I love libraries. They are the original community-sharing resource, but even if you never borrow anything, they are great spaces to be in. The new library in the middle of Christchurch, Tūranga, is incredible. It is a beautifully designed space, with lots of different areas depending on what you want to do in the library. There are quieter areas as well as areas for kids to play around in or for people to collaborate in.
There are a couple of cafes, a computer lab and a room for making music. As well as books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs and CDs there are also games, puzzles and interactive displays. And there are incredible views over a city that is changing before our eyes.
The earthquake has also meant a rebuild of many suburban libraries like the one in Lincoln.
Some libraries weren’t destroyed in the earthquake. One of my favourites, New Brighton library, is one of them.
Unfortunately, the ugly Lyttelton library is another.
The South Island Robin is one of my favourite birds. You don't see it very often in Lyttelton, because there are too many predators (cats, dogs, rats and stoats) and not enough bush to hide in. I have seen them quite often when out tramping in native forest, but it was a delight to encounter one at my friend’s place on the West Coast.
We now have a bike rack for Gertie, so headed over to North Beach, Brighton to do the Avon Trail, which follows the River Avon through the Red Zone and into the city.
We still don’t know what is happening to the Red Zone. It has been 8 years since the earthquakes and the only sign of the demolished houses now is the exotic shrubs and the disappearing driveways.
It took us about an hour and a quarter to cycle into the city. We were going to get the bus back out, but we enjoyed the ride so much we cycled back along the river instead.
Wekas are birds I have only seen when tramping or on the West Coast. They are about the size of a chicken and can be just as damaging to a vegetable garden, so I guess it is lucky we don't have them in Lyttelton.
Helping out at my friend’s place on the West Coast, I was reminded how rampant nature is over there. The mild, wet climate means things grow even faster in a country where the intense sunlight means things grow like crazy. The native bush is full of tree ferns and nikau palms and the temperate rainforest is ready to move in once buildings are left vacant.
One of the New Zealand artists who used the symbol of the koru a lot in his work was Gordon Walters.
If you are a beer drinker, you can't go to Westport without stopping in at the West Coast Brewery. It doesn't make the sweet dishwater that passes for beer with the big NZ breweries and it is still independently owned. If you want to taste the beer, you can get it straight from the tap without getting a “flight' of beers served in fancy glasses that disguise the fact you have paid good money for sips of substandard beer.
And at $18 dollars for a pack of six beers of your choice, it's worth taking a few away.