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 – September

Spotted: Not  the sort of thing you’d expect in a suburban Street.    Certainly not in a nobby Epsom avenue.  But things   change.    After  another day’s  downpour in this waterlogged Spring,  a Gypsy woman  emerged from one of the  street’s impeccable   gardens.  

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“Keep looking up…”

She’s already been humbled and now, as a new homeless person, she’s about to  be humiliated. Living in the streets she has no money and so tries her luck at the nearest shop.

“I’m homeless today – can you give me a dollar for a coffee?”

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Life is what happens when…

Things don’t always go according to plan.

No wonder John Lennon, and some wise people before him have said, “Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans.”

And yet when the unexpected happens, it invariably throws us and we react.

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Fresh ideas versus same old, same old…

Oscar Wilde once observed that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. So let’s talk about it, that unprecedented threat to our health and well-being – public service television.

Never mind that we’ve never had it, the mere mention of it makes some in the commentariat fume. Take Mike Hoskings. Nice bloke. Shame about the rash he’s developed over this issue, though he’s not alone. Here’s a take from his comments:

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Baker’s choice…

A baker refused, very politely apparently, to provide a wedding cake to a gay couple because he was against same sex marriage.

I am moved to comment on this after listening to aghast responses on the topic from panellists on Radio New Zealand: ‘Stupid.’ and ‘Homophobic.’ And ‘It’s the same as refusing to serve a coloured person in a cafe.’  Is it?

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Yey! It’s official – we’re a happy lot!!

Good news for  Enzed: we came eighth in World Happiness, one ahead of Australia and Sweden, according to the  Sustainable  Development Solutions Network for the UN.

Happiest  country  of all was Norway,  followed by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland in a tightly packed bunch. All of the top four countries rank highly on all the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance. Norway has insulated itself from the boom and bust cycle of many other resource-rich economies.

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Understanding dementia

My mother once told me in a hushed voice that one of our neighbours might have TB. My mother-in-law spoke behind her hand about epilepsy (“E-P”).  Then, it was considered poor practise to tell people they had cancer (they gave up hope) and of course we never mentioned people with that “condition”, homosexuality! Things have changed. So what makes it so hard in the twenty-first century to talk about dementia?

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