New Zealand - The North Island, part the first.

 A stunning exhibit at the Museum of Auckland.

Well I'm here!! 
I have been on the North Island for three days now. I was collected from the airport by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden, a brilliant textile artist and tutor who lives over here full time (apart from when she is teaching in the UK). Alysn has been kindness itself. While we both knew of each other, we had never met properly, so her offer to look after me for my first couple of days on the island was very generous.
It was great to be absorbed into such a fabulous family. Brian, Alysns husband and the two girls Bryony and Amber, were very welcoming. we had a great time together - as you will see!

On Saturday we visited The Domain which is home to Auckland Museum - a remarkable and very beautiful building in stunning grounds. Well worth at least one visit if you are ever over here. 
The reason we visited was the WOW exhibition . . . . .

 One of several sayings that were projected onto the walls of the exhibition.

WOW, or the World of Wearable Art is very big in New Zealand. It is an annual competition and the 'garments' are created for this event are quite frankly remarkable.
I highly recommend you take a look at the site. The home of WOW is in Nelson, on the South Island and I visited this amazing project when I was on the South Island in April 2014 with my good friend Denise Cleghorn. 
It is not permitted to take photographs at the venue in Nelson, but you were allowed to at the museum exhibition. 
If you want to see more images - have a look at my Facebook page.

 Just three of the amazing garments.

 Auckland Museum has many attractions, one being beautiful gardens. A bit like a mini Kew Gardens. Much easier to get around in the heat. Have I mentioned the temperature is around 26 degrees at the moment??? Glorious!

 There are several glass houses and beautiful walled gardens with rather exotic planting than we are used to in the UK.

 There is an amazing profusion of voluptuous shapes and colour. . . . . 

Such beautiful forms.

Brian and  Amber in one of the 'hot' houses - I couldn't stay in there very long - it was tooooo hot!

 Not quite the size of the lily pads at Kew - but still very lovely.

 There were fantastic shadows everywhere due to the strong sunlight.

The next day I was delivered to my motel in Devonport where I am staying for two days - to catch up with blog and a bit of stitch, generally lounge about and gently explore.
Before we left, Brian spent half an hour attaching several of Alysyn's lovely garden sculptures that had just arrived back from an exhibition to their balcony.

 Gorgeous! it is just as well there is no room what so ever in my suitcase . . .

On the way the family took me to Little and Friday in Takapuna. It is a fabulous cafe that makes and sells scrummy cakes and savouries. It was VERY difficult to choose which cake to have. In the end I chose Banana and caramel, but my goodness the choice took some time. 
The food in New Zealand is of a remarkably high standard. Both the quality of the food and the presentation is first class. One of the many reasons I so love it here.

 A small selection of the fresh cakes - the shop cant keep up with supply. It is soooo popular.

 The Midgelow-Marsdens at brunch!

Alysn writes a blog - have a look. 
We will be teaching together the Geelong Forum in September, so we wont be apart for too long (poor Alysn). We have become firm friends and will be keeping in touch regularly.

So - here I am in Devonport - a very beautiful part of Auckland.
The beach is lovely and it has a busy harbour with ferries running to Auckland city every ten minutes. It has a colonial feel and well tended gardens. I have adopted a cafe/bar named Bettes as my local. One other thing I love about about New Zealand is the quality of the service.

 I have discovered the panorama app on my phone - this is a view of the beach.

 I love this . . . 

 The gardens are a riot of colour, Agapanthus grows like a weed.

That's it for today. I have some thinking and some stitching to do now. Later I will tootle over to Bettes for dinner and the odd glass of wine. Then tomorrow Alysn will whisk me away to Auckland city where we will visit a gallery, have lunch and then I will catch my flight to Palmerston North where I am teaching at The Quilt Sympossium. 

Watch this space . . . . 

x x x


  1. Oh give our love to Alyson, she is a great tutor and I am sure the pair of you will have got on so well. Have a good time.


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