Friday, 24 February 2012

Touring Interludes

The Te Maori Installation Team - 1986/87
From left at back: Dave Rapp, Ross Ritchie, Murray Lyndon, Helen Telford, Roger Smith
At front: Karel Peters
In the first two articles about the touring Te Maori exhibition in 1986 and 1987 I wrote about the exhibition and being on the road.

But not all that happened those years did so at a frantic pace.  There was time to enjoy each venue, the most enjoyable and hospitable of which was our time in Dunedin in New Zealand's South Island.

Our stay at The Establishment hotel in Dunedin was made even more memorable by the relationship we struck up with the Cook who prepared our breakfasts.  One morning she a created a dish of steaming cockles which she and her family had harvested from the estuary near Aramoana.  They were plump and absolutely delicious - the best I have ever tasted before or since.

As it was summer we spent some time sunbathing and swimming at Aramoana during our weekends off.  This spot was later to become the scene of one of the most infamous massacres in New Zealand history when a local named David Gray ran amok and killed thirteen people with his firearms.

But all of these tragic events happened three to four years after our work in Dunedin had finished.  I also remember losing a greenstone pekapeka ornament which I wore around my neck at Aramoana beach.  It had been made by Don Salt, a leading exponent of the craft and I was upset to lose it.  It had been selected from a tray of pounamu in a Rotorua shop shortly before I left for Papua New Guinea in 1979.

Another incident I recall was more humorous.  One night when Ross Ritchie was out on the town we 'borrowed' four ethnic type, head plaster casts from the museum and used one of the most fierce to make a dummy 'Mongolian' in his hotel bed. This was with the support and connivance of the hotel maid, young Jenny (?) Campbell.

Ross arrived back about one am after a bout with a bottle of Tequila. We in an adjoining room heard him open his door and then there was a loud silence, followed by a whispered oath. Beside ourselves with laughter we found it hard to contain our mirth.  There was a knock on the door.

"Roger", said the voice on the other side of the door.
"Yes", replied I, trying to pretend he had woken me up" What is it? Do you know what time it is Ross?"
"There's some guy lying in my room" came the reply. "And by the looks of it, he's dead".
He was answered by a chorus of laughter from the other side and we opened it to reveal all.  I don't think he ever forgave me.

Fishing The Taieri -  from left Murray Lundon, 'Mac' from the Otago Museum and I
Note who caught the biggest trout of the day!
At this time I was a keen fly fisherman having taken up the sport in 1972 when I was teaching in Pahiatua. So I jumped at the invitation from 'Mac' a senior technician at the Otago Museum to try my luck on the famed Taeri River.  Murray Lyndon came with us and did well considering it was the first time he had cast a fly. As the picture above shows we had barbecued fresh trout for lunch with a 'rustic salad'.

Yours truly on the Taeri Gorge excursion train in 1987
On another weekend a couple of us took the Taeri Gorge excursion train in vintage carriages from Dunedin to Middlemarch in Central Otago, where we enjoyed the Middlemarch A&P Show.
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