Le Parkour Wellington

Ever been wandering around town and seen a group of youngsters behaving like a bunch of naughty monkeys? Whaddya know.. they’re probably doing parkour.

Parkour (sometimes abbreviated to PK) or or “free-running” or l’art du déplacement (“the art of displacement”) is an activity with the aim of moving from one point to another as efficiently and quickly as possible, using principally the abilities of the human body.

Founded by David Belle in France, parkour focuses on practicing efficient movements to develop your body and mind to be able to overcome obstacles in an emergency. It is also practiced by many as a form of entertainment or as a pastime.

As I hinted above, there’s a thriving parkour scene in Wellington; especially in and around the urban/recreational areas of the waterfront and Civic Square.

Interested? There’s more after the jump..

Ask Wellington: spring gardening?

fresh spray

fresh spray
Originally uploaded by Philip Fierlinger
of turntable.com

Sometimes we at the Wellingtonista must admit that even we, strange though it may seem, do not know everything about our fine city (and in this case, its climatic peculiarities). So periodically we must call upon the mighty and erudite collective wisdom of our readers to fill in the gaps.

Many of you may have noticed the arrival of springtime, if only to observe the marginally warmer temperatures, a sustained breeziness, and an increased rate of sneezing experienced between your front doors and that of your air-conditioned workplaces. But not all of you fall into this category, and it is of you in particular we are enquiring today.

You see, some in the Wellingtonista (and again, this may be a little shocking) live in the suburbs. And some of us actually have areas of flat ground reserved for the growing of things that can be eaten (it is true that some apartment-dwellers have a couple of terracotta pots on their balconies for the same purpose – the following may apply to them too), called “vegetable gardens”.

And so the question we have for you today is: What should we be planting in our “vegetable gardens” right now?

We suspect that potatoes are good at the moment. But we wonder: what else is good, assuming that it’s both legal and tasty? If we were to get planting this coming week, what’s best?

Answers, please, dear readers.

So that’s what they mean by ‘isolated showers’

Looking south from Waitangi Park as yesterday evening’s southerly change was coming in.
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Any poor sod who was stuck under this could feel justified in feeling picked on by the elements, but most of the Wellingtonista Great Blend team was already safely ensconced in Port Café scoffing fish ‘n’ chips with BYO wine. A Great Blend round-up will no doubt follow from one of my diligent colleagues.

Glancing at the Stars

If this were the Aucklandista site, this’d surely be about Millie. But it’s not. Besides, we’d never heard of her until yesterday. Millie Elder? Millie Holmes?

Anyway… that’s just alluding to celebrity gossip to lure you in. And to trap the googlers… yoohoo!!

Here in the Capital city, when we talk about stars we talk about the really big ones! Real stars.



In May or June each year, just before dawn (yeah right!) look toward the North Eastern horizon & you should see the Matariki constellation. The Greeks called it Pleiades (although they view it upside down to us) or the Seven Sisters, the Japanese called it… Subaru!

To Maori, it marks the New Year, and is associated with the Winter Solstice. The name itself literally refers to the Eyes of God.

This month till the 1st of July, Te Papa are hosting a Matariki Festival, click through for further details.

Further information on Matariki itself, can be found here, here & here.

Pruning With The Stars! Sunday 17 June

Norm Hewitt?This weekend sees the Annual Rose Pruning Demonstration at the Lady Norwood Rose Garden in the Botanic Gardens.

Want to bone up on proper garden maintenance? This is your chance! The Wellington City Council has laid on the roses, and the experts. There will be tips on both pruning AND growing your roses. Dancing with the Stars contestants may or may not be there. The same goes for the surviving Beatles & Nastassja Kinski, but I remain hopeful.

I usually make wise with the Rose puns at this point, but she emailed this year & asked me to kindly stop.

There are two sessions:

1.30 – 2.30pm: pruning modern roses in the Lady Norwood Rose Garden. Meet at the Begonia House.

2.30 – 3.30pm: pruning rambling and heritage roses at the Bolton Street Memorial Park. Meet at the Seddon Memorial.

Grab your blades & go to it!

Addendum – Glow Worms:

While I’m on the subject of the Gardens, I happened upon an official person taking a bunch of schoolkids on a glow worm tour last week & feel I should pass on the intelligence I gleaned on my way past them. The poor lady was stretched thin by 10 or so bored & restless boys. It didn’t help that there were no worms glowing at all.

I’d wondered for a while, from personal experience, but as the lady snapped at the boys she confirmed my theory that glow worms put on their best display after rain or a heavy dew (I do not know why this is).

So should you be planning a visit, do so soon after rain & while the worms can be found in most places in the Gardens, the easiest to find & arguably best are on the main track between Glen Road & the Duckpond.

Zoo(m) time

Where's that bus?(sorry, that title is naff)

In a nutshell, if you go to Newtown on the bus (Go Wellington or Stagecoach) between now and June 30th you pay half price for entrance to the Zoo on that day.

Remember to ask the driver for the Zoo voucher.

Usual Zoo admission charges are:

  • children under 3 free,
  • children 3-16 years $6
  • and adults $15.

Buses to Newtown include #1 (Island Bay), #3 (Lyall Bay), #10 (Newtown), #11 (Seatoun) … spoilt for choice.
And then it’s a walk up from Newtown shops to the Zoo [map]

We ask: why are you here?

The Wellingtonista would like to know why so many goddamn black-legged jellyfish decided to hang out at Lyall Bay over the weekend. Sure, it was hot, and swimming was a great idea, but for me, not for you creepy wobbly things! And it didn’t make a difference how calm it was on Saturday and how wavey it was on Sunday – you were still there! Bastards. It ‘s not like you were put on Earth first or anything, and yet you act like you own the place…

Let’s all shut up about the weather now.

Dear Wellingtonians,

I’ve become so sick of you whinging all the time that tonight I made this for you:

Sunset at Lyall Bay
Sunset at Lyall Bay

Wellington’s Christmas tree

northern rata: Wilton's bushWe all know and love Wellington’s Pohutukawa trees. Especially at this time of year when they come into their own, their fiery blossom earning them the title of “New Zealand’s Christmas Tree”.

What’s less well known is that they can’t really be considered the “Christmas Tree” of any area of New Zealand outside the top half of the North Island, their native range.

Instead, we should consider the Rata, Northern and Southern, for this role. Between them, they grow over all of the North Island and most lowland areas of the South Island.

Once whole forests of Rata blossomed in Wellington at Christmas. But no longer: the settlers’ fires, and latterly, the Possum, have caused an almost total decline in their population. Still, here and there remnants are to be found within the bounds of Wellington itself.

A particularly fine specimen is at this moment flowering in the Otari-Wilton’s Bush. Usually it can’t be distinguished from any other tree at a distance, but right now its splendour decorates the bushy hillside, contrasting strongly with the quiet greens of the surrounding trees.

Planting any more Pohutukawa here is not a good idea, as the Wellington Botanical Society will tell you. (One must presume there were good reasons why the Council chose Pohutukawa over Rata for their Greening the Quays project.)

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

Tulip SundayWell… around them anyway, if you don’t want the gardeners getting medieval on you…

Spring Festival, Sept 23 to Oct 8.

Botanic Gardens & Otari Wilton’s Bush

The Botanic Garden and Otari Wilton’s Bush will host two weeks of family orientated events.

Activities include:

  • glow worm tours
  • live music
  • petting zoos
  • plant sales

Brochures outlining the events will be available from both gardens and all Feeling Great stands from 1 September. PDF files here:

Spring Festival Brochure
Stamp Your Name on the Stump
Spring Festival Photo Contest