Of course, this artestian water well and the artwork next to it are striking features you cannot miss at the corner of Jackson and Buick Streets. But I was surprised at the permanent flow of people arriving and filling up bottles and containers with this water. It nearly was as if nobody in Petone had tap water supply in their houses LOL
A great side effect was that this place is a site where you can have a quick chat with locals and/or ask for directions. Just say a word, start the small talk, and word will flow like the water from the well ;-)
Artesian water has tradition is Petone. In the early days the European settlers had no idea about it and sourced their water from the Hutt River. But soon they got aware that pure artesian water lay underground. This pressurised water has since been used as the water supply of the region.
Since 2003 Petone has the Te Puna Wai Ora, meaning: “Spring of Life”, which supplies pure untreated artesian water from public taps and a drinking fountain. The artist Louise Purvis created the design which symbolises a water oasis. And sure, you can not only fill your bottles and containers, but also sit down on one of the benches next to the well, fountain and sculpture(s), relax and refresh yourself. Pedestrian crossings lead to this central island in the desert of streets and buildings.
Let me quote from the Hutt City information pages about the definition of artesian water:
“The artesian water originates from the waters of the Hutt River which enter the secure artesian aquifer (layers of sand gravels and boulders confined by impermeable layers of silt and clay) at Taita Gorge in the north of the valley. The water is naturally filtered through the alluvial gravels and sands of the Hutt Valley over several years before reaching the Petone Foreshore where it leaks into the sea floor of Wellington Harbour extending as far south as the harbour mouth. Today, treated artesian water is supplied to residents of the region. However, pure untreated artesian water can now be enjoyed from taps at the new Petone icon, Te Puna Wai Ora (Spring of Life) in Buick Street Petone. The pure artesian water is free from micro-organisms and organic substances and is safe to drink in its natural form because it has been naturally filtered over several years in its journey within the aquifer. The pure artesian water is highly valued throughout the region and consumers travel long distances to collect the water for drinking purposes.”
Photo 2 shows someone drinking from the fountain.
This building in Jackson Street (number 274a) really is a success story. I had spotted it from the bus and immediately hopped off at the next stop. (You see, I was well prepared ;-)
Until that stop BTW I had also spotted the interesting artesian water well ;-)
The Police Station was used as such from 1908 to 1952. Within the Jackson Street Community programme it was restored and opened by the then Governor-General, Dame Catherine Tizard on 21 October 1994.
The building is as small as it looks on the photo(s), and as picturesque as if it had been stolen from a fairy-tale book. It includes the former jail (# 274b) with four original cells and an internal corridor.
The Jail was built in 1909 and used for locking up unruly individuals until 1972. It was located in Elizabeth Street but when it was offered to the Jackson Street Programme along with the old Police Station in 1991 it was shifted to the frontage of the old Petone Central School where it sits now.
The Jail is now used as a museum and exhibition space, and the Historical Society have one of the cells as their local studies room. The Police Station is the Jackson Street Programme’s office space. While I was there everything was locked up.
The building is a real eye-catcher. The pohutukawa which start flowering in November make it look even lovlier. I stood around forever and let several buses pass (the bus stop is just beside the Police Station) because tui flew in and out of the trees, indulged in the pollen of the blossoms, chatted and sang incessantly.
Photo 2 shows the Jail at the rear of the Police Station.
Photo 3 is the view through the pohutukawa.
The distinctive feature of this church is that it is a multicultural parish, serving the many people from the South Pacific islands living in Petone. So the church is a perfect reflection of the make-up of the local community.
While I was admiring the white wooden church with its many pinkish-brown ornate decorative elements and the pastor’s house next door, the pastor arrived in his car, and we had a little chat. He seemed to be a very loving and caring person (well, every pastor should be like that, isn’t it?), cuddling his daughter. He just wondered if I had to photograph “my shabby sign”. I assured him that I only needed the photo to remember the name of the church, and the service and contact details, so I would not have to note it. Tourists in the age of digital photography ;-)
St. David’s is one of the very early churches of Petone, and is mentioned in many historical articles about this town. It has been renovated in the 1990’s, thus its picture-perfect look.
Combined Service every Sunday at 10am
Cook Islands Service every third Sunday of the month at 12noon
Samoan Service every second, fourth and fifth Sunday of the month at 12noon
Youth on Sunday 6pm
Sunday School at 9am
Unfortunately it was not possible to get inside this beautiful wooden church outside the service hours. An old English lady told me that this was due to thefts. But at least I had a nice chat with the lady about football (“I hope you do not have to stand in the stadium”, she said LOL), Christchurch, God and the world.
Saint Augustine's Church started in Victoria Street as a Hall where services were held, I read on the website of the Historical Society, until they built the church in Britannia Street.
It took 18 years from first thinking about it until fundraising began in 1898. The first service was held in 1902.
I read about some internal features of the church, as I could not get inside: It has a matai floor and rimu panelling, both woods of native trees, and stained glass windows.
The church’s motto can be read on the service information panel outside:
“Taking God’s life, love and hope to our community”.
Having written this and, of course, researched quite a bit on the internet I wonder why it happens so often that the churches so often forget to publish some details about the history and architecture of their church. You find everything about programmes and the history of the Anglican Church in general but when it comes to details of a specific church there is nil.
Other churches in Britannia Street
BTW Britannia Street clearly is the religious hub of Petone. Just a few steps in 2 Britannia Street, at the corner with Jackson Street, you find St. David’s Presbyterian Church. At #41 is the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, and at #30 Wesley Methodist Multicultural Church Petone. St. David’s is also multicultural. In other streets you find a Samoan and a Tongan church. This reflects clearly the big percentage of Pacific Islanders living in Petone – and just what you see when you wander through the streets.
On photo 2 you see the church from the side.
Wellington already is New Zealand’s art capital but it does not stop there. The delightful designs can also be found in Petone, especially along the Esplanade. They dot the otherwise grey foreshore and walkway with striking but never obstrusive dots of colour and shapes.
They really have a golden hand with art in this region whereas in Christchurch you find a lot of monstruous structures that look like rammed with force into their surroundings. In Wellington and also here on the Esplanade they somehow blend perfectly in the surroundings, never dominate the place. As you wander along you discover the beauties, one after the other. It is pure joy and pleasure.
Sometimes it is just a sculpture, sometimes an interesting façade or a façade cover, sometimes just the footpath decorated and softened up by colourful works of art.
See more examples of those eye-pleasers in my travelogue.
As I had thoroughly enjoyed my visit of Matiu/Somes Island on a previous visit, I found the great views of this predator-free island from the Esplanade most appealing.
It is so close that you can recognise and see most of the structures on the island, as the former quarantine accommodation blocks, the wharf, more or less every single tree.
Plus, in the foreground you can watch Variable oystercatchers (the black ones) and seagulls on the beach.
If you are interested in visiting this island please have a look at my Somes Island page.
The Esplanade along the most times wind-swept harbour is a great walkway although the road to Eastbourne runs along the northern (town) side of it. The traffic is not heavy, as it just leads to the small towns on the east side of Wellington Harbour and ends shortly after Eastbourne. The main highway – SH 2 – turns north before the Esplanade.
There are only two or three major structures on the wide and partly grassy strip between the low wall that separates the sandy beach from the sealed walkway and the road: The Petone Settlers Museum, a boat club/life guards base and a changing room/toilet block. On the town side of the road you find some motor lodges where you could stay if you do not want to stay in Wellington. There is plenty of parking and enough space for motorhomes.
Despite the protection of the solid wall the wind is strong enough to blow lots of sand onto the footpath.
I enjoyed watching seabirds on the beach. There were lots of Variable Oystercatchers (the black ones), Red and Black-billed Gulls.
Whichever street you walk down to The Esplanade from Jackson Street, Queen, Buick or Beach Street, you will always spot the Petone Settlers Museum and Provincial Memorial at a single glance. The landmark building is so striking that you just cannot miss it.
The architecture of the white building is great. If you approach it from either side it looks like a shoe box standing on the end. When you come closer you recognise two Greekish columns beside the door, and an impressive relief painting above the door. It depicts a missionary or priest showing the bible to Maori. The etched glass window to the north – so to the road side – shows the first encounter of the European settlers with Maori of the Te Ati Awa tribe.
This entrance door does not lead directly into the museum but into a hall, and you soon discover that there is another door opposite the one you are headed for. In fact, you can walk straight through this hall without setting foot into the museum. (And the wind blows through it as well LOL Kimi the Bear fell over several times when sitting on Banks Peninsula ;-)
I do not want to be weird, but I thought this entrance hall was the best part of the museum. (The real entrance to the museum would just be to the right.) Really!
The museum was not planned as a museum but as the only Wellington Provincial Memorial to commemorate the start of European settlement of the Lower Hutt Valley, and that this memorial should be a bathing pavillion. Contruction started in 1939, and the then Governor-General, Lord Galway, opened it on 22 January 1940 to the centennial of the arrival of the first two settlers ships Aurora and Cuba.
The architect was Auckland-based Horace Lovell Massey (1895 – 1979) who won a national competition.
The standing “shoe box” is the Art Déco element of the design which also includes stripped classical elements. The entrance hall is called Hall of Memories, and this was flanked with bathing pavillions for beachgoers. Those pavillions have become the Settlers Museum in 1977 because less and less people used the bathing pavillions. More correctly: The western pavillion is the core of the museum, the eastern pavillion is the Charles Heaphy Gallery in which they showed, when I was there in November 2009, an exhibition named “Something Special”, and this something special were items of the more recent history, like a German teddybear, a lot of photos, some fragile clothes including an old wedding dress, medals, etc.
But back to this spectacular Memorial Hall. The floor is made of marble with rather a detailed inlayed map of New Zealand, and a metre-high column at the site of Petone, with a globe on top. The colourful murals were the most outstanding feature to me. They show scenes of the local history in a more modern approach. I would call the style modern pointilism, the original one being invented by the impressionist Georges Seurat.
Tue – Fri 12noon – 4pm
Sat, Sun and Public Holidays 1pm – 5pm
Closed on Mondays and Christmas Day
More photos in the travelogue below.
The museum - Te Whare Whakaaro o Pito-one in the Maori language – within the Wellington Provincial Memorial is just one small room, making you feel a bit like in a private home. This is the problem of the museum. Being far too small a lot of the collection is stored elsewhere, especially at the Petone Service Centre. A working group also thinks that the isolated location makes the museum hard to manage. The building is considered outdated and impossible to present the exhibits in a more innovative way. (On the other hand I think, the location on the main road to the eastern part of the harbour makes it visible to travellers who would otherwise not notice it, and The Esplanade is a major walkway that attracts a lot of people.)
The museum focuses on the local history of Maori and Pakeha. It is a very traditional collection, with a lot of photos and texts to read. It includes the industrialisation of the area. I must admit, I was surprised what a lot of lucrative industries were based in Petone until the crisis in the 1980’s.
Here is an interesting report about the problems and visions about the Settlers Museum in the Memorial building. It concludes that it would be desirable to move the museum out of the Memorial building and create a co-existence of the museum and the town’s library at a different location, and give the Memorial building a new purpose:
Tue – Fri 12noon – 4pm
Sat, Sun and Public Holidays 1pm – 5pm
Closed on Mondays and Christmas Day
Admission free, donations welcome
This is Petone’s main street – 2.3 kilometres long - and very picturesque in parts. It runs more or less parallel to the Esplanade, at a distance of about 300 to 400 metres from the shore.
On my photo you see about the lovliest cottage of the whole street. While I was standing there, taking photos and simply admiring it, a local lady arrived and stopped and also admired it as she had not seen it before. We were both totally delighted – and I was pleased that I had triggered her delight by simply stopping and taking photos. I thought sometimes you really do not see the beautiful things around you because they are always there and you take them for granted.
The street is named after Edwin Jackson (year of birth not mentioned on an information panel in the street, only 1896 as year of death). He was one of the first settlers. He farmed in Petone from 1868, and later sold land for subdivision. He was a borough councillor and owned and operated seawater baths on the Esplanade. The street that was later named after him went over parts of his land, first as rights-of-way passages. Only in the 1870’s it was developed as a major commercial street. Then it was still rather a crooked street. Only in 1925 work began to straighten and widen the street to a width of 21 metres. For that purpose several houses had to be moved back or reconstructed, and some got new façades. The work was completed in 1938.
Petone claims that this streetscape is the longest and most intact one of the 1910 to 1930 period in New Zealand. The New Zealand Historic Places Trust has declared the street a Historic Area. In 1991, the Hutt City Council established the Jackson Street programme which promotes the retention of the special character and vitality of this street.
Since 1992 the annual Petone Rotary Fair is held in Jackson Street. It attracts people of the Wellington region with its stalls selling everything, from food and drink, plants, artworks, jewellery, etc. There are also carnival rides and music. So a big street party with the street, of course, closed for traffic.
This sculpture has water flowing constantly - from the large aquifer underground - and people come from miles around to fill their drinking bottles. My cousin told me that perhaps the water was not as pure as people were hoping because of all the factories close by. For instance, did you know how many chemicals are used to make toothpaste?
Anyway, a useful bit of street art. Reminded me of being in Rome, with all the drinking fountains constantly flowing. If it was a hot day it would be a nice place to wash your feet, or cool a bottle of beer.
I've never been here before. Which is odd when you consider how long I lived in this city.
But I had noticed an interesting photographic exhibtion advertised - the best pics from the local paper the Dominion-Post - so talked my cousin into going.
And really - it was totally fascinating and very well presented and my cousin could fill me in on local heroes that I had missed out on. Or anti heroes - like the one legged sociopathic killer who is now banged up for good - thank goodness.
The exhibitions are always changing of course - but on the other side of the building is the permanent exhibition of the history of Petone. It started as a dormitory suburb for the Gear Meatworks.
It was built in 1940 and looking at the building, you can just tell.
I kid you not. As I was strolling Jackson Street I heard people discussing going there, or saying they had been there. Quite the thing to do.
I popped in to check it out, great vibe, nice little cafe out the front.
It is one of those boutique cinemas, you sit on couches and can have a coffee or whatever while you watch the movie. The locals love it. Fourth cinema coming here soon.
We paid a visit to the Petone Settler's museum, outlining the history of the settlers who came to the area. It's interesting to have a look for 15 minutes or so.