The Writers Walk

Walkers are spoilt for choice in Oriental Bay. You can take a waterfront walk. You can choose a bush walk through the Town Belt. You can climb to the top of Mt Victoria. But have your spirits been lifted lately by taking the Writers Walk?

The Wellington Writers Walk, launched in 2002, consists of 23 text sculptures — bold concrete plaques and also ‘benchmarks’ with metal text inlaid into wood. They use quotes from authors past and contemporary. The lines chosen celebrate and commemorate the place of Wellington in these writers’ lives. They remind us why we love Wellington.

Start the walk at the Point Jerningham end of Oriental Parade in the little park there. Here Barbara Anderson (1926-2013), who lived in Oriental Parade, is commemorated with a lovely picture of what makes Wellington special:

Everything about it was good. The tugging wind trapped and cornered by buildings, steep short cuts bordered by Garden Escapes, precipitous gullies where throttling green creepers blanketed the trees beneath.

(Taken from ‘The Girls’ in I think we should go into the jungle, Victoria University Press, 1989)

The other Oriental Bay plaque celebrates Dame Fiona Kidman, using a quote from Speaking with my Grandmothers (Victoria University Press, 1999). It is on the sand near the rocky point, just beyond Freyberg Beach. It reads:

this town of ours kind of flattened
across the creases

of an imaginary map

a touch of parchment surrealism here
no wonder the lights
are wavering

all over the place

not a straight town at all

Continue along the waterfront, keeping a lookout for Marilyn Duckworth’s quote which is inscribed along the timber seats overlooking the lagoon. And so it goes on: poets, novelists and playwrights with quotes celebrating their Wellington connections. The last plaque on the Writers Walk is that of Elizabeth Knox, which is near where the Bluebridge ferry departs.

— Judith Doyle, Bay View newsletter 71, May 2018