This week’s small pleasures #280: a trip to New Plymouth

Today is Anzac Day, the national day of remembrance in New Zealand and Australia. Covid restrictions have meant slightly different commemoration events over the past two years as you can imagine. You can read more here about this year.

Before I begin with today’s small pleasures post, which concentrates on our trip to New Plymouth, is anyone else out there frustrated with WordPress’s new way of notifying about ‘likes’ on posts? Real Life of an MSW sums it up really well – the emails we receive no longer allow us to link to the person who has ‘liked’ a post so we can see what they have written recently. It is highly frustrating. We have both reported this to the ‘happiness engineers’ and if any of you are also having the same issue, I encourage you to do the same.

Anyway, back to the small pleasures of this week, and let’s start with our visit to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Len Lye Centre. The gallery itself opened in 1970, with the combined Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre opening in 2015 in the wonderful mirrored building you can see below. We first visited this complex back in 2015 not long after it had opened, so it was great to go back again. The entrance fee is NZ$15, which lasts for 24 hours so you can always visit twice. It is free for local residents.

Len Lye was a New Zealand born artist who worked in London and New York. The current Lye exhibition at the gallery is Rainbow Dance, with film, kinetic sculpture and other art works. There was so much to look at and marvel at how advanced some of his film making techniques for the time in the 1930s. The featured image at the top of the post is of his Wind Wand which can be seen by the waterfront in New Plymouth (and his Water Whirler can be seen in Wellington).

The other exhibit was a collection of works by Areez Katki and Khadim Ali There is no other home but this. Below you can see some of Ali’s large scale textiles made in association with women in Afghanistan. The ‘war rugs’ below depict scenes of modern war incorporating old symbols and intertwining the two. A recent work the one on the right below, which has the same themes but is a video projection resembling early computer games. I have to say that these pieces were amazing, and my pictures and poor words just don’t capture the images. Click on the link above for more.

Next to the gallery, is the clock tower and this wonderful building that houses coffee shops and offices. The white stag you can see belongs to a bar with the name…I’ll let you guess! From there we headed to the nearby Puke Ariki museum and library. It is a great local museum that covers the history of the region and is well worth a visit. The site is also home to Richmond Cottage, which you can see through the trees below. Built in 1854, it was the home of some of the early settlers.

From there we walked to Pukekura Park, which I attempted to cover in Saturday’s post. Below you can see Karl by the the marble fountain which was erected to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, and the the band rotunda which was built in 1891 and one of the oldest rotundas in the country.

Of course I have to cover some of the food we ate, and we actually stopped for lunch at the Tea House next to the fountain and rotunda above where I had the bacon and egg pie you can see below which came with a large salad. We visited two craft breweries, the Three Sisters brewery and Shining Peak Brewing where we also had dinner one night. The Fanny Fantham’s lager you see below is one of their beers, which we enjoyed at Monica’s Eatery, where we also had lunch on Saturday. I opted for a wonderful dish of fish cakes with a salad with feta, snow peas, green beans, radish and herbed mascarpone. Karl had the lamb and rosemary meat balls which came with tzatziki, feta, cauliflower pilaf and yoghurt flatbread which also got rave reviews. Staying in a hotel meant treats for breakfast, including a big breakfast of bacon, mushrooms sausages and so on for Karl and eggs Benedict for me to set us up on our drive home on Sunday.

To finish, some of the art you can see out and about in New Plymouth. First we have Mothers and Daughters created by New Plymouth sculptor Renate Verbrugge. Unveiled in 2020, it is a lovely cheerful work that you are invited to sit on and gaze out over the water. I also spotted these two murals by Wellington based, New Plymouth born Dside, whose work can also be seen here in Wellington.

So that is me for this week. Bit of a long post….but there was a fair bit to cover. See part two here. What were your small pleasures this week? Here are some other blog posts from a few fellow bloggers looking at the good things in life. 

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistlesandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on


  1. I was just looking and thinking of making a bacon and egg pie for my English Red House Yorkshire Facebook Post. Is it eaten hot or cold? I am thinking cold, so the yolks set but it does not say so in my old Yorkshire cookery book.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love NP especially the coastal walk way. When I was there last time (remember I’ve no wheels) I took a bespoke tour, visiting places I’d been to previously but many more that I couldn’t get to without wheels – it was a lovely early Spring afternoon – door to door service….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed the art as well as your fine descriptions of the interesting food. Like you, I am most disappointed in the new WP notifications – who wants to see a snippet from your own blog post? I loved being able to link to the blogs of people who had liked my post and have followed a number as a result.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am grateful to see New Plymouth through your eyes. The architecture does justice to the art within! (And I clicked on the link for the Katki and Ali works: thank you! The historical bits are always interesting, and I so appreciate how you share your food adventures with us. As always, your post is a pleasure to read. (And thanks for the kind words about mine!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I read your post with bated breath – all my favourite things rolled in your trip: art (particularly textiles & outdoor sculptures & murals), lovely architecture (that mirrored building is something else), stupendous food. It must have felt good to get away for a trip!

    Liked by 1 person

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