Ah, Wellington you charming devil. Before leaving, a few friends stopped to tell me “Oh, you’ll love Wellington. It’s like Melbourne, only smaller”. While there are good-looking, well-heeled people getting around and baristas who know how to make a mean piccolo, it’s a bit unfair to condescend a place that has so much going on.
When I wasn’t bunkered down in the beautiful library and adjoining gallery I made a few stops along the way. Here are some of my highlights from the very literary Wellington.
The pull of Cuba St was hard to ignore. With Mighty Mighty, Matterhorn (what’s with the sour face guys) and breakfast spots like Scopa and Floriditas, it really is a must-see. However, on our first day in Wellington we were charmed by this little Ferret nook. With hand painted signs dating back several decades it was a really quaint surprise on the main drag. Pegasus Books around the corner is equally sweet with a poem dedicated to each day and bio on a writer celebrating their birthday. Put it away.
Walking up Manners St one afternoon I stumbled upon the hard work of a collective from Wellington called Mosaic. They stumped up their savings in order to get something off the ground they call The Oil Press Project. We spent the best part of an hour walking around and looking at the things people had written.
Towards the end of our trip and after seeing two absolute musts (Te Papo and roaming around Botanical Gardens) we hit the streets with our spiffy new posters.
One of the many fine establishments to hang our posters was Unity books. I heard about them through the Rocky Outcrop guys and they are on the money. Friendly and informative staff stocking local stuff, this place is everything that is great about independent bookstores. I had to pick up these two gems and devoured Hicksville this morning. Instantly a favourite.
On our travels putting up posters, we met the lovely Cherry of Matchbox Gallery. Loads of great zines and in-jokes I didn’t get.
She did mention I should say hi to Will at Toi Pōneke. So I did. Hi Will!
What a place. Funded by the Wellington Council, Toi Pōneke Hub is a place for artists, writers, actors and creatives to find a space to work on ideas. Look out for a Wellington Writers Bloc group to start up here in the near future. Email firstname.lastname@example.org/wpblog if you’re interested.
Finally, made the trek up two different mountains (there seem to be a few of these in New Zealand) to visit both of Wellington’s universities. Again, well-heeled. Where do the kids get the money for such fancy threads? Both Massey and Victoria Universities have creative departments but Modern Letters had me thinking about going back to school, such a great program.
Tuckered out and needing a rest, I walked passed a bar called The Library. That was all the information I needed.
Wellington, you are beautiful. Except for maybe this guy.
JAAM – http://jaam.net.nz/
Potroast – www.potroastzine.wordpress.com
Unity Books – www.unitybooks.co.nz/index.asp?s1=Unity%20Wellington
Victoria University Modern Letters Program – www.victoria.ac.nz/modernletters/
Ferret Books – http://www.wellingtonnz.com/shopping/ferret-bookshop
Pegasus Books – http://pegasusbooksnz.com/Contact/Contact.htm
Toi Pōneke – http://toiponekehub.wcc.govt.nz/howto.html
Matchbox Gallery – http://matchboxstudios.co.nz/
Mighty Mighty – http://mightymighty.co.nz/
Matterhorn – http://www.matterhorn.co.nz/
Scopa – http://www.scopa.co.nz/about/
Floriditas (their bread!) – http://www.floriditas.co.nz/
The Library (bar) – http://thelibrary.co.nz/