Orakei Marae, Auckland

One of the highlights for year 5 Ponsonby Primary students is an overnight stay at the Orakei Marae across town.

It isn't often that the opportunity comes up to stay in any marae let alone one with such a hard fought history, so I gladly agreed to help out with my daughters class (and with any luck squeeze a few sketches in).

There weren't that many opportunities to be honest, between the traditional powhiri, hearding children, enjoying their singing, skits on Maori myths, helping with meals, activities, clean-up and of course chaotic communal sleeping with over 85 students and parent helpers!

Here are a few quick sketches. The Whare Tupuna...

Detail of the gable end (left), Tekoteko/figurehead at top of gable (right)...

Almost lights out, actually the kids were pretty well behaved, and lay in the dark quietly listening to a hilarious story read by headmistress Anne Malcolm...

I think all of the children really enjoyed themselves and learned a huge amount (I'm always astounded by how much they take on and do really well anyway). I honestly feel privileged to have had the opportunity to experience the marae up close too.


Palace Hotel's last night of entertainment?

Palace Hotel's Last Day?
Originally uploaded by Mr Dewhurst
Breaking news this evening was of an historic hotel about to fall into the street in the central Auckland!

There I was on site within minutes trying to capture the building before it became fully obscured by emergency vehicles, police cars and cranes or even just fell over.

The 124 year old 'Palace Hotel' (formerly the Aurora Hotel) is currently undergoing renovations when large cracks started to appear in the facade today and pieces started falling off. From what I could see from outside the cordon is it's definitely looking rough.

The renovated hotel was planned to reopen in time for the Rugby World Cup in 2011 as a brothel (that's right - sex addled rugby fans running wild in our city!), but will unfortunately most likely be demolished overnight. Even as a brothel it's sad to see yet another historic Auckland landmark disappear.

Definitely the closest thing this sketcher has got to reportage sketching!


NZ Sculpture Onshore

This Impressive 7 metre tall Christian Nicolson figure (titled; 'In Search of Barebottomland') casts a surreal figure along the Fort Takapuna ridgeline during NZ Sculpture Onshore. Here he stares nonchalantly out to the islands of Rangitoto, Rakino and as far as the Coromandel peninsula.

The exhibition featured 89 works by sculptors many of them perched dramatically along the ridge. The kids were more interested in the works by North Shore primary school students exhibited underground in the old fort tunnels and gun emplacements - something to keep everyone happy.

Works by Dion Hitchens (above) and Charlotte Fisher (bottom). Rangitoto island behind.


Uptown Kids Childcare, Queen Street, Auckland

The Newton end of Queen Street is an eclectic mix of styles. Here an almost finished modernist box sits with an Arts and Crafts era bungalow.