maandag 30 november 2009

Hundertwasser and the Kawiti Glow-worm Caves

Today is December 1st 2009 and we are still on the North Island of New Zealand.
Like the last days the day began with a few drops of rain. After that it became less and less clierwdy and the rest of the day was rather sunny and warm.

To have something to do we first went to a city called Kawakawa.
Not too far from Paihia.
Kawakawa is famous throughout the North Island because of the fact that a rather famous Austrian artist (his name was Hundertwasser) lived in Kawakawa for a long time and got the order from the town council to design the city toilet.
Large signs on the side of the road announce the toilet of Hundertwasser.

So we visited that toilet and Ankie even went inside and she told me that the toilet was clean.
Two years ago Ankie and I visited an exhibition of Hundertwasser in our famous and well known city (or village) Valkenburg in Limburg.
So we were of course very excited that we could visit the town where Hundertwasser built a very luxurious outhouse/bathroom/toilet/loo.

On the other side of the street we visited the Hundertwasser Museum which showed lots of copies of paintings of the painter and lots of photographs of the guy, together with all sorts of other people.
In this museum they showed also all the stuff the older people of the town of Kawakawa donated to the museum and so it just looked like all the other town and village museums which show:
- old photographs,
- old chairs,
- old kitchen utensils (like form 50 years back, they think it is really old),
- old books (millions of them),
- old telephones,
- old pots and pans and china and earthenware household things,
- old toys,
- old other things.

In the museum I found the copy of the report of an eyewitness of the battle of Ohaeawai in 1845, 1st of July. The eyewitness was a medical doctor who travelled around and was just there when the battle raged.
Funny to read what happened exactly during the days around the battle.

The second experience of this day was our visit to the Kawiti Glow-worm Caves of Kawiti.
The caves were discovered by a Maori tribe and one of the attendants we were told is a member of the mentioned tribe.
The caves are not very large but “impressive”. Beautiful massive pillars of pure white stalactites, stalagmites galore.
In the caves you can see millions of glow-worms (Arachnocampa Luminosa) and with the Maori name of Pura Toke (So that you know this as well).
This transparent larva of the Fungus Gnat, which has a life cycle of about eleven months, from the egg to the adult fly, aluminates the caves (a little).
The glow-worm grows from 2 mm to 40 mm long. It is as thin as a needle with a blue/green taillight.
It lives of mosquitoes, flies, moths which are attracted by the light and are caught in small chainlike webs the worms grow.

Our tour guide told us these glow-worms only live in caves in New Zealand and Australia.
The visit to these caves was really nice.

We are now camping in the city of Whangarei and we have internet so, we’ll do some updates now.
All is well in New Zealand and till the next time.

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