The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

hack miramar logoThis guest post is from ex-’ista Mike, so it may be something you’ve seen elsewhere on the internet. Sorry! 
Following on from the successful Hack Miramar ‘transport event’ the team have teamed up with Wellington Makerspace Trust and are chuffed to announce free programming workshops for all ages on December 13th at Scots College (1 Monorgan Rd, Strathmore Park).
These sessions will run from 10am until 4pm on Saturday the 13th of December at the Centre for Performing Arts Centre (CPAC) at Scots College. Attendees can drop in during the day to take part in sessions that will start each hour on the hour.
The workshops will be based around the global ‘Hour of Code’ format which provides an easy introduction to computer programming for anyone wanting to learn a little about how computers work. In addition to learning some simple programming concepts participants will also have a chance to do exercises with Raspberry Pi, Arduino and Makey Makey devices.The event is part of a series of international events being put on around the globe as part of Computer Science Education Week.
“Technology is changing rapidly and we want to make sure Wellingtonians of all ages are better prepared to be not just consumers of technology but creators as well” said Ben Wilde, Hack Miramar co-organiser.
The sessions are open to the public and to all ages from 6+, the only prerequisite is curiosity and a desire to learn something new.
“We need more kids excited about the idea of making smart things.”, said Lee Bennett, founder of the Wellington Makerspace Trust “we need more Kiwi innovators and this is a great way to get them started.”
The event is being made possible by the generous support of Scots College who have provided the use of the Graphics and Technology facilities housed within the school’s Creative and Performing and Arts Centre (CPAC).
“As a college we are committed to providing world class education for our students including opportunities to learn about technologies that will shape our future” said Graeme Yule, Headmaster of Scots College “We’re very happy to support this wider community initiative.”
More information can be found at


Yep, its not food.  But I was seriously impressed with this place in our back yard that I had no clue existed.

Nga Manu is the largest remaining remnant of coastal lowland swamp forest on the Kapiti Coast, and was established as a reserve in 1974.  It has developed over the years to the well laid out facilities of today with the opportunity to get up close and personal with a vast array of NZ birds, reptiles, insects, trees, flora and fauna (and a tiny mudfish).

Nga manu Nick kakaI’d highly recommend the 11am guided bird feeding tour ($25 adult entry instead of $18, once per day only) to learn plenty, rub shoulders with a Kaka (literally), hand feed chunks of cheese to Kea, and (usually) see a plump tui eat creamed corn from the guide’s finger (he was having a tantrum today though so didn’t oblige).

I would never in a million years have guessed all the different diets – carnivorous baby chickens for some, mince for others, insects, seeds, berries, vegetables (including the aforementioned silky creamed corn), and most plated on spikes in Nga manu smorgasboarda very appealing fashion.  Fine dining a’la’avian.  Interestingly some of the smaller birds were actually the more carnivorous.  And many also got sugar syrup to keep them happy and well conditioned (clearly not diabetics).

The tuatara are usually unmoving, but we struck a veritable frenzy today with rapidly blinking eyes and a bit of scurrying about.  And I’ve never seen a swan do such things with its neck.  I was waiting for its uh-oh moment, but it managed to reassemble itself into normal form again.  An excellent party trick.

Nga manu tuataraThere’s a nocturnal house with a pair of kiwi to be seen up close while feeding, an elderly morepork matriach, some cleverly camouflaged owls and good information about predators and their impacts.  With their daytime created during our night.

The reserve is breeding many of the species, and they’re noticing birds popping over from Kapiti Island to visit, so they’re making a difference to the local ecology and our heritage.

Nga manu lake bloomNga Manu also displays the Red Azolla Water Fern, which apparently bloomed about 50 million years ago in such quantities that it sucked enough CO2 from the atmosphere (and stored it as carbon in the sea floor) to cool the earth and create the Icehouse period which we are currently in (one wonders if more Red Azolla is needed?).

Most of the paths are very easy to navigate (no problem for strollers, wheelchairs or other walking aids, other than the duck gifts you’ll have to pick off
everything), and there’s really good information all the way around (especially on Nga manu familythe cute Wisdom Worm boards).

Way to go Nga Manu.  Highly recommended.

281 Ngarara Road, Waikanae


Long live the Long Lunch

by Heather C on November 14, 2014 in Food & Drink

The Mediterranean’s have it right.

I went to the Logan Brown November Fresh Friday lunch club today. Sean (Clouston) decides on the dishes each week based on what’s fresh and appealing at the markets and his travels and wallah! What a fantastic way to get into the weekend groove.

IMG_1705Today’s courses were LB bread and gazpacho accompanied by an unusual Tono Albarino wine from the Hawkes Bay (a Spanish varietal), slow roasted Coastal Spring Lamb shoulder with foraged NZ coastal spinach (who knew we had such a thing?), other fresh salads, and strawberry tiramisu made with Billy Scott’s berries from the Hawkes Bay. All accompanied by live jazz. And great company.


And marvelous fun carving and sharing the lamb, which was so generous in size that three of our group took home shoulder remains.

I also believe if you sneak down to the Mary Potter Hospice Strawberry Festival on 26 IMG_1706November you’ll be able to get your hands on some of the strawberry tiramisu.

To be fair, the lunch itself is really only 90-ish minutes with additional post-prandial lounging time entirely at your own discretion. And there’s still two Fridays left for you to start your new LL tradition with an LB experience if you desire.

Other places that I think might be the go for a LL (ergo leisurely, a bit tucked away and/or plush, sequential courses not random tapas etc):

Other tasty things I can recommend from this week:

  • The Chamomile Honey Sour cocktail at the new Hideaway speakeasy.
  • Ditto their pecan pie (a fuller account of Hideaway here if you fancy).
  • The Foxtail/Foxglove pumpkin baba ganoush and harissa with flatbreads.
  • The goat cheese and walnut wholemeal crumpets with honey and thyme at the Hangar.
  • CN polentaThe polenta with walnuts, grilled pear and gorgonzola béchamel at Charley Noble (although do note their prices have gone up $2-$3 per dish recently).

Eat on!


This Saturday a large number of spots in Wellington are taking part in a pub crawl but without the pubs. And with literature instead. A LitCrawl if you will!

Actually that’s a slight lie. There are not only three pubs involved (Hashigo Zake, Meow and Little Beer Quarter) but there’s a Writers’ Beer as well. Nine NZ poets adorn bottles of beer brewed by Mussel Inn.

Manuka Beer, Stout, Lager and a Poem

Manuka Beer, Stout, Lager and a poem. Doesn’t everyone feel like words flow more freely after a beer or two, before far too quickly they seem to wash around in and stumble out of your mouth after one too many?

James Brown, Doc Drumheller and Emma Barnes all have their poems on the Writers’ Lager.

Max Chapnick, Helen Rickerby, Damien Wilkins, Ines Almeida, Airini Beautrais adorn the Writer’s Manuka Beer bottles.

And Chris Price is the sole poet to be published on the Writers’ Stout.

Poetry on beer

Poetry on beer

There are a 14 events taking place throughout the city between 6 & 9:15pm on Saturday at a range of venues including the aforementioned bars, The City Gallery, Six Barrel Soda, Wellington Chocolate Factory, Ferret Books & Arty Bees AND it’s gold coin entry to all of these events.

The Writers’ Manuka Beer is for sale at Meow so why not head along to Off the Page @ Meow and experience performance poets from home and away “spill words, music, truth, fiction, songs and dirty politics”, including Captain Houndstooth who won the Wellington regional final of the NZ Poetry Slam.

If that is not exciting enough, or you can’t do Saturday Evening, then there’s the Elevenses sessions @ 11am on Saturday, which include Monumental Crawl – taking a walk through the city with Dr Mark Stocker a Curator of Historical International Art at Te Papa, and Kahini – a conversation with Marco Sonzogni, an award-winning editor, poet and literary translator, on the gift of translation. AND both of these events are free (with a chance to make a donation)

There’s also the awesome Women of Letters event at San Fran on Sunday night. A line-up of New Zealand women have been invited to write on the theme of ‘Letter to my unanswered question’ and will read their letters aloud in front of you. The women writing and speaking are:

Artistic Director of the NZ Festival SHELAGH MAGADZA

Playwright, theatre director and performer JO RANDERSON

Actress and director NANCY BRUNNING

Journalist, broadcaster and former politician PAM CORKERY

Comedienne, poet and actor PENNY ASHTON

Actress and playwright MIRANDA MANASIADIS

And writer and human rights advocate MARIANNE ELLIOTT

So this Saturday – get out into this fine city of ours. Drink in the beer and literature that LitCrawl has to offer because Without literature (and arguably beer), life is hell.



More posts…

Review: Titus Andronicus

by librarykris November 6, 2014

One of Shakespeare’s bloodiest plays presented in a hair salon around Halloween? Excellent idea. Fresh Dada presented their take on Titus Andronicus last week. . Titus (Julia Harris in the traditionally male lead role) has returned triumphantly from the war with prisoners. One of them, Tamora, Queen of the Goths, (Karen Anslow) pleads for the […]

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Another Laneways opportunity…

by Heather C October 30, 2014

On the back of the successful Hannahs Laneway event during WOAP, the Ti Kouka et al folks are at it again – this Saturday with a Day of the Dead Fiesta. These celebrations in Mexico are traditionally a three-day event from 31 October to 2 November to remember those who are no longer with us.  For more […]

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Winners at the 2014 Capital Awards

by Joanna October 27, 2014

Here’s our storified coverage live from the Capital Awards because we’re too lazy to type it all out. Hopefully this is still accessible. [View the story “Winners at the Capital Awards” on Storify]

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Party Together

by Tom October 21, 2014

The election may be done and dusted, and a new Parliament sworn in, but the post mortems will continue in many political circles. We now have detailed voting records from every booth in the country, and while some aspects of booth data are problematic (see the technical notes below for some provisos), it’s the finest level of electoral data we […]

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Fancy times at a fancy hotel

by Joanna October 17, 2014

Wellington does not have a lot of very big big hotels. I believe the Rydges has the most guestrooms (at 280), and the mayor was misquoted in the Dominion Post as saying Wellington has no five star hotels – a fact the Bolton and the Museum Art Hotel would probably take umbrage with. In fact, […]

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World Homeless Day

by Sue Tyler October 9, 2014

Today is ‪‎World Homeless Day‬, when we often find ourselves asking, what can I do to help those in my own city who are experiencing homelessness? One practical way you can help is by giving or encouraging people to give to DCM Wellington – Each year DCM works with over 800 people in Wellington. – […]

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