harbour.

It is also possible to access the playground at 18 The Crescent (a street in Roseneath). There is some street parking and few off street parking spaces right at the top of the slide. Children can enter the playground via the slide.

Toi Art at Te Papa

Toi Art is an immersive art gallery space at the The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

The web of time (Chiharu Shiota)

The art gallery space that covers two floors of the museum opened in 2018 and it has long-term and short-term installations.

One of the highlights at the the level 4 entrance is Chiharu Shiota’s The web of time. Shiota is a Japanese-born Berlin-based artist. Her design represents a night sky covered with constellations of numbers.

The carefully woven web tunnel that visitors walk through is two-storey high and made from 3,750 balls of black wool.

Turangaewaewae: Art of New Zealand is a long-term exhibition that covers five galleries and explores New Zealand identity and cross-cultural exchange through art from Te Papa’s national art collection.

Featured throughout these galleries are works by prominent artist Colin McCahon (1919-1987), who is credited with introducing modernism to New Zealand.

Janet Lilo’s giant three-dimensional profile page explores how social media allows us to shape our identities online. The installation was developed over 10 years and features thousands of images and videos that Lilo collected from social media sites Bebo, Facebooks, Myspace, and YouTube.

Top16 (Janet Lilo)

Another long-term exhibition is Kaleidoscope: Abstract Aotearoa, which explores abstract art from New Zealand and the Pacific through colour, shape and patterns.

Following on from this there is Tiffany Singh’s Indra’s bow & Total internal reflection, a light installation where visitors can press a button to choose the colour of the room based on their mood.

When I visited there was also a temporary exhibition Modern Living: Design in 1950s New Zealand. This exhibition is based on a 1952 exhibition ‘Art and Design’. This exhibition is on until 26 April 2021.

Toi Art located on levels 4 and 5 of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 55 Cable Street, Wellington. Te Papa is open daily 10am – 6pm and is free to visit.

WOW Up Close at Te Papa – World of Wearable Art

World of Wearable Art – Up Close is a temporary exhibition on at The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

The first World of WearableArt (WOW) show took place in Nelson, New Zealand in 1987. Today the annual WOW Awards are held in Wellington and attract entrants from over 40 countries.

The exhibition features 38 wearable art pieces from designers from Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, and the United States. 18 of the pieces are from New Zealand designers.

Tickets are $22.50 for adults and $7.50 for children (3-15 years). There are family and concession tickets available.

The exhibition is on level 4 at Te Papa, and is open everyday from 10am to 6pm until 14 February 2021.

QT Wellington

QT Wellington in a boutique hotel on Wellington’s waterfront located opposite The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

The hotel building was originally located on the site where Te Papa is. In 1993 it was due for demolition to make way for the New Zealand’s National Museum. Former city councillor and businessman Chris Parkin relocated the concrete building 180 metres down and across the road. Parkin was named Wellingtonian of the Year for his efforts.

Parkin later expanded the hotel into the adjacent buildings and the hotel housed his extensive art collection operating as the Museum Art Hotel.

Photo of QT Wellington taken from Te Papa on wet Wellington day

The Museum Art Hotel was sold to Australian company Amalgamated Holdings in 2015 and became QT Wellington. The hotel underwent a $12 million renovation and rebranding.

As of last year Parkin was still living at the hotel in an eight floor apartment. Parkin’s art collection is still leased to QT. Although that lease is due to end this year and Parkin has plans to house his collection in a gallery space in a new building development.

I stayed in an Executive Harbourview One Bedroom Apartment. The apartment had a small gully kitchen, separate bedroom and living area, and bathroom with rain shower and deep bathtub.

They also have executive studio and two bedroom apartments. The apartments are located towards the back of the building and have separate lift access. The hotel rooms, which include deluxe and harbourview rooms are located at the front of the hotel and have access from main lobby.

There are two restaurants, French-inspired Hippopotamus and Asian infusion Hot Sauce. There is also the Lobby Lounge. I didn’t eat at either of the restaurants. Hippopotamus is only currently open for breakfast.

Even if one does not stay at the QT it is well worth popping into the hotel lobby to admire the artwork.

QT Wellington is at 90 Cable Street, Wellington.

Cordis Auckland by Langham

Cordis Auckland by Langham, is a 5-star hotel in downtown Auckland.

Although this was my first time staying at the Cordis I have visited before. Easter last year I had Easter Lunch at Eight Restaurant. At Eight Restaurant patrons can choose dishes from eight kitchen stations. Also in 2013 following the Coca Cola Christmas in the Park concert I stopped at then Langham to check out their Gingerbread Village.

I booked an Executive Room for two nights prior to Christmas. The room was clean and comfortable but in comparison to other inner city 5 star hotels the room felt a bit dated.

Executive Room guests receive access to Cordis Club Lounge on Level 10. Privileges including complimentary daily breakfast, afternoon tea treats, and evening drinks and canapés.

On the first afternoon I had afternoon tea and on the second day I went to the evening drinks and canapés. The service in the Club Lounge is efficient and pleasant.

Club Lounge guests also receive access to the heated rooftop pool and spa pool, saunas, and herbal steam room at Chaun Spa. I did not use these facilities though.

Cordis Auckland by Langham is at 83 Symonds Street, Auckland Central.