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Images, ghosts, abandoned objects, the art of decay

  • 3 minutes

New Zealand

Rust, dust, no fuss as the object slowly collapses

Discover the beauty in rusting objects. It is a reminder of the impermanence of a place. Once there was the bustle of people now there is regenerating bush and silence. It can be spooky walking around the rusting machinery wondering who was the last driver of the bush tram and how it got left in the forest. The closed church with its boarded windows witnessed weddings now it’s only visitor is a pony grazing the unkempt grass.

Abandoned building Matamata highway, Waikato, NZ

Abandoned gold mine Waiuta, West Coast, NZ

Abandoned gold mine Waiuta, rusty door swinging in the breeze, West Coast, NZ

Abandoned Catholic church, Whangamomona, Forgotten Highway, North Island, NZ

Abandoned coal mine digger, West Coast, State Highway 6 touring route

Abandoned county council building Tolaga Bay with abandoned wool knitting machines inside, East Cape

Abandoned farmhouse, Waikato hill country, North Island, NZ

Abandoned farmhouse Nelson to Murchison, location Spring Grove, Great West Coast state highway 6 touring route (sheep in paddock)

Abandoned fence, silent reminder of settlement, Whanganui River Rd, NZ scenic road trip

Abandoned home Murchison to Westport SH6 (cows grazing)

Abandoned hotel Pipiriki, Whanganui River Rd scenic road trip

Abandoned industrial building Tokomaru Bay, East Coast, North Island NZ

Abandoned industrial WWII cement works Warkworth North Island NZ

Abandoned vintage motorhome, outskirts of Matakohe, Northland NZ

Abandoned workshop & washing machine and honey hives in nearby field, nearby Kaitaia, Northland, NZ

Abandoned, wonder what your life story is, outskirts of Matakohe Northland NZ

What is a good place to find abandoned objects for a great photo?

Hot spots for abandoned objects, places and things to photo is where economic activity has fallen off a cliff. People simply walk away. Excellent examples can be found on the West Coast of the South Island where the lure of gold quickly turned to dust.

Denniston coal wagons, empty, abandoned, Westport, NZ

Headless model, abandoned farmhouse, near Kaikohe Northland stories, NZ

Kaipara River abandoned wharf for sale, Northland

Kaikohe abandoned farm house

Millerton abandoned town, abandoned bus stop

Millerton visitor centre, now semi-abandoned, West Coast, NZ

Nine Mile Historic Reserve, Lindis Pass abandoned ruined hotel with lupins blooming South Island NZ

Otorohanga abandoned Toyota franchise still has kiwiana ferm symbol behind its former premises, Waikato, NZ

Rusting and abandoned vintage cars at Horopito Car Wreckers Yard. Black and white photo. North Island

Waihi abandoned gold mine processing plant, Hauraki North Island

Blackwater School, closed, near Waiuta, West Coast, South Island, NZ

Denniston incline with coal bucket and misty conditions, West Coast, NZ

Economic decline, Gold mining relics being reclaimed by nature, Karangahake Gorge

Are you worried, as a travel writer you are making New Zealand look bad when you photograph abandoned places?

I am not worried about New Zealand’s reputation when I photograph abandoned churches or forgotten cemeteries as everywhere in the world there are rusting objects, forgotten places. In fact it is an adventure to walk in the footsteps of forgotten memories.

Church attendance, horses not people, Whangamomona, Forgotton Highway, North Island, NZ

Closed until further notice, St James Church, Forgotton Highway, North Island, NZ

Cemetery views, Waikumete Auckland NZ

Cemeteries, forgotten graves. Lyell historic graveyard Buller Gorge

West Coast Kumara cemetery

Old Stafford Cemetery near Hokitika on West Cost, South Island, New Zealand

Memorials decaying flowers, rustic seat, Waipukurau North Island Pukeora Forest of Memories

Rusting shipwreck Janie Seddon in the bay at Motueka, Nelson

Ship wrecks Scuttled rusting hulk of SS Waverley in shallows of Wairau Lagoons, Marlborough

Spring colour against rusting machinery, inland Rotorua from East Coast

Lonely Grave Historic Reserve, near Millar`s Flat, Otago, New Zealand

Where can you find abandoned buildings for a great photo opportunity?

Abandoned buildings are great photo locations, sad, spooky and in rack and ruin. Economic downturn can result in abandoned buildings. Farming is consolidated into larger blocks of land with small independent farms either sold, houses left to rack and ruin or abandoned. The house is no longer about memories, rather it’s a barn with hay or a place for cows to shelter.

Disappeared Lake House hotel, now a plaque at Lake Waikarimoana LakeHouse site, overgrown loop track

Haberdashery shop, Ophir, Central Otago, New Zealand

An information board at Otatara Pa, a reconstruction of a historic Maori pa (fort) near Taradale, New Zealand

NZ Land Wars heritage sites, Te Porere, the earthworks of the lower redoubt, Taupo, North Island, New Zealand

Ruapekapeka pa military site – ruins of a maori fortress in New Zealand

What happens to a historic battle site? Can you see anything today?

Nineteenth century witnessed war and land approriation resulting in loss of habitat and the abandonment of historic pa sites. All that remains is the shape of whare (home) against the contours of the land. There is no house yet the landscape remembers once there was. Ghosts definitely remember the place.

Denniston historic remains (coal mine), Westport, South Island

Warkworth cement works historic photo circa 1900’s North Island NZ

Hokianga Harbour jetty remains, mangroves and silence

Is old equipment worth photographing?

Technology overtakes objects and pieces making them redundant and no longer useful. Often the value of the object is very little and the piece is simply left in the place it was last used. It is a reminder of the transient nature of many objects. The nineteenth century saw early tractors and now cars are covered in the undergrowth.

Renwick Museum repurposed sculpture uses agricultural machinery parts

Recycled driftwood Hokitika beach sculpture and town identity

Recycled bottles Hundertwasser toilets Kawakawa

Recycled materials for steam punk train Oamaru

Recycled equestrian sculpture made out of recycled scrap metal, Matamata, Waikato

Recycled fun, Kaka Point lookout, two rowers getting into the rhythm

Recycled coal bucket now garden planter, Reefton

Museum pieces, valued because it is old, Oturehua, Otago Central Hayes Engineering Tractor

Old tractor, new tractor Te Mama Museum Totora North

Recycled, repurposed, reimagined decaying objects are fun. Whether the object is functional or not doesn’t matter. The new identity is enough with the history of the object’s life part of the story of its use and function.

Recycled building farmland Wairarapa, New Zealand repurposed functional storage unit for hay

Warkworth Cement Works in stark relief, near Auckland, NZ

Warkworth Cement Works, massive industrial site, Auckland

Warkworth Cement Works

Find out where you can explore abandoned buildings, places time has forgotten in New Zealand.

And you do want truly unique photos while on holiday in New Zealand?

Unique selfie photos or friends and family group photo check out our, Weird places to take a selfie, the public toilets of New Zealand’s North Island.

Agricultural equipment returning to nature, Waikato, NZ

Bathhurst mine site public busstop nearby Huntly, Waikato, NZ

Cement deliveries no more, Forgotten Highway, North Island, NZ

Closed meat works factory, closed shipping company offices, The buildings, a shipping company office and wool store (1912) brick building Tokomaru Bay East coast of New Zealand`s North Island

Coal bucket suspended lifts, Waiuta, West Coast, NZ

Delivery van, past its use by date, Forgotton Highway, Central North Island, NZ

Memories weeping willow tree, maple with new growth, Pukeora Forest of Memories, Waipukurau

Ohura garden centre has seen better days

Ohura main street, closed and empty

Old Ghost Road, now cycle trail, West Coast, NZ

Old Patearoa Store Central Otago New Zealand

On the way past Waipu, going North to Cape Reinga

Paraweka, (Pipiriki) Marae WWI returned soldier’s home, Whanganui River Rd, NZ scenic road trip

Pukeora Forest of Memories tulip in bloom, Waipukurau North Island

Pukeora Forest of Memories Waikpukara, North Island

Quirky original junk is someone’s treasure shop Murchison, the business was for sale!

Ruapuke beach, car wreak, Raglan day trip

St. Patrick (1926) Omaio, Bay of Plenty New Zealand years

West Coast gold mining water blast gun 19th c, Ross


Best Bits travel guide is published by Owned and managed by PacificJane Ltd.

Econiomic decline, Gold mining relics being reclaimed by nature, New Zealand



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