The inevitable New Zealand 2014 blog post
17 February 2014

Warning: May contain traces of nuts, spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and a whole lot of fucks I don’t give.

On Wednesday night Ambre and I got home from two weeks in New Zealand, the first time I have been to NZ without visiting Christchurch and only really the 4th or 5th time I have been to the North Island. We went for my friend Mark’s wedding and somehow I managed to squeeze in a road trip even though we only did that 8 months ago, I am going to pay for this for sure.

We started off in Auckland, we spent a couple of days there having a look around and after a 29 year wait I finally got to go to Kelly Tarlton’s (it’s an aquarium) and it did not disappoint. We also got to hang out with Mark and his now wife Olja. Then it was on to Rotorua for a few days for the wedding, which was amazing! I nearly forgot, on the way we visited Hobbiton formerly known as Matamata and Paeroa. I haven’t been to many weddings where I wasn’t there to take photos so that was nice. My friend Ben was one of Mark’s groomsmen (Ben & Mark are brothers), my friend Morgan was the celebrant and my friend Logan shot the wedding video. Their photographer was a massive bald man, I couldn’t think of Richard Moll’s character’s name from Night Court so I called him Lurch. The next day was a BBQ hosted by Ben and Mark’s parents at the holiday house they were renting, we ate and drank and talked shit, good times. I feel lucky to be friends with 3 amazing brothers.

The next day we drove to North East Te Kaha, there were some great seaside places on the way that I would like to visit again like Ohope and Opotiki. The place we stayed at in Te Kaha described itself as a resort, I wouldn’t, but it was the closest thing to a resort for at least 100km in any direction, so it was good. Even the food was good, but we had to eat early because the chef wanted to knock off early. Next was a 3 hour drive for which time itself stopped to Gisborne, Google lied, it was more like 5 hours. Again more cool seaside places like Tolaga Bay. The next leg was from Gisborne to Napier. I have wanted to visit Napier for years and it did not disappoint, mostly because my expectations were not that high but it was a lot better than I thought it would be. We stayed across the road from the “beach” and the room came with free apples, amazing, everyone should do this, apples, in a bowl, real ones. I had organised for Ambre and I to have a penguin experience at The National Aquarium and it was fun, we got to prepare their food, meet some sick and quarantined birds, feed the birds in their enclosure with an audience and then hold a penguin called Gordon, he was pretty cool. Then we went on an Art Deco walking tour of Napier and learned about the earthquake and the art deco movement.

Wanganui was next. The plan was to stay in Wanganui a night and then the next day drive to Mount Taranaki and then back to Wanganui for another night. We walked into the “city” from where we were staying, saw some interesting buildings, found a nice place to eat and walked back again. The next day day we got up and walked to get some breakfast, the weather was absolutely shithouse, there was low fog, it was windy, raining and cold. At breakfast Ambre had a psychic moment and read my mind, so we rang where we were staying in Wellington and they had a room available, previously they didn’t because of the Rugby 7s but someone must have cancelled. So we packed up and drove to Wellington. It was nice to drive through cities that I had only heard of on TV before, Fielding, Foxton, Levin and Porirua, oh and Bulls, Bulls and their Bulls signs on everything. For those of you who don’t know Bulls has these funny signs on most of the businesses in Bulls, for example, the Church has “Forgive-a-bull” on it and the police station has “Consta-bull” on it. Hilarious.

So on my first morning in Wellington I got up early and picked my Dad up from the airport and on the way I got to see a few Rugby 7s walks of shame, hilarious, because people go to the 7s in fancy dress, one girl, I couldn’t really work out what she was dressed as. So in Wellington the weather was still shit so we went to Te Papa and the City Gallery, the City Gallery was mostly closed but purely by chance there was an exhibition on featuring the works of Laurence Aberhart and William Eggleston, amazing! I have seen some of Aberhart’s work here in Melbourne but it was still good to see it on the wall and getting to see Eggleston’s tricycle in person was pretty cool.

The next day we went to Wellington Zoom where I had arranged for Ambre to have an encounter with a Red Panda, she loved it. On our second last day in New Zealand the sun decided to come out again so we went for a bit of a drive to a cafe on the water in Scorching Bay and then for a bit of a drive around the other bays. We then went to the Weta Cave and saw some Lord of the Rings crap and I got to hold a gun from District 9, it was awesome! Sadly there weren’t any Feebles there.

I haven’t even talked about photos! But I’m not really going to, you’ll see them eventually and in a month or two when I finish uploading them you’ll be sick of them anyway. The final film score was; Mamiya 7 – 15, Xpan – 4, Voigtlander – 3. There is still a roll of Ultra 50 in the Mamiya. Everything has been scanned already, so all I have to do now is crop off the exterior of the scanned frames, remove the odd bit of dust and upload. Obviously I shot with the Mamiya 7 the most but I tried to use the Xpan more than last time. I forced myself to use the Voigtlander and I think it proved a point for me, there is no point spending $2k on a digital version, especially with it’s disgusting pink vignetting. So for now film is it for me, the Mamiya gets all of the attention but I do still love using the Xpan, enough to keep it for another year anyway. Everything looks cool (in colour) and amazing through the 30mm viewfinder, I just wish I could scan colour film as easily as I scan B&W film, this problem requires more thinking or just getting over it and using the V700 again. Thanks for reading all of this crap, you are truly special to me, yes you, not those other people, just you. MJ