Monday, April 2, 2012

Town Basin

I can remember the days when having time to kill in Whangarei left you wondering what the hell to do with yourself if you aren't interested in shopping.  Not so these days. Whether I'm in the mood for a cup of coffee, a bite to eat, a wander around the gift shops or art gallery, or an easy stroll, the Town Basin is the place to head.

Chris and I met around 3 pm on Thursday.  While she waited for me Chris entertained herself in the new Information Centre, then we wandered into the Art Gallery.  I think the current exhibition finished at the end of March so we must return soon to see what is coming next.

A cup of coffee and a pizza (extra early dinner, we were off to see a movie at 6 pm) at Reva's, then we decided to take a stroll along the Heritage Trail with storyboards telling the history of Maori and European settlement in Whangarei and to see the new sculptures commissioned from local artists.

Kim Groeneveld and Trent Morgan used pine poles, corten steel, rope and stainless steel to create Punga.  It presents a connection between past and present.  "It acknowledges the history and presence of local Maori with its form referencing a hinaki (eel trap), while the use of poles, steel and rope pay homage to the area's current incarnation as a marina."


I loved all the sculptures but I think this one is my favourite.  I guessed it represented an undulating sea but no, entitled Dobbie Canopy "based on the local flora of the area this work represents the work of the author and fern collector H B dobbie who is 1910 donated 122 acres of land on the face of Parihaka to the Whangarei Borough Council to enable the area to be enjoyed by all in the district."

It is so elegant and captures of delicacy of fragile plants.  Beautiful from all angles.

As soon as you are close enough to see the detail there is no doubt what The Swirl is all about. On a basic level, that is.  Artist Neville Parker used steel pipe to depict the coming together of a community of fish to feed to show the power of communities compared to that of the individual.  It invites you to consider the strength and power available to us all when we work together. 

The concrete seabirds were surprisingly comfortable to use as a lounger.  Justine Murfitt created them to "mimic seabirds landing, providing a sense of movement and arrival and reflect the Town Basin as a destination for seafarers." 

And this one?  You will to have guess as I didn't take note of it.


  1. It is still the 1st here and you are already on tomorrow. I like your pictures of the cow herd. The sculptures are really nice – I like the tower of fish. I could not believe how much water you received and the flooding– here it has been dry lately and quite warm.

  2. A slice of heaven. Sounds heavenly. Heaven on earth :)

  3. I love the Town Basin and am rather envious of dinner at Reva's. We can eat just as good food in many places but the atmousphere there is special. It was there that I had my first Whangarei coffee when I visited a couple of years ago. It seems a lot of time has elapsed since then. Thanks for the tour. Perhaps next visit I'll see more for myself.

  4. You should seek commission from the Whanga's tourism board! :o)

  5. The sculptures are wonderful! Yes, lots to see and do there.


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