Monday 16 November 2015

Back from New Zealand

Last week's trip to New Zealand was really a family visit to Palmerston North, so we didn't "do" much there - it was very much about family bonds with Dude's family (he has a stepmother and two step siblings there). 

Still, we managed to go on a day trip to Wellington (completely booked out, so finding a place where to rest our weary heads was a mini adventure in itself). And here's an impression from the Wellingtom Tourist Information Centre: 

The hotel where we ended up staying (Room 101 - you can't make this up) was down just a few doors from a tattoo parlour, so Dude got his long-awaited "armband" tattoo. 

On top of that, we visited (again) Te Papa, and enjoyed it very much  - especially the Gallipoli exhibition  which was very well done. 

And since I love the local jade (pounamu), I got myself a koru (spiral) piece and two whalebone carvings - the whale stranded at Gisborne, just down the coast, and the Maori have the traditional right to stranded whales in New Zealand, so that's where my two pieces came in. I've never seen whalebone carvings before (outside Te Papa, that is), and considering I'm working on a book about whalers, that seems like a nice little "coincidence". I do like surrounding myself with physical reminders of the book I'm working on - it keeps me focused and on task.

The first is a fairly traditional "hook" (supposed to bring prosperity and protect during journeys over water). You can see the typical whalebone structure - unlike most bone carvings that are mostly cow bone, shiny, white and polished, whale book is greyer and porous. It's also oddly light, and the slight roughness is actually nice to touch. 

The second is more "modern" in design  and clearly an unfurling fern (koru - the spiral, which signifies growth, strength, beauty and new beginnings).

I'm currently mostly wearing the hook, but I predict I'll switch back and forth between these two. 

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