Thursday 29 October 2020

Wandering Around Whanganui

 It is Wanganui city and Whanganui river, right?

As a child I was taught to spell the name without the h, and as an adult I came to know the river as having the h.  Very confusing, so I have been doing some research.

Since the mid-1800s both spellings have been used interchangeably in the district, but in 2015 it was officially decided that the spelling would be Whanganui as it better suited public opinion and the local iwi (local Maori tribes).

The name was officially gazetted on 19 November 2017 so I will have to get used to using the new spelling!

This was Day Five of our trip and we spent our time in and around Whanganui.  There is a very pleasant boardwalk alongside the river in the centre of town.

The Whanganui River is tidal here, as it is close to the sea.  Rising from Mt Tongariro in the centre of the North Island, it is New Zealand’s third longest river.

Along the riverside we found some different art sculptures. 

This one is called Bearing, produced in 2011 by David McCracken to represent the winding path of the river as it makes it way to the sea.

This bronze kereru (native wood pigeon), created by Paul Dibble, won the People’s Choice Award in the 2010 Sculpture competition.

These stainless steel pencils were also made in 2010.  Their creator, Daniel Clifford, called his creation Balancing Act and said the pencils reflected the idea that Maori is traditionally an oral culture while European is traditionally a written culture.

This Mama Duck came over to see if anyone had any food to offer (we didn’t).  The little ones’ legs were going as fast as they could to try and keep up with her.

Our next stop was at Virginia Lake, which I will write about in my next post.

This was followed by a visit to nearby Castlecliff Beach, a black sand beach covered in driftwood.  Although we only saw a few people around, there was a Surf Life Saving Club based here so presumably this beach is used for swimming during the summertime.

In the distance we could see another tower but could not find it on our map, so we went searching and eventually found this at the top of a hill.

The Bastia Hill Water Tower was built in 1927 and holds 2000 tonnes of water in its top tank.  The tower is not open to public access as it is now home to a lot of telecommunications equipment, but it can be viewed from the road.

We had a good day wandering around.  Whanganui has a very restful peaceful atmosphere about it, at least in the parts we visited!

Have a happy day 😊



  1. I love the kereru sculpture. Whanganui with the "h" looks wrong.

  2. Hello,

    Lovely scenes and photos. I like the duck family. The views of the sculptures, the river and beach are beautiful. It would be nice to see the view from the top of the tower. Take care, enjoy your day!

  3. Not a word I have ever had to spell, to tell you the truth!

  4. The boardwalk looks inviting. I am always drawn to boardwalks.

    The sculptures are interesting. I love the first which reflects the surroundings and shows the river’s path.

    Black sand on a beach is a new one for me. Is it particularly hot sand in the summer?

    The water tower is ornate. Those we have here are so ugly by comparison!

    1. A lot of our western coast beaches are black sand (they are high in iron ore). And, yes, it can get extremely hot in summer - running across it in bare feet to go swimming is a definite hazard (although I have never heard of anyone getting actually burnt).

  5. I love the idea of the stainless steel pencils.
    Awww, cute duck-babies.
    Artful tower, thank you again for sharing this.

  6. I don't know where to start...I love the sculptures...not sure which I like best. All are pretty wonderful in my opinion. And I LOVE, LOVE, LOve that water is a beauty.

    It is a good thing I don't live near a beach cause I would want to collect drift wood.

    1. I have been known to pick up a few unusual pieces over the years - bigger pieces look great in a garden, and smaller ones make good polished house ornaments.
      The water tower is quite amazing isn't it.

  7. That is all super cool. I love the amount of public art in NZ and how so much of it is culturally unique; it is NZ art. That beach looks amazing and I would never stop picking up bits of driftwood (my brother-in-law goes for the bigger stuff and once took a whole trailer load home from a west coast beach on the south island, to use in his woodturning workshop). I reckon it makes great garden 'ornaments', structural stuff for plants to grow in and over. You had a great tour - eagerly await the next....

    1. I never thought of it before, but you are right. A lot of our public art is culturally unique, it often reflects our country quite well.

  8. I've got relatives that live there, like you I grew up without the h being in the word, still can't get use to it.

  9. Another interesting place to visit. Nice art sculptures. I really like the bronze wood pigeon.

  10. Wow that is a beauty of a water tower:) I am enjoying your vacation very much!

  11. What a wonderful time you had there Margaret - it's a really pretty city
    Stay safe


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