Locums for a Small World Blog

Put the bottom of the north at the top of your list

Posted by Saralynn White

Wellington BayWellington City's Famous Cable Car

We head to Wellington - or “Wellywood” as it’s often called - this week. Not only did local hero Sir Peter Jackson launch New Zealand into the international scene with beautiful depictions of his home country in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong movies, he launched a film industry here, spawning niche businesses in pre-production, post-production, special effects and more.

At one point, Wellington International Airport announced plans to install a Hollywood-inspired Wellywood sign
in the steep hills above the city, but opponents who thought it would mark the city as “uninventive” and “try-hard followers” protested. After much ado and a public vote, an All Blacks sign was installed - just in time to welcome International rugby fans for Rugby World Cup 2011.

Rugby fans are ready for the USA vs. Australia match this week at gorgeous Wellington Regional Stadium,
and while Brisbane-born Tim Usasz will captain a new-look USA team for the first time, visitors will relish much more than the action on the field.  

Wellington, New Zealand's "Capital of Cool", boasts a sophisticated food scene that claims more places to eat and drink per capita than New York City. Every day restaurants, bars and cafes a draw people with time to spare and people to meet.

Head over to Cuba Street - which was not named for the Spanish speaking country, but for a New Zealand Company ship that brought a survey party from England in 1839 to speculate for land. Here, you'll find places like Matterhorn, a Wellington institution that wins local and national awards both as a restaurant and as a nightlife haunt. Next door and upstairs you'll find the Mighty Mighty, a good bar for live music. And among the hundreds and hundreds of other choices, you'll encounter Maranui Surf Life Saving Café, a local favorite for breakfast or lunch with its big views of the ocean.

Wellington City Center

Cuba Street with the Matterhorn in the foregront

Speaking of water, Wellington's natural setting on the edge of a deep harbor adds to its tremendous popularity. In fact, most residents live within 1.86 miles or 3 kilometers of the sea. Locals love their city, and they get a kick out of helping visitors fall in love with it, too. To hear them tell it, everyday life is straight forward without the hassle. Social networks and a strong community spirit are easily maintained, and people here feel safe. 

Wellington is also concentrated and compact: The central business district is just over 1 mile or 2 kilometres in diameter, so you can walk from one side to the other in about 20 minutes. The rest of the region is also easily accessible by road, rail and air. Daily commute times are short (30 minutes or less). The area also enjoys the best public transport infrastructure in New Zealand, which is why it’s also the most used - 30% of people here commute daily by bus or train, and then walk or cycle to work.

Wellington's Hillside with St. Gerard's Monastery Crisp Pitas and Spring Onion Relish from Matterhorn

You’ll find Wellington at “the bottom of the North” Island along the Cook Strait, and it’s that spot on the map that make it the world’s southernmost capital. Wellington is the proud home of many national treasures, including the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. A contemporary museum that showcases country’s diverse art and visual culture, Te Papa's collections include wildlife, history and Māori culture. Wellington is also home to The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Nature and wildlife experiences are another major draw for the Wellington region. Zealandia, a sanctuary for endangered native birds and other New Zealand wildlife, is just minutes away from the city’s center. Along the 'Nature Coast' - north of Wellington - you’ll find Pukaha Mount Bruce, a conservation center where a rare white Kiwi bird made its appearance earlier this year. The coast is also home to Kapiti Island - an internationally-famed nature reserve where you can mingle with rare native birds. 

Sunrise, Mt. Victoria in WellingtonWellington Waterfront 

Back in the center of the city, you’ll find one of our favorite nods to the arts in this beautiful city - The Writer’s Walk. Here, you’ll discover 11 poems, cast in stone and paired with harbor views - each from the pens (and keyboards) of distinguished writers who, at some point, have called Wellington home. Katherine Mansfield, Robin Hyde, and Bruce Mason, are among the poets here whose words capture the true essence of this beautiful city. Here's one by Lauris Edmond that may inspire a locum tenens assignment nearby:

It's true you can't live here by chance, you have to do and be, not simply watch or even describe.
This is the city of action, the world headquarters of the verb.

Topics: Rugby World Cup 2011, Wellington, Bottom of the North, Wellywood, Matterhorn, The Writer's Walk

Peter Bush, Hard on the Heels of the All Blacks

Posted by Saralynn White

Photojournalist Peter Bush shot his first rugby match for the New Zealand Herald in 1949 and he’ll be
covering the Rugby World Cup this year. Not bad for a man who turned 80 late last year.

rugby-players-ball-new-zealandThen again, “Bushy” is known for running up and down the sidelines during games, trying to get the best shots - always with sweat rolling off his face. Bush himself says photographing the All Blacks was "a total workout". He says he often donned football boots and chased the players from the sidelines to get the crucial shot – a proximity to the action that is now impossible in the era of professional rugby. But in the era before television, his wired photographs of far-off matches were some of the first images to be seen by local fans.

"In the early years, there would only be three or four photographers at a test match in New Zealand," he said. "There was no television. It was our world."

When he started, darkrooms were essential, but today photographers have a card that can hold 500 images.
"I used to go to a game with four rolls of film with 30 shots on each," Bush said. "I used to try and hold a few shots back in case they scored near the end of the game."

Bush’s lens has captured hundreds of matches and historic moments, both at home and overseas. He’s also had privileged access to the All Black teams, both on and off the field. His photographs range from controversial (one locker-room shot had the Canterbury team banning him for five years) to humorous and dramatic behind-the-scenes moments that feature All Blacks legends including Sir Brian Lochore, Bob Scott and Sir Wilson Whineray to Graham Mourie, Jonah Lomu and Sid Going - not to mention star players from other rugby nations.

In fact, Bush was honored by the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) earlier this year with a NEW gold roving photographers’ bib for his 80th birthday (a roving bib gives a very limited number of photographers access to all portions of the sidelines at rugby matches). Citing his contributions to the game, his number one bib was framed for him and retired from future service.

As part of RWC2011 and the REAL Festival, a national touring exhibition by the acclaimed photojournalist, Hard on the Heels - Capturing the All Blacks, is also taking place at venues throughout New Zealand. Thousands of Bush's photos (which he took over a span of 60 years) have been whittled down to 100, from the first test he shot for the New Zealand Herald – New Zealand versus Australia at Eden Park in 1949 to the All Blacks celebrating their 2004 victory over France in Paris.

Marcus Boroughs, director of Aratoi where the exhibition was launched, says Hard on the Heels is a “goldmine of memories and great moments,” calling Bush a “national treasure.”

Bush captured this photo in 1972 of what he calls a “stoic band of brothers” going onto the field, with a soldier - a highly trained sharpshooter - on the side. Why were armed troopers at an All Blacks game? It was in Belfast, Northern Ireland in the years of the “troubles”. Led by their young captain, Ian Kirkpatrick, the All Blacks filed past the British sharpshooters to a game that was running on “high voltage” before anyone put a foot near the ground. “It was a dangerous, dangerous place,” says Bush. “Before this game, a threat had been made that an attempt would be made to shoot a player on either side and bring the world’s focus to what was then a war-torn province.” The game went off without a hitch, but Bush says perhaps the longest day, and certainly one of the most nerve racking days, that he’d spent covering rugby worldwide.

Believe it or not, however, Bush’s favorite image is not of the action in a grand stadium. In fact, there’s not a rugby ball in sight: the shot is of young halfback (Andrew Donald) walking with an old French woman down a muddy country lane just outside of Toulouse on the All Blacks’ tour of France in 1981. "She looked as though she had stepped out of the pages of Hansel and Gretel stories. The cows followed her.”

About the All Blacks World Cup chances this year - nearly 63 years after he covered his first match vs. the Wallabies - Bush says they have a good chance of winning provided the referees did not have too much of a say.

Bush himself recounts some of his favorite experiences in a video presentation that accompanies the Hard on the Heels exhibit, and you can watch a shortened (28-minute) version of it right here.



Stories from Peter Bush - All Blacks Photographer from Dave Allen on Vimeo.



Topics: All Blacks, Rugby World Cup 2011, Peter Bush, Hard on the Heels Exhibit, REAL Festival, New Zealand Rugby Union, Sid Going, Jonah Lomu

Locums for a Small World Blog

Twice a month, our inquisitive locum tenens community asks us to tackle topics ranging from cuisine and culture to recreation and entertainment. We also include great storytelling from our doctors. Have a topic you’d like to read about? Let us know.

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