My Last Few Weeks in Wellington

So, my last few weeks in Wellington were quite exciting, but I was also super busy wrapping up my official Fulbright work. I spent so much time writing I just couldn’t bring myself to blog – so I am behind – but I have lots of fun stuff to share with you all – so this post will be pretty long. (and has lots of “different” stuff in it!)

Matariki Celebrations: 

I know I mentioned Matariki in my last post, as I was making the stars as a part of that celebration, and the festivities continued.

I went to a lovely event hosted by Te Papa focused on Matariki. It was the first time they had done this event, but they were laying down the tradition for years to come. You can see more here: https://www.tepapa.govt.nz/learn/matariki-maori-new-year/matariki-ritual

I really encourage you to watch the video – such a cool celebration of a new year and renewal.

Another really interesting cultural event I attended was Te Oro o ngā Whetū: The Echo of the Stars – a performance sponsored by the Chamber Orchestra of New Zealand, and featuring New Zealand String Quartet, ngātaonga puoro artist Alistair Fraser, Te Reo Māori performer and composer Ariana Tikao, and students from Virtuoso Strings Orchestra.

The music was hauntingly beautiful, and thanks to the use of taonga puoro (Traditional Maori Musical practices) was just a fascinating experience.

Here is a small snippet of what I was able to experience:

They also had some really neat Maori culture as TePapa played host to the Kaumātua Kapa Haka – an event featuring over 500 Maori Elders. It was beautiful – and if you want to really be moved, check it out – the diversity of the performers and the passion they have for this beautiful art is a experience to be had!

https://www.tepapa.govt.nz/learn/matariki-maori-new-year/matariki-festival-2017/matariki-festival-2017-highlights/watch

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Fulbright Work and Celebrations

As I mentioned, I have done lots of writing the past few weeks, and my Fulbright work is complete, with just a few logistics before I can share it on a broader scale, which is super exciting.

I did my final presentation on June 16th at Victoria University, and we had a Fulbright NZ Awards ceremony at Parliament on June 19th. It was a great celebration!

You can see more pictures here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/fulbrightnz/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10155657128310982 

General Wellington Fun

I did lots of exploring Wellington as well – nice breaks to clear my head and walk around were much needed! Some of these are quite random pictures, but they all tell the story of my Wellington experience, so check out the captions for more info!

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Gallipoli Exhibit

I have made several trips to TePapa, and love the museum, but had not been in the right place to do the Gallipoli exhibit justice on previous visits, so on a rainy afternoon I went across the street to experience this powerful exhibition, which was done by the team at Weta, and is called the “Scale of our War”. The exhibit features larger than life images of the war – made with stunning accuracy and detail. My pictures do not do the exhibit justice, fortunately they do have great images on their website. You can also learn more about the creation of the exhibit and the stories behind those rendered.

Images are below, but please be warned they are a bit graphic.

I also visited the “Quake Breaker” exhibit – which was fascinating to see how they stabilize a huge building like TePapa in an earthquake prone area.

There will be another blog post dedicated to Matui/Somes Island – I just couldn’t bring myself to crowd this one anymore.

 

Tuesday at TePapa

So, I knew I felt icky when I did the Parking Day adventure, but I tried to blame it on being tired from the bus. On Saturday, when I woke up with a fever, I couldn’t blame it on the bus anymore (well, maybe I caught it on the bus, but you know what I mean).

Looking out the window at the gross rainy Wellington day, it was not hard to determine what I would be doing for the day – I stayed in my PJs and pulled up Netflix – which thankfully worked in New Zealand – I wasn’t certain it was going to, and was so thankful when it pulled right up. I watched The Crown, which I had seen a few episodes of before I left the States, and really just spent the day relaxing, drinking hot tea and water and napping. I had a very sore throat, but nothing else – so I was pretty sure it was just a virus. Sunday I got up and while I had no fever, I still felt a bit icky – and the weather was still gross, so I decided that another day of relaxing was probably a good choice.

By Sunday night I was feeling much better, although I had lost my voice a bit.

Monday I worked at the Uni – emailing professors, teachers and other folks I wanted to make it out to visit, as well as doing some research in the library. It was a good, productive day after a lazy weekend.

Tuesday morning I spoke to my Reinhardt Session 2 class for the first time – I am excited about working with them this session. After my RU class I headed to the Wellington Library to meet with a secondary school design teacher who I am so excited to visit at her college in a few weeks.

After an exhilarating meeting and sharing of ideas, I headed over to Te Papa so that iI could see the Whiti Te Rā! The story of Ngāti Toa Rangatira exhibit before it closed on Friday. This exhibit told all about the history of Ngāti Toa Rangatira, the local iwi (tribe) in the Wellington region and the top of the South Island – it was fascinating. No pictures are allowed, but you can read more about it here on Te Papa’s website.

Most interestingly was the part talking about the Kapa Haka and the development of this, which has become a popular symbol of Maori culture, made famous by the NZ Rugby team, the All Blacks. Ka Mate is the traditional Haka, and recently the All Blacks have written their own. You can hear and see them both here, and read a little about the change here.

After I finished exploring the history of the Ngāti Toa Rangatira iwi, I ventured to teh very cool Te Papa Meeting house – Te Hono ki Hawaiki, called a modern Marae – it was stunning, artsy and beautiful. Check out the link above to learn more about the process.

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I still had about an hour before Te Papa closed, and decided that I would do the Bug Lab exhibit, which is one of the paid special exhibits. As luck would have it, I picked the perfect time to go, because after 5:00 in March they are offering $5 off of admission. I explored the world of bugs, checked out the handiwork of Weta Workshop and played a bit. Totally fun!

One of my favorite parts was this interactive exhibit that showed a pūtōrino and talked about how the different voices (child, male and female) are created depending on how it is played. It was fascinating. The picture of the pūtōrino is below, and below that, is a video of me pushing each button for you to hear the sound.

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If you are still interested in more, check out http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/interactive/42157/playing-the-putorino.

TePapa is quickly becoming one of my favorite places in Wellington.

Tomorrow I head to a primary school for what promises to be a fun and exciting day.