Mt Eden Rd during Lockdown

Every modern city in the world has rail or trams. Why? Because they’re economic and provide an alternative to air polluting cars. Remember the calm of our lockdown when the air seemed sweeter and full of birdsong? So why do our Wellington poohbahs persist in denying us rapid rail at a time when cars form gridlocks on the motorways. Blame National which blocked it three times, and New Zealand First. Will Aucklanders be walking or cycling to work soon? Or maybe they’ll prefer to work from home.

A Stop/Go moment

Flowers left by Rotorua residents at the home of a local Muslim

On This Day – we can call it that now because of its notoriety – we drove through Mt Roskill and paused for the stop-go road worker. We sighed and complied – just another Auckland roading improvement. On the footpath beside us, a Muslim in traditional dress tugged at his reluctant son’s hand and dragged him home as he strode past, looking grim. 

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That was then…

One of the joys of de-cluttering for people who didn’t want to do it in the first place, is that you sometimes find unexpected treasures. Things that weren’t that special but for some reason you just couldn’t throw away.

As we foraged through paper mountains in a spare room, we found a special 100th issue of Metro magazine, dated October 1989 and called In Our time – Auckland in the Eighties.

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Thank God That’s Over: The 2019 Academy Awards

I watched a little of the television coverage of the 2019 Academy Awards and  briefly scanned the online updates from sources such as Variety and Indiewire., The was one bright moment in Olivia Coleman’s acceptance speech and the US audience ratings appeared to reverse last year’s slump, but it wasn’t essential viewing. It hasn’t been so for the past decade or more.

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The Nelson fires and climate change…

Note to  self: Must stop going to the welcoming sunshine of Nelson.   Not because I dislike the  place – that’s impossible. It’s because the visits usually coincide with calamities of one sort or another.

First  a giant squid washed  ashore at Farewell Spit in 2011,  then the next year, a mass stranding of  pilot whales in Golden Bay in February 2017. And finally,  last month’s  Nelson fires –  the worst in 60 years and the third worst  in New Zealand’s history).

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March miscellany

The rains were coming, unusually, and the peaches we’d  been monitoring  in the burning  sun for weeks were flushed and  ripe on  our neighbour’s tree.  She invited us to take as many as we liked  because she didn’t want the birds to snaffle these delights. Neither did we, and so in her backyard  Griff welcomed me and watched as I took to a loaded branch with a six foot bamboo pole. 

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Perspectives on Waitangi Day…

Waitangi Day…

This year we asked  some of our contributors to write about what the day meant to them. Their views show that there’s cause for celebration, potential  for greater involvement and appreciation of the day’s significance.  First off, freelance writer  Chris Horan:

Like most New Zealanders I’ve never been to Waitangi and doubt I’ll ever get there. What I’ve seen on TV has very often been divisive. However, a few years ago I happened to be in Oamaru on Waitangi Day.The event was celebrated a few miles from town. We drove over a grass track through a field ready to harvest sun-flowers.

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Apartheid’s good old days….really?

It’s a risky business looking beneath the surface of the social media midden, but hard to resist when the subject is close to your heart. I lived and worked in South Africa in 1963-64, where the reality of apartheid became a shocking formative experience for me. I’ve since keenly followed the politics of author Alan Paton’s ‘Cry The Beloved Country’, his lament for the arrival of a  rigidly segregated  country.

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Soggy pants flight

“Six o’clock!” she cried and the bedsheets undid. “We’ll miss the bus. Won’t catch the plane!”

So she ran and he ran and they ran, until they came… to the wristwatch which, glowing with a smug luminosity on the bedside table, told them: “It’s only five o’clock”.

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