Site Scenes / Sights Seen

When our grandchildren visited during the school holidays just past, they were keen to see the sights of their old home town. Granddaughter drew up a somewhat idiosyncratic list of things to do. It was certainly interesting to see what they considered were Ōtepoti Dunedin attractions.

Included was a visit to Good Good cafe on Vogel Street in order to not only have one of their hearty hamburgers, but to take a look at their artist uncle’s art work adorning the walls there.

Grandma’s poem etched on a bench on Vogel Street, also a scene to be seen..

The steepest street of course, a definite must. No problem for the two of them to scamper up and down – granddaughter grape vining (don’t worry, I didn’t know what this was either – some sort of dance move? Hip hop?) down the steps on the way down.

A required stop: the poem Step Sisters have painted on the steps. My poem about the kereru I saw long ago on a much-cherished extended family holiday in Totaranui to celebrate my late mother’s 70th. The fact that I’m now only a couple of years off my own 70th birthday, does not escape me.

Robert and I managed to sneak on to the list a visit to Chingford Park, the mist adding to the mystique and where the kids tried a photo trick.

The teeth were on the list and presented an irresistible rock climbing challenge for our two energetic mokopuna. I may have looked the other way, not being completely confident that clambering up on to the top of these sculptures is actually allowed.

Other things on the list were a movie (Space Jam at Reading Cinemas) and a visit to the Meridian Mall. A hot chocolate with their cousins at St Clair made their short Dunedin visit complete. A couple of things have been saved for next time (skate park, hydro slide). Scaling up the side of one of the teeth probably means that the ‘rock climbing at Leap’ that was also on the list, was at least partly achieved.


When Your Old Home Town Grows Crazy


A thought for the hometown boy who has watched his little village turn into a major tourist attraction, his memories of an idyllic small community overlaid by market forces.

Queenstown’s first house now a crafts and gifts shop. On the list of previous owners just inside the front door, the name of the family of one of Robert’s school friends.

We always check out David’s poem on our visits. Today being a market day, all of the poem apart from the very end, was obscured by stalls. Rather ironic. But then, a lot about Tāhuna Queenstown is ironic.

One of the stall owners said she didn’t like photos being taken of her stall, which, yes, I thought was rather ironic.

At least the maunga / mountains never change. No irony there. Just pure and honest grandeur in granite.

And so we visit and sit a while at a lakeside bar’s outside table, sipping a whisky as a scarf of mist covers the Three Sisters peak. For a while we breathe in the exquisite winter-air of mountain and lake. And then we leave.

in our blood

We leave. Again. And

again. And we will keep on

leaving, only to return, stay

a while, look at the mountains,

breathe in lake air,

snow and scarp, watch cloud cover

the Three Sisters. Then leave,


back, stay a while

then leave again. And return.

Again. And again. After

all, we will never

ever really leave.


Writer from Dunedin, New Zealand.

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