Tue 26 January – Day 74
I could hear crackling all night, similar to that of a high voltage line and wondered if there was one passing over my tent. In the morning, sure enough, there was a massive power line from an adjacent substation directly above me. Fortunately I didn’t feel any more fried than usual. For most of the cycle trail down the Hutt River there are pathways on either side. This morning I decide to cross the river and walk down the western bank as far as Upper Hutt. Mainly because it is on the opposite side of the river from SH2 away from the traffic. There is another LOTR site just south of here at Poets Corner where a river scene was filmed but I turn away from the river into Upper Hutt for a bite to eat and then down Ferguson Drive towards Trentham. There was a party house we used to go to on Fergie Drive but I cannot remember the number. Shame, as I would have liked to see if it is still a raucous drunken student flat or not. The stories that place could tell (but not here). I couldn’t walk through the Hutt without stopping off at The Tote bar where students, often underage, spent our time and money. I think a jug of Lion Brown was $5 in those days. Jeez that stuff tasted awful and I have not touched a drop of it since. It is still on tap at The Tote. I seem to remember brandy and dry was my favourite tipple, although Kahlua and coke featured on occasion. The place was often set upon by the local police raiding for underage drinkers. Until we reached the golden age of 18, there was false ID available to us, the option to shoot out the back door or most commonly the staff would play Dragon which was the clue to get onto the dance floor quickly as a raid was about to happen. Today The Tote is sleepy with only two punters so I continue along the well worn path across the railway line that separates it from Granville Street and, what was, the CIT campus. The Central Institute of Technology was a busy campus in the late 80’s when I attended, studying towards a NZ Certificate in Architectural Draughting. The CIT housed many faculties including pharmacy, dentistry, occupational therapy, engineering, hotel & tourism. I met many of my closest friends at CIT during my two semesters there. I was pleased to see that the Granville Street flat I lived in during my second semester was still there and it is receiving a well deserved makeover. CIT closed when the faculties moved to other institutions. Bought by a local developer more recently the grounds and buildings are being used and developed for a successful future. The Ministry of Justice, Department of Corrections, and Tactical Solutions are tenants plus the construction of a major sports facility will take it to a new level. I re-joined the river pathway at Silverstream and continued down the riverside walkways passing through Pomare, Taita, Avalon and into Lower Hutt.
In Lower Hutt I stopped into the Dowse Art Museum to view the exhibitions. From the Ground Up: Community, Cultivation and Commensality brings together seven different approaches and perspectives to food cultivation and its consumption. It included the first exhibition at the museum using live plants – taro is being grown in plastic cubes. I was fascinated to see Nuku Tewhatewha. Built in 1856, it is the only known intact pātaka of seven or eight known as Ngā Pou o te Kīngitanga (The Pillars of the Kingdom) that were carved across the North Island as symbols of support for the Kīngitanga (Māori King) Movement. Further challenging but fun was the use of virtual reality, artists Jess Johnson and Simon Ward present a mysterious universe of alien architecture populated by humanoid clones and cryptic symbols in Terminus.
The sun was shining brightly this afternoon so I took the chance to dry out my tent before the next short walk to meet my friend Annabelle, who was home from work. This evening we drove to Days Bay to enjoy the setting sun which was quite brilliant.
Tomorrow – into Wellington