Why Wellington is cool

Walking to the Sunday market, a circle of Falun Gong followers were seated on the grass in Aro Park doing their meditative exercises as plangent music played from a portable sound system. Beside them, in the Aro Valley community hall, the wonderful uplifting singing of an African evangelical church group rose to the heavens. A few steps on, at the fence of the play centre a young (non-Chinese) boy called ‘ni hao’, greeting a friend, a (Chinese) girl already playing inside.

After the market, where middle-aged Pakeha like me are a definite minority, we called into Le Moulin, the French-style bakery run by Cambodian migrants, for an oven-warm baguette and almond croissants.

The sun was shining, and I thought to myself, “isn’t Wellington an amazing city”. The monolingual, monocultural world of my childhood has long gone, the new New Zealand is a different place, and it’s almost possible to believe that Wellington really is the coolest little capital in the world!

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