Our suitcases arrived, the sun came out, and our talk went great. Time to enjoy Wellington worry-free!
The conference venue, Te Papa.
The lecture hall was lovely, and the conference so well-put together, they really outdid themselves. I would go into specifics, but it would be too dorky. Excellent workshops, excellent tours. Picture below is the balcony off of the tea-time reception space.
The opening reception was held at the National Library of New Zealand, where we were formally welcomed in a Maori welcoming ceremony. We were all led in quietly together (all 150 conference attendees) by a Te Papa conservator. The Library staff was collected together inside, and one of the Maori women on staff was singing a song, asking if we were friends or foes. Our leading conservator, also a Maori woman, sang back that we were friendly. The welcoming singer then had us all come in and sit down together.
After that, we had a long speech/prayer/intention, first in Maori and then in English, about the conference, the goals, the participants. Then more brief speeches by the director of the library (the equivalent of our Librarian of Congress) and the minister of culture. After a second song by the entire Library staff, we were expected to sing a song in return! In Maori! Such pressure... We'd been handed little slips of paper with the words printed on them, and told the tune would be "How Great Thou Art," no doubt to make things easy for us. After the song, wine, aperitifs, and freedom to wander (food and drink free, of course) through the exhibits on the ground floor.
Te Papa is right on the water.
Never fear: there are gaps in the dock where you can leap right into the harbor.
Suspended fern sculpture above a courtyard outside the Wellington town hall.