Back On The Block

St Paul’s Cathedral and Municipal Chambers Buy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

It was a cold and windy Sunday afternoon in early November, 1978 when I arrived in Dunedin. It was Guy Fawkes and soon the air was to be filled with all sorts of lights and noises that would make it hard to get a 2 year old to sleep. 

That year across the world John Travolta and the Bee Gees had set dances floors alight with the disco hit Saturday Fever; the Sex Pistols had decided that after making one album playing together wasn’t fun anymore and split up, while across Europe at the Vatican, Pope Paul VI passed away after spending 15 years at the head of the Catholic Chuch.

In New Zealand the population had decreased to 3.1 million with the Prime Minister at the time being Robert Muldoon (this of course was years before he got drunk in parliament and called a snap election, which he lost!). Across the country people had been delighted with the national medal haul of 20 at the Commonwealth Games held in Edmonton – Canada, the band Hello Sailor produced the album of the year and Kawerau crooner John Rowles had been named vocalist of the year. The AM broadcast band had moved from 10 kHz to 9 kHz, a programme called Fair Go was the best information show on TV and the 85th National Chess Championships were held in Tauranga. 

So, while Wellingtonian Craig Laird was winning the crowning glory of the New Zealand Chess world, a Dunedin man called Cliff Skeggs was starting his second year as Mayor of the southern city. That year the spring temperatures in Dunedin had fluctuated between extremes, this was something I was to find out much later was actually quite normal. Heading towards the end of spring that year, Dunedin had been cool and wet, however, the local trolley buses continued to rattle with prams precariously perched on the front and at the local supermarket you could purchase a kilogram of Ham Steaks for $4.50, three 750ml bottles of Coke for $1 and a head of lettuce for 35c. That November in town Hallensteins had a sale on men’s stubbies that featured a half elastic back, 1 hip pocket and came in colours of white, green and brown or fawn for only $5.99. The once popular Tuck-Inn Burger on Princess Street went into receivership. That year it would hail on Christmas Eve and snow on Good Friday in 1979.

All of this, I wasn’t aware of as being only 22 months old, mastering the art of walking and talking were much more pressing issues in my life up to that present point in time.  The move my family made from Auckland that November day I was quite oblivious too and while I didn’t know it at the time, it would affect my life most wonderfully in the years to come. 

I mention all of this because I recently found myself once again experiencing the same sense of wonderment as if I was taking Dunedin in for the first time. You see, back in March 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, New Zealand shut its international borders to anyone who wasn’t a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident. Since then they have rarely been open and we have all been forced to take our holidays locally. Even the Prime Minister urged us all to ‘see our own backyard.’ 

I assumed she meant this figuratively and not literally. The possibilities started to spark in my mind. I could explore and experience Dunedin, reconnecting with its identity with all the fascination of a tourist while feeling all the comforts and insider knowledge of a local. I could write and photograph about my own backyard. After all, the Prime Minister had told me to do so and it didn’t seem right to argue with her. I would call it Jacinda’s Law.  I particularly liked the idea of rediscovering all the nooks and crannies of Dunedin that I had forgotten about. I would set myself  the challenge of posting a new photo every day on my blog from my beloved home. I also liked the thought of being able to answer people when they asked me why I was doing it. I would adjust my gaze over the horizon and say with a look of thoughtful confusion ‘because Jacinda told me too’.

Adieu for 2021

Well, this is my final post for 2021, it’s hard to believe another year has flown on by. 2021 was a bit of a blur, it really was. Thank you to everyone that reads my rambles and enjoys the images that have been posted this year. It means so much and I’m very grateful to those that keep returning. This year, it’s been a lot of fun, even if the year was disrupted with another Covid 19 Lockdown. It’s time to take a break for three weeks, soak up some sun, put the camera down and head to the beach.

There are some big plans instore for 2022 – you’ll see in the coming New Year in mid January.

See you all then,


Kapiti Sunset

There Are Reasons You Should Stay.Kapiti SunsetBuy

The whole reason for the crop on this image of Kapiti Island is to get that wee patch of orange/red cloud and it’s reflection in. Initially I cropped it with a 12:5 ratio (or close to it) but the more I looked at it, the more I realised that I really liked what that wee patch of cloud added to the final image.


#morning_light #beachlife

Surfing Walk at Blackhead

Surfing Walk at Blackhead Buy

One of the fantastic aspects of summer in New Zealand is that no matter where you are, you are never to far away from a lake or the beach. Summer means all the surfers can leave the hoodies, boots and gloves at home and enjoy some warmer conditions. The average sea temperature for December and January in Dunedin is around 16degC however Niwa are predicting a marine heatwave for the coming months with sea temperatures possibly reaching into the 20’s degC.


#peak_directions #beachlife

Dunedin’s Smails Beach

Dunedin’s Smails BeachBuy

Taking photos in the water is really fun but really challenging at the same time. I have so much respect for those photographers who capture the amazing surfing shots you see on social media. Not only do they have great camera knowledge but they are also fit enough to last for hours in the water. Add to that they need to be able to read the surf conditions and it becomes even more difficult.


#blue #beachlife

Paraparaumu Beach on the Kapiti Coast

Paraparaumu Beach on the Kapiti CoastBuy

Paraparaumu Beach on the Kapiti Coast is an awesome place to get some wicked sunsets. The fact that Kapiti Island is directly off shore means that there is a different element to play with in the composition if nothing is very interesting on the beach. However, don’t you love these tyre tracks!

If photography isn’t your thing, it’s also a great walking beach and goes on for miles meaning you can have an evening stroll while watching the sunset and the sand between your toes.


#peak_directions #surfing

Osteria Epoca In Brisbane

Osteria Epoca In BrisbaneBuy

Osteria Epoca can be found on Orontes Road, Yeronga in Brisbane. They are an amazing Cafe, Bar & Restaurant that does serious good Italian food. When I was there they let me set my camera up to take a few shots, the one I like best is this one of the front window. It’s definitely worth visit if your in Brisbane or the area . Oh, and the Porchetta, Crab linguni or Gamberi come highly recommended.



Skyline Bungy In Queenstown

Skyline Bungy In QueenstownBuy

Bungy jumping is so much fun, I’ve done it twice. Once in Skippers Canyon and once off the Kawarau Bridge. When I jumped off the Kawarau bridge I went backwards which involved leaning back and being suspended there until they they let you go. It was actually rather comfortable until they said “bye” and let me go.  I knew it was coming yet it was still a surprise! This photo was taken from the Skyline Bungy or Ledge Bungy located in Queenstown at the top of the Gondola at Bob’s Peak. Queenstown, the perfect place to fling yourself off perfectly good platforms. It sounds slightly crazy, but then AJ Hackett does crazy very well.



Hut On Tobins Track

Hut On Tobins TrackBuy

The walk up (and up and up) Tobins Track in Arrowtown is an extremely worthwhile walk that rewards you with outstanding views of the Wakatipu Basin.  I did it with friends one hot, January evening in summer but half way up we got a little side tracked with a path leading to the crumbling remains of this hidden hut deep in the bush.





It seems typically kiwi that a fence with bra’s on it can become iconic. This fence, which is found in Cardona near Wanaka was actually renamed ‘Bradrona’ some years ago and is now a spot where people can make donations towards the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation. The original story goes that It began around 1999, when four bras mysteriously appeared overnight on a fence along the Cardrona Valley Road.



Shag Point Sunrise

Shag Point SunriseBuy

This a one of many wonderful East Otago sunrises I’ve caught over the years however I don’t always get to this location in the morning. It’s called Shag Point and it’s home to a large Fur Seal colony and also penguins if you’re lucky enough to spot them. Once you finish at Shag Point you can then call into the Moeraki Boulders which is just up the road.



Morning On Lake Wakatipu

Morning on Lake WakatipuBuy

It really is a stunning part of the world around Lake Wakatipu and if you can survive the early morning sting of an alarm clock then you’ll be treated to some spectacular sights at sunrise. I took this from the Glenorchy Pier looking back towards Queenstown. Don’t you just love that light!



Wanaka Colours & Silhouettes

Wanaka Colours & SilhouettesBuy

There are so many places, spots and locations to visit to enjoy the landscapes around Wanaka. Of course there are the usual spots of Roys Peak and ‘That Wanaka Tree’ however there are so many other spots and scenes around the area it’s sometimes hard to know where to start when choosing a location to shoot from. The thing I like about this photo is that there was a good twelve to fifteen people around me and every single person was focused on photographing ‘That Wanaka Tree’ while no-one noticed how wonderful the lake or the surrounding hills had been light in colours and silhouettes.



Sugerloaf Stream In Mount Aspiring National Park.

Sugerloaf StreamBuy

This is the Sugerloaf Stream that flows through the Routeburn Track in Mount Aspiring National Park. The park was established in 1964 and covers 3,562 square kilometres. Not only is the Routeburn Track part of the National Park but there’s also tramping and hiking options that include the Rees-Dart circuit, Gillespie Pass circuit and The Mātukituki Valley.

… from a Small City. My daily musings from Ōtepoti to get you inspired. Read the blog, view the photos, embrace the creativity.

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