“When we see a sign that says ‘Danger: Do Not Enter’, we understand that this is simply a shorthand way of saying ‘Leaving Protected Zone: Demonstrate Personal Accountability Beyond This Point’”: Jeff Chapman (aka Ninjalicious).
Welcome to Urbex Central. We are a loose affiliation of urban explorers based around the geographical centre of New Zealand who for various reasons make a habit of leaving the ‘protected zone’. Essentially, we go wherever we please throughout New Zealand and overseas, and document our adventures in still and moving images and in words. From subterranean tunnels up to the tops of towers and rooves, from abandoned sites through to active sites, we each have our particular haunts.
At the time of updating this page (February 2016) we have about 500 posts to enjoy, including the first published explorers’ pictures from inside Christ Church Cathedral and other Christchurch sites since the earthquakes. Use the dropdown menus up the top and down on the right of this page to browse by geographical region (for example: Auckland, Wellington, Bulgaria), or for location or type of activity (for example: rooftopping, climbing, draining, bridges, ship). Videos can be browsed, both in 1080p full HD and in 4K ultra high resolution, along with photography. We also have a highlights category where we will variously showcase some of our favourite explorations. Check out our locations around New Zealand and overseas.
You’ll notice that we don’t pinpoint exactly where the sites we explore lie on a map. This is intentional. We do not wish our publishing of images to create additional difficulties for the legal owners of the sites we explore. We ask that media respect our wishes in this regard when reporting on our publications. We subscribe to the worldwide “take only photographs, leave only footprints” ethical code. This makes our community distinct from those who seek to transform and/or profit off the urban landscape, including street/graffiti artists, taggers, thieves, vandals, arsonists and burglars. We probably have the most in common with parkour athletes and skateboarders, both of whom fleetingly utilise spaces owned by others in order to create visual and performance art, leaving no trace.
We’ve been asked by newspapers in New Zealand and abroad why we explore. A few figures in authority have expressed concern at what we do. Sometimes our images are used to illustrate a wider news story. Sometimes our activities are the story itself. On occasion we’ve captured the attention of bloggers. We are artists, and it is hard to codify artistic inspiration. We see it as a natural human inclination to acclimatise to our surroundings. We are participants in the city who wish to get to know our urban setting. Cities are complex and at times unwieldy places, providing opportunities to observe them from unusually seen angles. As artists we find these unique angles to be informative and aesthetically pleasing.
Some of us explore to uncover and to document the forbidding beauty of abandoned, overlooked, secluded or restricted environments. Some of us enjoy personally experiencing the concept of public ownership by exploring urban infrastructure that has been built out of our contributions as tax-paying citizens. Some of us explore for the physical, psychological and ethical challenges involved with confounding the porous barriers around us that separate the known environment from the lesser known. All of us share the desire to learn from and to interact with the world around us in deeper ways. And together, we try to do so leaving as light a footprint as we possibly can. Please enjoy and revisit our site which is constantly getting updated.
If you’d like to get in contact, to find out more about the New Zealand urban exploration communities, perhaps get involved or come experience exploring with us, drop us a message via the contact tab under the ABOUT/HOME menu top left. Remember we don’t give out location information to anyone we haven’t met in person.