In a series of sketches and short narratives I will take you to New Zealand’s North Island. These are the fruits of my explorations around the time of the International Urban Sketchers Symposium in Auckland in April 2023. Embark on this voyage, offering a window into the beauty of New Zealand and its people.

NL: De Nederlandse versie van dit blog artikel is gepubliceerd op de website van Urban Sketchers Nederland.
EN: The Dutch version of this blog article has been published on the Urban Sketchers Netherlands website.

It is the week before the symposium and I have some days alone to kick off my time in Aotearoa, as New Zealand is called in Maōri language. Yesterday I arrived in Auckland, basically dragging myself through the day and rested to lessen my jet lag.

Now it is Thursday evening April 13th and I find myself in Wellington, disembarking from the Northern Explorer train. It was a long but remarkable journey from Auckland to Wellington. The past 11 hours my train has been sliding through the landscapes of the North Island. Each view was a new photo opportunity and I made sure to capture as many as I could from the open car of the train.

The trip was anything but monotonous. The changing scenery kept things interesting. The lady next to me, Tony, was a native of Wellington and we quickly fell into friendly chatter. Her local insights and stories about the city made the journey feel shorter and even more enjoyable.

During our short stop in Hamilton, many passengers took the opportunity to stretch their legs. I am not a train or plane sketcher like many other urban sketchers. I simply don’t find it convenient to sketch in a moving vehicle. So I decided to use this stop to sketch a quick scene of a random house near the train station, knowing that I would only have a couple of minutes. I sketched from my seat in the train and I applied the watercolors when the train had continued our journey.

This unexpected break provided a perfect moment to immortalise an almost anonymous slice of the trip. Being the first sketch of the three weeks in New Zealand it will probably be the quickest one of the trip.

I will be in Wellington until Sunday April 16th and I am eager to explore the city. The photos below and the sketch from the train journey are just the beginning of my adventure here. In the next blog post I will show and tell you more about my stay in Wellington.