october 08, 2000
the most recent dispatch from the field... (more)
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oct 08, 2000
Museums and windy beaches in Palmerston North ... (more)
oct 06, 2000
Graphic Arts at Whanganui Polytech ... (more)
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)
On Monday morning Tony drove me from his home in Palmerston North to Wellington, where he teaches at a local multimedia school. On the way we rode through a town with the surprising name of "Levin". I saw all kinds of Levin Shoes and Levin Outdoors center, but IO mostly enjoyed the story where they sold lottery tickets where is said in big, bold, all cap letters, "LUCKY LEVIN". Despite the loss of an "e" this Levine feels tremendously lucky on this trip.
We arrive in Wellington 2 hours later. I must say that at first (and last) impression, I very much like this city! There are many similarities to San Francisco, the obvious hills and the turn of the century Victorian houses the climb the hills. but it is also vibrant and full of life downtown, with numerous shops and cafes, and a grand mixture of old classic and new modern architecture.
I had previously made arrangements to stay at the Tinakori Lodge B&B so our first stop was to find it and dump off my big bag. It is a large villa just a few minutes walking distance from the Parliamentary area.
Tony took me for a tour of the school where he teaches, the National College of Multimedia & Technology (NCMT) a one year program where students earn certification in multimedia skills. Occupying a full floor of an office building, the area is busy with students coming and going from their classes in 4 large computing labs.
today's photos - all photos o o o o
o o Wellington
But apparently I was expected to do more than walk around and take photos, the director of the school asked me to do an impromptu presentation to any interested students on the work I do at Maricopa. For some reason quite a few were interested, and filled the room. I gave a quick overview of Maricopa and showed them our multimedia sites such as Director Web, some of my shockwave projects, and a few other MCLI projects.
The students were reluctant at first but then quickly fired questions at me. My favorite was, "Why did your college send you to New Zealand just to visit us?" They had technical questions, questions about jobs and skills, questions about what areas that should focus on. After that I got to see some of their projects which they are (rightfully so) enthusiastic to show.
After this, I thanked Tony, and was off on my way. Amazingly the winds that Wellington is known for had come in and blew every single, stinking cloud out of the sky. It was a glorious clear blue sky afternoon. I wandered down to the main area by the waterfront, the Civic Center which features the information center, rat galleries, and some striking public art work.
A set of pedestrian bridges connects the Civic Center with the waterfront. One in particular is adorned with sides of giant wood carved birds and whales (borders) and welcoming celestial symbols. It symbolizes both the arrival of Maori and later European settlers and is now a welcoming path from the sea for any visitor to the city.
In the mid afternoon I met up with Che Tamahori, a graphic/interaction designer who is well known for his stunning 3D interfaces among Director developers. As a graduate of Whanganui Ploytech's program, he is more or less a multimedia celebrity. He invited me to visit at the office of SHIFT, where he currently hangs his hat. He demo-ed some past and current projects (an awesome shockwave snow boarding game) and shared some interesting perspectives on 3D interfaces (and why VRML never took off).
After this I took a walk by and around the Parliamentary District, the seat of New Zealand's government. the most recognized building must be the "Beehive" a tapering cylinder of glass-- it is more of an executive building. The legislature meets in the adjacent building, the classic style Parliamentary house. And the neighboring Parliamentary Library is set in a Victorian Gothic structure that shines against the deep blue sky.
The following day (Tuesday I am guessing) I paid a morning visit to the National College of Design & Technology (NCDT), another private provider of multimedia programs. I was invited by Andy via a recommendation from a local developer. I got a facilities tour (lots of iMacs!) and an overview of their program. What I found impressive was that the student projects were very much focused on tasks they might do as a working designs-- for their 3D animation project they have to animate logo for a company. The program is frequently reviewed by local representatives of multimedia firms.
In addition, students are required to create actual story boards (not just "chicken scratch") but mounted boards just like the pros. As part of their final projects, students create portfolios on CD-ROM but also must assemble a professionally mounted display board that highlights their animation, video, and web projects.
After a fine lunch of Turkish kebabs on the Cuba Street Mall, I spent a good chunk of time at "Te Papa" ("Our Place") the massive, high tech National Museum. This is without a doubt one of the finest museums I have ever seen. It features 5 levels of art, history, nature, all with a well balanced mix of displays and interactive stations. There is also a connected walk through "Bush City" a reconstruction of New Zealand environments, plants and Geology. The architecture of the building is itself an incredible feature, full of sweeping curves, glass, and light.
And get this, the entrance is free! What a deal.
Following this I took a ride up the hills above the city via the Wellington Cable Car (wow, another San Francisco similarity). The ride is short but takes you to a fabulous city view. The cable car stop leaves you at the edge of the Wellington Botanical Garden, an impressive park of plants, flowers, trees, views, observatories, and plenty of paths to explore.
I walked down past the Lady Norwood Rose Garden and the dazzling colors of the main garden. I even learned that "tulip" comes from a Turkish word that means "turban".
Finally, walking back down the tinakori Road, I was presented with the mystical question, "Who Slapped Johnny?". I will write once I have an answer.
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