I’m guessing the first week of school after the Easter break in New Zealand was a quiet one, what with all the puberty-challenged girls having screamed themselves voiceless during the recent holiday break.

In what can only be described as teen idol overload, the nation’s tweeny population had barely packed away its homemade “I (heart) Reese” posters after the exit of Young Master Mastin when the lads from One Direction dropped by to be worshipped at the altar of estrogen. It was like being invaded by the Huns and Gauls in the same week. Where’s a good Hadrian’s Wall when you need it?

I saw them on the news, those hordes with their eyes blazing from adrenalin overload, their gaping mouths all a-silver with the best braces Daddy’s money can buy, their androgynous bodies quivering with what can only be described as mass hysteria.

What, I wondered, would they do if one of their plastic boys had actually stepped past the beefy security and waded into the crowd? What would their buzzy brains have thought to say? “OMG! LOL! Which Barbie shall we play with today? Oh, and can you help me with my homework? Starting with the correct spelling of ‘zealot’.”

Young females practically wetting themselves in the worship of music godlets is nothing new of course. They did it for Elvis. They did it for The Beatles. They will do it for someone else tomorrow.

I was 10 when A Hard Day’s Night came to the venerable Clova Theatre in Cloverdale, a dusty town known more for hosting one of North America’s largest rodeos than its appreciation of the arts. But the Clova was the closest cinema to my hometown and so one night my father bundled the family off to see the shaggy-haired Fab Four in their first flirtation with the silver screen.

The place was a madhouse, so full that the only empty seats available were in the “crying room,” a closed-in area off to the side where, behind layers of thick glass, mothers could deal to their cranky babies without disturbing the general audience. But even in an area designed to swallow the sounds of squalling bubs, we could hear the hysterical screams issuing from inside the theatre proper.

It was sheer pandemonium, absolute chaos, drowning out the film’s soundtrack and leaving my parents _ more accustomed to the soothing tones of crooners like Frank Sinatra and Perry Como and Nat King Cole _ shaking their heads in bewilderment.

While I will admit to singing along (very badly) at concerts, I have never _ ever _ felt the urge to scream like my hair was on fire.

Maybe it’s a man thing but I tend to save my lungs for events with the potential to forge history. Sporting events, for instance. And by sports I mean, of course, hockey.

 But even then, it’s not simple bellowing, but rather clever witticisms along the lines of “Hit him with your purse, ya wimp!” and “Hey ref, I found your guide dog!”. Loud, yes, but also supremely intelligent, as befits the male of the species.
I have no idea why young girls yelp at young men in mindless, gullible adoration, simply because said lads possess clear complexions, straight teeth and jeans so tight they threaten to cut off the circulation to their boy bits. Because we all know it’s less about pure talent and more about ‘there but for Simon Cowell go I’.

So here I sit, dazed and confused, curious as to why people who neither write their own songs nor play their own instruments manage to whip sweet young misses into whirling dervishes.

 I also can’t help but chuckle at the constant claims of how The Next Cute Thing is en route to becoming “bigger than The Beatles”. Justin Bieber was going to do that. So were the Bay City Rollers. Remember them? Yeah, neither do I.

Reprinted courtesy of the Napier (New Zealand) Courier.

The excitement around the office was palpable.

Another Mission concert! The crowds! The venue! The non-stop drinking! The music! The drinking!

Yes, sadly, it was the actual entertainment that was rated far down the list whenever war stories of past Mission mayhem were rehashed. One fellow employee recalled a pair of inebriated punters who passed out early and missed the entire concert.

My record of having never attended a Mission concert remains intact. Sliding around a grassy slope surrounded by 25,000 drunken louts spewing pre-digested alcohol on each other? Not gonna happen. It would take John and George returning from heaven’s rock’n’roll hall of fame for a Beatles reunion for me to even consider such an outing and even then I may just stay home and wait for the DVD.

 I don’t do live concerts anymore. I grew tired of scrambling for a parking spot, of elbowing my way into the venue, of being surrounded by mouth-breathing cretins, of coming home smelling like a grow op, of lying awake all night with my ears ringing, of doing the zombie shuffle at work after a hard day’s night.

Maybe I just grew old.

Maybe I’ve seen all I need to see. Springsteen: twice. (Best. Concerts. Ever.) Petty learning to fly. The Grateful Dead jamming for five hours straight. The Beach Boys when all three Wilson brothers were still alive.

The Beach Boys, in fact, broke my concert cherry. It was October 1973, the night before I flew to Europe for a six-month jaunt that lasted three weeks (some people say there was a woman to blame). We were crammed into some kind of performance hall at the University of British Columbia. The opening act was an obscure musician touring North America on the back of his first single, a little ditty called Piano Man.

“Billy Joel sucks!” some leather-lunged buffoon hollered from the cheap seats.

Years later, I saw Billy Joel in concert again. This time he was headlining and the crowd cheered his every song, his days of suckage obviously well and truly over.

The novelty of live performance came to an end for me in the ’80s. It was my daughter’s birthday. She was 10, or 11, or 12 or something. One of those ages when she still considered her old man cool. Especially when I bought tickets for her and a couple friends to see the New Kids on the Block at B.C. Place.

This is a venue custom-built for football and, as such, it works very well, what with its huge seating capacity. What the place doesn’t have is decent acoustics. Sound simply disappears into the far reaches of this covered dome, never to be heard again.

Not that it mattered to the thousands of pre-pubescent females in attendance. Their incessant screaming served to drown out whatever noise might have been issuing from the speakers.

I didn’t care about the music or the screams. Neither did the hundreds of other dads I met that afternoon. While Donnie Wahlberg and four nobodies shook their asses and yelped out songs they were four shades of Caucasian too white to own, I wandered through the covered concourse, looking at my watch, watching the other fathers — all of us reduced on that day to little more than chauffeur/chaperone status — and shaking our heads in sympathetic disgust whenever our eyes happened to meet.

It was painful at the time and the memory still haunts me. To paraphrase Rod the Mod himself, that last cut was the deepest.

The good news is that, some 25 years later, my eardrums hardly ever bleed anymore.

Customer Support

Air New Zealand

Dear Sir/Madam:

Imagine this scenario, if you will:

You’ve saved long and hard for a new Ford car, paid the dealer in full and have all your paperwork in order. On the day you arrive to pick up the vehicle, however, the salesman meets you at the door with a sad expression on his face.

“During the night the wind blew a tree onto your Ford and completely destroyed it,” he says, wringing his hands. “It was an unfortunate incident for which we cannot in any way be held responsible. And, because it was not our fault, we’re not going to bother ordering in a replacement Ford, nor are we prepared to give you a refund.”

He dangles a set a keys in front of your nose. “What we will do, because you are a valued customer and we desire your future business, is put you into a used Holden. It’s not what you want, it’s not what you paid for, but look at this way: it will still get you where you want to go.”

That customer being screwed over? That’s me. The salesman with the slick pitch? That would be Air New Zealand.

Let me explain:

I was originally booked on Air NZ flight 83 – Vancouver to Auckland non-stop– due to depart at 19:00 on Friday, November 11. I was at YVR three hours ahead of time, as per requirements, only to be told by a gentleman standing by the Air New Zealand check-in counter that there was a problem. It had been a particularly windy day and, he informed me in hushed tones, a passenger bridge had been blown into the jet, causing external damage.

I was advised to come back in an hour for an update on the flight’s status.

Things weren’t quite as organized or efficient when I returned to the counter, if only because, by this time, several more passengers were present. Everyone was milling around, asking each other if anyone had any information. As a journalist, I’m accustomed to marching up and asking questions, and so I did just that.

I talked to a female employee this time and she seemed just as unclear on the situation as the rest of us. Yes, there had been damage caused to the exterior of the jet. No, we would not be flying out tonight. The plan, as she understood it, would see Air New Zealand bringing in a jet from Auckland to fetch us, but that would take at least 14 hours.

Passengers who had arrived on connecting flights would be put up in hotels; those of us who still had access to local accommodation were advised to go home and call Air New Zealand’s 1-800 number for updates on our flight.

OK, fine. Wind = act of God = no one’s fault. Crap happens. I get that.

Things, however, went swiftly downhill from there. Despite spending several hours dialling the 1-800 number, I was consistently greeted by a busy signal. The one time I did get through to a customer rep, I was told, in a rather cavalier manner, that passengers on NZ 83 were simply being flipped onto Sunday’s (Nov. 13) flight, because it was the next available non-stop flight on the schedule.

Not good enough, I said. That flight doesn’t arrive in New Zealand until Tuesday morning (Nov. 15) and I have to be at work Monday morning.

Plan B, I was told, was to fly to Los Angeles on Saturday, Nov. 12, and catch the LA-Auckland flight that night. LAX? Seriously? The main reason the non-stop flight is so popular is because no one in his or her right mind wants to endure the ninth ring of Hell that is LAX.

Not good enough, I repeated. If I wanted to experience the dubious joys of LAX, that’s the ticket I would have bought in the first place. Like the Ford lover in the above story, my expectations were simple: I wanted what I paid for. No more, and certainly no less.

Since it was obvious that would not be happening, I asked if Air New Zealand had any plans to compensate me for this major inconvenience. And that’s when the line went dead. Must have been the wind again. Yeah, right.

In the end, as the hour grew late and I started to panic about confirming flights, I took the drastic action of making two long-distance calls to the Air New Zealand office in New Zealand. The first time I was told I’d already been tentatively booked on flights that would see me fly out of LAX on the Saturday evening. The second call, made two hours later in an effort to confirm that booking, revealed there was no evidence at all on the computer of that earlier booking, tentative or otherwise.

I was finally confirmed to fly Vancouver-LAX-Auckland, but it took several hours, two expensive phone calls and much frustration on my part before all the arrangements were made and the keys to the Holden were thrown in my face.

Did I mention that I ended up in Los Angeles without any U.S. cash or that I was still in the process of travelling a day after my travel insurance expired?

Did I mention that a day meant to be spent relaxing at home, adjusting to the time difference and recharging my batteries before heading back to work found me, instead, spending eight hours in LAX?

The part that really pisses me off is this: not once did anyone say they were sorry.

Not a single person had the common courtesy, the common decency to say, “Despite this unfortunate incident being the result of a random and unpredictable Act of God – meaning Air New Zealand can in no way be held responsible – I apologize.

“I apologize that you were forced to spend eight hours sitting on your arse in a terminal in LAX and that, because of that, you lost an invaluable part of your life that could better have been spent making love to your wife or massaging your leg muscles back to life after a long, cramped flight, or mowing the lawn or throwing the ball for the dog.

“You had a miserable day and, on behalf of Air New Zealand, I’d just like to say I’m sorry.”

I paid for the Ford in good faith and then had no choice but to accept the Holden or forfeit a day’s wages. Yeah, I’m guessing the very least I’m owed is an apology.

Well that, and two complimentary tickets to somewhere hot.

I’m thinking Rarotonga.

Regards

There are three words you don’t want to hear while en route to a rugby match: “Is that rain?”

Uh, yes, in fact it was. Within minutes of leaving our house – and our raincoats – to head to Napier’s McLean’s Park for a Rugby World Cup clash between Canada and France, the heavens opened, meaning Viking Woman and I were pretty much soaked before we’d even entered the grounds. This despite the fact we were wearing our official Vancouver 2010 Winter Games hoodies.

That’s OK, we thought, because at least we have seats in the grandstand, as opposed to General Admission tickets where you stand out in the open at one end of the field. At least we’ll be able to watch the game from a dry vantage point.

I don’t know which is more disturbing: being told our seats were, in reality, on the “drip line” (read: the topmost row NOT sheltered by the grandstand’s roof); observing French rugby fans wearing chickens on their heads; or glancing up from the urinal to see a man being zipped into a white body suit.

I’m going to go for c), because no man should ever wear something that tight.

As for the headgear, it turns out the rooster is France’s national symbol. Maybe it’ s just the way my brain works, but I’m thinking how easy it is to connect the dots between rooster hat, cock head and dickhead. OK, that might have just been my personal bias against French, seeing how it was the only subject I failed in high school. And, yes, I am still bitter.

(It was reported later than one French fanatic was escorted from the park after the local gendarmes caught him, red-handed, relieving himself in public. Which begs the question, is that a cockerel in your pants or are you just glad to see me?)

Along with rooster heads, there were plenty of berets in the crowd, along with tri-coloured fright wigs. Not to be outdone, the Canadians sported cowboy hats, RCMP Stetsons and plastic goalie masks. There might have been a moosehead or two but, alas, not a single beaver.

One enterprising young man donned a complete set of hockey gear, minus the skates. His costume included helmet, a Team Canada jersey, shoulder pads, pants and shin guards. Considering that his luggage allowance would have been limited to one suitcase weighing no more than 23 kgs (50 pounds), he must have sacrificed a lot of clean underwear to show rugby-mad Kiwis what a real sport looks like.

Due to the unexpected deluge, a lot of creative costumes were hidden by garbage bags and plastic ponchos (the sales of which, at $5 a pop, probably outstripped that of beer).

Painted faces soon resembled The Joker more than flags. One supporter sported a sign saying “I (heart) Canada” only to have the illustration very quickly became a bleeding heart.

As for the game itself, let’s just say France was ranked fifth of the 20 participating teams and Canada 15th. The boys in red put up a decent struggle but, as many of Canada’s hockey teams have learned the hard way when playing on an international stage, penalties will kill you.

The final score : France 46 Canada 19.

As for the rain, it stopped sometime during the second half. Soaked and freezing, we hardly noticed.

Imagine, if you will, combining the excitement of the Olympic Games with the Super Bowl, the seventh game of the World Series and the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final. And then multiply it by a million.

Welcome to the Rugby World Cup.

And welcome to New Zealand, which is hosting this wondrous event from Sept. 9 to Oct. 23.

A tree cosie shows its true colours on Dalton Street in Napier, New Zealand.

I had to make several adjustments when Viking Woman and I moved from Canada to New Zealand. Among those was learning to ignore the sports news.

Where, at home, I’d devour every story and game summary and relish every highlight of every game in the National Hockey League, I quickly discovered Kiwis don’t give a rat’s bum about my favourite sport.

“Too violent,” they sniff. “Too many pads.”

In fact, mention “hockey” in New Zealand and everyone assumes you’re talking “field hockey.” “Ice hockey” is the rather ignominious term Kiwis use on the rare occasion they bother referring to the fastest team sport in the world.

English sports reign here. That means the likes of cricket and polo and lawn bowling and rowing. All of which bow down to King Rugby.

“Husky men in tight jerseys and short shorts,” I sniff. “The very definition of macho, I’m sure.”

I don’t understand the game – if there is a difference between Rugby and Rugby League I’ve yet to discern it – and I don’t really care. But these days it’s all Rugby World Cup all the time.

Napier is, in fact, hosting two of the games, as  some of the lesser matches (read: any game that doesn’t feature the All Blacks) are being spread around the provinces so even small-town hicks like us can be fleeced by high ticket prices.

As it happens, both games in Napier feature Canada. I may not have any love for rugby, but I still have a maple leaf tattooed on my heart, metaphorically speaking, of course. So Viking Woman and I will attend one of those games – probably vs France on Sept. 18 – during which we will dust off our Vancouver Summer Games apparel, including the red mitts, the idea being to eliminate any doubt as to which country we are supporting.

The interesting part about Canada taking part in this tournament – apart from the fact there are actually enough players of this calibre in the country to make up a team – is the world’s perception of my motherland. And by world I mean those people who put together the program information packages about each of the 20 participating countries.

I particularly enjoyed reading the cuisine entries in each country’s fact box. Apparently, we Canucks tend to fill our faces with poutine, butter tarts and maple syrup. Say what? No pancakes? No Tim Horton’s doughnuts? No chocolate-covered jujubes?

Aside from poutine – does anybody outside of Quebec actually consume that crap? – our food loves are at least palatable. As opposed to, say, Scotland (haggis, oats, potatoes), Namibia (bush stew) or Wales (what the hell are cawl and laverbread?).

As for our American cousins, there isn’t a single slice of apple pie or a ballpark dog on their list. Instead, we are told Yankee Doodle dandies chow down on crab cakes and potato chips. Oh. Really.

So, yeah, the Rugby World Cup is already proving interesting even before the first ball is, well, whatever it is they do with their balls down here.

It’s funny the things that remind you of home after you move to another country.

Seeing k.d. lang on an English talk show, for instance. Viking Woman was a big fan of lang during the formative years of her career, to the point of following the singer and her band around the bars of southern Alberta. Those were the days when lang wore a wedding dress and cowboy boots while performing in nearly every Legion hall in the province.

Seeing NHL jerseys in incongruous places is always cause for a double take from an expat. The other day, I spotted a middle-aged Maori woman in a supermarket wearing the Atlanta Thrashers’ third jersey. I very nearly tapped her on the shoulder to tell her the sweater was now a collectible, what with the Thrashers in the process of packing up and moving north to Winnipeg.

I always find it sad when NHL franchises move. It’s like acknowledging failure and that somehow hurts my pride in the game.

Hockey has been a part of my life for as far back as I can remember. Back to the days of black-and-white TV when you could see any team play at home on Hockey Night in Canada, just as long as it was Montreal or Toronto.

I was an expansion-era baby, one who chuckled at my father grumbling at how expanding from six to 12 teams would dilute the product and how on earth could he be expected to keep track of all those players. Now, of course, there are 30 teams and some 700 players and I’m the one doing the grumbling.

We had two religious experiences every weekend when I was growing up. Saturday, 5 p.m., was the weekly hockey game. Sunday, 9 a.m., was the weekly Catholic Mass. Lulled into boredom by having to spend an hour cooped up in a church in my best clothes, I would lapse into daydreams, ones in which I replayed every highlight from the night before, often imagining myself as one of the goalies, plucking pucks out of midair. Jesus wasn’t the only one saving on those mornings.

So how does a hockey fanatic end up in New Zealand, a country where “hockey” means field hockey and you have to say “ice hockey” to make yourself understood? Long story. Let’s just say I’ve had to rely on the Internet for my puck fix for several years now. To the point that, during my annual visit home, to actually sit and watch a game on TV is like discovering the sport all over again.

It’s like finding a treasured toy from one’s childhood. I can’t help but stare in wonder. And smile. A lot.

* * *

Rugby is the king of New Zealand sports, of course. All Blacks all the time, as it were.

New Zealand is playing host the Rugby World Cup 2011, which, apparently, is the equivalent of hosting the Stanley Cup final, the Super Bowl and the World Series. All at the same time.

This is how gaga this country is for the sport they call affectionately call footy: there was a big celebration earlier this week to mark the fact the competition would be kicking  off 100 days hence. Yup, three-and-a-months until the first ball is booted in anger, and grown men were putting on black tie and patting each others’ bums in eager anticipation of seeing the All Blacks mop the floor with all comers.

I’m not a big fan of rugby – big men in tight shorts scare me for some reason – but I am a big fan of my home country. Yes, Canada has a national rugby team. I have no idea who the players are but, after seeing how Canada’s national cricket team appeared to have been recruited from Pakistan, it wouldn’t surprise me if the roster was filled with players who said “say wot, old chap” as opposed to “ya hoser, eh.”

Two of Canada’s games are being played in Napier and Viking Woman and I are going to attend the match against Japan. Nether of those teams is exactly considered a powerhouse in the sport, so it might be the equivalent of watching a Midget-level hockey game as opposed to the NHL.

But we have our Vancouver Winter Olympics hoodies (not that we’ll need them in September) emblazoned with Canada across the chest, our red Vancouver Winter Olympics mittens (not that we’ll need them in September), our red Canada hats and our red-and-white Canadian flags. We plan to be very, very vocal in support of our fellow Canucks.

And, since streaking is somehow an integral part of rugby (yes, this country is still stuck in the ’70s. Why do you ask?), I may even venture onto the field should I be so consumed by national pride in all things True North Strong and Free to the point of casting aside both my inhibitions and my clothes.

Anyone know where I can get an XXL maple leaf?

I need to buy a raincoat.

That thought was prompted not so much by the fact winter is now stalking Napier but, rather, by the news that porn films are about to be released in 3D.

Most people, at least publicly, denounce porn (aka “adult entertainment”) as the devil’s cinema, despite the fact that, from what I can see, there is very little evidence of idle hands. Most hands – and other assorted appendages – always appear to be quite busy, in fact.

I know, I know: Porn is disgusting and perverted and just plain dirty. Porn – like Barbie dolls – makes us feel inadequate about our own bodies.

OK, that last part I do agree with. I can imagine some poor bastard staring at the screen of his laptop then looking down into his own lap and doing a lot of heavy sighing and shaking of his head.

In reality, porn has been a friend to technology. A friend with benefits, mind you, but a friend nonetheless.

In the early days of home video machines, there were millions of naysayers who could not see the sense in buying an expensive VHS player and all those bulky tapes when you could simply trot off to your neighbourhood cinema if you wanted to watch a film. A movie collection? Why bother when they’re all on TV.

And then porn was released on video and suddenly home entertainment took on a whole new meaning.

The same with the Internet.

“You want information, sonny? Buy a newspaper or go to the library. You wanna talk to your friends? That’s why they invented the telephone, fer cryin’ out loud. What’s that you say? You can watch nekkid people doing what? You’d better show me this filth you’ve been looking at. And don’t tell your mother.”

And now, because the adult film industry has never been known to just lie there and let others take advantage of it, the decision to flog its wares in 3D was only natural.

In a time when nearly every movie being screened at a theatre near you is in 3D, I have to admit to not having a lot of experience with the format. I tend to watch most of my movies these days via DVD and, until they perfect 3D TV (and make them a whole lot cheaper), I will remain firmly rooted in the old-school world of two dimensions.

Years ago, however, I did view one of the Friday the 13th movies (I’m going to take a wild stab and say it was Part 3) while wearing those silly cardboard glasses. And I’ve sat through a couple of Imax films where I was amazed to find myself RIGHT THERE.

Some of those movies have gone beyond the visual and actually added the physical aspect to the experience. If a villain shoved a gun in the hero’s back, something in my seat jabbed me at the same time. If the cameras took me down a river on a rubber raft, I too was sprayed with water so I felt I was right there running those same rapids.

Some object or another was always poking straight out of the screen and threatening to impale me.

Which brings me back to 3D porn. You see where I’m going with this, right? Because I’m thinking the term “coming attraction” is about to take on a whole new meaning.

That’s why I’m signing off now and heading to The Warehouse. I hear there’s a sale on raincoats. I may just buy two.

They say that time moves at a different pace in the tropics. That the temperature is too hot, the air itself too languid for anyone to entertain thoughts of travelling any faster than a moderate shuffle.

Despite that dearth of forward momentum, my one-year contract in the Cook Islands somehow managed to come to an end, resulting in my return to New Zealand in mid-February.

Where did that time go? How could 365 days possibly zoom by so fast? If it wasn’t for the 25,000 photos bunging up my computer’s memory, I might be tempted to think my time on Rarotonga was merely a dream.

The white sand, the cobalt sea, the brown girls: surely I did not just spend an entire year in their enchanting company.

Apparently so.

Back in New Zealand, I’m forced to walk faster, think faster, react faster, hell even talk faster.

The adjustment period has now stretched into its third week and I still feel like Adam, standing outside the garden gates, talking around a mouthful of apple, saying, “Uh . . . Eve? I gotta bad feeling about this.”

For starters, there are a lot of white people in this country. I’m used to being in the minority – the token white boy in the office. I liked that feeling. It made me feel special. Here, I’m just another old guy with a funny accent who could stand to lose 30 pounds and probably should shave every day just to be on the safe side.

Other adjustments:

* I haven’t driven a car for a year.

* I haven’t eaten much in the way of vegetables for a year. I’ve barely eaten meat in that time. There are brightly-coloured packages in the pantry and none of them say ‘Instant Noodles.’

* There is hot water in the shower. There is water in the shower.

* There are no lizards scuttling across the walls. There are no ants in the kitchen scouting for crumbs.

* Complete strangers not only do not greet me on the sidewalk, they make a determined effort to avoid eye contact.

* I no longer have the bed to myself. I no longer have sole rights to all the covers and pillows. I can no longer snore or fart without comment.

* I have to share. Bathroom time. Computer time. The toothpaste.

* There is a TV in the house. And a DVD player. I have forgotten how to operate the remotes and I don’t really care.

* I am no longer a working journalist. I am no longer working as anything.

* I am a former Island Boy. An ex-Island Boy. And I don’t like the feeling. Not at all.

***

I spent a large portion of that time on Rarotonga with a camera jammed into my face. Between the beautiful scenery and the even more beautiful people, it’s a wonder I didn’t burn out my Nikon’s motor drive.

Since returning to New Zealand, the camera has hardly been out of its bag. My inspiration well has run dry. Where’s a fair maiden in a coconut bra when you need one?

The camera might have gathered dust for several more months had Geon Art Deco Week not been held in Napier shortly after my return.

I’d missed this event in 2010 and so was pleased to have the hoopla to distract me from my post-tropical trauma. I’ve included a small collection of my photos with this blog posting.

Art Deco Week celebrates the 1930s and highlights the fashion and architecture and modes of transportation that were in vogue when Napier was being rebuilt after being levelled by the 1931 earthquake.

And then, mere days after Napier residents parked their Model Ts for another year, Christchurch is devastated by the second earthquake to strike the Canterbury area in five months. Lives are lost, historic buildings crumble to dust and an entire country mourns.

I wonder which architectural style will rise, phoenix-like, from this shattered cityscape? And will anyone be celebrating it 80 years from now?

Ashes to ashes. Rust to rust. Broken wharf, Ahuriri Marina, Napier, New Zealand.

Red, red, wall. Front of apartment, Waghorne Street, Ahuriri, Napier, New Zealand.