We arrived in Wellington with perfect timing. A cloudy day to spend wandering Te Papa museum, with an international arts festival about to kick off, and just the right amount of wind to almost send your lunch flying off your plate. Wellington has been titled the second windiest city in the world, second to Chicago, though a native of Chicago questioned the order of that ranking on this particular day.
We started off at Te Papa museum. Free to the public, though donations are willingly accepted. We entered the Gallipoli exhibit. And right away our minds were blown. You first encounter a large sculpture of a man, with realistic detailing down to the sweat on his brow and hairs on his arms.
You wander through a maze of sections, collections of artifacts and stories from different perspectives of this battle of World War I, where the kiwis played a very important role. It’s interactive, with a periscope rifle to shoot, audio of veterans to listen to, and morse code to learn.
Emerging from this exhibit, hours had passed, and we only had a short time more before the museum would close. So quickly we walked through their exhibits on natural history, social history and Maori culture. This is definitely a place for multiple visits.
A leisurely wander through the city brought us to Civic Square. A crowd was formed around a large rectangular stage. Lights, music, and an anticipating audience. When you see this, you join in too.
And we weren’t disappointed. It was the kickoff of the New Zealand International Arts Festival in Wellington. And what better way to start a festival than with a huge dance party? People of every age and ability, dressed up and showed off the choreography they learned by Sylvain Émard, a French-Canadian choreographer.
Though the steps themselves were simple, the energy was soaring through the long performance.
And, to finish off, the stage became a community dance floor, complete with live music.