The crackling sounds of breaking waves pierce the crisp winter morning air as I amble down to the start of the New Plymouth Coastal Walkway near the Lee Breakwater. The clear blue sea stretches out to the horizon where it meets the soft powder-blue sky. The Power Station chimney towers over a container ship berthed at Port Taranaki, and fishing boats are moored by the breakwater. The coastal walkway meanders around the bay past Len Lye’s Wind Wand in the central city out to the white wave-shaped Te Rewa Rewa bridge near the Waiwhakaiho River mouth 7km away and on through Hickford Park to Bell Block Beach.

In the early morning the walkway is quiet near the port. A tag team of three cyclists glide by me – perfect timing to fill the frame of my photograph. By 10am the local inhabitants are waking up to a stunning blue day, if not a little chilly – a perfect morning to pop on their walking shoes and embrace the sea air on the coastal walkway.

The Coastal Walkway has won numerous awards including an International LivCom award for Liveable Communities

A tall spindly red pointer topped by a perspex ball stretches up into the dark blue sky as I near the downtown area. Kinetic artist Len Lye tested his first wind wands in New York during the early sixties, 40 years before this 48-metre high example was installed on the New Plymouth foreshore. On windy days it bends so far in the wind I wonder if it may snap. The Len Lye Centre at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery has more of the New Zealand-born artist’s mesmerising sculptures.

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