Illuminate – No Man’s Land

As part of Anzac Weekend commemorations, Auckland Museum screened composer John Psathas‘ No Man’s Land onto the Northern Facade of the Museum.

thumb_IMG_1588_1024

Anzac Day, which is held on April 25th each year is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that recognises all New Zealanders and Australians who have served during wars, conflict and peacekeeping operations. Anzac Day originally honoured those who served in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) and fought at Gallipoli during World War I.

Psathas’ project features 120 musicians from over 20 countries and brings together musicians descended from opposing forces of World War I and reunites them in musical solidarity on the sites where their grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought a century ago.

No Man’s Land screened as part of the New Zealand Festival of Arts in March earlier this year.

Click here to learn more about the project.

thumb_IMG_1602_1024

From Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th April, a special 20-minute version of the film was projected onto the Northern Facade of the Museum. It played as loop from 6:30pm through to 10pm.

Also viewable from the Auckland Museum, is the Sky Tower, which was lit up red to commemorate Anzac Day. A 13 metre red poppy was displayed on the south-east side of the tower.

thumb_IMG_1557_1024

Pop-up Globe

The Pop-up Globe is temporary replica of the second Globe Theatre in Auckland hosting a season of Shakespeare’s plays.

Pop-Up Globe

Pop-Up Globe

This year it is 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare. The first Globe Theatre was built on the south bank of the River Thames in London in 1599 by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (a company Shakespeare wrote many of his plays for). On June 29 1613, during a production of Henry VIII it burned down when the roof caught fire after a theatrical cannon misfired.

The second globe theatre was built a year later and stood until 1642 when all of London’s theatres were closed due to the English Civil War.

The Pop-Up Globe is a temporary full-scale replica of the second Globe Theatre, located in a carpark on Greys Ave, presenting a festival of Shakespeare plays during the months of February to April.

Pop-Up Globe

Pop-Up Globe

Pop-Up Globe

Pop-Up Globe

The three storey building includes Lord’s and Gentlemen’s rooms located on two levels directly behind the stage, and lower, middle and upper galleries with seating facing the stage.

The yard is where the most fun is to be had – the Groundlings are closest to the stage and get to interact with the actors, provided they don’t mind standing for the duration of the performance.

Over the weekend I saw the Pop-Up Globe Theatre Company productions of Twelfth Night and Romeo & Juliet. Twelfth Night followed the tradition of Shakespearean times with male members of the company playing the female roles. Christel Chapman (Juliet), Miriama McDowell (Lady Capulet) and Carmel McGlone (Lady Montague / Nurse) joined the company for Romeo & Juliet.

Cast of Twelfth Night

Cast of Twelfth Night

Christel Chapman (Juliet), Carmel McGlone (Nurse), Jonathan Tynan-Moss (Romeo)

Christel Chapman (Juliet), Carmel McGlone (Nurse), Jonathan Tynan-Moss (Romeo)

I also saw the AUSA Outdoor Summer Shakespeare production of The Tempest with Lisa Harrow, who has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company, as Prospero.

Last night I saw an all female version of Henry V.

Other productions during the season include an all female version of Hamlet, the Young Auckland Shakespeare Company’s production of Much Adoe About NothingTitus a contemporary reworking of Titus Andronicus with seven young male actors and Antony & Cleopatra.

One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill known in Māori as Māungakiekie at 182 metres (597 ft) is Auckland’s largest intact volcanic cone, behind Rangitoto, and offers 360 degree views of Auckland.

One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill

Despite its name there is no longer a tree on top of the hill. The 125 year-old Monterey pine was removed in 2000 after being attacked by activists with chainsaws on two separate occasions. The stump of the tree remains and there are plans next year to plant a grove of trees on the summit.

Māungakiekie has significance to the Māori people as it was the largest Māori pa site in the pre-European 18th century.

On the summit is the grave of Sir John Logan Campbell and a obelisk that was bequeathed by Campbell. Campbell believed that Māori would gradually die out and the obelisk would be a fitting memorial. The obelisk was completed in 1940 but was not unveiled until after the War on 24 April 1948. During its construction it was suggested that rather than be a memorial it could be a centennial tower to celebrate the centennial year of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. At the front of the obelisk is a bronze statue of a Māori warrior.

Māori warrior

Māori warrior

One Tree Hill also has significance is popular culture. Irish band U2 wrote the song ‘One Tree Hill’, in memory of Greg Carroll, an Aucklander and employee of the band, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in Dublin. Carroll was part of a group that took U2 lead singer Bono to One Tree Hill during his first visit to New Zealand in 1984.

The gates are open 7 am to 7 pm winter and 7 am to 8:30 pm summer. While visiting One Tree Hill be sure to check out neighbouring Cornwall Park and the Stardome Observatory. Together One Tree Hill Domain and Cornwall Park form Auckland city’s largest parkland.

IMG_9365

IMG_9370

Views from One Tree Hill

Views from One Tree Hill

Christmas on Queen Street 2015

Queen Street is getting into the festive spirit with Smith and Caughey’s annual Christmas window display and the giant Santa erected on the corner of Queen and Victoria Street.

Smith & Caughey's Christmas window display

Smith & Caughey’s Christmas window display

This past weekend the infamous giant Santa, his two reindeer and presents were erected on the side of the newly opened Farmers store on the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets. The giant Santa had his origins with Farmers, from 1960 to 1990 the sculpture was displayed on Farmers’ Hobson Street store.

Santa on the side of the Farmers building, corner of Queen & Victoria Sts

Santa on the side of the Farmers building, corner of Queen & Victoria Sts

The Auckland Farmers Santa Parade, which travels down Queen Street is coming up on Sunday November 29th with a new starting time of 1pm. The rain date is Sunday 6th December.

2014 Farmers Santa parade

2014 Farmers Santa parade

For more pictures from the 2014 Auckland Farmers Santa Parade check out my blog post from last year.

Earlier in the month Smith and Caughey’s (253 – 261 Queen Street) unveiled their annual Christmas window display. Santa will also be in store in Santa’s Enchanted Forest from November 24th to December 24th. Check their website for more details.

This year’s display is inspired by Clement C. Moore’s (1799 – 1863) classic Christmas poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. The display features mechanical puppets and music.

IMG_0032

IMG_0043

IMG_0061

IMG_0064

IMG_0097

 

Jacobs Ladder & Point Erin Park

Jacobs Ladder Bridge is a covered footbridge for pedestrians and cyclists that crosses over eight lanes of State Highway 1. It connects Westhaven Marina with Saint Marys Bay suburb and Point Erin Park.

Jacobs Ladder Footbridge

The footbridge officially opened in December 2012. It cost $7.9 million to construct. It is 102 metres long, 3.7 metres wide and stands 6 metres above the motorway. The exterior of the bridge is covered with gold coloured mesh, which is designed to evoke the idea of traditional Maori fishing nets.

Jacobs Ladder was originally built in the 1800s to provide access from St Mary’s Bay cliffs to the foreshore. The steps originally came down to the motorway level. The stairs now only come to the bridge level and ramps provide pedestrian access down.

Jacobs Ladder Footbridge

When I visited the bridge it was midday and was popular with office workers on a lunchtime run.

After crossing the bridge I turned right and followed the ramp down and walked along the path next to motorway to the entrance to Point Erin Park. If you turn left the ramp will come out across the road from Victoria Park.

The large panels reduce much of the traffic noise so it was quieter than I was expecting.

Ramp down from Jacob’s Ladder Footbridge

Walking next to the motorway

Walking next to the motorway

Steps up to Point Erin Park

Steps up to Point Erin Park

Point Erin Park covers approximately 4 hectares. The park includes a children’s playground, picnic tables, and an off leash dog exercise area.

Also in the park is Pt Erin Pool, which includes hydroslides, a spa pool, toddlers pool, a 33-metre competition pool, dive pool and basketball court. There is also a cafe and shop onsite. Check their website for opening hours and prices.

There is vehicle access to Point Erin Park and Pt Erin Pool from Shelly Beach Road.

Point Erin Park

Point Erin Park

Point Erin Park

Westhaven Marina

Westhaven Marina in Auckland is the largest yacht marina in the Southern Hemisphere.

IMG_1559

Last month the Westhaven Promenade opened.

This new path and boardwalk is up to 5 metres wide and runs along the edge of the marina providing stunning views of yachts against the city backdrop. The boardwalk is made from Spotted Gum hardwood imported from Australia.

Two sections of the boardwalk take visitors out over the water and include viewing platforms for photo opportunities.

IMG_1540

The Westhaven Promenade will eventually be part of 20km cycleway that travels from the Harbour Bridge in the west to St Heliers in the east.

You can access the Promenade from the western end near the Harbour Bridge and Sitting Duck Café. From Wynyard Quarter, head down Beaumont Street and onto Westhaven Drive. The path starts just start pass Swashbucklers Restaurant.

After or before walking the promenade cross the marina carpark for views of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Next I followed the path under the Harbour Bridge and followed Curran Street around the waterfront before returning along the Promenade back to the city.

Path under Harbour Bridge

Waterfront

Waterfront

Walking back along Westhaven Promenade

Walking back along Westhaven Promenade

Auckland Arts Festival

The Auckland Arts Festival kicked off today for 19 days of theatre, music, cabaret, dance, and art.

As well as the many high quality productions on during the festival (check the website for details) there are many FREE events and things to see.

Aotea Square is the heart of the festival. Visitors from Queen Street are welcomed by the Heart of the City gates.

Welcome to the Heart of the City

Welcome to Auckland’s Heart of the City

In the centre of Aotea Square is the Paradiso Spiegeltent. A Spiegeltent is a large travelling tent that is constructed from wood and canvas and decorated with mirrors and stained glass. The word Spiegel is Dutch for mirror. Even if you are not seeing a show in Speigeltent’s Festival Club it is still worth taking the time to stop and admire its exterior.

Also in Square is the TimeOut Festival Garden, which is a space for all to enjoy. The iHeartRadio Sound Lounge promises to pumping out a mixture of live jazz, indie-pop, classical, soul, funk and New Orleans street music throughout the festival.

Timeout Festival Garden

Timeout Festival Garden

iHeartRadio Sound Lounge

iHeartRadio Sound Lounge

In the Garden is the Big Screen, which will be displaying digital art. The highlight of the programme will be Lisa Reihana’s Tai Whetuki: House of Death, which will be playing most evenings.

Also in the Square is a stunning art installation by Niki Hastings-McFall entitled Fale Ula. Hastings-McFall has wrapped tree trunks in Aotea Square with synthetic lei (ula). The trees are lit up at night so it is worth checking it day or night.

Big Screen, TimeOut Festival Garden

Big Screen, TimeOut Festival Garden

Niki Hastings-McFall's 'Fale Ula'

Niki Hastings-McFall’s ‘Fale Ula’

Further a field in Daldy Street Park is Field, an outdoor installation by Angus Muir and Alexandra Heaney. It is a grid of mirrored pillars that is ever changing depending on the light and audience around it.

'Field' by Angus Muir & Alexandra Heaney

‘Field’ by Angus Muir & Alexandra Heaney

Also coming up on Saturday 14th March is White Night. From 6pm till Midnight visitors can see various creative installations across 100 venues and location all over Auckland. There will be free White Night buses linking the participating neighbourhoods.

Auckland Arts Festival runs 4th to 22nd March 2015.