New Zealand’s capital is a vibrant city with an active arts scene and thriving cafe culture. The CBD is compact. You can wander from Cuba Street with it’s eclectic independent retailers down to Lambton Quay, dubbed ‘The golden mile’ with it’s high-end shops, in around fifteen minutes.
Wellington is also home to Te Papa, the country’s national museum and a fascinating place to spend an afternoon. It’s also worth taking a drive around the southern coast where houses cling to cliffs above a dramatic rocky shore. For a more sedate beach option, Oriental Parade in the city is a lovely spot for a walk and an ice cream.
Thought to have been occupied by Māori since 950AD, the first European settlement of the area that was to become Wellington began in January 1840 when Edwin Gibbon Wakefield, founder of the New Zealand Company and a man of questionable morality, sailed into Port Nicholson with the intention of setting up a town. The company’s methods were dubious to say the least and the whole scheme came close to failure on several occasions due to a lack of suitable building plots and difficulty negotiating land deals with the in situ Māori population. The Wakefields did eventually succeed, although in a modified form from their original plans.
In The Moral Compass, Jack Cameron opens his trading emporium in one of the shops that line Lambton Quay. In the 1850s, the street was not much more than a muddy track running along the foreshore. The wooden buildings were relatively new as they had been rebuilt after an earthquake in 1848. However, another quake of 8.1 magnitude in January 1855 again destroyed much of the town and lifted the seabed. The unexpected bonus of the extra land exposed allowed for further reclamation and development of the area.
When you see Lambton Quay today, a canyon of glass, concrete and steel, it’s difficult to imagine it as a dirt road running along the waterfront. But this evocative photograph from the 1850s showing the shops of Lambton Quay with the steep hillside behind brings the history of the place to life. I can see Florence, the heroine of The Moral Compass, in my mind’s eye exiting one of the shops and wandering along the foreshore, her shawl wrapped around her as she contemplates all the difficulties she has faced since her arrival in New Zealand.
Reference: ‘Edward Gibbon Wakefield’, URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/people/edward-wakefield, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 17-May-2017
About the Author
An overwhelming urge to create led Kathy to pursue qualifications in both fashion design and applied design to fabric which were followed by a twenty year career in the fashion and applied arts industries and a crafting habit Martha Stewart would be proud of.
Kathy then discovered a love of teaching and began passing on the skills she’d accumulated over the years—design, pattern-making, sewing, Art Clay Silver, screen-printing and machine embroidery to name a few.
Creative writing started as a self-dare to see if she had the chops to write a manuscript. Kathy’s first novel, Peak Hill, which was developed from that manuscript, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016.
Her second novel, Throwing Light was published in February 2017 and her third novel, The Moral Compass is due out in late 2017.
Kathy now squeezes full time study for an advanced diploma in creative writing around writing the sequel to The Moral Compass, teaching sewing and being a wife and mother.
K. A. Servian on the web:
The Moral Compass (Shaking the Tree Book 1)
Florence lives like a Princess attending dinner parties and balls away from the gritty reality, filth and poverty of Victorian London.
However, her world comes crashing around her when her father suffers a spectacular fall from grace. She must abandon her life of luxury, leave behind the man she loves and sail to the far side of the world where compromise and suffering beyond anything she can imagine await her.
When she is offered the opportunity to regain some of what she has lost, she takes it, but soon discovers that not everything is as it seems. The choice she has made has a high price attached and she must live with the heart-breaking consequences of her decision.
This novel is part one in the ‘Shaking the Tree’ series.