Six Word Saturday: in Wellington for a long weekend

Pou Rama, designed by Storybox in collaboration with Desna Whaanga-Schollum. Seen at LUX, Festival of Light, Wellington, NZ

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Three day quote challenge, day one

Detail, Future Islands, New Zealand’s exhibition at Venice Architecture Biennale, 2016. Seen as part of travelling exhibition at Tauranga Art Gallery, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

I have learned that to be with those I like is enough. — Walt Whitman

Ju-Lyn at Sunrise, Sunset has invited me to participate in the Three Day Quote Challenge. I’m very happy to be part of this; other people’s wisdom often finds a place in my blog and it’s always good to have an extra reason to share quotes that are meaningful to me.

The Rules of this Challenge:
1) Thank the person who nominated you
2) Post a quote for 3 consecutive days ( 1 post each day )
3) Nominate 3 bloggers each day

So first of all, thank you Ju-Lyn.

I have an on-going problem nominating people to take part in challenges.

On one hand, it’s an acknowledgement that I am interested in what you have to say, and on the other, I know that we’re all pretty busy and don’t necessarily welcome an extra “opportunity” to blog.

And then there is my concern that the people I don’t ask might feel slighted … and on top of that, when it comes right down to it, we actually occupy quite a close-knit blogging community and there’s a good chance that many of you reading this will already have been invited.

SO … if you haven’t already been shoulder-tapped and would like to join in — please do.

I for one am happy to read all the extra words of wisdom (or fun) that are sent my way.

Suffrage and service, celebrating women in Auckland’s public art

Part of the Women's Suffrage Centenial Memorial in Auckland. Designed by Claudia Pond Eyley, tiles made by Jan Morrison. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Part of the Women’s Suffrage Centenial Memorial in Auckland. Designed by Claudia Pond Eyley, tiles made by Jan Morrison. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

I mentioned in passing a couple of weeks ago, that I’d been inspired by a post by Anabel at The Glasgow Gallivanter (Hidden Histories) to search out the monuments and memorials to women in Auckland.

And since this week’s Daily Post Challenge asks us to be a tour guide in our home town, why don’t you grab your virtual sunscreen and water bottle and let’s take a wander around the places in which women collectively are acknowledged in Auckland.

Note: Auckland are has several public statues of and memorials to individual women — but that will have to wait for another post.

New Zealand was the first country in the world to legislate for women’s suffrage, and this is commemorated in a couple of pieces of public art here.

The most visible is the Women’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial, a tiled mosaic which covers several walls in a CBD plaza. The memorial was unveiled in 1993 by the then President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, and NZ’s (first woman) Governor General at the time, Dame Catherine Tizard.

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Women’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial, Te Ha o Hine Place, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

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Detail of Women’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial, showing the Suffrage Petition signed by over 25,500 women in 1893. Te Ha o Hine Place, Auckland.

The memorial was created by artists Claudia Pond Eyley and Jan Morrison.

In the early 2000s, the council planned to remove the mosaic as part of an upgrade to the area. Fortunately there was sufficient public protest that instead (after years of debate and indecision) the memorial was instead expanded, and part of the plaza renamed Te Ha o Hine Place.

This comes from a Maori proverb, ‘Me aro koe ki te Hā o Hine-ahu-one’ and translates as ‘pay heed to the dignity of women’. (Stuff, 2 September 2016)

Much better in my opinion than the original name — Khartoum Place — which commemorates a 19th century siege from Britain’s colonial past.

Stylised corten steel camellia forms the Women's Suffrage Memorial (2013), created by MVS Studio and located in Rose Park, Mt Roskill, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Women’s Suffrage Memorial (2013), created by MVS Studio and located in Rose Park, Mt Roskill, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

The second Women’s Suffrage Memorial is an stylised representation of a camellia, fashioned of corten steel (MVS Studio, 2013). Around the base, names of local women who signed the 1893 Suffrage Petition are inscribed.

The sculpture is located in a small rose garden at the intersection of two main roads.
I have driven past it dozens of times since it was unveiled in 2013, and had no idea what it was until I actually researched suffrage memorials.

Equally hidden in plain sight is the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Hall, which seems (confusingly) to also be called the Ellen Melville Centre.

The Pioneer Women's Hall / Ellen Melville Centre, Freyberg Place, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

The Pioneer Women’s Memorial Hall / Ellen Melville Centre, Freyberg Place, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

I mentioned to quite a few people that I was doing this post, and would include the hall. I was met with universally blank stares, until I described its (quite prominent, CBD) location. Then I got “oh, is that what it’s called.”

The building has recently been refurbished and now has a bronze sculpture by artist Lisa Reihana adorning one wall.

Entitled Justice, it references Ellen Melville, the second woman in New Zealand to qualify as a lawyer (admitted to the Bar in 1906), and very important figure in the country’s women’s movement.

Justice, by Lisa Reihana. Sculpture in bronze on the wall of the O-Connell Street facade of the Ellen Melville Centre, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Justice (2017), by Lisa Reihana. Sculpture in bronze on the wall of the O-Connell Street facade of the Ellen Melville Centre, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

 

The Ellen Melville Centre and camellia memorials may be hidden in plain sight, but the sculpture, Statue of a Cloaked Woman by Christine Hellyar, is just plain hidden.

Amongst the trees, Statue of a Cloaked Woman, Christine Hellyar, 1994. Located in Alice Wylie Reserve, Mt Albert. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Amongst the trees, Statue of a Cloaked Woman, Christine Hellyar, 1995. Located in Alice Wylie Reserve, Mt Albert. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

The sculpture is located in Alice Wylie Reserve (1) in the suburb of Mt Albert. It was commissioned in 1995 by the Mt Albert Women’s Memorial Committee to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution of women to the well-being of the local community.

Statue of a Cloaked Woman, Christine Hellyar, cast in bronze. Located in Alice Wylie Reserve, Mt Albert, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Statue of a Cloaked Woman, Christine Hellyar, cast in bronze. Located in Alice Wylie Reserve, Mt Albert, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Statue of a Cloaked Woman is a bronze, cast on site by the artist. It sits in the middle of a garden, surrounded by tall trees and barely visible from any part of the park or the street beyond. There is no path leading to the sculpture, and access is through a garden.

This seems particularly sad, as amongst the women who have served Mt Albert (as Members of Parliament alone) are Helen Clark, NZ’s first elected woman Prime Minister; and our current PM, Jacinda Ardern, who is not only our youngest, but also the first Prime Minister of NZ to be pregnant in office.

I suspect, that tucked away in other parts of Auckland, there will be other monuments to women — collectively as well as individually. Now my task is to find them.

Daily Post Photo Challenge | tour guide


  1. Alice Wylie was a local Councillor, Deputy Mayor and political figure in the Mt Albert area.

Regular Random: five minutes in the flower beds at Albert Park

Close up shot of fly sitting on white daisy-like flower. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Right; this is a bit roundabout, so pay attention.

The other day I read Anabel’s (The Glasgow Gallivanter) post Hidden Histories (1) — about the ways in which women and our achievements are publicly commemorated — and it occurred to me that I could only think of a couple of public monuments to women in my city — Auckland.

One of them — the Practically-Compulsory-in-Former-British-Colonies statue of Queen Victoria — is in Albert Park, in the CBD. (Fun fact: we also have a Victoria Park, but it doesn’t contain a statue of Prince Albert.)

It’s Auckland’s Anniversary Weekend right now, and the city is busier than usual. That’s why I found myself in Albert Park yesterday morning at 8am. I duly photographed Queen Vic (post about monuments to women to follow). But since I’d paid for parking, I decided to hang around and take photos of the flower beds, which were bursting with these lovelies.

I think they are Cosmos, but I totally defer to all the gardeners who’ll probably tell me otherwise.

It would be a nice neat narrative if, at this point, I unveiled a connection between the flowers and Queen Victoria.

But I don’t have one. So here’s a monument to a powerful woman; the only one I’ve found who never set foot in New Zealand and who got her job by outliving her relatives.

Bronze statue of Queen Victoria. Made in 1899 by Francis John Williamson, and sited in Albert Park, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Bronze statue of Queen Victoria. Made in 1899 by Francis John Williamson, and sited in Albert Park, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Five Minutes of Random (the #RegularRandom challenge) is hosted by Desley Jane at Musings of a Frequently Flying Scientist.

If you’d like to join in:

  • choose a subject or a scene
  • spend five minutes photographing it – no more!
  • try to see it from many angles, look through something at it, change the light that’s hitting it
  • tag your post #regularrandom and ping back to Desley’s post
  • have fun!

(1) Actually a guest post for Donna at Retirement Reflections — but the sentence was already getting waaaay too long and complicated.

Regular random: five minutes with strange fruit

Close up shot of detail from installation entitled 'Strange Fruit (Revisited), Donna Sarten. Seen at Sculpture in the Gardens, Auckland Botanic Gardens, 2018. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Detail, Strange Fruit (Revisited), Donna Sarten. Seen at Sculpture in the Gardens, Auckland Botanic Gardens, 2018. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Strange Fruit (Revisited), by Auckland artist Donna Sarten, is currently being exhibited as part of Sculpture in the Gardens at the Auckland Botanic Gardens.

Strange Fruit (Revisited), Donna Sarten. 4000 tags representing NZ's Vietnam servicemen hang from a tree in the Auckland Botanic Gardens. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Strange Fruit (Revisited), Donna Sarten. 4000 tags representing NZ’s Vietnam servicemen catch the breeze at the Auckland Botanic Gardens. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Strange Fruit (the title references Abel Meeropol’s song, famously sung by Billie Holiday), consists of almost 4000 military-style dog tags hanging from a tree. Each tag is engraved with the name of a New Zealander who served in the Vietnam War.

I’ve written about this artwork in more detail in Strange Fruit: remembering Vietnam, but it loses none of it’s power in being shown again in a new location. Indeed it encourages a whole new audience to engage with New Zealand’s military past.

Five Minutes of Random (the #RegularRandom challenge) is hosted by Desley Jane at Musings of a Frequently Flying Scientist.

If you’d like to join in:

  • choose a subject or a scene
  • spend five minutes photographing it – no more!
  • try to see it from many angles, look through something at it, change the light that’s hitting it
  • tag your post #regularrandom and ping back to Desley’s post
  • have fun!