So I’ve decided to summarise my stay in New Zealand a) because you guys don’t know much about what I was doing, b) I wanna go backkkkk and c) frankly you should go there!
So here goes cough cough:
The rolling hills of Masterton, country New Zealand, this is where it’s at and where I chose to do my artists residency (read more here).
I stayed in the New Zealand Pacific Studios house, a beautiful old mansion/cottage, swathed in history and (I’m pretty sure) ghosts and run by some pretty amazing/incredible/lovely/fantastic people. I had two other artists stay and go while I was there. With an amazing studio all to myself in which to create my new works, experiment and played my Ukulele.
I climbed the local hills, which I looked out over each morning. Traipsing through farms and nudging cows aside has never been so rewarding!
Pukaha the Wildlife Park was just up the road, which is an incredible sanctuary for New Zealand animals and birds and definitely worth a visit.
I made friends with the local animal whisperers and got sneaky up close and personals with the animals. I fed the Kaka’s (which is like trying to feed a flock of big Cockatiels, if you have a Cockatiel you will understand), and peered at the Kiwi (weirdest birds on earth), and saw lots of other birds I can’t pronounce the name of…
*Amazing photo’s of the Kaka and Kiwi’s by Pukaha resident photographer Tara Swan
I spent many a pleasant time seeing exhibitions in and around Masterton. The Aratoi is a fantastic, thriving Arts Centre in Masterton and definitely worth a look.
I listened to some jazz, ate lasagna, noodle burgers, drank wine and engaging in some very philosophical conversations with the locals.
Wellington was accessible by train (although it did look closer on the map) and so I spent a few days hanging out with some rad local illustrators and artists that I’d stalked on Facebook before I went. I had many a strange adventure with these guys.. We went costumed drawing, we went to the weird, quirky pool bar and rocked out at the Irish Pub, JJmurphy’s classic rock all night.
I also had some solo adventures to WETA Workshop (Ah-mazing), the Botanical Gardens and took the ferry to Days Bay (where it proceeded to pour down rain for the whole hour I was there)!
Near the end of my stay it was national poetry day in New Zealand (I suck at poetry) and we went to Pukaha (the wildlife park) for an early morning poem or two. The theory was to listen to the birds wake up, but really it was more Sunshine trying desperately to stay awake (I like poetry and I know poetries all feelings and stuff, but my feelings aren’t awake at 6.30am)…
I also had a talk at the school Masterton Intermediate (New Zealand apparently does middle school, who knew!), who I’m pretty sure now think I’m one of the weirdest people in the world.
On my very last day I went and hung out with Robin White (check her, she’s amazing, and has a wikki about her!), apparently Masterton has some big names! But we just ate cake together and talked about life 🙂
So yeah, New Zealand’s amazing! Specifically Masterton and Wellington. You should go there, and if you do, let me know and i’ll come!
I <3 NZ!