Fringe of Heaven....West Auckland, New Zealand......Come & See My Place!
West Auckland, New Zealand
The Fringe of Heaven ‘West Auckland’ is Waiting For You Along with Some Amazing Kiwi Characters!
Dear Rest of the World,
Many of you have heard of Auckland, New Zealand, some of you may have visited, but probably only a few of you may have wandered off the beaten track to have a look at some of the less publicised areas in our beautiful city.
Firstly for the uninitiated we call ourselves ‘kiwis’ the name of our national bird. I am honestly not too sure if I really relate to this bird being our emblem as it is flightless and only comes out at night – whereas us ‘kiwis’ are renowned for winging our way around the globe day and night!
Let me introduce you to my little corner of the World. I am privileged to live in Wood Bay, Titirangi, Auckland, New Zealand. West Auckland to be precise. The peculiar folk that live out this way are fondly known as ‘Westies’. We moved into this incredible area around 18 months ago from suburbia which is only 7 minutes around the corner, but it feels like a world away. Titirangi is the name of a plant and also means ‘Fringe of Heaven’ in Maori. Every morning I wake up I have to admit I am truly thankful!
Titirangi is situated on the Manukau Harbour. As you can see from the map we are surrounded by water - there is a beach 1 minute from our house and lots more tucked away as you follow the coastline. We do have our Wild West Surf Beaches with black sands a little further out - just follow the map around to your left and you will see Karekare, Piha, Bethells, Muriwai etc. Many of the houses in our area are hidden in the bush and cannot be seen from the road. No infill housing here! Yay! We have myriads of Ferns, Nikau Palms, Cabbage Trees, Kauri, Rimu and many more natives hiding us from prying eyes. The stream that runs through our property is wonderful, particularly when you are sitting outside relaxing or if I am in the mood to paint – the bush provides a perfect backdrop for inspiration, just the right amount of shade and gorgeous natural light so you can stay out for hours lost in inspiration
Every day we are visited by numerous fat Wood Pigeons or ‘Kereru’ as they are called in Maori, beautiful Tuis who serenade us all day, Fantails who play together in the bush outside most of the windows, Waxeyes, and the Moreporks, our native owls who let us know they are there at nighttime.
I have to admit I haven’t been out and explored as much as I would have liked to. So yesterday I set off with a friend to be inspired by some of the many Art galleries and Kiwi artists that are scattered around West Auckland.
Iconic Lopdell House, Titirangi
First on the list was Lopdell House in Titirangi, a beautiful Spanish Mission style building and a landmark right in the heart of the village. It originally opened in 1930 as a hotel, but was later purchased by the council and is used as an Arts and Cultural Centre. This place is great and constantly has new exhibitions, so there is usually something different to see on a regular basis.
The second place we visited The Art Bunker, down Atkinson Avenue in Titirangi. This is an old converted Garage, with the resident artists making and selling their work from here. As you can see it is vibrantly painted outside and has great locally inspired Art for sale inside. We met the owner with her blond dreadlocks and bright pieces of material woven in, and she is just as colourful as the shop!
Kohu Road Icecream
West Auckland has an abundance of great café’s with good coffee and food – many with magnificent views of the bush and the sea. We discovered Kohu Road the other day – tucked in an industrial area, in a converted warehouse, not so pretty but as an ice cream connoisseur this place makes some of the best ice cream in the world. Lemon Curd came out tops for me followed by, Chocolate Sorbet, Golden Syrup and Raspberry and the coffee was superb. This place was humming and I can see why!
Huia - Jonesonian Institute Gallery & Museum
We then moved further out to scenic Huia. The Huia was a glossy black bird, now sadly extinct, which had prized white-tipped tail feathers and orange wattles. The male birds had a stout, straight bill while the female's was longer and curved.
The Jonesonian Institute is a registered Museum and Gallery, and I think that we met one of the most talented eccentric women on the planet! We thought we must have the address wrong as it appeared to be just an ordinary house with a typed sign on A4 paper stuck to the letterbox, so we cautiously wandered up the driveway and past the garage to see a hand written sign that the entry was around the corner. It was a tiny converted garage with a hodgepodge collection of art, and we couldn’t see anyone so decided to slip on back to the car. But someone had spotted us and our quick getaway was delayed……..for 2 hours!
Initially we were shown the photographic work of the artist and then she said that she was off to get the curator who would show us through the museum – she appeared a few minutes later, fresh tee shirt, badge attached and introduced herself this time as ‘The Curator’. A little hesitant as to what was coming next, we were then ushered through into ‘The Jonesonian Institute’, and she proceeded to open up these large cupboards filled with preserving jars that had very odd items stuck inside with the quirkiest little sayings on them.
Capturing Dreams & Memories
She explained how her friend with Alzheimer’s had inspired her to create this museum collecting and preserving memories, dreams and reflections and also pioneering a range of techniques for gathering memories with the ultimate aim of enabling memory transplants so that it will be possible, for example, for everyone to have had a happy childhood. What an amazing concept, beautiful artwork and one incredible woman! 2 hours well spent indeed!
Last visit for the day finds us at Corban Estate Arts Centre in Henderson which was originally a winery established in 1902 and now these heritage buildings have been converted into an amazing place for artists and those that enjoy art to come and peruse the wonderful offerings at hand.
The Summer School is on at present and there are many treats here from glass casting, The Mata Kia Mahi (To work the Surface), Hand building pottery, mixed media, material effects, bronze casting, painting your passions, wood carving, graffiti art, from pencil to stencil, and last but definitely not least igniting the creative fire of life writing.
As you can see this is simply a taster and I have only just touched on my own private little tiki tour (New Zealand slang – a sightseeing tour with no particular destination in mind) ‘Fringe of Heaven, West Auckland Experience,’ where you will not only be inspired by the art but by the amazing people who live there too!