A farewell favourite


Rātana Church, Raetihi, North Island, NZ. Seen from the road en-route to Whanganui and worth the slight detour. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

My dad is ill and I’m off to Whanganui to visit him tomorrow.

My journey will take me past this beautiful church in Raetihi. It’s a journey I make regularly, but I’ve only once managed to stop and photograph it.

Its slightly unusual design is characteristic of churches built for worshipers of the Rātana faith. The Rātana church was founded in 1925 by Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana, a Maori spiritual leader who also campaigned for social justice and racial equality.

The church, and the movement it forged, continue to play important political, social role and religious roles in New Zealand life. Annual celebrations of Rātana’s birth attract thousands of people (including the country’s politicians) to his home marae at Rātana Pā, just outside Whanganui.

I posted this photo originally to the Daily Post Photo Challenge |On the Way, on 31 May 2015. It seems fitting to post it again for this final challenge | favourites.

Farewell DP Photo Challenge


Silhouette of youth. Posted to The Golden Hour DP Photo Challenge, 17 July 2013. Image: Su Leslie, 2013

Like many in the WP community, I’m sad and a little disappointed at the demise of the Daily Post Photo Challenge. It’s been instrumental not only in helping me develop my own photographic skills and confidence, but more importantly, in introducing me to a huge number of amazing bloggers.

I wouldn’t say that the shot above is an absolute favorite image, but it’s one of the earliest I ever posted to a challenge, and it does still make me smile.

It reminds me how different life was five years ago. My boy-child was 15, and although he was happy to spend time with his parents, he was already looking beyond us to a world of his own making.

Daily Post Photo Challenge |all-time favorites

DP Photo Challenge: liquid

I couldn’t go to Wellington and not share a photo of the city’s iconic bucket fountain. Especially as this week’s theme for the Daily Post Photo Challenge is liquid.

The bucket fountain was designed and constructed by architects and planning consultants Burren & Keen in 1969, as part of the creation of a pedestrian-only mall in lower Cuba Street. The fountain was originally derided (amongst other complaints was the regular soaking of said pedestrians as water splashed beyond the buckets onto the pavement), but over time it has become a much-loved and much-photographed landmark.

Three day quote challenge, day two

My kitchen; part studio, part laboratory, part drop-in centre. My favourite part of the house and my happy place. Image: Su Leslie, 2018. Aged shot of modern kitchen with chrome appliances and red mixing bowl in foreground.

My kitchen; part studio, part laboratory, part drop-in centre. My favourite part of the house and my all-time happy place. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

“Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people get together to eat.” — Guy Fieri

I love food.

I love eating certainly, but even more, I love thinking about, planning and making food. To cook for you is to say “I care; you matter to me.”

Close-up shot of chocolate cookies, baked to deliver to the City Mission at Christmas. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Chocolate cookies baked with the boy-child, for delivery to the City Mission. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

It seems particularly appropriate to share quotes about food for this challenge as I was invited to take part by Ju-Lyn at Sunrise, Sunset, who says of herself:

It is no surprise that I find myself obsessed with food – after all, I am a Singaporean. We are a people who hold animated conversations about food while we are eating, who would comb the island far & wide chasing the promise of great food!

Thank you Ju-Lyn.

In the few days since I wrote a post for the DP Photo Challenge about My Place in the World is has occurred to me that, no matter where I am, the kitchen is my place. I love my own kitchen — the part of our house renovation I am most proud of — and I happily commandeer friends’ and family members’ kitchens when I visit. Even on holiday, I crave the chance to cook at least one meal — using whatever is to hand.

So I guess there is need for a second quote today:

“The kitchen is a sacred space.” — Marc Forgione

The Three Day Quote Challenge works like this:

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

If you haven’t already been invited to join this,  and would like to — please do.

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

Daily Post Photo Challenge: my place in the world

Early morning, Lucas Creek at Greenhithe, Auckland, NZ. Su Leslie 2018

To be perfectly honest, I’m really not sure what constitutes my place in the world . Even geographically, I struggle. I’ve lived in the same neighbourhood (indeed the same house) for 18 years, and yet I wouldn’t claim I’ve ever felt particularly “of” this place.

I feel even more adrift lately, as Auckland’s rapid and unchecked population growth pushes high density housing ever further onto formerly rural land that once nurtured the orchards and gardens that fed us.

This is still a beautiful place; a small claw of sandstone reaching out into the Upper Waitemata Harbour. Early in the morning, and at dusk, it is possible to find a place at water’s edge and listen to the tide lap boats and sea walls. To watch morning mists evaporate, or the sun take its nightly curtain call in rich, splendid colour.

Sunset, Christmas Beach, Herald Island, Auckland. Su Leslie 2018

It is still a beautiful place, and for now, one way or another, I guess it is my place.

Daily Post Photo Challenge | place in the world

Daily Post Photo Challenge: unlikely

Shot of damaged and deconsecreated Chistchurch Cathedral; through chainlink fencing. The Cathedral was extensively damaged by earthquakes in September 2010 February 2011, June 2011 and December 2011. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Christchurch Cathedral; extensively damaged by earthquakes in September 2010, February 2011, June 2011 and December 2011. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Christchurch Cathedral has a long history of “unlikely.”

It was first planned (and land set aside) in 1850, the year in which the first four ships carrying European settlers began to arrive in the area. (1)

It was a hugely ambitious project for a city that existed largely on paper, and it took a decade for plans to be drawn up (by British architect George Gilbert Scott, who never actually visited the site). Scott’s original plan was for a wooden church in his signature Gothic Revival style, but the then Bishop of Christchurch, Henry Harper, wanted a stone building. Revised plans were drawn and the cornerstone was laid in December 1864.

Lack of money — hardly surprising in a settlement of less than 1000 European settlers — held the project up for almost another decade, and it must have seemed unlikely that fledgling Christchurch would ever get a cathedral.

Christchurch Cathedral was consecrated 1881, and finally completed in 1904. (2)

Christchurch Cathedral, shored up after the tower and Rose Window collapsed in earthquakes. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Christchurch Cathedral, shored up after the spire and Rose Window collapsed during the 2011 earthquakes. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

But New Zealand is not called “the shaky isles” for nothing, and earthquakes have repeatedly damaged the building — beginning in 1881, within a month on consecration.

During the terrible period between September 2010 and December 2011 when the Christchurch area suffered repeated, large-scale (and fatal) quakes, damage was so extensive that the cathedral had to be completely abandoned.

The February 2011 quake, which claimed 185 lives, completely destroyed the church spire and initially there were fears that up to 20 people may have been inside at the time (it was a tourist attraction). Thankfully, that was not the case.

Since 2011, there has been an on-going battle over the future of the cathedral — between the church which wanted to demolish it, and heritage groups arguing the building is an important part of the city’s heritage and should be preserved.

For a long time it’s seemed unlikely that Christchurch Cathedral would be re-built. But in September 2017, after intervention from the New Zealand government, the uncertainty ended and it was announced that the cathedral will be re-instated. (2)

Daily Post Photo Challenge | unlikely

As an aside: two separate lines of the Big T’s ancestors arrived in New Zealand on the fourth of those ships, the Cressy, in December 1850.

  1. Early Christchurch, a brief history. Christchurch City Libraries
  2. Christchurch Cathedral, Wikipedia


DP Photo Challenge: prolific

Prolific. Both the chive flowers themselves, and the bees feasting on their pollen. Shot of seven bees on white garlic chive blossom. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Prolific. Both the chive flowers themselves, and the bees feasting on their pollen. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Our local bees seem to really love pollen from the garlic chive flowers. I guess the prolificacy of one encourages that of the other.

This week the Daily Post Challenge is to interpret prolific. And since it’s Friday, how better to do that than with flowers.