Enjoying New Zealand’s small-town architecture

The old county council offices in Raetihi. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with Iphone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

My road trip through the central North Island as taken me to lots of small rural towns. Many are struggling through the loss of traditional industries and our nation’s social and political inability – or unwillingness – to address massively unbalanced economic and population growth which is seeing Auckland’s formerly productive farms and orchards turned into housing estates while smaller towns, and even provincial cities, languish.

Regent cinema, Taumarunui. Still showing movies – although I suspect perhaps not continuously since it opened. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with Iphone4, edited with Pixlr Express.


Drew St, Wanganui.Β  Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with Iphone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

In Wanganui – like many towns – many old buildings in which generations of New Zealanders have lived, worked and transacted business now lie empty. Yet I’m beginning to love this provincial city where my father has made his home. It has a thriving arts and cafe scene and hasn’t been overrun by chain stores and Two Dollar shops.

I would have loved to spend more time photographing these beautiful old buildings. Sadly I didn’t have time on this trip and I would also like to capture them without parked cars, road cones and Council trucks blocking my shots!

This post was written in response to Sally’s Phoneography and non-SLR digital photography challenge.

18 thoughts on “Enjoying New Zealand’s small-town architecture

  1. Pingback: Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Photo Challenge: Challenger’s Choice (Abstraction) | Lens and Pens by Sally

  2. And I can see why you enjoy them, Su ! I think Sydney may have just about ridded itself of all our pathetically small amount of history, now – certainly our city fathers are doing their best. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • It breaks my heart and makes me so angry. In Auckland families can’t afford to buy a home, yet much of New Zealand is over-supplied with affordable housing. Without a coherent regional development/regeneration policy that helps generate jobs in these places, we are stuck with an over-crowded, congested expensive “mega-city” and decay in what are arguably the most beautiful – and “Kiwi” – parts of the country.


    • Thanks Raewyn. I’m seriously thinking about a roadtrip over summer to towns like Raetihi and Taumaruni – photographing and talking to people and then doing a blog series. I might not get the politicians to notice, but it feels like a worthwhile project anyway.


    • Thanks Janet. We’re in the process of planning our “exit” from Auckland and wondering where in the country we will end up living. I hadn’t realised how strongly I feel about uneven growth until recently, but it has become a defining issue for me. πŸ™‚


  3. Pingback: Picturing an idyllic future | Zimmerbitch: age is just a (biggish) number

  4. I also enjoy the small towns and early 20th Century architecture. And I dread the demise of the beautiful historic buildings….the shiny replacements just don’t have the same character.
    Anytime we travel we seek off the beaten trail, non-chain sites to see.
    I really like your photos…I really like the building on Drew St. showing the fire escape…it looks like a small town building!


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