Tuesday, September 29, 2009

WOW...New Zealand

While I'm in Wellington, there is an ongoing spectacular show. Something that is WOW!

For many, the words wearable art have unfortunate connotations, smacking of models in body paint, posing self-consciously at pretentious art-gallery happenings and product launches. But that feeble sort of wearable art has nothing to do with the Montana World of WearableArt, which goes by the entirely apt acronym WOW. Its award show, held annually over several days in Wellington, New Zealand, is a fabulous event that's equal parts couture, choreography and craziness.

Slide 01

WOW: an off-the-wall art extravaganza

World of WearableArt, Wellington
24 September - 4 October 2009

New Zealand's World of WearableArt (WOW) is a unique Kiwi event - billed as 'Mardi Gras meets haute couture' - where art and fashion collude in a spectacular stage show.

HAVING A BALL: Lady of the Wood , an 18th-century-style all-timber ballgown, took the top prize at the World of WearableArt awards.
ANDREW GORRIE/ The Dominion Post
HAVING A BALL: Lady of the Wood , an 18th-century-style all-timber ballgown, took the top prize at the World of WearableArt awards.

From a little country art gallery promotion 21 years ago, the Montana World of WearableArt has grown into New Zealand's largest and most dynamic art event, and a global art phenomenon.

This dazzling show now lists on the international cultural calendar, attracting entries and an audience from all over the world.

2009 Winners

Creative Capital
Each year WOW brings together more than 300 designers, and 400-plus cast and crew for a week of sell-out shows in New Zealand's 'creative capital', Wellington.

The 2008 event attracted entries from the UK, USA, Australia, India, Japan, Thailand, Germany, The Netherlands, Israel, Fiji, Canada and New Zealand, and an audience of 35,000 people.

WOW guest judge, BBC correspondent Michael Peschardt, described the 2008 event as "colourful, spectacular, artistic, funny, and almost impossible to judge. I’ve seen major cultural and fashion shows around the world and this is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before."

Humble beginnings

The glittering capital city event is a long way from the show's humble beginnings in the small South Island city of Nelson.

Back in 1988, while trying to find ways to promote a local art gallery, Nelson sculptor Suzie Moncrieff came up with a ground-breaking concept.

Moncrieff's inspired solution was literally off-the-wall, taking art from the gallery wall to adorn the human form. Her vision saw artists and designers creating wearable art, then exhibiting those interpretations on stage in a spectacular dramatic setting.

The result was more than a promotion, it was a mesmerising, unforgettable performance that has grown progressively.

WOW moved to Wellington from Nelson in 2003 having outgrown its original home.

2009 performances
In 2009, WOW is scheduled for a record 10 performances from 24 September to 4 October. Prize winners will be announced on 25 September.

From the original 300 entires, a total of 35 finalists will be selected.

Artists will compete in seven sections for a total of NZ$100,000 in prize money. The Supreme Award winner will receive NZ$10,000, plus American Express international travel valued at NZ$10,000, and the winners trophy.

Design challenge
The show features theatrical rather than traditional catwalk fashion. Dancers and models in wildly imaginative garments, made from unusual materials, lose their human selves in a graceful freestyle performance set to a pulsing music and light show.

WOW designers are challenged to create something that has impact on a large stage and can withstand detailed scrutiny, but there are no rules about following traditional handcraft or sewing techniques.

Participating artists represent the worlds of film, fashion, photography, craft, design, sculpting, drama and art. Some entrants are professional artists but the contest also attracts entries from many new young designers.

In the past the show has also travelled to Asia, the Middle East, Japan and Australia.

World of WearableArt Museum, Nelson

The World of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum in Nelson houses creations from finalists and winners for the past 20 years.

The collection offers visitors a chance to view garments up close, including examples made of ballet shoes, metal coils, tiny pairs of jeans, paper clips, tyres and feathers, human hair, coral, tree bark and pages from a book.

Backpacker Accommodation in New Zealand

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I used to travel on budget during student days, even later while working when travelling on personal basis. Kind of fun staying in hostels around NZ, Australia and some other European and American cities.

Right now in NZ, it is nostalgic to be staying from hostel to another hostel. Either youth hostel or backpacker hostel. NZ is heaven for backpackers. Abundant options with right prices and locations.

I will encourage my kids to travel the world by backpacking. Meeting new people from all over the world is refreshing and interesting. They are from all ages, well, my ensuite room neighbour is an American with some white hairs like me. On the same floor, there is a Fijian family, an Indian group, Swedish blondes and Korean students.

I met a lot of not-so-young backpackers around, senior citizens who enjoyed travelling within their means. Sometimes, it is not about budget constraint. It is about adventure.

If we have time and love meeting other strange backpackers, this option is a great way to enrich our experience and knowledge.

Booking is easy, either online or by phone. Immediate and fast. Simple. Yes, it is simple life as ordinary travellers.

There are so many web sites, not to mention brochures available. NZ of course is a tourism country where information is everywhere. Friendly people who will assist you.

One good web site is BBH World Traveler Accommodation NZ.
Another one is Nomad backpacker Blog.

Nomad Hostel in Wellington is managed by a Malaysian lady.


In NZ, Backpacker Accommodation is BBH Accommodation, and it's REALLY different to backpacker accommodation anywhere else.

With over 350 independently owned and operated hostels, BBH is everywhere you're going to be. The essential ingredient of a BBH hostel is people. Different people doing similar things and similar people doing something completely different, all brought together in the informal communtity of a BBH hostel. The average size of a BBH hostel is only 36 beds, so you'll rarely be reduced to just a booking number on a computer screen. Chances are, the same person who checks you in will still be there later to help with information and probably to check you out at the end. Chances are, it will be the owner or sole helper. Chances are, you'll be recognised if you return. And more than 350 self-catering hostels are all different. Spoiled for choice, you'll KNOW you've dropped out of your comfort zone into something even better!

There's a variety of room styles:
  • Single - one person per room.
  • Double - two people per room in one double bed.
  • Twin - two people per room in separate beds
  • Share - up to 4 people per room.
  • Dorm - more than 4 people per room (often in bunks).
An "ensuite" room has a private bathroom attached.

Fees are low because hostels cater for travellers who are prepared to think and act for themselves. There is no valet parking for the Porsche, no bellhops to carry the Louis Vuitton, the Maitre d' may be out back sweeping the yard and you are expected to clean up after you've cooked. Bedding is available, but for added economy, you can bring your own sleeping bag or sleep sheet. There are no age restrictions though some hostels are unsuited to children, so check when making a reservation.

BBH hosts are usually flexible enough to let you change your mind any time before check out time (normally 10am) so you can take advantage of opportunities that arise on the spur of the moment.

It's a wonderful and unique system. Make the most of it.

Take care not to be processed as a Backpackage. Don't be pursuaded to pre-book hundreds of dollars of transport, activities or accommodation before you arrive - or when you've just flown in - jet lag isn't conducive to good decision making! It can be expensive or even impossible to get refunds if you want to change your mind. Most operators can deal with you making decisions the night before or on the day. That way - if weather causes cancellations & you need to move on or you simply get a better offer - refunds are easily arranged on the spot. Remember - your local host is the local expert. Book and pay locally.

Pelabuhan Lain

Wellington Harbor

Pada setiap persimpangan
terhimpun segala kemungkinan
timur barat utara selatan
sekadar satu dari pilihan
menjejak pahit manis perjalanan
merungkai hayat kehidupan

Memandang segar ke belakang
seribu peristiwa berbalam
hitam putih secantik lukisan
di paparan usia dan ruang
tiada kesalan, hanya kenangan
meniti suram tembok perasaan

Nun jauh indah di hadapan
anak-anak terus berlarian
mengejar kembara harapan
meriah mengisi kepelbagaian
doa teriring, bermainlah kalian
di muka bumi tanpa sempadan

Telah singgah di merata pelabuhan
masih berakar di kampung halaman
kebebasan menongkah pelayaran
bernafas merayakan kemerdekaan
jatuh bangun satu perjuangan
dalam saujana kesementaraan

Kita hanya perantau
tidak lagi mengejar neon berkilau
di gurun atau bukit bukau
pun timbul batu sebagai pulau
kerana realiti yang pasti
terus hidup sebelum mati!

Lambton Quay, Wellington
29 september