after my quick stop while entering whangarei, it was time to get down to business. i had just this one stop before my last. i was hoping that i wouldn't need to hit auckland though, and this would be the end of my quest...
it was here at the whangarei museum and kiwi house i hoped to get rid of the last kete o te wananga basket.
now as far as museums go whangarei's is one of the most interesting i've come across. its not so much one building, but rather feels more like an old town's worth of them.
though it is populated by an odd population. not people, but peacocks. this was one of many i ran into. as i'd been trying to learn bird speak before i left for the quest (and had a chance to practise a bit along the way) i figured it won't hurt to try and strike up a conversation with some of these guys.
sadly it turns out peacock is a LOT different than ostrich or parrot... so i didn't get anything out of this other than something to work on... if i ever got this quest done that is.
anyways again whangarei's museum has a couple of "streets" worth of buildings where they have different displays. displays after a fashion anyways.
turns out most of these old buildings are run by local clubs that collect old stuff, and restore and/or maintain it all.
after checking out a few of these i pushed on to the main museum building at the top of the museum "town"s hill.
inside the first exhibit one hits are the fossils of northern new zealand. given the extremely volcanic nature of this section of the country it wasn't much of a surprise that there wasn't a whole lot of fossils to be found. most were very "modernish" too, only a few million years old. all invertebrates too. so apart from the 3 ammonites i didn't take too much notice.
the rest of their natural history gallery was a bit better. including a cool stuffed albatross hanging from the ceiling.
my favourite display was the kiwi exhibit. they were placed in such a life like environment. it would turn out though i was going to get one better than this exhibit shortly though.
like almost every museum in new zealand these guys had a whale skeleton. only theirs was set up funny, and the head and jaws weren't place anywhere near correctly. i wasn't sure why, and there was no sign explaining. so don't go expecting the best whale mount you've ever seen...
this museum really felt like an old home run operation. just look at this under the sea exhibit to see what i mean. don't get me wrong there's nothing wrong with museums like this. if anything in my mind they earn points for doing something with nothing.
there's a lot of operations like this in the small towns of alberta, and there's usually something worth seeing in all of them.
whangarei's was still a notch above these, but compared to many of the other amazing institutions of new zealand it just didn't come out as a gem is all.
the specimens like in this sea bird display were all good. just their presentation wasn't as glitzy as the other (probably better funded) museums.
so don't not visit the whangarei museum. just don't expect a te papa or canterbury when you go. also be sure to leave a donation so that they have some capital to make improvements... i did!
anyways their maori artifacts were impressive. they had a whole display on normal non-magical ketes that was neat.
i'm now going to say there must be an official law in new zealand that all museums must have a greenstone tiki display! seriously i haven't been to a museum that doesn't have one!
the real attraction of the whangarei museum though is the kiwi house. where you actually get to see a LIVING kiwi!
that ladies and gentlemen of the web wide world is a picture of the only living example of new zealand's national animal i've seen!
kiwis are massively endangered down here. all the introduced land predatory mammals have just demoed the flightless kiwi population. so houses like this are one of the only places you can see them!
now kiwis are nocturnal so that's why my photo didn't turn out so great. also neat fact i didn't know. their massively territorial, and thus there was only one on display. anymore than that and they'd fight!
sadly at the end of my visit i still had the last basket left. meaning i was going to have to push on to the final stop on ms. rhonwyn's list...