Port is an odd place; it has suffered so many rushes and reversals that the historian's head must spin at the thought of everything played out on these narrow little streets. To Maori it was Koputai, the place of high tides, but does not seem to have been of outstanding significance. Northern peoples have poured in and goods have poured out since the early 19thC. Both the first refrigerated shipment of meat and Scott, destined for Antarctica, departed from our little wharf. Calvinists and artists, bankers and opium fiends, Scottish fishermen and Chinese market gardeners have both gouged at and polished the landscape.
When we arrived it was still peopled largely by the descendants of seafaring families and others pinned to the place by associated trades, and by the boho, attracted by its scenic peace and cheap rent. It was Dogtown, chuckled at in patrician Dunedin and scorned by the proper. That has since changed, and we do mourn the days when the drunks knew your name and fistfights spilled into the street not just from bars, but from art galleries. A flurry of gentrification has shuffled that outré social strata and it is now something to live 'out in Port.' But note the adverb; there is still a wee mite of unconscious qualification, a distance from truest vanilla. Long may it live.
All pictures from our wonderful Flickr group chock full of talented parochial enthusiasts, Port Chalmers New Zealand. I'd like to thank them all heartily for allowing us to use the work featured here. Check us out.