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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Wainuiomata

In one of the many river valleys in this area north of Wellington, there lies a little town called Wainuiomata (pronounced, WUH-zee-hoo-HAHA-OH-ma-TAH). Just kidding, it's actually pronounced "why-NEW-e-mah-tah", which is often shortened to just 'Wainui'. I've never actually been there; I've only driven down to it to then perform an immediate U-turn so as to come back up the hill on the way out of town.

I've snubbed Wainui so, not because I am avoiding it, rather because it has a great scenic overlook that you can access only by leaving town and cresting the hill that guards it from Wellington Harbour.

There is absolutely NO truth to the rumours that I am wanted in Wainui for a second story job. None. So don't think you'll be cashing in a reward on me or anything.

But the other day I had the time off and the good weather to finally be able to check out this particular view of Wellington, and I'm glad I did. Here are a few photos I took of the view south towards Welly, and there are a couple thrown in there from my trip later in the day to the excellent Te Papa (pronounced 'tay pa-pa') Museum downtown. Incidentally, a large exhibit featuring many artifacts from ancient Egypt just opened up there this weekend, but as it's here for five months and I didn't want to fight the weekend crowds, I've left that for another rainy day.

I was a bit dismayed at the amount of rubbish that was accumulating in the bushes to the side of the overlook. This was not only because the cretinous litterbugs had so defiantly ignored the two rubbish bins on site, but also because there seems to have been a definite lull in the past few years in the "Be a Tidy Kiwi" campaign. I've only seen one poster promoting this concept, but up until recently it's something that has been the source of great pride for many New Zealanders.

Don't get me wrong, there are still damned few cities that could rival Wellington for its cleanliness and general feeling of safety at night, but I sure would hate to see the Kiwis start the gradual ugly slide in the direction of, say, inner city Baltimore for hideousness. That kind of squalor just should never happen here.

I am a bit concerned, however, because in the local paper recently there have been editorials on the recent slacking off regarding keeping things clean and green around here. There was also that one time I went to hike around Red Rocks, and lying in the stream in all its tacky orange glory was an empty and torn case of Tui beer.

Being the good Boy Scout that I am (even though I only made it to Tenderfoot, heh), and wanting to earn a few good karma points for eventual citizenship as a Kiwi, I picked up and disposed of several bits of rubbish at both the Wainui overlook as well as at Red Rocks. I guess I did learn a thing or two from the "Keep Virginia Beautiful" campaign that began in my youth and has pervaded ever since. There are certainly times when parts of my home state look a bit straggly and unkempt, but by and large Virginia has come a very long way since the late 1970s in terms of cleanliness.

So that's it, really. I also found out I can see the actual spot on the Hutt River where Arwen turned back the Ring Wraiths in "Fellowship of the Ring" by summoning up a powerful gush of water shaped like a herd of charging horses. I see it best when I scale the 500-meter peak of Cannon Point, right in my backyard and it's quite the view. You might find it hidden amongst these snapshots I've taken here, although I clearly need better shots of it next time I hike up there.

I also have a long list of local spots where much of Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed to visit and capture on film, so all you fellow Tolkien fans stay tuned for that.

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