The word ‘Culture’ means many different things to different people. To us it means doing things that enrich the mind to make yourself into a more interesting person. And luckily for us, there are many fantastic places in Wellington in which to get enriched.

My culture fixes are principally delivered by:
Nominees after the jump…

A. The Film Archive

A quick trip to the Film Archive’s website should be a pretty comprehensive clue as to what a valuable role the archive plays in keeping our culture alive: you can view L&P ads from the ’70s online! But even better than that, they regularly show New Zealand movies on their big screen for a measley $8. As they say:

The New Zealand Film Archive has three principal functions—to collect, protect and project New Zealand’s moving image heritage.

This means that unlike some other repositories, they do their very best to make their content accessible. Pop into their cafe for lunch and catch up on old episodes of Shortland Street. Check out their multimedia exhibitions. Or even just enjoy the Supreme coffee and their status as a CafeNet hotspot. There is nothing dusty or stuffy about this archive.

B. TheNewDowse

Because of Stagecoach’s sponsorship of the Becoming Kong exhibition, they ran a deal where you could get a free ride back to Wellington by bringing in your bus ticket. Have you ever caught a bus to the Hutt? That’s a lot of culture trapped in a small space right there. We jest a little, but it’s true that the NewDowse’s stunning architecture, creative arty exhibitions, and cutting-edge craft shows seem a little out of place in our stereotype of the Hutt. Where are the holdens? The tight black jeans? (Oh wait, they’re on Cuba Street now). Experiencing new culture is all about broadening your mind, and by helping us see that there’s more to the Hutt, the NewDowse fulfills our culture requirements very nicely.

C. Moore Wilson’s

Some of us worship in may churches, but others of us worship at the foot of mounds of shiny fresh vegetables. We oggle gigantic wheels of cheese, and plan cocktail parties with the abundant selection of strange spirits. We try to convince ourselves we need new kitchen gadgets, or that it’s totally justifiable to buy kilo bags of hundreds and thousands. Moore Wilson’s contribution to our culture can perhaps be best summed up by this annecdote – when insane amounts of rain washed out eftpos all over the country on December 23 2005, the already manic pre-Xmas crowds meant that the checkout line for Moore Wilson’s Fresh snaked all the way around the entire store and out the door. It took an hour to work your way through the line, but it was a surprisingly pleasant hour, because free samples of breads and chocolates and vegetables and coffee were cleverly passed around by the knowledgeable staff, creating a jovial atmosphere and difusing a potentially dangerous situation. Now that’s our kind of culture.

D. “Outside”

Half of the Wellingtonista run a sports site called the Dropkicks (maybe you’ve heard of it?), while the other half think that a gentle circulation of a cocktail shaker is about as much exercise as anyone should get. Luckily there’s this place where the two factions can meet, and that’s the great outdoors. And we don’t mean tramping in the wilderness, oh no. Instead, we can play petanque in Waitangi Park, cocktails in hand as long as it’s not Thursday-Friday-Saturday (damn that liquor ban!). We can perambulate along the waterfront or stroll on the beaches, and enjoy a good coffee at the same time. We can play hopscotch outside the Film Archive, soak up the views on Cuba Street, or listen to birds singing. It’s nice outside. Care to come for a stroll with us?

E. The Paramount

A reoccuring theme in deciding how cultural a place can be is to consider its many uses, and given all the things that the Wellingtonista do at the Paramount, it’s a top contender. We go to regular movie screenings there. We disappear for weeks at a time into its confines when the Film Festivals are on. We oggle Magenta Diamond’s ta-tas appreciate the artistry of burlesque. We attend Ponoko unveilings, Mini Webstocks and other launches there. We go there just to drink on the balconey. And we love that it’s an old, old building, but it’s so well suited to so many modern purposes, and that while it still retains its old glamour, they’ve finally put in some comfy seats in the main theatre!