24 April 2014

Insiders guide

26/10/2011 10:58:00 a.m.


Mark Blackman, Death is natural.

Mark Blackman, Death is natural.

Mark Blackman is the  founder of Natural Burials, a twelve year old not-for-profit organization dedicated to setting up natural cemeteries around NZ
I returned to live here with with my now-wife when I was 21 and fluked a job as Press Secretary to Mike Moore. We have four lovely children who go to Montessori school. We established the first cemetery right here in Wellington, out at Makara. I’ve never thought of death as spooky because it is such a natural and essential part of the cycle of life.

Best place for breakfast … Nikau, classy and delicious
Best for lunch Shed 5. Sweating wharf runners can put you off, but you don’t have to wait too long before you get great food.
Best for dinner Martin Bosley’s Restaurant. The man knows what he’s doing.
Favourite place for coffee  . . . Mojo Upper Willis St. None of the usual perching around wooden toadstools – proper tables and chairs, a coffee bar .
Best value meal, approx  $25 . . .    It’s hard to beat heading to Moore Wilsons on a sunny evening and creating a picnic: fresh bread, cheese, nibbles, and head off to your favourite spot. But it’s fairly impossible to keep the budget under $25.
Insiders tip: try the  … Chickens from New World Willis St
Best place to drink with the locals . . .  The Welsh bar, end of Courtenay Place
Favourite place to party . . .  Outside, on any beach or coastal part of Wellington.
Favourite walk in Wellington . . . Butterfly Creek in Eastbourne. Experiencing the Wellington hills bush clad at they would have been 200 years ago.
Favourite activity in Wellington . . .  rock climbing wall on the waterfront. Safe place to feel a little bit of fear.
Best show you’ve seen in town recently  . . . NZSO doing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy with Wellington Choir.
Best day trip out of Wellington . . . Waitewaewae Track at Tararua Forest Park near Otaki Forks. Fantastic track follows old sawmill rail trail, with rail lines still present and hidden waterfalls crossing the track.
Best after-dark activity… nursing a cognac with friends in Hotel or Hawthorns
Must do in Wellington – money no object . . . Fly to Wharekauhau Lodge by helicopter
Must - buy gift . . .  For the wife: many little diamonds For the kids: time
Something you find curious, special or interesting about Wellington. . .  The myth behind why Wellingtonians toot in the Mt Victoria Tunnel is pretty cool. The story goes that it all began back when the tunnel was being built. A young woman was murdered and her body was left in the tunnel. They say locals began tooting to scare off the ghost. My mother remembers as a kid her Dad tut-tutting at the toots. It seems to me very joyous, so I think we all have an obligation to history to keep that lively tradition going.
How do you celebrate Halloween? When I was a kid we didn’t do Halloween, but by the time I had kids, it was everywhere.
I resisted the crass Americanism at first, but badgered by my kids I’ve given in and now accompany them around the neighbourhood. There’s nothing else we do to mark death and the great unknown, so I’m now all for it.
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Best of Wellington 2012


  • Making housing affordable 27/03/2013 10:06:00 a.m. With home ownership rates falling and many struggling to play higher rental costs, making housing affordable has risen to the top of the political agenda.
    Joel Pringle, campaign manager for Australians for Affordable Housing, and Charles Waldegrave, from the Family Centre, will address a meeting as part of a public discussion on housing at Thistle Hall on April 8.
    Waldegrave will look at the human faces of housing unaffordability while Pringle will suggest ways to build public support for affordable housing policies in New Zealand.
  • Food to the rescue 27/03/2013 10:06:00 a.m.
    Food rescue organisation, Kaibosh, has been named supreme winner at the TrustPower National Community Awards.
    The Wellington based service group collaborates with food retailers and producers to rescue surplus food that is good enough to eat, but not good enough to sell, preventing it from being discarded into landfills.
    Since its inception in 2008 Kaibosh has rescued over 285,000 meals – that’s 100 tonnes of food redistributed to where it’s needed most.

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