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Hobsonville Art Trail Sunday 29th November, 2020

The weather had been fine and warm for the survey and it would have been lovely if that had been so on the Sunday. We could have enjoyed the sun, as well as the art work and cafes. But it was not to be - it was mostly rain coat weather. However, it was an interesting day, though completely different from the usual tramps. .

It was a fairly long van journey, so the leader had designed a fun quiz, for use on the way, with edible rewards for the right answers!

There is no point in listing all the pertinent art works and buildings that we saw, instead I will give a brief summary of our day. After the vans had been parked safely near the Information Centre; most of the group headed for the Catalina Cafe. The coffee was good and so were the eats.

Reluctantly, we left the warmth and headed out into the rain to Hobsonville Point, which at one stage had been an Air Force base. Now there are many modern houses, most with virtually no gardens in order to maximize the use of the space. We walked along the West and East Sunderland Bridges, which were built above the ground so that users could experience being in the treetops among the birdlife. We passed the very fine historic Mill House and headed along the coastal path towards the Farmers' market. It was a little early for eating lunch but some of us still managed it! There was a festive atmosphere with a band playing and people milling around, looking for goodies.

From there we continued our walk along the Boundary Road track until we reached what used to be the Rifle Range. Eventually we came back full circle, to the Information Centre. By then it was raining very heavily, so it was decided to complete our planned route in the vans.

Some of the most significant things we saw were the two Childrens' Parks, plus the Guardian and the Estuarine sculptures. The Hobsonville Point Park and Playground and Harrier Point Park were both very innovative and very child focused. The latter had a 10 metre high pied shag sculpture, which was also a slide. Some of our group had to test this out and there were a few screams of excitement – or maybe fear! The Guardian, on the Hobsonville Point Path, was very striking: partly because of its size, and also because of its symbolism. It resembles a huge eel trap (hinaki), and also suggests a female form. The Estuarine, in Launch Road, was very impressive. Designed by Louise Purvis and made of steel and red scoria it was inspired by Hobsonville Point's waterways.

There are two more features that are worth a mention. The Tree Cosy in Launch road which was reminiscent of similar trees seen during Lock Down. Also walking through the mangroves was an unusual experience

It was a very good excursion, everyone had a great day. We even stopped for ice creams in Pokeno!

A big thank you to our leader, who had put in a great deal of effort into the preparation, and for sharing this delightful, relatively unknown part of Auckland. And of course to our drivers.

Margaret Standing

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