NZ10+ : Day 29 : WELLINGTON

A day spent exploring the mighty Te Papa museum. Diving in deep on all things New Zealand, Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Maori. Topped off with a Guinness or two, a western and a pub crawl.

Monday 14/04/08

Woke up at the leisurely time of 10am today. Seem to remember farting a lot. Maybe it was because of the pink chicken from Nandos.

I went to the Te Papa Museum at around 12ish, and I’m quite happy to say that I passed the entire day there up until around 5pm.

I’m now sat in “Molly Malones” Irish Pub with a Guinness, waiting until 6:40 as I’ve booked a cinema ticket for “3:10 to Yuma.” You never know, maybe I’ll write a Western on the plane home!
Te Papa was a fascinating museum, and deserves its reputation. It covered all kinds of subjects, as the museum is broken into many different parts. Started off with Ecology and Plate Tectonics. Seeing some pictures of Earthquake damage was enlightening. The first things that strike you are the almost comical images of bendy train tracks post-earthquake etc. but that humour is quickly displaced by the seriousness of the other images. People get hurt and die in both earthquakes and eruptions from volcanoes - it is taken seriously here, with good reason.

I moved into Wildlife briefly, before stopping off for a “brunch” of fries and yet another dodgy sausage roll. I don’t know what was in it, but personally anything beyond meat and onions is getting too posh and weird. I had one like that at the ferry terminal going out to Picton, but ever since then, my sausage rolls have been decidedly dodgy. Must stay clear from now on. I digress.

I spent a good chunk of the day exploring the wealth of Maori exhibits and information. Mostly how the Maori’s got screwed over by land developers. I was quite engrossed by the whole treaty of Waitangi section, and how a tribunal is, slowly, getting land back to a people who had no concept of what land-ownership even was. As far as the Maori were concerned, they as a people belonged to the Land, not the other way around. I wish we all felt the same way.

I stopped for a quick brew, then carried on reading about Voyages to New Zealand, both by the Polynesians (in particular by Kupe, their leader) and also peoples of the world at various points in the 1800s and 1960s. New Zealand - the last great promised land, and people went to it! Can’t blame them! I saw a particularly harrowing image of some tenements in Hong Kong. Horrid. New Zealand was a promise of better things – no wonder so many people risked so much to get here.

After the museum, I sort of wandered around Wellington town centre a little bit and I’ve found myself here in the pub. Wondering what to eat tonight. Should I go to Little India again, or try a new curry house? I’ll probably do the former. Nandos is, unbelievably, not an option today. Perhaps I will try again in Auckland. Knowing my luck, I’ll head to Base bar after my film and food, and nobody I know will be there, as they’ll be in town somewhere else. Drawbacks of not knowing full names of any fellow back-packers, or having a phone I suppose.

Right, I’m up to date, with nowt to write and needing some “snack” before the film as this Guinness is making me hungry. Half hour to film.

(Writing Tues 15th, in Mulligans in Taupo)

Turned out that “3:10 to Yuma” was an amazing film. So, glad I saw it. After I finished my diary entry, I started to scribble down potential film ideas. Either getting down on paper ideas that I had had before I set off to New Zealand, or new ideas that I had come across during the trip. Out of nowhere, two film ideas just appeared. The latter one I have been thinking about pretty much since. Still letting it rumble around in my head for now, but I will have to commit pen to paper at some point, probably before I get home. Else I’ll do what I normally do and just leave it unwritten, and eventually forgotten.

I think I have to get over the fear of how crap ideas will look reading them back the first time. I have to remember that I can re-write and improve them. Of course, it isn’t going to come out of my head perfect on the first draft!

It is a very strange idea. About a shy and timid girl who gets a terminal illness, who wants to break the mould and surprise everyone by throwing the craziest extrovert funeral ever, before she dies, to subvert everyone’s expectations. They say write about things you know…??? No idea where this idea came from! I think writing this diary may have had the effect of making me more confident in sticking my thoughts down on paper though at least.

Anyhow, after the cinema (and a plain hamburger beforehand) I headed to Little India (I was hooked!) to try and get a curry, even though I wasn’t that hungry. It had only just gone 9pm, and the guy in the restaurant said they were only doing take-aways. I didn’t fancy that, and in a sulk in the rain, I just decided that I wasn’t too hungry after all, and so I went straight to Basement Bar. Luckily, the girls and Will were already in there, and seemed surprised that I was “late.” I had a few beers, didn’t bother playing Killer pool, but had to slink out for food after an hour or so as the booze was going straight to my belly. Ended up in the same fast-food place as last time I was in Wellington, eating horrible chicken and chips because the Subway was closed.

We moved onto Establishment for one, after Greg, Lewis and Andy arrived, and it was luckily a lot busier than the previous night. I started talking about all things horror film, Sleep Paralysis and Oriental film to Stephanie, and the conversation carried over to Kitty O’Sheas. It was good to go back there for a proper drink – I think this was the bar where Laurence and I had tequila a few weeks before! I had to repeat the whole film conversation from the top a few times, as various people were joining the conversation halfway through! Good to know that folks are interested in film!

We then went for a wander into deeper Wellington, which I wasn’t keen on, and also pretty sure featured no bars. But we did luckily stumble across a venue not too far away. Ended up leaving there at 3:30 which was quite late. Most likely because Greg, Lewis and Andy were staying on in Wellington, and so had no need to get back to bed at a sensible time to wake up for the bus. Will, Amy, Steph and myself went home.

I also rang the Post Office about my credit card, I got the internet details (but not my balance) before the credit on the phone ran out. Tried to pay it today, but RBS wanted me to use the bloody card reader they had sent to me ages ago, which was back in the UK! So that will just have to wait until Saturday.

So, that was Monday’s entry!

SOUNDTRACK: “Desire” by U2.
Because it reminds me of Westerns.


At this point, the diary and commentary are running at a (quite frankly, ridiculous) forty-seven-thousand words. I could probably write an equal amount about all of my adventures in film to this point in my life. Particularly around how buoyant and confident I was regarding films at that point of my life, and how it all came crashing down to reality over the next couple of months. This is not the place for that story, and so I won’t say anything else here, other than that it does actually feel good to see that I was thinking about Film with a capital F, and that I was confident in myself to have some ideas, back when I thought it was going to be a much bigger driving force in my life. Go me.

Te Papa museum was indeed a marvel. Perhaps because I was back-packing, the days were quite solitary, and that I had been stung in places without as much to do (I’m looking at you Te Anau) that having a whole frikkin’ museum to explore was like all my Christmases come at once. It was also a chance to dive into some real New Zealand information, back-story and culture. This had of course been present at parts of the trip, and I had learned so much about the country up until this point, but being in a museum was just another level. It put so much of my trip to that point into context, and made me feel really incredibly grateful for having made it there and having this adventure. I’ve pretty much compared every other museum since to this one, and no surprises, they all fall short!

Not much else to add except that I enjoyed Wellington – I love city breaks, and in the pre-Google Maps era, I don’t think I made as much of Wellington as I could have done. Any future trip to New Zealand would have to use Wellington as a base at some point, as there is so much to see and do. Good times, good drinks, iffy food, great people.