Auckland – West                          Mainly West of Queen Street – seen through my lens

January 31, 2011

Sera and Her Tui

Filed under: Birds,People — paul @ 7:25 am
Sera's Tui

Sera's Tui

Sera Mitchinson is a designer selling her clothes at the Titirangi markets and elsewhere under the label “Selector“. Here she poses with her body art, a delicately tattooed tui on a flowering branch.

The tattoo artist is Peter Bauer, owner of Uptown Tattoo 175 Symonds St in Auckland (visit them on Facebook).

It seems to me that decorative tattoos are on the increase — and with examples like this, I am all for it. (But I won’t have my own body improved by a tattoo any time soon.)

Bird, Branch, and Flowers

Bird, Branch, and Flowers

January 30, 2011

Scolypopa Australis

Filed under: Black and White,Insects — paul @ 6:40 am
Passionvine Hopper (<em>Scolypopa Australis</em>)

Passionvine Hopper (Scolypopa Australis)

The Passionvine Hoppers (Scolypopa Australis) are sap sucking insects and both their nymphal stages as well as the adults (shown) can create quite a mess with their secretions. They are a major pest for both passionfruit and kiwifruit, as the black fungus growing on the sugary ‘honeydew’ makes the fruit unmarketable. They are also unpopular in our garden. Length about 7-8 millimetres. While the name might suggest that these critters are selective in their choice of host plant, they will in fact invade any plants with a good supply of sap.

This is an image of a hopper sitting on our window, taken with flash, producing a black background. I am showing a negative.

For more black and white images check out Dragonstar’s Weekend in Black and White.

January 29, 2011

Four Oystercatchers

Filed under: Birds,Not West,Reflections — paul @ 6:58 am
Four Oystercatchers

Four Oystercatchers

The tide is rising, and soon the birds will have to move. These are variable oystercatchers (Haematopus unicolor), a species occurring in New Zealand only. In the background the Ngunguru sandspit.

Find more weekend reflections at James’ Newtown Area Photo.

January 28, 2011

No Stars — but Stripes

Filed under: Clouds,Sky,Titirangi — paul @ 7:22 am
After Sunset

After Sunset

Seen from our deck a few days ago.

More Skywatch images at the Skywatch Site!

January 27, 2011


Filed under: Plants,Waitakere Ranges — paul @ 8:03 am
Wild Ginger (<em>Hedychium Gardnerianum</em>)

Wild Ginger (Hedychium Gardnerianum)

Wild ginger thrives in the shade of the bush, but it is a serious weed, forming thick mattes of rhizomes and suffocating all other plant life. Birds spread the seeds widely.

From the Landcare Research website: Wild ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum), also known as Kahili ginger, was originally grown in New Zealand as a garden plant. It was first found in the wild in the 1940s, and is now a serious weed in native bush, forming dense stands that smother plants and prevent native seedling regeneration. The weed is most troublesome in North Island forests and the warm northern regions of the South Island. It is equally destructive in Hawaii, where it has invaded native Hawaiian rain forests.

January 26, 2011

Fresh Lippy

Filed under: Laingholm,Smile — paul @ 7:12 am
Letterbox at 452 Huia Road, by Iain Cathcart

Letterbox at 452 Huia Road, by Iain Cathcart

We have shown this letterbox last July, but its makeup was a bit worse for wear at the time. Over the Christmas period new lipstick was applied, and Wow!

I found out that the maker of the letterbox (at 452 Huia Road) is Iain Cathcart, whose mother Ida lives not far from us and who we meet from time to time. Moreover, this box was the inspiration for David and Geraldine Bayly, from the Kaipara Coast Plant Centre & Sculpture Gardens in Kaukapakapa, to run a design competition for weird and wonderful letterboxes – which was also won by Iain. See more at the designdaily.

See also the NZ Herald’s Sideswipe on February 3 and February 4.

January 25, 2011

Another Coded Message

Filed under: Buildings,Three Kings — paul @ 7:07 am
The Carpenters Daughter, Three Kings

The Carpenters Daughter, Three Kings

I had just left the TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre, pondering the possible meaning of “Matthew 12/12” (see the day before yesterday), when down the road at the intersection of Hillsborough and Mt Albert Roads I was confronted by a new puzzle: “Psalm 127:1“.

This distinctive house is a shop peddling “Sassy Clothing for Curvy Girls“. Their “About Us” page says: “Founder Caroline Marr is The Carpenters Daughter, and continues to lead the Company as Creative Director. Caroline is committed to encouraging curvy girls to be the best they can be…welcome to her wardrobe…” They seem to be very successful and even participated in New Zealand Fashion Week. And Caroline Marr is in fact the daughter of a carpenter. Stores in Takapuna, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch.

Now for the solution of the puzzle: “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it.”

There is another quote written on the wall: “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” (Mother Theresa)

January 24, 2011

Lucky Bamboo

Filed under: Colours,Patterns,Plants,Seasons — paul @ 7:19 am
Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena Sanderiana)

Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena Sanderiana)

We went to celebrate the impending arrival of the year of the rabbit with the Auckland Chinese Community Centre at the ASB Showgrounds last Saturday. They did their best to help me into enduring poverty with everything that might bring me good fortune, not to mention the delicious foods and free displays of martial arts, dragon dances and more.

They also sold lucky bamboo of various types. Above is a closeup of an artfully woven cylindrical bundle of straight stems. You have to like the patterns and shades of green! And comes with abundant feng shui.

Of course, like many names, this one is misleading (I am talking about the bamboo part, don’t know anything about luck…). The plant (Dracaena sanderiana) is not related to bamboo at all, but a member of the lily family, originating from the rain forests of south east asia.

Always eager to celebrate something, it turns out that we jumped the gun (ever so slightly): the year of the rabbit begins on February 3, 2011 and ends on January 22, 2012. But I won’t hold it against the organisers.

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena Sanderiana)

Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena Sanderiana)

January 23, 2011

Cornered (Gregor Kregar, 2004)

Filed under: Art,Hillsborough,Smile — Tags: — paul @ 7:25 am
Matthew 12/12, and Dog (Ceramic by Gregor Kregar, 2004)

Matthew 12/12, and Dog (Ceramic by Gregor Kregar, 2004)

What we see goes as two titles at the TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre: 72 items entitled “Matthew 12/12” and one entitled “Dog” — ceramics by Gregor Kregar, an artist who works in Auckland and Berlin. (In case you need help with cryptic biblical quotes: “How much then is a man better than a sheep?”) The colourfully attired sheep also appeared in various places (among them A&P shows) as an installation of 12 live sheep in knitted wollen jumpers inside a picket-fence pen.

Gregor Kregar is represented by Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland. Check out the gallery website and the artist’s personal website for an overview of his wideranging work.

(I did not count the sheep, I took the number from the label. Maybe you want to check if one has gone missing. Could be a case of Matthew 18?)

January 22, 2011

Concentric Circles

Filed under: Birds,Black and White,Reflections — paul @ 6:58 am
White-faced Heron

White-faced Heron

A white-faced heron (Ardea novaehollandiae) reflects on lunch. These birds are quite common along shorelines and in wetlands.

Find more weekend reflections at James’ Newtown Area Photo.

For more black and white images check out Dragonstar’s Weekend in Black and White.

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