Found maps of the Waikato

December 27, 2016

I’ve lived in Raglan, Waikato for 18 months now. I’m preparing to move back to Wellington in just under two weeks, which is a bewildering mixture of excitement and melancholy. It involves a new chapter of working from home, although I’m not changing my employer. I will in fact be returning to Raglan regularly for work, so I look forward to getting in some travel as well.

To wrap things up here I’m clearing my desk of stuff that has been accumulating, and noticed among them a few maps. They’re not all particularly interesting from a cartographic point of view, but I like the “found” or amateur nature of them, and I also like to preserve this kind of information for posterity.

Illustrated map of downtown Hamilton

I found this one while getting a coffee in Metropolis Caffe in the Hamilton City CBD. Hamilton gets a bum rap. I used to talk it down, repeating the jokes about holding your breath as you drive through so that you don’t get chlamydia. However I can hardly diss it; I grew up in Lower Hutt, a few hundred metres from the forlorn CBD with exactly zero interesting shops or places that are worth taking visitors to. In fact when I tell people where I’m from, I either say “Wellington” (where I’ve never actually lived but of course where I have spent a lot of time) or, to be more specific, “Petone” (where I lived most recently for a year, and which I love dearly). That’s despite the fact that Petone is part of Lower Hutt, not Wellington.

Hamilton has a lot of hidden treasures, and is rapidly transforming for the better. The plaza in Centre Place is like nowhere else on a summer’s day. Shops like Browsers and Auteur House honour the arts. Late at night you’ll get an unbeatable albeit pricey alcoholic drink at Wonder Horse, made by a bartender who is actually concentrating on his craft. Frankton is remarkably similar to Petone, I’d be more than happy to live there permanently.

Anyway, I love this vivid map: you can tell the artist who drew it is passionate about Hamilton, and is great at capturing the different feelings you get from wandering about different places in the Hamilton CBD.

I didn't notice the attribution at the bottom left until just now, so I can't tell you whose work this is.

A detail from the above, right in the centre of Hamilton.

Maungatautari (Sanctuary Mountain)

I have had Maungatautari on my list of places to see in the Waikato for nearly the entire time I’ve lived here. However along with Te Waihou/Blue Spring, it’s not going to be crossed off yet.

Pukemiro Line

The Pukemiro Line is a heritage bush tramway hidden away between Raglan/Ngaruawahia and Huntly. It has a remarkable set of railway stock that is still functional, and once a month for most of the year, they open the doors and allow the public to ride. I was so impressed with the restorative work being done that I made an additional donation of $60 after paying for my tickets and food. This is well worth your visit.

Handmade in Hamilton

The day I stumbled across Auteur House (niche DVD rental in Hamilton CBD), I also came across this map on the counter as I became a member. It is a pamphlet directory of shops in Hamilton that sell handmade or otherwise artistic products that are worthy of your custom over the soul-destroying banality of The Base.

The NZ Surf Quest

This map is given pride of wall place in two crucial Raglan institutions: Raglan Roast (coffee) and the Raglan West Food Department (pizza & gelato). While I swear I’ve taken a photo of this map in Raglan Roast, I can’t find it, so I’ll have to pirate these from an online store where you can purchase a copy of the map for yourself.

The map has gold-leaf “scratchie” circles over different surf spots across the country, which you could tick off as you go.

Found maps of the Waikato - December 27, 2016 - Richard Law