Thursday, September 20, 2018

Celebration of New Zealand women gaining the right to vote in 1893 – a world first

People gathered at the steps of Parliament Buildings in Wellington on Wednesday 19 September for speeches and free performances in honour of the day 125 years ago when the 1893 Electoral Act was passed in New Zealand, making this country the first in the world to grant all women voting rights in parliamentary elections. 

A group of men and women in colourful traditional Cook Islands dress waited in the shadow of the 'Beehive'. Then a solitary figure dressed in black moved slowly towards the group, holding a large, gently smoking poi in one hand.

A group of six Maori and Pasifika women moved in a stately procession across the grounds.  

The performance was called 'Mausina', and directed by internationally acclaimed artist Lemi Ponifasio (founder of the dance theatre company MAU). It combined Maori and Pasifika languages, sound and movement, expressing 'adaptability and resilience' in a turbulent world. 

The wind played over the dancers' graceful dresses on this beautiful spring evening.

This wahine with her spanner was unforgettable!


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Vaiata Clarke's fabulous dress
in Wellington colours!

Kia Orana! Cook Islands culture in Wellington  

I sketched at a free workshop showing people how to make an Ei Katu (flower garland) at the National Library of NZ on 4 August. With Cook Island music on Spotify and doughnuts at the ready for when we all took a break, people of all ages and backgrounds got to work....

The workshop coincided with Cook Islands Language Week and a photography exhibition. The Cook Islands is an independent nation in the South Pacific with political links to NZ; Cook Islanders are NZ citizens. 

Mānea | Beautiful!

Organiser Anna Tiaki from National Library tells us she has 20 different types of head garlands at home – one for every occasion!  

Ei Katu are made from fresh leaves and tropical flowers such as sweet-smelling frangipani and gardenia. They are worn for adornment on special occasions like birthdays and weddings, but also every day. Artist Ani O'Neil says wearing one is like "wearing the live, fresh essence of our island'. It's a celebration of culture and connection to the land. 

With a little help from "our Chinese brothers and sisters"... 

In NZ, garlands are generally made using artificial flowers from $2 shops, which can still look beautiful, as we found out.... 

• Start by making a a hoop with blue packing tape

• Wind some plastic duct tape around this to make it more comfortable to wear

• Make a small bunch of flowers & leaves that appeal to you, & secure to the outside of the hoop by winding plastic raffia around tightly near the flower head. Lay another bunch just below this.

Advice and encouragement from Teremoana Hodges (centre)

Continue on like this. Some of the ladies made repeated colour patterns with the flowers, or you can keep it random – it's up to you.

Like tivaevae (quiltmaking), garland making is
a relaxing and social activity that women traditionally do together in the Islands. Chatting and singing is essential!

Auntie Teremoana taught us some Cook Islands words:

• Kia Orana | Hello
• Pe'a Koe | How are you
• Meitaki ma'ata | Thank you
• Aere Ra | Goodbye

Thanks so much for the special insight into Cook Islands culture organiser Anna Tiaki and her Aunties; Teremoana Hodges and Vaiata Clarke.


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Rover 3500

I was talking to the owner of this car as I drew this. He said that he bought the Rover 3.5 brand-new in 1972. He's also had several cars since then, but always kept this one. I really liked it too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Hong Kong Fast Food

A couple of sketches ago I posted the Broadway Fast Food in Stratford. Today, I'm bringing you the Hong Kong Fast Food from New Plymouth. I don't know why it's called that really. They specialise in meat and potato roast dinners. (Just like the ones you can get in Hong Kong?)

Sunday, August 12, 2018

New Plymouth Coastal Walkway

"...and at the first sign of sun, the urban sketcher leaves his studio of hibernation to once again draw and paint the world." (It seems bit early for weather this nice, but I'll take it.)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Cuba St Superette

Dairys always seem to claim to be called a superette. You never hear anyone talking about "popping down to the superette". Weird little language we have isn't it.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Broadway Fastfood

This is a sketch of the signage for a takeaway restaurant in Stratford. My favourite part is the hand-painted signage since we're seeing that kind of stuff less all the time. Most businesses these days have computer printed signs and the hand-painted sign is a bit of a lost art. My second favourite part is the claim of the "Great Tasting Healthier Takeaway". That seems a pretty gutsy, yet hard to prove, boast. Finally, the fact that this place is "Fully Licensed". So basically if you're there to pick up some fish & chips, you can probably get a gin & tonic.