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Archive for the ‘Christchurch – Central’ Category

Today we set out to see the Flare Ōtautahi Street Art Festival, but it wasn’t easy to find. I’d downloaded a map from their website, but it doesn’t clearly show where the new murals are to be. The festival runs 2-12 March, and some of the works are still in progress, like this one we found on the site of the old Excelsior Hotel.

Mural in progress

We decided to stop for lunch at Little High Eatery. It seems to still be busy, with plenty of space for physically distanced seating. We chose the Latin Kitchen and Bar which has a rather cluttered appearance.

Latin Kitchen and Bar

I selected Lomo Saltado, a Peruvian dish, with beef, onion, tomato, capsicum, and rice. I found it rather salty, and Stephen suggested the name might be a clue to that, but in fact the name just means sautéed beef. Luckily there was plenty of water available.

Beside the Eatery we found this mural:

A good message for today

We walked round the back of the replacement Billens Building, and discovered another artwork. I particularity liked the Molotov crayon.

Mural behind Billens

The facade of the Cotters Building at 158 High Street had been restored, and a new building added. This has a mural on its side, rather fearsome warriors flanked by lotuses.

Side of Cotter’s building

I understand one artist in the Flare Festival is known for drawing giant cats, but we didn’t see any. Maybe we’ll look again later. (Afternote: you can find street addresses for the artworks here.)

It’s great to have this new street art
to brighten up the city’s heart

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This show of sixteen local artists is at the Linwood Arts Eastside Gallery until 26 March, open Tuesday-Saturday, 12 noon-5pm. It’s a community gallery, keen to encourage local artists, and they also hold a variety of classes when the pandemic permits.

This is an eclectic exhibition, and I found some items more attractive than others. It was good to see that several had already been sold, which must be encouraging.

Burlesque Dancer by Nicole Wu
How the Light Gets In, collage, by Di Tanner
Temari Balls by Toni Logan & Sandy Corbett

To show your art you must be bold
and it’s so thrilling when it’s sold

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Spurious Sign

A new sign caught my eye on the Phantom Billboards at the corner of Kilmore and Barbadoes Streets. From a distance (or from a passing car) it looks like a vertical garden.

Close inspection quickly confirmed that the greenery is plastic and false. The boards on either side advertise Deep Spring canned drinks with the slogan “Drink in the real”. If the garden between is supposed to support this slogan it is surely an oxymoron. Some marketing person has made a mistake here. What do you think?

If this drink is meant to be real
their illustration’s wrong, I feel

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Te Pae, our new Convention Centre, is finally open. As Chair of a nearby neighbourhood group I had an invitation to the official opening, but passed it on to someone else, so I haven’t yet been inside. Yesterday I was pleased to discover it’s now possible to walk across the Square side of Te Pae. This makes it easier to go between Turanga and Gloucester Street West, a route I often take on my way to the WEA or the Art Gallery.

Te Pae facing Cathedral Square

I occasionally went to functions in the old Convention Centre, and don’t imagine I’ll have much reason to visit the new one, but I’ll be interested to see inside eventually. A public Open Day had been planned but was postponed due to Covid 19 restrictions. It’s good to have the Armagh Street side free of road blocks at last.

Armagh Street side of Te Pae
Te Pae riverside

I just hope Te Pae doesn’t end up being a burden on ratepayers. It’s supposed to bring an economic boost to the city, but that’s not practical at present.

It’s good that we can now walk by
our new venue that’s named Te Pae

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A dear friend suggested years ago that I put my name down with U3A Christchurch Central two years before I left paid work, as at that stage they had a two year waiting list. I failed to heed his advice, and when in September 2020 I made inquiries about joining I was told the waiting list was then 18 months. I knew other U3A groups had shorter waiting times, but I wanted Christchurch Central as its meetings are at the Art Gallery, within walking distance of home.

Last month I received an email advising me a place was available, I confirmed my acceptance, and sent the $50 annual subscription. Further emails gave details of the year’s first three week course, explained numbers at each session were limited because of Red traffic light restrictions, and invited me to book if I wanted to come. The first course was to be Getting to know you – Voices from our members with two people giving half hour talks at each of the weekly meetings. Because I was unsure how much I’d enjoy these, and uncertain what other commitments I might have for future Tuesday mornings, I booked for just the first week, and soon received a message to say that was confirmed, but the other two weeks were fully booked with ten on a waiting list.

They sent a contact details form which offered an opportunity to say where you might volunteer. I ticked that I was willing to help serve tea and coffee, or to thank a speaker, but I did not offer to help organise a course – maybe later. It also asked for previous occupation/area of expertise/current interests, and I imagine these details may be used for planning future courses.

Art Gallery Entrance

After showing my vaccine pass and signing in at the Art Gallery, I signed in for the U3A session and introduced myself as a new member. Because of current restrictions there was no tea and coffee, and no encouragement to mingle beforehand. However, I was warmly greeted by the Membership person, then went in to the theatre, where every second seat had a sign saying Please do not use this seat. Stay safe in Level 2. Everyone was responsibly wearing a mask, many with a medical one under a cloth one. It’s hard to recognise people in masks but I saw at least two women I know.

The first speaker was Jane Ellis who spoke about Memories and Memorials. She started with a quote from Luis Bunuel: “You have to begin to lose your memory if only in bits and pieces, to realise that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all.”

Jane showed photos of memorials at Arthur’s Pass, including a Memorial Book in the chapel. She went on to talk about the development of the 19th Battalion and Armoured Regiment Memorial in Victoria Park, including the addition of a plaque to the Regiment’s mascot dog in 2017. Her talk finished with photos from her garden, where plants hold memories of her mother.

Rosemary Anderson, the second speaker, told about her trip to Uganda in 2015 which began with volunteering for an educational charity. On her arrival in Uganda she found there were no road rules. She stayed in a village near the River Nile, in a room with a strong padlock, and was obliged to wear the key around her neck. After this volunteer assignment she travelled across the equator to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

I thoroughly enjoyed both these talks, and wish now that I had booked for the other two sessions of this course. It’s just a pity the social aspect isn’t easily available at present.

I’m glad that I’ve joined U3A
and look forward to next meeting day

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We are limiting our outings now that Omicron is here, but we needed to go out to celebrate Stephen’s birthday, and started with breakfast at Kin Bistro at Ballantynes. Ballantynes had been closed for the previous three days, having moved their annual sale online out of “an abundance of caution”. They have a staff member stationed at each of their six entrances checking that everyone is wearing a mask. The cost of this must add to their daily expenses and I wonder what, if any, profit they are making these days. The time for department stores has definitely passed and we are lucky that Ballantyne’s has managed to hold on and remain the anchor of the central city shopping area.

The bistro was quiet at just after 9am. The only other customers were two socially distanced single men, one engrossed in the Press and the other engrossed in his phone. I wondered whether they live centrally and frequently come there for a lonely breakfast. We savoured our poached eggs, mine with mushrooms, and Stephen’s with bacon and Cumberland sausage. It doesn’t seem right with Covid to ask a waiter to use my camera to take a photo, so I just snapped our meals.

Breakfast at Ballantyne’s

Afterwards we strolled down to Riverside Market to buy some cheese, then back to Scorpio Books where Stephen chose a Turkish cookbook as his birthday present.

In the evening we dined at Venuti in Colombo Street. They opened soon after the earthquakes and have long been a favourite. We were pleased to see four other groups of early diners – surely not bad for a Monday evening during a pandemic. Our chosen table was in the corner by the door, well away from anyone else. We finished our meal with a shared Tiramisu, absolutely my favourite dessert, and absolutely yummy.

Once was Tiramisu

On birthdays we choose to eat out
despite the virus that’s about

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The damp weather was not conducive to beach walking so we parked beside the Botanic Gardens and walked around the river. It was good weather for ducks, and we were intrigued to see one that had a crest on its head:

Crested duck (behind the white one)

We also saw two families of appealing paradise ducklings:

Our aim had been to see some of the Scape 2021 sculptures. The Native Section by Aroha Novak, on the Museum tower is an index of indigenous fauna removed in the creation of Hagley Park.

The Native Section

Resilience Training by Olivia Webb re-considers the four Cardinal Virtues and replaces them with values that better support resilience now and in the future. It’s a voluntary public performance artwork, with performances on Saturdays at 3pm.

Resilience Training

We appreciated the Nikau palms in the North Quad of the Arts Centre:

Nikau Palms

There was also a piano we hadn’t seen before:

Piano at the Arts Centre

After morning tea at Bunsen we walked along the Worcester Boulevard and noticed a Tardis at the Astro Lounge.

When we’d entered the Gardens we’d seen pair of shoes abandoned on the riverbank. By the time we returned someone had placed them on a picnic table.

In central Christchurch, walking by
all kinds of sights will meet your eye

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Our car was due for its annual warrant and service, and we booked it in to Armagh Automotive at 8am this morning. Both the nearby cafés are closed on Mondays, so we walked down to Belle on the corner of New Regent Street to get breakfast. They open at 7am on weekdays, serve delicious food, and the weather was warm enough to sit outside. We savoured our breakfast while watching others hurrying to work.

Breakfast at Belle

The endangered black-billed gulls which have nested in this area the last few years have been moved along, but there are still some red-billed gulls, and these swooped the moment we left our table. One grabbed a piece of bread and others crowded round trying to snatch it away.

Gulls squabbling over bread

We walked home along the Cambridge Terrace side of the river. From the Manchester Street bridge the poplar reflections were beautiful.

Poplars reflected

Several piwakawaka darted among the trees but they were too quick for me to be able to get a photograph. Just past Madras Street someone was offering free sunflower seedlings and I was pleased to pick up a pottle with six plants in it.

Free sunflowers

I’m not sure just where I’ll put them as they will need sun and water, but I’ll probably find them a spot outside the fence. Further on we spied a family of ducklings, always a delight to see.

Ducklings

I’m writing this outside in the swing seat at midday, and the temperature in the shade is 20°. Summer is definitely making its appearance, with bees buzzing in the flowers.

Out in the balmy summer air
with flowers blooming everywhere

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The site of St Luke’s Church on the corner of Manchester and Kilmore Streets has been a significant part of my life, although I don’t remember ever attending a service there.

My earliest memory, aged three, is of going to Play Centre in St Luke’s Hall. Later experience as a Play Centre mother leads me to believe that one of my parents must have accompanied me, but I have no memory of this. What I do remember is being served slices of apples and oranges at morning tea time.

St Luke’s corner is where my father suffered a fatal accident when I was just five. I recall seeing the motorbike he’d been riding lying on the road beside the church.

In the late 1980s PLEBS (Plains Exchange and Barter System) used to hold a monthly market in the Church Hall which we often attended. In the 1990s I was part of a group facilitated by Virginia Westbury where we discussed Goddess traditions. Virginia has a particular interest in labyrinths and she created one on canvas that was displayed at St Luke’s one Sunday afternoon each month. I frequently enjoyed this meditative journey. Sadly the canvas labyrinth was lost in the earthquake.

After the 2011 earthquakes St Luke’s Church was de-consecrated and demolished. Now the bell tower is the only part of the building that remains.

St Luke’s Bell Tower

A plaque on the seat at the bus stop outside the church site memorialises the women who have worked, lived, and died on the streets of Christchurch, and is particularly appropriate as this is an area frequented by street workers.

Memorial plaque for street workers

After the earthquakes a group of students constructed a brick labyrinth in the church grounds that is still there today.

St Luke’s Labyrinth

The building at the right of this photo is St Luke’s vicarage which was in use for over 125 years.

When the poignant 185 White Chairs earthquake memorial needed to be moved to make way for the new stadium it was fitting that it should come to the St Luke’s site.

185 White Chairs

The other significant aspect of this site is that it is believed to be the burial place of Tautahi, for whom our city is named Ōtautahi.

A while ago I heard there was a plan to build a community centre and Diocesan offices on this site, but I’ve heard nothing further. Do you have memories of this corner of Christchurch?

This site has seen so many things
let’s see just what the future brings

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This was a workshop offered free by the Arts Centre. The tutor was Nathan Joe, currently an Artist in Residence there. There were just ten students, all socially distanced, in the School of Art in Hereford Street.

School of Art

The room we were in was formerly the Hurst Seagar Room, which some years ago was the venue for my fiftieth birthday party.

With Nathan wearing a mask I found it difficult to hear him, especially as he speaks quickly. I started to wonder whether I would last for the whole two hours, and at the break I mentioned the difficulty I was having and found I was not the only one. Under Arts Centre Level Two protocols all staff and students are expected to wear masks, but there are exemptions for performers, and after checking with the whole group it was agreed that, as a performer, Nathan could remove his mask, and this made hearing much easier. I would hesitate to enrol for any other workshop under Level Two if the tutor was going to be masked. A friend who’s a teacher told me a sobering story from the U.S. about a teacher who removed her mask so she could better interact with students. Apparently all the students in the first three rows contracted Covid from her.

We were led through several exercises, the first a little like doing Morning Pages, others that tapped into our memory banks and encouraged us to use the five senses in our writing. We were introduced to Jose Rivera’s 36 Assumptions about playwriting, which give some useful tips.

This workshop was a good way to stimulate creative writing.

A good workshop with Nathan Joe
especially once his mask could go

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