Tag Archives: History

Four Thousand Eyes on The Hamilton Gardens

In 1940 American realist thinker Karl Llewellyn, somewhat alarmingly, posited that what a judge decides could depend on what he had for breakfast that morning. Writing two decades later, in Travels with Charley, American Nobel Laureate John Steinbeck somewhat similarly noted, “so much there is to see, but our morning eyes describe a different world than do our afternoon eyes, and surely our wearied evening eyes can report only a weary evening world.” More than half-a-century later, #TheDress nearly broke the internet when people all over the world found themselves divided over the colour of a fuzzy photograph of a bodycon dress (which, by the way, is most definitely white and gold!).

Different eyes see the world differently, and it is an understatement to say that how we perceive the world can be influenced by our selves, our experiences and the way that our brains are wired. Facing the existence of subjectivity can be a grim, frustrating or downright bizarre experience, but as we discovered this week -it can also be incredibly beautiful.

When we stumbled onto the #HamiltonGardens hashtag on Instagram, we were blown away. The 4000+ photos catalogued on the hashtag invited us to see one place through thousands of eyes. Different people have photographed and uploaded the same subjects -for example the Alice in Wonderland statues, the Romulus and Remulus fountain, the Chinese Scholars Garden and so on -but each interpretation and interaction with the subject matter is so different from person to person that each individual photograph is justifiably a new stitch in the wonderful, whimsical tapestry that is this collection of photos.

Whether they’re visiting 13th century Mughal-ruled India, making out with the Mad Hatter, or re-enacting Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, these Instagrammers -visitors from around Hamilton, New Zealand and the world- all delight in the Hamilton Gardens, transcending time, traveling across continents and through the minds of some of history’s greatest thinkers, artists and writers -with nothing but unabashed joy and a camera in hand.

And why not? Where else can you, at once, travel to ancient Egypt and Renaissance Italy, stopping briefly to witness the founding of Rome, before setting foot into Sung Dynasty China and then into 18th century Europe in fits of Oriental madness? Or see and smell England as Henry VIII would have, and then go and see Kirikiriroa at the landing of the Tainui Waka? In what other place can you follow the White Rabbit to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, only to excuse yourself to head to 17th century Russia or an Asian-Australian-Central American tropical paradise? In fact, where else would you find a Asian-Australian-Central American tropical paradise?

This is a little taste of 4000 eyes on the reigning International Garden of the Year. Perhaps Mr Llewellyn might be interested to know what people have for breakfast when they come to Hamilton? Hint: it must be freaking amazing.

Dying from all of the pretty in this photo! Beautiful snap from @naomiyueh

Where does New Zealand’s fave wedding mag go for Italian elegance? The world’s best garden, of course! Beautiful bride, beautiful backdrop at the Medici Court, @newzealandweddingsmagazine

More high fashion for M2Woman at Hamilton Gardens, this time with the serene Japanese garden as the backdrop! Love it @hamiltongardens

All the best gardens have a rocking nightlife, right @stephanieslattery

You know you’re in the world’s best gardens when Grammy Award-winning choirs pop by to perform! @kirsty.fynn checks out the Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa. Jealous!

Lesson #1 in botany from @plantpedia.co.nz: this is an artichoke flower, up close and blooming at Hamilton Gardens. Surreal!

@shopstyleconquer is high on life after a blog shoot at the Char Bagh Gardens!

All of the COLOUR! @atticandglory snaps Hamilton Gardens blossoming in immodest shades of every hue possible.

…and it was all yellow! Brilliant burst of colour, from @thorishec.

It took us a while to figure out what was going on here, but when we did -wow! Love the new take on the bridge at the Tropical Garden, @sarasofiaalmeida!

Hamilton has a perennial tropical garden, and it’s a stunner, right @healthyselfforlife?

Eddie Redmayne’s week with Marilyn pales in comparison to a lifetime with Marilyn at Hamilton Gardens! @aishabower poses with the queen herself. Love the fluoro, girls!

The prints! The people! The pooch! This is summer at the Hamilton Gardens, with @tatianarodrigueslins,

Who doesn’t love a maypole with bunting?! Gardens visitor @miaemcmanus checks out the teddy bear picnic on a gorgeous Hamilton day.

The dress! The kiss! The flowers! The gardens! @katerphoto snaps these newly-weds falling in love all over again under this beautiful light.

Stepping foot into the Hamilton Gardens is to step into a whimsical adventure of foreign lands and fanciful imagination. So it’s only fitting that there’s an homage to everybody’s favourite whimsical adventure story -Alice in Wonderland. Cute! This,from @tonigarson

@rhimae_ lives the Lewis Carroll dream -catching the White Rabbit for a snuggle! Wonder if the Mad Hatter was next?

The Mad Hatter gets his share of love from @nix.lee!

We know what @rightanglegirl would bring to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party: Squirrel Cookies! We’re totally on board with cute garden-themed foods.

Walking With Dinosaurs: Charlie is proof that sometimes the experience is in what you bring to the Gardens. We’re in love, @missemilylane!

Gatsby Girls: @christine_hardy gets all dolled up for the Hamilton Gardens Gatsby Party!

Classic: Possibly hands-down our favourite shot from the Gatsby Party -love it, @yana_cielo!

We love the 1920s themed conservatory too, @scottie_87!

Take me back to Tuscany: @j_beaumont snaps the beautiful Italian Renaissance Garden!

@bariimounir plays Romeo to this pretty lady’s Juliet at the Medici Court!

Think Rome was built in a day? Think again. @whirringblender’s friend Chris gets up close and personal with a suckling baby Romulus and Remus before the founding of Rome.

From far away legends to ones closer to home, @naomi_dave_crawford takes in the story of Maui at the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival.

Not in Kansas anymore: Ruby-shod @chloe_z17 visits the ducks at Turtle Lake!

@blue.eyes1happens upon this gem in the gardens.

The green expanse of the Rhododendron Lawn may be quiet and assuming when @romanpacific visited, but it sure packs a punch as one of the best open-air venues in Hamilton! Our favourite was Rocky Horror under the stars.

A River Runs Through It: @chissy01hangs out on the banks of the Waikato River

@chissy01 takes a step back in time, into the magnificent and unbelievably intricate Tudor Gardens.

@healthyselfforlife takes a walk around the perimeter of the Tudor Gardens. We’re obsessed with the architecture!

@roshani_arul taps into her inner Jane Austen and takes a turn about the picturesque English Rose Garden.

Another other-worldly walkway, this time the Chinese Scholars Garden from, @yen_pryn

@govnix snaps sunlight coming down through the bamboo forest at the Chinese Scholars Garden

@jaydizzle_c transports us to the beautiful orient with this shot of the Chinese Scholar’s Garden. Pretty pretty.

Genius at Work: A rare behind-the-scenes shot of the Father of the Gardens, Dr Peter Sergel creating a scale model of a mysterious, brooding 9m tall ‘Tron’ for the upcoming Surrealist Garden at @hamiltongardens

@johanna_dygryn_ snaps another kind of special visitor to the Gardens. Stunning closeup!

@k8ieann braves the sting for this spectacular closeup

Très adorable, @mimiyangforever!

Frolicking amongst flowers, @steffchou!

A Little Princess in A Secret Garden: @naomi_dave_crawford’s little girl channels all things Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Unicorn! This mythical creature may be beautiful, but it bears the shield of Mary, Queen of Scots -aka Bloody Mary. Fab, @eloursnz!

Bottom brandishing Shakespeare’s shield high above the Tudor Gardens. Love it @eloursnz!

We’re starting to wonder if Hamilton Gardens was the true inspiration behind the cover art of Arundhati Roy’s ‘The God of Small Things’…so love it, @karenferguson!

The Indian Garden makes @b_mahajan feel like a maharaja!

Indian Star: @chloe.travels takes it to the next level at the Indian Garden, with her gorgeous Indian-inspired dress! Please Hamilton, can we have a Bollywood party here?!

@marisavazey captures the intricate details inside the Indian Garden.

Popping corn at the Gardens! It’s totally a thing right @nattybegood?

Icing on the Cake: Oh, and did we mention there are peacocks at @hamiltongardens?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

#NZMusicMonth Guest Post: Hunting Hamilton Music

When we discovered HP of @HPwritesstuff on the blog http://hphamilton.blogspot.co.nz, we were immediately taken by his passion for music and his ability to take his thorough and wide-ranging knowledge of musical-everythings and write about it in such a way that even musical n00bs (like us) were hooked. So of course, we absolutely had to have him as a #NZMusicMonth guest blogger.



Hamilton Music is not something that runs down the street howling and whooping in the kinds of ecstasy that makes you think it’s on, well…ecstasy. It is a more contained beast. It is humble in nature and can be quite well hidden. Hamilton Music lives in practice rooms, garages and pubs across the city and is almost entirely nocturnal. One may see signs of its existence on the streets in a faded promotional poser or a rather dashing young man with guitar case, but it takes some doing to see it in its natural habitat.

On the trail of Hamilton Music sees visits to favourite live music venues like Static, Altitude, Biddy Mulligans and Diggers. Once inside these venues, the true nature of Hamilton Music can be found. It’s raucous and pummelling and its reputation for grit is truly deserved. There might be claims that Hamilton Music is a tad adversarial. And it is. It’s no surprise that the Meteor hosts the seminal Hamilton Music event of the year, Hamtown Smakdown. No surprise too that rock, hardcore punk and metal spew out of the guitars, drums and mics of local heroes. Bands like Devilskin, Team Kill and Deathnir smash through sets like they’re pumpkins. But it doesn’t stop there.

Continuing our anthropological voyage sees Hamilton as the home of hip hop too. The vast majority of hip hop collective Villains call Hamilton home. They’ve come together when the likes of 4 Corners, JB and Frankton Zoo all saw the potential of collaboration. Add to that, the soulful jams of Raiza Biza and Farizone. Hey, for that matter, add DJ Sir Vere to the mix! Hip hop is just as Hamilton as the heavy stuff.

While our hip neighbours to the west get some great bands touring through and, looking forward to playing Raglan is regularly mentioned, the culture of local bands playing local venues is something uniquely Hamilton. There is an array of arty, groovy, peculiar and ultimately rather enjoyable music here. There is something about the town that allows for musical expression in all directions than a concentrated “scene”. There’s something in the concrete holding up the WINTEC, the steel holding up the bridges, there’s something in the fog that has allowed for music both vast and successful. Kimbra is Hamilton Music as much as Katchafire. They struck out in a town that they knew could be louder.

With all this talent, Hamilton Music can continue to grow its audience. So, head down to see chamber music at the uni’s performing arts centre or ska coming from upstarts, Chatchy. Hopefully you’ll be dressed as the Mad Hatter and hear rockers Cheshire Grimm and Snake Oil Pedders play the annual ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ gig at Altitude. Go out and hear Vegas Brown in any number of his bands belting out your favourite songs. And then go home and grab whatever qualifies as an instrument and add to the ruckus.

Tagged , , , , ,

Can You Believe It’s Hamilton?!

It’s our latest #lovethetron roundup!

Love love love. @flibertygibbety snaps Eno & Shida beautifying the Tron with gorgeous wall art.

@CreativeWaikato sends us another snap from Eno & Shida on Ward Lane. Stunner.

Food baby in the making: Dad-to-be @whiskeycully indulges at the nightmarkets.

No seriously…can you believe it’s Hamilton?! We sure can. We are nuts for the new MAC counter at @FarmersNZ and so was @webtaniwha it seems!

High praise: @Webtaniwha reckons the new @yoghurtstory at @centre_place is like the love child of House of G, TopShop and The Gap.

…we only hope he is meaning for his tastebuds!

Momentous: The Talented Mr Middleton @JMiddleton_imgs strikes again!

This gorgeous lady is our number 1 supporter and Queen of the #hamiltonmafia, so we absolutely had to send @missB_nz a #lovethetron tee.

…and @missB_nz certainly does not disappoint with this uber cool graphic of the Tron’s Twitterati !

@DarkroomJesse and his boys play ball on a beautiful Hamilton spring day.

Mr and Mrs Hamilton? In line with recent tradition, @chamfy takes a mandatory @CptHamilton2013 photo on her graduation day!

@hornykitten uncovers a hidden tribute from Hamilton to the late Princess Di. You learn something new about this city everyday!

With a gorgeous study spot like this from @danielfarrellnz, why wouldn’t you hit the books?!

@chamfy discovers the Green Grocer at Hamilton East.

Too cool. @nattybegood played the harmonica alongside The Southern Diplomats at the Atomic Festival.

@georgie_pienz checks out the quirky offerings at this year’s Fringe Festival!

Wherepho Art Thou? @JakeQuinn is pretty excited about the new Vietnamese place opening on Vic Street!

@webtaniwha dreams of Mr Milton.

Who needs gondolas when you can water ski right through Hamilton’s CBD? Awesome pic from @hornykitten!

Another reason to love the Tron in springtime: blue irises growing out side the @waikatotimes newsroom!

Fashionista @crikarika dreams up a a new wardrobe.

We love dads who are cool enough to take selfies. We love it even more when it’s dad-of-the-year @DarkroomJesse posing with his boy at Milk and Honey.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Can You Believe It’s Hamilton?!

It’s our latest #lovethetron roundup!

Midnight in Hamilton: the city’s historic rotunda under the bridge comes to life at night. Stunning, from @JMiddleton_imgs.

Yin and Yang: @chamfy catches sunshine in her teacup on a beautiful August morning at @CoffeeandFood.

@jessvandy enjoys the sweet beats of Mr Neems at Wonderhorse Bar.

@jessvandy enjoys the sweet beats of Mr Neems at Wonderhorse Bar.

Ginger ninja: @ames_taylor catches the elusive gingerbread man and eats him at Mavis & Co.

Ginger ninja: @ames_taylor catches the elusive gingerbread man and eats him at Mavis & Co.

We looked out of the window at Artspost and spotted fairies flying high above the Waikato river.

Hamilton is kind of a big deal in the foodie world: @hornykitten finds an apron that confirms everything we already knew.

@chamfy heads south of the border, down @mexiconz way and finds this eclectic collection of treasures.

Dad of the Year: foster father to many, @darkroomjesse featured with his gorgeous family in @waikatotimes. Much #mafialove.

Serenity in the Tron: @teachernz spends some time in the Japanese Contemplation Garden at the Hamilton Gardens.

Serenity in the Tron: @teachernz spends some time in the Japanese Contemplation Garden at the Hamilton Gardens.

Man about the bridges: the Fairfield Bridge through the eyes of @JMiddleton_imgs.

A bird in hand: @kyleebeee spots 5 tui hanging out on a kowhai tree.

Spring is in the air: @angelacuming enjoys Magnolias in full blossom.

Scott’s goes Steampunk: @hornykitten orders green tea hops on board the Time Machine.

East is east: We discovered this little slice of India on the east end of Collingwood Street. Pop in and immerse yourself in colourful traditional trinkets and garments from the East.

What’s on in Hamilton: We love this colourful noticeboard at Gordon Harris in Casabella Lane!

@chamfy spends an afternoon at the Hamilton Gardens and discovers stunning Hispanic art.

Hometown Hero: @WriteOnNZ snaps her cousin James with his hero Augustine Pulu at the @ChiefsRugby Parade.

Hometown Hero: @WriteOnNZ snaps her cousin James with his hero Augustine Pulu at the @ChiefsRugby Parade.

Team Rocket: @NZVic enjoys the first day of spring, riverside.

Team Rocket: @NZVic enjoys the first day of spring, riverside.

@ebryantnz enjoys street sounds while wandering through the Frankton Markets.

Gorgeous pieces from Thieves&Co at the @WintecSPARK markets.

In a hurry: They may not have gotten the chance to finish, but the sentiment is clear. This from new Hamilton resident @tarasutherland.

In a hurry: They may not have gotten the chance to finish, but the sentiment is clear. This from new Hamilton resident @tarasutherland.

Prettiest little sushi shop: @ames_taylor goes for a wander around Frankton Village.

Prettiest little sushi shop: @ames_taylor goes for a wander around Frankton Village.

@gsrwrc snaps the Hellmilton Roller Ghouls in action at the Roller Derby.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Captain Hamiltron: The Friendliest Man in Hamilton?

History may be divided as to whether Captain John Fane Charles Hamilton was a hero or a villain, but the present-day incarnation of our city’s namesake seems to be more popular amongst Hamiltonians than his previous (and living) reputation has ever been.

The second of our contenders for the title of ‘Friendliest Man in Hamilton‘, this bronzed specimen of manliness maintains constant vigil over Civic Square (and also watches over Garden Place out of the corner of one eye).

All day long, he is pinched, pulled, prodded and be-hatted to within an inch of his life. It is not unusual to wander past and see locals dressing him up in Mooloo colours, or children attempting to climb onto his shoulders and ride piggyback. We once spent a sunny afternoon sitting at Civic Square and watched throngs of passersby take a detour to the Captain -some to read his plaque, some to touch his steely face (to get a definitive answer as to whether he is real or not), and many more, just to pose for a photo.

Not only is he weirdly approachable in person, but Captain Hamiltron -as we’ve come to fondly call him -has become a bit of a big deal on the internet in the four months or so since he was gifted to the city by the Gallagher family. His photos are regularly posted on #lovethetron by Hamiltonian tweeters, he has even started his own account @CptHamilton2013 and is apparently running for Mayor in this year’s local government elections.

He might be pint-sized and immobile, but this city certainly seems to have a whole lot of love for Captain Hamiltron.


Patriotic to the core: @webtaniwha finds Captain Hamiltron getting his #ChiefsMana on for Chiefs v Crusaders.

The locals love him: @wugga happily gives the old Captain lovemarks with a little nighttime light painting.

Heeh @joshuawolver snaps Captain Hamiltron heading to the Hamilton City Council costume party dressed as his favourite movie: Coneheads.

Captain Hamiltron shows his cultured side on Bastille Day by donning @chamfy’s red beret and introducing himself to passersby as ‘Jean Hamiltron’ in a French accent.

Capping ceremony: It’s a momentous occasion for all concerned, as Captain Hamiltron is officially inducted into the O’Brien clan by @DarkroomJesse.

Swoon. @BookieMonsterNZ snaps Captain Hamiltron looking particularly dashing as he takes a turn about Civic Square on a winter’s morning.

@chamfy snaps Captain Hamiltron donning a hard hat and high-viz vest to get stuck into all the construction happening around the city. Wonder how well he can operate the cranes over the CBD?

The Captain takes a bubble bath: We’d rather he did it somewhere a little more private, but at least we know he stands for good (and enjoyable) hygiene practices!

Good Cause #1: He’s the oldest man standing upright in Hamilton (we hope), so it’s only natural that Captain Hamiltron would show his support for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This from @Ithu.

Good cause #2: The reformed Captain Hamiltron is all about saving lives and giving blood. And he thinks you should be too.

Good cause #3: The Captain stands in solidarity with ANZAC brothers he never got to know. This from @HamNZ_Libraries.

Awkward turtle. @nbwjohnston spots Captain Hamiltron third-wheeling on this young couple’s date.

Despite his busy social schedule, the Captain always has time for his fabulous friends. He is pictured here, high rollin’ with Seven Sharp’s @JesseMulligan (and potential celebrity doppelganger?)

Nawwww. A kind stranger lends the Captain a hat and scarf to keep warm through the freezing Waikato winter.

Tagged , , , , ,

Can You Believe It’s Hamilton?!

It’s our latest #lovethetron roundup and 50th blogpost!

This is for real: @webtaniwha snaps Neil Dawson’s artwork, ‘Ripples’, suspends above autumnal trees on the banks of the Waikato River.

@flibertygibbety enjoys the decor at Chim Choo Ree while having the yummiest.dinner.ever.

@chamfy keeps warm at Milk and Honey with a vege pie, lolly cake and Oolong tea.

Spreading the love: We are pretty sure Hamilton has a secret traffic light fairy!

Creative fashion on the runway at the Wearable Ag Awards at Fieldays! Mayor @juliehardakernz was there to capture the moment.

It may be unassuming from the outside, but we peeked into @Soda_Inc’s loading bay and found some cool art on the walls!

We went to visit Creative Waikato’s new space and fell in love with their Underwater Collective mural!

@webtaniwha peeks through the window of Artspost and spies the Bank on Victoria Street.

We love Frankton Sushi, and we especially love their gorgeous calling cards.

@maohv8 on an early (and breathtaking) start to Fieldays.

@webtaniwha visits talented artist Adrian Worsley’s entry at the NZ Farmer Sculpture Competition at Fieldays. Love it!

Separated at birth? @jessemulligan visits the Tron for Fieldays and takes the time out to hang with Captain Hamiltron.

Hamilton’s own boutique brewery @GoodGeorgeBeer proves Fieldays is more than just about cows. @webtaniwha was there to enjoy!

The Other George: @kiwicanary loves the Little George pop-up bar, and so do we!

@webtaniwha snaps balloons rising above Fieldays. Love that balloons are such a big part of Hamilton’s identity!

On top of being named a Top 50 University, Waikato University reminds @chamfy of Tsinghua University. Excellent!

Celebrity chef @joshemmett returns home for Fieldays, and takes the time out to hang with @jess_vandy. We are envious!

Hamilton Garden Guerillas use their powers for good by picking apples to deliver to community groups. Follow more of their secret adventures at @HAMStreetGarden!

Nom noms! @MeggieB_B and her flatties do brunch at the Coffee and Food Establishment.

Another Masterchef on this week’s roundup: Ray McVinnie enjoys
Russian Fudge from Hamilton’s own @DonovancsChoc at the Food Show.

@BethanyPawson thinks Hamilton East is gorgeous. We concur!

Love the @nourishmagazine stall at Tamahere!

It’s always a beautiful day at the Hamilton Lake. Love that this is in the centre of our city! From @ndbrennan.

@DarkroomJesse happens upon a slice of Hamilton’s history on his wanders

Another piece of Hamilton's railroad history from @davejac

Another piece of Hamilton’s railroad history from @davejac

Pretty foggy morning over Seddon Park, from @camerashai.

Looking for fun things to do with the kids? @webtaniwha recommends the new Planet Warriors at @waikatomuseum.

A bit of old school fun for grown ups from @ndbrennan at the Bowlevard!

@JessMolina snaps the pretty lights of Hamilton City through the rain

@JessMolina snaps the lights of Hamilton City

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Can You Believe It’s Hamilton?!

Weekly round-up of #lovethetron for the week ending 22nd May!

LOVING these Hamilton city scenes coming through! This breathtaking birds-eye shot from @ChasingTimeFilm.

@WMSSAssoc catches leaves falling on Waikato University grounds.

@webtaniwha is happy the drought is over because we have our colourful fountains back!

@chamfy does some virtual wall art (we wonder if this is for @jessemulligan or for the new Carls Jr?)

Celeb Tweet #1: @guywilliamsguy chills out with Riff Raff after a day of filming with Jono and Ben in Hamilton (celeb-spotting triple-whammy?).

Pretty pretty boat ramp on the banks of the Waikato River -from @WriteOnNZ!

Might be the prettiest sushi bar ever. @sukh_takhar enjoys Kino sushi on Casabella lane.

@angelacuming recommends going for a walk around suburbia to enjoy falling leaves.

@hornykitten goes for a stroll through the Medici Gardens at the Hamilton Gardens.

Just another day in paradise for @pencarrowstud!

Just another day in paradise for @pencarrowstud!

Blast from the past: @WaikatoRugby reminded us that on 17 May 1988, Waikato beat Wales 28-19! Pictured is Waikato wing James Goldsmith scoring a touchdown.

Noms! @chamfy indulges in Bounty Bar cake from the Coffee and Food Establishment.

Celeb Tweet #2: @jessemulligan hangs out in the Tron and is taken by the beauty of our colourful trees!

@angelacuming goes to the movies at the world’s prettiest cinema (who also happen to be on twitter now: @lidohamilton).

Shepherd’s delight: @thekiwicanary loves red skies at night.

We love it when people send us artwork! This little gem is a collaborative effort from @hamiltonringrd and @hornykitten.

@darkroomjesse wakes up to this every morning. We are certainly envious!

Celeb Tweet #3 (and a double-whammy!): @idodrent hangs out with international illusionist @dansperry at Milk & Honey.

Anyone know a cute blue monster missing a hand?? @angelacuming may have found it for you!

Tagged , , , , , , , ,