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August 8, 2011 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Nagi Tauria – Wellington: A City of Arts

Wellington, the southern most capital city in the world and the place of New Zealand’s Government, is located at the head of Te Ika a Māui. With spectacular views overlooking the city and dodgy car parking on the hillsides, Wellington is truly a wonder to behold. Nowadays some people call it Wellywood—a rip-off from America—but can you blame them? Wellington produces blockbuster films and our current Prime Minister pays a sum of money to big film conglomerates to keep such films as The Hobbit in the city.

Wellington also happens to be a city with many names: Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara referring to ‘The Great Harbour of Tara’, Pōneke refers to the transliteration of ‘Port Nick’ short for Port Nicholson and Te Upoko-o-te-Ika-a-Māui refers to ‘The Head of the Fish of Māui’. Wellington itself was named after Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington and victor of the Battle of Waterloo. Last but not least, there’s the unofficial 2011 name Wellywood. How exciting it must be to have a city with five names—quite the artistic approach, really, but not uncommon for this little capital.

Just being in the city gives off an artistic vibe. When people in Wellington say that there is nothing to do or that they are bored, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are bored full stop—for there’s being bored, and then there’s Wellington bored. There is always something to do, whether you’re doing it or not: walking up to the top of Mt Victoria; taking the cable car to the top of Kelburn; visiting Te Papa for the fourteenth time that week; or casually strolling through the Botanical Gardens. No matter how many times you do these things, you still seem to appreciate them. What’s more is that you are bound to encounter some sort of monument around the city. There are various poems spread among the waterfront; sculptures here, there and everywhere; and architectural buildings you can stare at while pretending to be a visitor and have nothing else to do. The approach to art seems limitless.

Another iconic place for Wellington in its many wonders would no doubt be Cuba Mall, located in the suburb of Te Aro. Here we get to see many kinds of things, most notably buskers singing or playing away. They could be flat or out of tune, but what’s dinner without entertainment? It could be argued that there is a piece of Wellington that is not yet mentioned in this article. Like Te Papa and the Botanical Gardens there is another that comes with the city, and who even has his own Wiki page—none other than Blanket Man. But is Blanket Man really some form of art that we can take photos of? Some people certainly think so. With that many photos of him out there, someone should no doubt put on an art exhibition—another thing Wellington is known for.

So when you think of Wellington, don’t just think of that hill you have to climb everyday to get to uni. Rather, think how interestingly art is intertwined into this city. The people that put it there and the land it is on. After all, Wellington is not just a city, but a city of arts.


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