Auckland’s Queen’s Wharf is the proud platform of that ugly corrugated iron shed (but it’s been painted so looks a million dollars) and the much lauded Cloud. I popped in today for a pre-Rugby World Cup event to check out the multi-million dollar construction and see the Pacific Showcase which is happening while political big wigs take part in the Pacific Islands Forum.
I really like it. I hope it stays here permanently.
I was told by someone that it has a 12 year permit. I wonder if she meant 12 months. But either way, right now it is open to the public for this Pacific Showcase. A quick FREE event that has jumped in before the games start to show off all the fabulousness our neighbours in the South Pacific have to offer.
There is food tasting in the demonstration kitchen (I just missed tasting the raw tuna salad) and a little marketplace of goodies like fresh vanilla, honey, coffee beans, hot chilli sauces called Hot Samoan Boys.
You can try coffee grown in Vanuatu, Tonga and Samoa (Tonga was my favourite) and be brave and gulp the very odd tasting noni juice. I can only describe it, in the raw, as liquid blue cheese. Most palates need it mixed with juice. I’d rather leave it for someone else entirely to be honest.
Conveniently you can wash your noni experiment down with hand crafted Matutu beer brewed in the Cook Islands (with the help of some boutique kiwi brewers) and with no additives or preservatives.
Air New Zealand Holidays are there with special Cloud deals to Rarotonga, Samoa and Fiji. In fact to all the Pac islands Air NZ flies to.
There’s also artists here painting live.
So head along Wednesday Sept 7th and Thursday Sept 8th (from noon till 8pm Wednesday; 10am till 3.30pm Thursday). Browse the night market on Wednesday and throughout both days you’ll tap your feet to the drumming of dance groups and pan pipers from the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Samoa and Tahiti.
It’s certainly exciting in Auckland right now. But come Friday night the Islanders will be packed away and the Cloud will become a Rugby World Cup fanzone with big screens – so big that I’m told they need to be divided up lest Ma’a Nonu charges you down and you spill your beer in fear.