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Published: December 25th 2017
Geo: -39.4917, 176.916
Hamilton and Napier 13th - 26th February
I forgot to mention that when we first arrived in NZ I downloaded the GeoNet App. It is an App which sends an alert when there is an earthquake in or around New Zealand. That night I was awoken every couple of hours by a bleep from my iPad, as each earthquake was recorded. I had no idea that earthquakes are so frequent here! They are constant and even on a higher level setting (ignoring the 2 weakest levels of quake) they occur every 2 to 3 hours. I did not make the same mistake again and switched it off between 11pm and 7am for the rest of our stay.
The Hamilton Arts Festival was very enjoyable. It burst open with the Soweto Gospel Choir which filled the stage with energy, colour, fun and beautiful sounds. No-one wanted them to stop. The evening came to an end far too soon for the audience, we could have stayed all night. Another night we listened to a mix of music performed by members of the University Music Department and a family band of 8, (the parents and their six children) 3 violinists, guitarist, double bass, flautist,
keyboard and drums. They were very good and an amazing amount of talent all in one family. There is another daughter but she could not join in this time as she was looking after her 3 children!
We sat on the lawns and watched films on two other evenings, Vertigo and Citizen Kane, and listened to Opera at Twilight in the beautiful setting of the Medici Garden. The Arts Festival really brings the Park to life and added another dimension to our stay. What with all those performances and 3 films seen at the cinema here we feel we have caught up with "culture" for a while. We tend to miss out usually when travelling. Another interest at the outdoor films was that "seats" were handed out free. Made of bright yellow cardboard they support your back whilst sitting on the ground. We later took a couple to Napier to test out. One gave way but then we discovered that it had not been set up correctly. I think a student has designed them and applied for the patent. They are a very good idea. (See photograph)
Once again we went to Napier for the Art Deco Weekend. Each year participation seems
to grow. It is a great event. Utilising the back cloth of the Art Deco buildings, it provides lots of activities to entertain the promenaders. We started by going to a lunch on the Fridayattended by 22 people, mostly friends of Chris and Geoffs, and friends of friends. It was a great combination of good food, perfect weather and sun through the shade of the trees creating a dappled effect reminiscient of a French Impressionist painting by Monet or Manet.
The percentage of people who dress up is impressive, probably close to 90%. Admittedly the sophistication and range of outfits varies from beautiful authentic 1930s clothes to what are clearly sparkly mini-skirts with a top dressing of feathers and beads! But none of that matters. People of all ages join in, often whole families and just sitting watching the world go by is a great way to spend the day. Sitting becomes important as in the heat walking around in high heels soon becomes excruciatingly painful!
In the Sound Shell choirs and bands perform, there are competitions, and the highlight of the event, the Parade, takes place Saturday lunch time.We now recognise many of the vehicles and they seem like old
friends. Over the three days we saw no unruly or loutish behaviour. Everyone was very sociable and it was a lovely atmosphere. It is very noticeable how the infrastructure of Napier town centre has improved since the event has illuminated the town and brought in visitors.
This is a short blog as I wanted to put in photographs of the Art Deco Weekend, rather than talk about it again. Just a selection of people and machines to give an impression of the event. Anyone specifically interested in cars can look back to the blog of our previous visit in 2012 when I put in more photographs of cars.
We are now in the airport at Auckland, awaiting the flight to Cairns where we will pick up a campervan tomorrow and potter around northern Queensland for a couple of months. We had a lovely stay in Hamilton with Richard and Beverley and can't thank them enough for their hospitality.We won't hold them responsible for the extra weight gained as no-one made us eat or drink but when we sit out each evening, watching the light slowly change colours across the fields until the sun sets I can only say it is far too
tempting to enjoy the meal and a glass (or 2) of wine. We enjoyed every minute but hopefully we will be more disciplined in our ampervan.
The climate in NZ is great for outdoor events at any time of day as it is usually warm and sunny. In our 4 visits to Napier the weather has always been perfect and we have so little rain in Hamilton that Richard's water tank level is always a concern. Luckily this year we had some showers when we returned from Napier which topped up the tank, the first rain we have seen since we arrived at the beginning of January.
Ps Apologies for the multiple notifications of the last blog. I was receiving immediate feedback from Richard who kept spotting spelling/grammatical mistakes, which I felt duty bound to correct. I am on my own again now without editorial support so hope you will overlook any errors!
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