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Tuesday March 28 2017

5

Tane Apanui

One man’s bid for train system Tane Apanui talks to Noah Graham about his campaign to gain support for a railway system that would run from North Canterbury through Papanui and into the city How has it been trying to organise the Dash Rail project? I’m a one-man band, so it’s been very difficult trying to organise it. It’s been more than two years of work getting it done. The last city council were a bit more difficult to work with, whereas the new city council is a lot better to work with so that’s been good. I think we’ve elected the right people. Why is having a community railway system in Christchurch important? We Kiwis, we’re addicted to cars. When I was in Australia, I bought myself a nice Holden Commodore but then I took the train and I thought, wow, this is stress-free. You just jump on the train. One of the telling numbers for me that showed we need it was the suicide rate in Christchurch has doubled since the quakes. So I thought about the amount of stress it takes to break someone and if we are adding an extra 10 hours a week of stress because of the morning commute, when we could be sitting on a train using wi-fi just relaxing before work, I think it would go a long way to helping the mindset of the city. We’re fairly tense at the moment and we have been for a couple of years. So putting in a railway that needs to be done anyway, is going to help alleviate those daily stresses. What are some of the challenges you have faced while trying to get this system under way? One of the biggest obstructions I’ve faced when it comes to putting in rail is people don’t think it will succeed. But when you look at modelling for transport, the No 1 concern is travel

CITY GOALS: Tane Apanui has aspirations to implement a Christchurch community railway network to turn the city’s transport system into something suitable for the 21st century. PHOTO: NOAH GRAHAM

time. The train is twice as fast as a bus and 50 per cent faster than a car. So when people wonder why the buses are failing, it’s because they are too slow. Whereas if they were to link up with a main system – this is where the rail should be a centrepiece – your whole public transport system would function better. At the moment, the buses are floundering all over the city. What was it like being a Hornby Ward candidate last year and why did you do it? It was difficult as well. Constituents base a lot of their trust on whether they have met you or not, regardless of what you are actually like. I would go doorknocking and people would say they have already made up their mind. That was hard. I’m a lucky person. No-one can achieve any-

Host Families Required NZIIU require host families for Thai students 18 April – 7 May attending a programme run by NZIIU at Papanui High School. Board of $250.00 p/week applies for one student or $480.00 for a double placement. To register your interest please contact Michelle: 354 9323 or 0274 966 244

thing without the community around them. You can’t be successful without people lifting you up or putting you in a position to be successful. I suppose growing up in a poverty-stricken, broken home, I managed to get a couple of lucky breaks. I came over to Canterbury to play hockey. Even though I’m a high school drop-out from a poor family, I got these really cool opportunities. As a community, we need to recognise the people who have actually helped us get there. You’ve had a variety of jobs, including flying a plane, what was that like? It’s been a lot of work. I did eventually find a job when I was in Australia flying a 1942 de Havilland tiger moth and it was cold and miserable because of the open cockpit. The first five

minutes you are like, wow, and then it hits you and you’re like, “you know, this open cockpit thing is not awesome.” I’ve done a wee bit of flying, but I didn’t do a lot in that job, it just didn’t pay enough. I’ve done more excavator and operator work I suppose in scrap steel yards. Could you tell me a bit about your family? We’re all over the place. We’re not what you’d call a tight family. I’ve got a sister who is awesome. She is the coolest sister in the world. She lived in Christchurch recently and is the chief finance officer of CerebralFix. She bought a house in Westport and is working in the epic centre over there and still working for CerebralFix. You also represented Canterbury in under-18 hockey, what

was that like? I was born and raised in Greymouth so getting into a Canterbury side, especially for hockey, was a big deal. I think I was one of the first kids ever from the West Coast to make the Canterbury side. Then I went on to play for the Canterbury under-21s in 2000. We won both of those tournaments, the under-18 and the under-21s. Then, a few years later, I went on to coach the under-21s and we won both of those tournaments in 2004 and 2005 – back-to-back national tournaments. Playing for Canterbury was awesome, and was definitely one of the highlights of my career. What was coaching like compared to playing? Stressful. Coaching is stressful. When you’re playing, it’s a lot more fun. Coaching takes years off of your life expectancy. You do meet some cool people though. You’ve also worked with deaf and blind communities in Australia and New Zealand, how did you get into that? I was dating a sign language interpreter over in Australia, so I took up sign language. I did a couple of courses over there and, whenever I could help out with the deaf community, I did. I did a camp where you deal with people who are both deaf and blind. If you’ve not seen how deaf and blind people interact, it’s incredible. They’re quick and articulate and if they don’t like you, they let you know really quick. They’re incredible people. If you had spare time, what would you do? If I had time to play hockey, I’d play hockey. I’d go to the gym or I would play World Of Warcraft. Actually, the last time I logged on was probably a month and a half ago because I’ve been so flat out organising the train network. •Readers opinions on the proposed railway system, page 8

NorWest News 28-03-17  

NorWest News 28-03-17

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