Me and the dentist are strangers but I know I’m in good company there. It’s not the childhood memories – though these linger and range from the scary whine of the drill to the dull ache which often followed. It’s not the money either (okay, it is) – dental work these days is brutally expensive.
Friends joke that they knew we’d come home crowing about Oz; how much sunnier it was – and all those beaches.
They were right – and wrong: Eight days in Melbourne and we saw the sun only when our Air New Zealand flight lifted off the tarmac. Beaches? Sort of. Great long strips lacking the intimacy of ours, with their Pohutukawa blossoms and streams meandering their way into the sea.
We did however return with something unexpected – memories of a vibrant public broadcasting industry.
Once upon a time in Paradise, hotels and resorts sprung up like flowers in spring. The rulers of Paradise and international hotel chains smiled, “Paradise will be the new destination for our tourists.”
And so it was. Tourists flew in and experienced the pleasures of Paradise. But along the way, the wind changed direction and nearly twenty years later decayed and abandoned resorts dot the isles of Paradise.
Since 2001 JAFAs have quite rightly called it None Tree Hill. Some even grew accustomed to the sight of the shorn iconic cone in their midst. Most people assumed that a tree would be planted soon after the Monterey pine was attacked for the second time in 1999 by Maori activists. Not so. All it took was a mere 15 years of PC tip-toeing over protocols and types of trees.
‘The Super Gold Card recognises the valued contribution our seniors and veterans have made, and continue to make to New Zealand society’. Ahh… warm fuzzies. Makes you feel proud doesn’t it? Included. Accepted. Institutionally respected and acknowledged at the highest levels. Free to roam, off-peak that is.
‘Why you’ll love your AT HOP card…’ says the AT handbook about the change from Gold to HOP card in Auckland. You can simply tag on, helping everyone board faster, and tag off. This speeds up the bus journey too, helping to make the service more punctual….(at a price).