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oct 04, 2000
Biking n' Hiking in Taupo ... (more)

oct 02, 2000
Build me an ark in Rotorua ... (more)

sept 30, 2000
Rotorua sights and smells... (more)

sept 28, 2000
Coromandel Town... (more)

sept 27, 2000
Mercury Bay Beaches... (more)

sept 25, 2000
Coromandel beaches at Kuaotunu... (more)

sept 21, 2000
UNITEC farewell... (more)
october 06, 2000
The morning at the edge of Lake Taupo was crisp, clear, and very windy. photo here The waves on the shore were perhaps worthy of surfing. Perhaps it was just high tide. I was on the road south from Taupo to Turangi and then a scenic route around the classic volcano peaks of Tongariro National Park, which had yet to emerge from clouds since I arrived in Taupo.

nz location mapState Highway 1 hugged Lake Taupo for a few kilometers before climbing to a plateau that was covered with a pine tree forest, the kind of neatly spaced specimens that are part of a commercial logging tree farm. The road than dropped again to farmland, the lake was gone, and I passed through Tongariro in a blink. The clouds were dropping in pretty heavy, and there was no clear sign of the big volcano mountains.

Rangipo was not even clear if this was a town or just a dot on a map, but it was the junction with highway 43 or 49 that would loop around Tongariro. photo here I kept glancing at the part of the mountain that was below the clouds (which was not much!) and it kept looking like it was banded red and green. Well it was, because there was a broad rainbow arching across the foot of the mountain.

Next was a turn south on Highway 47 headed to National Park (it is a tourist stop/town). On my left was one big solid cloud where the mountains should have been. The landscape was low brush mostly of shades of brown. the road cuts displayed the contorted layers of volcanic ash and broken up portions of rock transported in the violent eruptions that took place nearby.

today's photos
- all photos   o o o o

o o Taupo to Wanganui

photo here As you may notice, there are no pictures here as there was nothing to see but clouds. However, in July 2001, my friend Mark Northover from Auckland sent a photo of what was hidden by the clouds, wow! Gotta go back.

The truck drivers on this road were fairly courteous. When I was trailing one auto transport trailer, carefully aiming for a safe time to pass on the right, the truck actually signalled when the driver saw the path for me was clear and even slowed down a bit to allow me to pass by.

With nothing more to do, I drove on to the ski bum town/village of Okahuna for a coffee break. Thumbing through the local paper, I had a good chuckle at the local police reports:

Ruapehu Bulletin 3 October 2000
Okahune District Court

Doing Donuts
Brian XXXX XXXXXXX 22, shed hand of Raetihi, pleaded guilty to a charge of careless use of a motor vehicle on Ward Street. According to the summary of evidence he has doing 360 degree spins and burning rubber (doing "donuts" in front of friends. Judge Ross said it was a case of "spotty teenagers hooning around". He was convicted and fined $300 plus court costs.

Receiving Charge
Patrick XX XXX XXXXX, 40, unemployed of Waiouru, had originally pleaded not guilty to a charge of receiving a colour TV valued at $300 from a youth aged 15 on 3 June but, when he appeared for a defended hearing last month, he changed his plea to guilty.

His counsel, explained that his client had not believed he was guilty of receiving because that price ($300) was not sufficiently cheap to arouse any suspicion and, even though he had bought it from a 15-year-old youth in the street, "that was the way business was done in Waiouru"
So I learned to be wary of "hooning" teens, especially if they were selling discount equipment.

From here I drove on through Raetihi, and took highway 4 south. The rippling green farmland soon grey even more varied in topography, providing ridge line views of the Mangawhero river far below, which looked brown and turbulent with recent rain runoff. photo here The road had just been re-opened, but there were still numerous places where crews and trucks were busy moving rock and tree debris off the road.

photo hereShortly after noon I arrived in the town of Wanganui, which turned out to be a fair sized place that was busy with traffic mid-day. I aimed for what looked like a main street, Victoria Avenue, to hunt down some lunch. Then after some phone calls, a visit to the tourist information center, the main campus, I managed to meet up with Hazel Gamec, who directs the graphic arts program at Whanganui Regional Community Polytechnic.

photo hereThe building is a strange glass and concrete "beehive" compound with large "X" arms across the windows. It was just recently acquired for the school and was previously built by the government as some sort of welfare office. It is pretty ugly but amazingly, a plaque by the door claims it won some sort of design award. Some eye of the beholder.

but inside, the building is gorgeous, with numerous large computing rooms that have more than ample work space, and lots of high end Macintosh G4s. It is very comfortable and very active with students. photo here I got to meet two more instructors Ian and "E.T" who invited me to speak to and sit in with their advanced multimedia students in classes that met 3-6 and then 6-9 PM. I managed to whiz through a number of MCLI multimedia projects and web sites, and dialogued about issues of web design.

But the best part was getting a chance to talk to the students as they showed their computer design projects. The quality of visual design in their work was stunning and creative. it was clear why Whanganui has such a high level of respect for this program.

After the classes, I joined Ian and ET for a late dinner and conversation at the "Rutland Arms". What was amazing was how quiet the downtown area was after dark-- almost no activity at all, and I half expected to see a tumbleweed roll on by.

photo hereLater in my hotel room, I enjoyed the challenge of getting access to the phone line for this computer. the connector was hidden inside a plastic box and the line required a polarity reversal to get a good line-- this was where the Roadwarrior telecom kit really paid off.

The next morning I spent more time visiting a web design class at Whanganui Polytechnical. At lunch all of the faculty and staff in the Graphic Arts program were assembled to meet with a visiting program evaluator, apparently something that takes place every year. This was a great opportunity for me as a visitor, because each person present provided a summary of their major activities and "research" interests. The faculty are quite diverse, with several from the US, China, Japan, England, and other places I am forgetting. It was also apparent that their students enter and win a large number of art competitions too. After lunch I had time to chat with several of the faculty and see more examples of exemplary student work.

In the afternoon I took some time to walk around town, but not really getting to see the entire place. photo here on Guyton street is a corner for my friend Betty in Surprise, Arizona (looks like your corner could use a spot of paint, Betty!).

I also enjoyed the Wanganui Regional Museum which has an outstanding collection of Maori wood carvings, canoes, and other artifacts. It also has a diverse range of animal displays due largely to the diligence of the early curators. The man at the counter warned me that I would be in trouble if I left in less than 30 minutes (!) and that was no problem as I easily wandered for more than 90 minutes.

photo here Next, I went up the hill to the classic domed structure of the Sarjeant Gallery which houses modern works by New Zealand artists. The exhibit I found most interesting was "Not by Subject" a display of photography that plays with the notion that "the camera does not lie." Each photo is labeled with a typical museum type description which is crossed out and below is a more speculative interpretation of the symbols in the photo.

At the end of the day I returned to my hotel to meet up with Tony, who drove up from Palmerston North to meet me and host me at his place for the weekend. But that is another days's news.

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