A few days ago I ventured out towards the mountain
to see if I could get in amongst the snow
that was falling heavily over many parts of Taranaki.
It was a bit of a heave because I was in the beginning
of going down with a fluey bug, but still, it was worth it.
This road heads up over the lower slopes of
Mt Taranaki, but this was as far as I could
go. The red vehicle was stopping all traffic.
Above this point it was dangerous.

Methanex at Motunui

In the previous post I referred to an
exhibition catalogue of my work
called The Left Hand Raised.
The photo above was included in that
exhibition. It was taken at the Methanex
plant at Motunui, a few kilometres north
of New Plymouth.
The plant converts natural gas into
methanol, almost all of which is exported
to countries such as China, Japan, and Korea.
Building it was one of the Think Big projects
from the time of the Muldoon government.
It remains one of the biggest engineering projects ever
undertaken in New Zealand.
When construction was finished, Methanex
gave this massive model to a museum here.
The model was not built just for fun
but as a visual guide to assist in the
While I can see what attracted me
to taking the photos below, I
am letting them pass as they
just don’t quite make it.


Visitors. (bah!)

It’s sobering having visitors turn up with pictures on their laptops of this quality. I’ve lived here nearly 10 years and wish that I had seen this particular view.
I thought that I knew this part of Taranaki quite well, but I missed this one. On my maternal side my rellies have lived in this area for more than 150 years, so I should have, perhaps, been more focused.
There is an elegance to this view that I like.
Thank you again Jim. High Five.

Oakura Again


Above is another photograph that Jim Barr took of me a couple of weeks ago, on the beach at Oakura looking out to Australia although I seem to have turned my back on Australia and be trudging inland.
Below is a photograph that I took of Jim with Mary, on the lower slopes of
Mt Taranaki. It was the day before and the weather was quite different.

Whites Aviation

Whites Aviation since 1945 took thousands of aerial photos of NZ. Many homes and businesses had prints on their walls and books were published.

A couple of weeks ago Art + Object in Auckland had one of these in an auction. Even though they are in Auckland and I am in Invercargill I made an absentee bid on the work. My bid was successful ($350) and the framed work was couriered to me. I bought it partly because I have spent the last 5 or 6 years living in Taranaki and I have a sentimental attachment to the mountain.

The print is a black and white photo that has been hand coloured. A common technique, my father used it quite often. Several of our family photos have been done this way.

Mt Taranaki
Puke Ariki, our museum here in New Plymouth, has an arresting 3 or 4 minute video on loop. It shows the volcanic history of Mt Taranaki and describes the effect various eruptions have created eg thick suffocating ash everywhere. Trees have been found on the side of the mountain that still have rocks from the last eruption stuck in their branches. The lower image, dated minus 250yrs, indicates how active the maunga is. I hope we get some warning. New Plymouth could be the new Pompeii.

One particularly unattractive effect after an active period of eruption, is that large tracts of surrounding land, can slump.

I was strolling through the museum today and snapped these shots with my camphone.

I didn’t take the photos just because of the content. I like the shapes.

Home Again- Aim Low In Future

I apologise for the delay between postings. In Auckland so much seemed to happen, far more that I had planned. I realise now that the list of objectives I took there with me was just too too long. It created expectations that left no room for the extras which came my way, so many of which, as usual, turned out to be so important.

I hadn’t even left room for the weather for example, which at times was monsoon like, warm, heavy, giant heavy drops, and quite wonderful, except when you are wanting to criss-cross Auckland’s ever changing roads in a car that you have never driven before.

And I hadn’t left room for being in cafes and, lo and behold, there was someone that I hadn’t seen for years, but was delighted and nourished by reconnecting with them.

The lesson for me is to aim low. My parents, my teachers, and my priests, all said the same thing: aim high. It was an approach hardwired into me over the decades. In recent years though I’ve seen just how it hasn’t, as an aphorism, got it quite right. If you let go you leave space for things to happen. I got it wrong on this trip, I tried to do too much, and as a result, my time became rushed and crowded. My blogging suffered and I am sorry about that. It’s vital to defrag. Today, and probably tomorrow as well I’m paying the price.