Written by Brett Jennings.
One of the most important pieces of advice that I was ever given about visiting a new country was “Find a local. They know all the best places.” Those little nuggets of a city or country with a personality all of its own, and far enough off the tourist map or bus route is a precious destination. Meeting new people, doing new things, creating that small window to glimpse into their lives. For me, the best memories come from there.
When I first became part of this project I devised several plans on how to approach it – some grandiose, some much more mundane, and although I would have been happy with any of them, they didn’t quite fit. Then I remembered: “Find a local. They know all the best places.”
My thoughts went out to a young girl, who although we may never have known has become part of our lives. I thought about the places she could have been to, about the people she would have met, and the great stories she should have told us. When my friend Victoria visits this quiet little corner of the world, what would I show her that would be just that little bit different?
I’ve lived in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand for most of my adult life, and I think I know this city fairly well. Now we could trudge the tourist trail: Parliament, the cable car, or any number of museums. But the thing is I know of this little jewel, an old lady with a grand past that’s seen better days. Cuba Street is the home to cafes, curio shops, bars, buskers, beggars, bordellos, and everything in between. Full of life and crazy people. I’m taking her there!
Our tour, which started promptly at 7am and would not finish until 11pm that night, is chronicled here. I also introduced her to some of the locals we met along the way; some friends but mostly just good people. Every person here with a portrait met Victoria. I shared her story with them and they shared their time with us.