The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

Notional Significance

Snakes and Shadows: History as Poetry in Chris Tse’s Year of Snakes

by Mr Goulter September 22, 2014

Cross Tory Street heading toward Aro; banish the Carrilon’s long shadow behind the white-and-teal Bible Society on your left, Nurse Maude’s mosaic gaze upon your right shoulder. Point your nose toward Tara-Ngaki Street – “shining mountain-peak” – and feel Haining Street incline beneath your feet as Tory’s constant woosh recedes into urban din. The senses […]

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Notional Significance: Two Tides

by Alf Rune June 20, 2014

[See all Notional Significance posts] The stream is now fully canalised, a tame channel running arrow-straight towards the harbour, as subtle as an engineer’s ruler. It once meandered across the broadening valley, softly folding into the estuarine flats. On its left bank, the colonial forces built Elliot’s Stockade to oversee the new road, but the […]

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Notional Significance: Asylum

by Alf Rune May 13, 2014

[See all Notional Significance posts] After my detour, I head back to the motorway’s edge. My route takes me along Mexted Terrace—a name that is engraved across Tawa’s skin, and with its twin associations of car dealerships and rugby it encompasses two dimensions of the suburban mythos. On the corner of Tremewan Street, with the […]

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Notional Significance: Flat

by Alf Rune March 30, 2014

[See all Notional Significance posts] I set off along Taylor Terrace, and into the slow, steady heart of the suburbs. So far my path has traversed urban, edgelands and rural landscapes, with occasional tangential encounters across suburbia’s ragged edges. But here I am engulfed, flanked on both sides, striding out its loose domestic rhythms: hip, […]

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Notional Significance: Crossroads

by Alf Rune March 11, 2014

[See all Notional Significance posts] Another bend; another ending. I cross into Tawa, which was a separate borough until 1989, when in the words of a former Mayor it was “just tacked on” to Wellington. Topographically, and perhaps in sentiment, it still leans more towards Porirua than to Lambton Harbour. But as the old track […]

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Notional Significance: Backbone

by Alf Rune February 23, 2014

[See all Notional Significance posts] In memory, my feet are weary as I leave the Halfway. My present tense seems strained now, an affectation of immediacy undermined by the distance between walking and writing: years since I was here in the flesh; almost as long since my words last travelled this road. But I must […]

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Review: The Hobbit Companion

by Mr Goulter October 30, 2012

It’s not by chance that John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s was the setting that would become the default template for the popular notion of high-fantasy; no arbitrary circumstance that led to Tolkien’s intricately-crafted argot becoming the lingua franca of the sword-and-sorcery genre as it’s commonly understood today. Tolkien, with his fellow Inkling and understudy in Christianity […]

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Notional Significance: Halfway

by Alf Rune March 13, 2012

[See all Notional Significance posts] On one side: the beige of townhouses; the hermetic whiteness of Fletcher Construction’s offices; the twee comforts of a garden centre. On the other: a wall of greenery, smugly settled exotics looming over dense indigenous undergrowth and the raw-cut clay below. Hard-won colonialism congeals into aspirational heritage, but with a psychogeographical […]

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Notional Significance: Downstream

by Alf Rune February 27, 2012

[See all Notional Significance posts] My narrative has been marooned in Johnsonville for over eight months, a fate that, if not actually worse than death, is perilously close to it. In fact, it is exactly a year since I walked this section of road, and last week’s remembrance was the spur I needed to get […]

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Notional Significance: Clearing

by Alf Rune June 21, 2011

 [See all Notional Significance posts] The offramp leads me down into what, for want of a better term, I will call the heart of Johnsonville. The local RSA greets me with a Bofors gun and an ad for its eponymous restaurant (“Family Friendly Environment”). Along with the Salvation Army, Super Liquor, a service station and […]

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