Last weekend I took Billy the Kid and Cat to see the Roman Machines exhibition at Te Manawa. Billy has been a huge fan of Roman militaria for many years.
When we arrived we discovered that the statue of Charles Monro outside the museum had been “Yarn Bombed”. He’s dressed as a Roman Gladiator – in pink!
Charles John Monro
We found the Machines easily enough – but got distracted by a Roman game laid out to try in the entranceway. It’s a game very like noughts and crosses, only the grid is bigger and it’s played with counters (in this case gray and white stones). The kids had fun playing a round.
Roman Noughts and Crosses
I note that the basket holding the counters looks rather less Roman, and more like an object from closer to home….
Roman Machine @ TeManawa
After the game we moved on and bought our tickets. There were several other families already checking out clever wonders of the Roman era. The exhibition has a range of scale model replicas of the devices that the Romans invented, many of which are still used to this day. Cranes and catapults, water pumps and pulleys – all fully interactive. There’s a scale replica of the form used to build stone arches. Billy and Cat had a go at building an archway, carefully placing the keystone at the top.
Building an arch
Each part of the exhibition is accompanied by interesting details that tie it back Continue reading
31 May ’13
I put my hand up to help out with transport for Billy’s class to go to an exhibition at Te Manawa. Body in Action is a fabulous, educational exhibit that teaches kids how our amazing bodies work.
Room 1 at Te Manawa
First stop, after the obligatory photo on the museum sign, was the classroom. Here Barbara, with the help of Vanessa, demonstrated how food is processed through our digestive system. I have to say that bread and tinned spaghetti looks pretty gross once it’s been mashed with “saliva”, whizzed with “stomach acid” and “bile” then squeezed out through a stocking “large intestine”.
Barbara and Vanessa “digesting” spaghetti on toast
It was all too much for poor Gabby, who had to leave the room.
Next we all trouped up stairs to the “Body in Action” exhibit. The kids had fun testing their sprinting skills, playing ‘guess that smell!’, working out puzzles and trying to ring the bell on the hammer game.
Sprinting to beat the clock
My group of boys had a game of Gut Run. Doesn’t that sound delightful!? It’s a dice game through the digestive system, complete with gurgling and farting sounds. Just perfect for boys.
To win, one must pass out through The End. Of Course.
It’s a fun, interactive and educational exhibit, thanks Te Manawa for bringing it back to Palmy. Spending a morning with Ashhurst School’s Room 1 was a pleasure, and it beats working.
11 Feb ’13
February 6th, Waitangi Day, our national day. Or it should be. It seems to me that this day has come to symbolise the trouble that divides us as a nation, rather than a celebration of our oneness. I think that the vast majority of us choose to ignore the silliness and jostling for position that goes on up North. It has become an embarrassment.
But anyway, we get a day off work and school. At least those of us who do not work in retail get a day off, so we made the most of it.
Te Manawa, our local museum, had the job of hosting the city’s celebrations for the day. There were stalls and entertainment, live music and of course the museum and art gallery exhibits.
I was fascinated by the Google Earth carpet in the Te Awa – The River exhibit when we visited during the museum’s open day after its major refurbishment. I still find the carpet rather cool. There’s now an interactive map which shows how the stop bank and flood-way systems protect our farmland, towns and city from flooding along the Manawatu River. We had a little bit of a play with that, and I explained to the kids how it all works. Later, as we wandered around the other exhibits we found a tiny replica movie theater that happened to be running a reel about the building of the flood gates. Good timing, and really interesting to see the history behind the model we’d played with.
There’s also a bronze (I think) statue of a horse on display. This horse used to stand in the foyer of the DIC department store building, now the city library. When I first saw the statue last time we visited it brought back memories of trips to town with my Nana, or maybe it was Grandma, when I was very small. That horse used to delight me as a little girl, and I swear it used to be seven feet tall!
I hadn’t taken my DSLR with me to the museum, but I grabbed some pictures and shot a little video with the Canon P&S.
We watched the International Pacific College drummers perform – there is some energy there! I could feel the drum beats in the air, the vibrations in my bones, just awesome.
The the Manawatu Chinese Association brought out their lion. What a character he is, apparently Chinese lions don’t like lettuce. Who knew?! Both these groups were excellent, and well appreciated by the crowd. Continue reading
8-14 Oct ‘11
A few month backs we planned a week away with the kids. The only time Nathan and I could both get off work turned out to be second week of October. We wondered at the wisdom of spending a week in Auckland during the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup combined with the school holidays, but decided to take the plunge.
These are a selection of the shots I took over the course of the week.
Years ago we discovered the delights of the Hamilton Gardens. There is a section of the park that has been developed in to a series of themed gardens. Each small area is planted and landscaped in a particular style – a Japanese tea garden, an English perennial border, Renaissance Italian, American modernist and more. My favourite is the Chinese scholar’s garden with its turtle pond, arched stone bridge, and ‘mountain’ path through a towering bamboo grove up to a pergola with a view to the mighty Waikato River.
A quick snap, handheld without too much thought to composition. It was the reflection of the hump-back bridge in the pond that caught my eye.
Exposure time 1/200 sec
ISO speed ISO-200
Focal length 34mm
Cropping to correct the composition, I decided to go for black and white to focus attention on the reflections and textures. I sent the file to edit in Photoshop. There I could mask out the lower areas in order to lighten up Continue reading
30 April – 6 May ’11
Te Manawa – Our City Museum
From the Museum’s website
Te Manawa is a regional cultural centre where art, heritage and science themes dominate. Our exhibitions explore the past; seek to inform today and pose questions about tomorrow. We host international touring shows and home grown exhibits.
For over a year the museum buildings have been under renovation, most of the exhibits in storage. Saturday was the Open Day to welcome the public back to our museum. We took the kids along for a look.
The new sign at the entrance. Perched up on grassy knoll this sign just cried out to be climbed on. So they did. I had only taken my 50mm, thinking I was going to be shooting inside in low light. I couldn’t get far enough back to get the whole sign in one shot. I took two and hoped I could stitch them together when I got home. In the computer upgrade process I’d lost my regular stitching programe, but I had a feeling there was one in the Canon software that had come with my little P&S camera. A bit of searching and playing around and hey-presto, Te Manawa panorama! I also converted to B&W as I felt that the background colours were too distracting. And the sign’s black anyway. The kidlets are rather squinty, it’s far from an ideal shot, but I like it.
Te Manawa Sign - complete with kidlets
The weird shiny thing on Billy the Kid’s face is in fact a passing bubble from the nearby bubble machine.
One of the new exhibits is Te Awa, the story of the river.
Again from Te Manawa’s web site:-
Meet the mudfish, frogs and wētā, and explore the cave and climbing wall in Te Awa – The River, Heart of Manawatū. This brand-new exhibition tells the story of the Manawatū River – the heart of our community. Water is crucial for life, and Te Awa – The River celebrates the Manawatū River as a symbol of the interdependence of all living things. Learn about the properties of water, come face to face with live – and long-dead – creatures, and see what happens when the river bursts its banks. Perhaps most importantly of all, discover how your actions affect our river and the lives of all those who depend upon it.
The kidlets had fun playing with the interactive ‘water cycle’ display, and looked on as some tiny children learned what happens when a flood washes over sand Continue reading