Outside the Auckland Town Hall there’s a statue of ‘Robbie’, Auckland’s most influential - and certainly its most colourful mayor. He saved the sparkling waters of our Waitemata from a proposed Brown’s Island sewerage scheme, which would have pumped raw sewage off the island into the harbour. Then he implemented his own sewerage scheme, in the Manukau Harbour using revolutionary oxidation ponds pioneered in California. Robbie pulled off this feat with passion, zeal - and a quality no local politician seems to have these days: imagination.

That statue seems as if it is rallying Aucklanders to rise up to save their harbour which is threatened by the Auckland Council’s plans to provide a 90 metre long extension to Queen’s Wharf - for cruise ships. Already 4,000 have signed a petition opposing the move, and questioning the economic benefits. It all says we’d like access to Queen’s Wharf back the way it used to be 100 years ago…

Miscellany – Of words and oranges and lambs…

Feel like some wordplay  for the festive season?  Well try  these from the Washington Post  for a giggle.  The newspaper published a  contest for readers in which they were asked to supply alternative meanings for various words. These were some of the  winning entries:

Negligent, (adj.), describes a condition in which you absent-mindedly answer the door in your nightie

Lymph, (v.) to walk with a lisp.

Balderdash, (n.) a rapidly receding hairline.

Testicle (n)  a humorous question on an exam.

Oyster (n.) a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.

Pokemon (n.) a Jamaican proctologist.

Circumvent (n.) the opening  in the front of boxer shorts.

Willy-nilly (adj,) impotent.

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A sleepy lagoon, a tropical moon…

Absent-mindedly listening to ‘Radio NZ National’ some years ago, my attention was suddenly focused on the words of an elderly caller.

She was reminiscing with then afternoon host, Jim Mora, about her favourite music. Apparently, she’d grown-up in the King Country milling settlement, Rangataua, just south of Ohakune.

The woman remembered fondly a band that used to play the occasional Saturday night in the local hall in the late 30s. Two things stuck in her memory – the small woman who played the piano, and the large Maori man who played the drums. Apparently, the woman had a ‘great sense of rhythm’.

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Another day in Auckland…

Another day in Auckland and another tree falls. No, not just one but three – all native Puriri.

“Where will the wood pigeons go now?” an anguished neighbour asks as the chain saws roar and a wood chipper finishes the job, grinding once proud trees into garden fill.

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Shattered….

‘Christel is at shattering point’ the back-cover blurb says of Kirsten Warner’s The Sound of Breaking Glass. Shattering.

But I’m still feeling shattered.  And I’m already three days out from finishing the novel.

There’s a lot going on in this book.

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Partisanship on the rise…

Decades after the damage was done, it has finally become acceptable for economists to admit that neo-liberal economics is a politically manipulated means of ensuring that the rich and powerful become more rich and powerful. But with that madness in decline, another has sprung up.

This one is harder to define,  but  people are angry. Intolerance, and partisanship are on the rise. Hard-won laws of justice are threatened. I believe the New Zealand media’s response to US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, is our small contribution to a growing hysteria.

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Godzone – the way we want it?

 Media interests, particularly television, give us, or most of us, exactly what we want; the gossipy, exciting, human interest side of politics that requires no thinking. So much so that we tend to forget that Parliament exists to debate and determine the principles and policies that serve the public interest.

So I was pleased and pleasantly surprised when an editorial in the Otago Daily Times raised questions about policy: “What do we want our public health system to look like? Do we want it to be world class and free? Or a safety net with no-frills care for those unable to afford health insurance?” The answer to this question may not be as predictable as we think.

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Spring and Creativity

Outside there’s a colourful riot of flowers cherry and pink blossoms and  the joyful Springtime chorus of  our birds.   Out there drunk and disorderly,  cheeky Tuis dangle from Kowhais sucking the nectar   from the trees’  golden flowers.

I do love this long awaited time of the year especially this year when  dreary winter  lingered too  long.

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