Quirky New Zealand by Eleanor Black
New Zealand has always been a place where the number 8 wire mentality has reigned supreme. We have long touted ourselves as the masters of making something out of nothing. This collection of landmarks, features and installations truly celebrates the intuition and creativity of our wonderfully eccentric country.
Eleanor Black’s new book Quirky New Zealand is, itself, a quirky little publication. It’s square shape allows it to comfortably sit on a coffee table as much as in a school library. It is a show piece that looks at what we have achieved in our part of the world, and how much impact that has had on the environment around each structure.
The favourites are certainly noted, the L&P Bottle in Paeroa, the Bucket Fountain in Wellington and the great Brown Trout of Gore. Of course, the Hunderwasser toilets in Kawakawa get a mention. These are the obvious inclusions no doubt. Even the large donut of Springfield (which also adorns the cover) gets a wonderful write up. However, it is the less well-known examples that stand out in this curated compilation. The Rere Rockslide in Ngātapa and the tree chapel in Ōhaupō for example. No doubt these are local treasures.
Each of the examples provided give an insight into the history of the structure, some of the stories woven around them, and some urban myths about them that make up much of what we are good at here in Aotearoa - a great yarn.
Black’s work putting these stories together and creating a solid narrative around each and every one really demonstrates an aspect of our heritage that has gone unnoticed for quite some time. That love for the different, the out there, the quirky.
A real joy to read and perfect for any Kiwi road tripper.
Reviewer: Chris Reed