We certainly enjoyed quite a bit of culture at Te Papa Museum on Saturday, what with the Greenstone and then the Tapa Cloth Exhibitions. We were more than ready for a nice sit down over lunch, so we walked up the road to Molly Malone’s. But….. on the way there was just one more sight to see. It was a real surprise as not one in our group of friends knew it was there. We called in to see the recently excavated remains of Te Aro Pa in Taranaki Street, Wellington.
Te Aro Pa was established in the 1820s and was one of the largest in the Wellington area, with up to 200 people living there by the 1850s. With seafood from the harbour, an adjacent wetland area to the east providing flax, birds, fish and eels, and cultivation areas for crops, it as well situated. Te Aro Pa was ideally positioned to benefit from the trade flowing from the rapidly expanding Wellington township. However through a succession of agreements and Crown Legislation favouring the acquisition of land for settlers, the community at Te Aro Pa began to decline as their land was steadily reduced in size. The site and surroundings of Te Aro Pa were also greatly affected by the magnitude 8.1 earthquake of 1855, which uplifted the entire Wellington region, and the swamp area surrounding Waitangi Stream was destroyed. The loss of this vital resource was also a key factor in the decline of the pa.
Wellington City Council, Wellington Maori, developers and the Historic Places Trust got together to preserve the intact remains of this historic pa site in central Wellington. This involved redesigning the building to be constructed on the site, following months of investigations by engineers and archaeologists and discussions between the parties involved. Three ponga (tree fern) structures were unearthed during development work for an apartment complex, and is considered to be unique since excavations rarely uncover intact Maori structures.
Our next port-of-call was to the Irish pub, Molly Malone’s for lunch. We really needed to rest our poor tired feet. Now, I never drink beer, but felt I really should have a taste of rich dark Guinness to celebrate being in an Irish Bar. Just a half, mind you, that will be more than enough for me, and I’m certainly not driving home.
The fire was burning merrily in the hearth of the upstairs dining room, and other than two patrons in the corner, we had the place to ourselves. As usual, we pondered long and hard over the menu. What to chose? There were bangers and mash to tempt us, or beef stew laced with Guinness. Or what about a steak sandwich, seafood chowder, or perhaps the pasta dish? We finally made our choices and everyone seemed very happy with their meals.
Robin had an important function to perform as this was the day of our group’s Annual Draw. He put names of the months for the next year in his new hat, and passed it around the table, with everyone choosing a slip of paper. Whatever month was pulled out, that was to be the month for each of us to organise the day’s outing for our SLG members. (Today was Robin’s outing). We never get bored as we will have another year of all getting together once a month. Who knows where we will end up each month? That is all part of the fun of a group like this. We are lucky to have such good friends who are ready to try whatever is organised for them.