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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Auckland Lantern Festival

The Auckland Lantern Festival took place this weekend, 26 February to 1 March, from 5pm to 10.30pm, each night in Albert Park.

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Traditionally the lantern festival is held at the end of the 15 day observation of the Chinese New Year, but this year the lantern festival was held early.

There were over 800 handmade Chinese lanterns throughout Albert Park as the festival now its 16th year celebrated the ‘Year of the Goat’.

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As well as the lanterns, Princes Street was lined with Asian craft and food stalls. There were two performance areas. On the main stage there was music, theatre and dance performances. The second area was a martial arts demonstration area with martial arts from China, Japan and Korea.

Shangwen Martial Arts Academy

Shangwen Martial Arts Academy

Guangdong Puppet Art Theatre

Guangdong Puppet Art Theatre

 

 

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.

Auckland Farmers Santa Parade

Tens of thousands of people lined the streets this afternoon for the 81st Auckland Farmers Santa Parade.

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The Parade was introduced in 1934 by Farmers founder Robert Laidlaw and has been running strong ever since.

Prior to the parade volunteers collected for the Child Cancer Foundation. There is a link on their website if you wish to donate.

The Parade started at 2.00pm, and travelled a 2.2km route starting at the corner of Cook Street and Mayoral Drive, before turning left and travelling down Queen Street, then turning left onto Customs Street West and up Albert Street, finishing at Albert and Wellesley Streets.

Auckland Farmers Santa Parade route map

Auckland Farmers Santa Parade route map

Helium balloons at the Santa Parade

Helium balloons at the Santa Parade

Christmas themed floats

Christmas themed floats

Santa Parade floats

Santa Parade floats

The Parade was followed by Santa’s Party in Aotea Square hosted by Stacey Morrison from The Hits. There were performances by the Kangoo Jumps, Popcorn the clown, Auckland City Theatre Academy, National Youth Theatre Company, West City Concert Band and pop boy band Titanium. And an appearance by Santa Claus himself of course!

Kangoo Jumps

Kangoo Jumps

Titanium

Titanium

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National Youth Theatre Company

Santa

Santa

 

 

Alberton

Alberton is a historic house located in the Auckland suburb of Mt Albert.

Alberton

Alberton

The historic house is located at 100 Mt Albert Road. Access is from Kerr-Taylor Avenue. It is open Wednesday to Sunday 10.30am – 4.30pm. Adults are $10. Accompanied children are free.

If you plan on visiting Highwic and Ewelme Cottage as well I would recommend purchasing the Historic Auckland Passport for $18, which allows you one time entry to all three historic properties and is valid for a year from purchase.

Allan Kerr Taylor was born in India in 1832. His father was Lieutenant Colonel William Taylor of the 39th Madras Native Infantry. Kerr Taylor was educated at Royal High School in Edinburgh, Scotland. At age 15 he followed his brothers and immigrated to New Zealand.

At age 16 he brought 270 acres at Mount Albert. He subsequently added two adjoining blocks of 232 acres and 120 acres. He named property after the nearby volcanic cone Mt Albert.

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In 1850 he went to California and 1860 went to England where he married Martha Meredith in 1862. Martha and Alan had two children, both unfortunately died in infancy. Martha herself died in 1864, aged 25.

The following year Allan married Sophia Louisa Davis. She had ten children with Allan, four boys and six girls, two of whom died as children.

The house at Alberton was built as a farmhouse 1863. On the ground floor there was the entrance hall, drawing room, kitchen, dining room, and a master bedroom. Upstairs there were five bedrooms.

In 1872 the house was extended and the verandahs, balconies and towers with their Indian inspired ogee roofs were added.

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After Alan’s death his second wife Sophia sold off some of the land to pay debts. At the time of her death in 1930, 128 acres remained. Three of Sophia’s daughters Winifred, Muriel and Mildred remained at Alberton and continued to subdivide the property over the years as a source of income. At the time of Muriel’s death in 1972 the property was only 2 acres.

Muriel bequeathed the property to New Zealand Historic Places Trust and Alberton opened as a house museum in 1973.

The ground floor of the house has the dining room, kitchen, pantry, study with a gun cupboard, drawing room and ballroom. Alberton was hosting a 50th birthday party in the ballroom on the date I visited. They hire out rooms and the gardens for weddings and other private functions.

Kitchen

Kitchen

Study

Study

Drawing room

Drawing room

Ballroom - set up for private function

Ballroom – set up for private function

Outside near the kitchen is a wash house with a well.

On the second floor visitors can explore the various bedrooms, dressing room, sewing room and library. Brave visitors can climb the steep stairs (a ladder almost) to the servants quarters. Just be careful climbing back down!

Main bedroom

Main bedroom

Guest bedroom

Guest bedroom

Library

Library

Sewing room

Sewing room

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