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

June 23, 2011

Last Light over the City

Filed under: Arataki,City,Seasons,Sky — paul @ 7:06 am
Auckland, seen from the West

Auckland, seen from the West

These are the shortest days for us, the sun setting about 5:12 p.m. On my way home along Scenic Drive, I briefly stopped at the Arataki Visitor Centre, to watch the shadows of the Waitakere Ranges encroaching onto the city, as the sun set behind my back. From the upstairs entrance to the centre, the Sky Tower and volcanic Rangitoto Island are nicely aligned.

See also last years post of July 2.

May 17, 2011

Pou Whenua: It’s back at Arataki Visitor Centre

Filed under: Arataki,pou,Waitakere Ranges — paul @ 7:49 am
Arataki Visitor Centre with New Pou

Arataki Visitor Centre with New Pou

Pou Whenua are carved posts erected to symbolise the relationship between the people and the land.

The Arataki Visitor Centre at 300 Scenic Drive used to have a magnificent carved pou which had fallen victim to decay and had to be removed in July 2009. For almost 2 years, there was a gaping empty space which now has been filled by a new one. Carved by Te Kawerau a Maki carvers from fallen kauri from the Waitakere Ranges, this pou represents the ancestry of Te Kawerau a Maki, the tangata whenua of the Waitakere Ranges.

Read more on the press release of the Auckland Council on the occasion of its unveiling on May 6, 2011.

Top of the Pou

Top of the Pou

Details

Details

July 16, 2010

Mist in the Waitakeres

Filed under: Arataki,Clouds,Sky,Waitakere Ranges — paul @ 7:59 am
Mist in the Waitakeres

Mist in the Waitakeres

Seen from the Arataki Visitor Centre.

A Skywatch Friday photo. More Skywatch images at the Skywatch Site!

July 13, 2010

Strings of Pearls (Whau)

Filed under: Arataki,Patterns,Plants — Tags: — paul @ 12:06 pm
Strings of Pearls (Whau)

Strings of Pearls (Whau)

Another shot of whau pods after a foggy morning, taken at Arataki Visitor Centre. The Whau (Entelea arborescens) is a shrub or small tree, endemic to New Zealand. It is a deciduous plant, laden with prickly seed pods in winter. I liked how the out of focus dew drops on the left echo the shape of the cluster of pods.

July 2, 2010

Auckland City from the West

Filed under: Arataki,City,Sky — paul @ 7:23 am
Auckland City from Arataki Visitor Centre

Auckland City from Arataki Visitor Centre

One morning recently, I went to the Arataki Visitor Centre, hoping to take pictures of the city of Auckland in the morning sun. Alas, the background was bathed in the gold of the morning, but the city was under a massive cloud. Still, I found the result intriguing. From front to back: bush, suburbia, cityscape, and the volcanic Rangitoto Island as backdrop (the Sky Tower being the centrepiece). Below is an image taken late afternoon a few weeks ago.

A Skywatch Friday photo. More Skywatch images at the Skywatch Site!

Auckland City from Arataki Visitor Centre

Auckland City from Arataki Visitor Centre

June 28, 2010

Whau Pod

Filed under: Arataki,Plants,Titirangi — Tags: — paul @ 10:24 am
Whau Pods

Whau Pods

On Saturday we had thick fog until late morning, and I found these beautifully decorated whau pods at the Arataki Visitor Centre. The Whau (Entelea arborescens) is a shrub or small tree, endemic to New Zealand. It is a deciduous plant, laden with prickly seed pods in winter.

March 2, 2010

Auckland Green Gecko

Filed under: Arataki,Titirangi — paul @ 8:25 am
Auckland Green Gecko (nautilnus elegans)

Auckland Green Gecko (nautilnus elegans)

This little fellow is from the live display at the Arataki Visitor Centre.

There are about 20 species of Geckos and 30 species of skinks in New Zealand. They are protected and must not be collected from the wild. Even the keeping of live skinks and geckos requires a permit. Recently, there have been two cases of attempts to smuggle live geckos out of the country, one of them resulting in a jail sentence, the other is still pending. What on earth are these people thinking! (Maybe a rhetorical question, when one hears that some European ‘collectors’ are willing to pay up to $12,000 for one of these creatures.)

There are also brown geckos, and until recently I had not seen any gecko, green or brown, in the wild (well, in the Philippines, I did, but not here in NZ). But last Saturday, as I was vacuuming the bedroom, something sprung up from under a rug. I think we were both relieved that it had not gone into the vacuum. So here are a few snaps, and proof that after it had found the door, the little critter (about 18cm total length) enjoyed the sunshine and freedom at the bottom of the deck.

Brown Gecko

Brown Gecko

March 1, 2010

Arataki Visitor Centre (as it used to be)

Filed under: Arataki,Buildings,pou,Titirangi — paul @ 8:30 am
Arataki Visitor Centre (as ot was)

Arataki Visitor Centre (as it was)

The Arataki Visitor Centre is located near the Titirangi end of Scenic Drive (map – not even close to Bethells Beach as Google maps might want to tell us!).

The image (from May 2007) shows the centre in its full glory, complete with pou. Sadly, the carved wooden pole has deteriorated beyond repair and had to be removed. A replacement is expected by the middle of 2010. (For the new version, see the post of May 17, 2011.)

The Centre offers great views of the Waitakere Ranges and the Manukau Harbour from the viewing decks, knowledgeable personnel and information pamphlets, maps, souvenirs, and great information displays, including live weta and geckos. Across Scenic Drive, there are walking tracks with informative signs explaining the native flora of the bush.

Here is a view of the Visitor Centre from way below at the Lower Nihotupu Dam:

Arataki Visitor Centre from Lower Nihotupu Dam

Arataki Visitor Centre from Lower Nihotupu Dam

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