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APRIL, 2021, #77
the editor’s letter
Alexa, do tell all — Tommy Honey weighs up smart tech at home
the neighbourhood Deep pool of funds needed for water fixes, pinning down the place of the Great Feast, the success of the Parnell Swim Club, and more
Principal-of-the-moment Vaughan Couillault and his brother, wealth adviser — and The Hobson columnist — Warren share their story
34 the detective
the councillor The Ōrākei ward’s Desley Simpson, shares her news
Remuera’s Diane Wilson launches a genealogy website to make family history searches easier
Updates from our three reps: David Seymour, Camilla Belich and Paul Goldsmith
Autumn calls for Lauraine Jacobs’ sage ways with roasted vegetables
Our cover co-star Warren Couillault on why governments shouldn't meddle in the markets
Shiny, pretty things attract our stylish bird
the plan Hamish Firth dreams of a 20-minute solution to urban living
Someone doesn’t stay home and yet another event is scuttled. Andrew Dickens is spitting chips
42 the district diary
the teacher Something is clearly not adding up with maths results, writes Judi Paape
What’s going on in April (we hope)
28 the arriviste Colin Hogg is really, really impressed by a good hedge
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O issue 77, april 2021 Editor & Publisher Kirsty Cameron email@example.com Art Direction & Production Stephen Penny firstname.lastname@example.org Writers this Issue Kirsty Cameron, Talia Parker, Prue Scott, Wayne Thompson, Justine Williams Sub-editor Dawn Adams Columnists Camilla Belich, Warren Couillault, Andrew Dickens, Hamish Firth, Paul Goldsmith, Colin Hogg, Tommy Honey, Lauraine Jacobs, Judi Paape, David Seymour, Desley Simpson Photographer Stephen Penny Cover Men of the hour, Vaughan and Warren Couillault, photographed by Stephen Penny. See The Brothers, page 30
THE HOBSON is published 11 times a year by The Hobson Limited, PO Box 37490 Parnell, Auckland 1151. www.thehobson.co.nz F: The Hobson Magazine I: @The Hobson Ideas, suggestions, advertising inquiries welcome. email@example.com THE HOBSON is Remuera, Parnell and Ōrākei’s community magazine. We deliver into letterboxes in these neighbourhoods, and copies are also at local libraries, cafés, and at businesses including the Vicky Ave and White Heron dairies, and Paper Plus Parnell and Remuera. Find us on Facebook (The Hobson Magazine) and Instagram: @thehobson www.thehobson.co.nz The content of THE HOBSON is copyright. Our words, our pictures. Don’t steal, and don’t borrow without checking with us first. We aim for accuracy but cannot be held liable for any inaccuracies that do occur. The views of our contributors are their own and not necessarily those of THE HOBSON. We don’t favour unsolicited contributions but do welcome you getting in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss ideas. The Hobson Ltd is a member of the Magazine Publishers Association. This publication uses environmentally responsible papers.
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n our cover this month, we bring you the Couillault brothers. Which may answer your question if they are indeed related. Warren is the investment columnist for this magazine and a Remuera local. His younger brother, Vaughan, has been in the news showing laudable leadership as the principal of Papatoetoe High School, thrust into the limelight in the most recent Covid-19 community outbreak. They are a great double act, as our story on page 30 illustrates. In this issue, we bring you more community news: Wayne Thompson was there at the ‘State of Hobson Bay’ water meeting hosted by MP David Seymour and with Councillor Desley Simpson as guest (page 10); we meet an 86-year-old who’s just launched a fabulously easy-to-navigate family history site (page 34), and our new intern Talia Parker dives into the Parnell Swim Club, long a part of the local landscape (page 14). Our self-declared brief is to cover news and people in our area or of interest to our community. We have never been, never will be, one of those freebies where you’re not sure if you’re reading an ad or editorial. If we had a dollar for everyone who tells us they enjoy The Hobson’s journalism and love the magazine arriving in their letterbox (also, a dollar from the people not in the delivery zone who demand mailed copies but never offer to cover the postage), we would be able to fund more of this journalism. So we have set up a PressPatron account. PressPatron is a crowdfunding initiative that allows donations to support community journalism — you have to be approved to be accepted onto the platform. If you value what we do and can spare a few dollars, it would go directly to continuing our local news coverage and doing things like providing extra copies for the libraries. And we would be deeply grateful for the show of support. See presspatron.com/thehobson.
Kirsty Cameron email@example.com 0275 326 424 Facebook: The Hobson Magazine Instagram: @TheHobson
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Left to right from top row: Camilla Belich (The Politicians) is a Labour list MP based in Epsom. An experienced employment lawyer, she lives in central Auckland with her young family. This is her first parliamentary term.
Author, music writer, columnist Colin Hogg (The Arriviste) was born in the deep south. He spent many years living in other parts of Tāmaki Makaurau, before relocating to Remuera from Wadestown.
Desley Simpson (The Councillor) is in her second term as the councillor for the Ōrākei ward. Previously, she served as chair of the Ōrākei Local Board. She is also an accomplished pianist and plays the Town Hall organ on occasion.
Remuera resident Warren Couillault (The Investment) is chairperson and CEO of Hobson Wealth, one of NZ’s leading private wealth advisory groups. He is also the chair of kōura Wealth, a registered KiwiSaver scheme manager.
Urban design critic Tommy Honey (The Suburbanist) is a qualified architectturned-academic. The Remuera resident is a regular guest on RNZ National, discussing the built environment.
Contributing writer Wayne Thompson is a former The New Zealand Herald journalist, covering Auckland news. He has been a resident of Parnell for 36 years.
The Hobson’s food editor, Lauraine Jacobs MNZM (The Menu) lives in Remuera. A former food editor for Cuisine and the Listener, she has published several best-selling cookbooks. She is a champion of NZ ingredients.
Contributing editor Justine Williams (The Magpie) is an interiors stylist, writer and fashion editor. The Remuera resident has been the editor of Simply You and Simply You Living.
Andrew Dickens (The Sound) is the breakfast host on radio station Gold, and hosts Monday afternoons on Newstalk ZB. He’s an alumnus of Vicky Ave Primary, RI and Grammar. Hamish Firth (The Plan) lives with his wife and four daughters in Parnell, just down the road from the Mt Hobson Group, his specialist urban planning consultancy. www.mthobsonproperties. co.nz
Judi Paape (The Teacher) is a parent, grandparent and highly-experienced teacher and junior school principal. A Parnell resident, her column appears bi-monthly.
Paul Goldsmith (The Politicians) is a National list MP based in Epsom. The Remuera resident is the Opposition spokesman on education and was previously Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
David Seymour (The Politician) is the MP for Epsom and was the breakout contestant of the 2018 season of Dancing with the Stars. At the 2020 election he took his ACT party representation from one seat to 10.
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A note on the contributors: Contributors' views and words are their own opinions, and do not necessarily reflect those of the editor.
Local News BAY’S DIRTY SHAME TUGS AT PURSE STRINGS It’s hard to get people to buy into a deal, Desley Simpson said, before taking a deep breath and urging Parnell and Remuera residents to seek a rise in council rates. In return, she promised, they would see a faster improvement to polluted waters. As it turned out, a show of hands told her that nearly all of the 70 citizens at a ‘State of Hobson Bay’ meeting backed the Auckland Council member’s bid to boost spending to bring forward works to benefit the Eastern Isthmus beaches from Quay St to Glendowie, including the regularly fouled waters of Waitaramoa Hobson Bay. Simpson was a guest speaker at the meeting held at St Marks Anglican Church in Remuera. Epsom MP David Seymour said he arranged the meeting to bring the community together to hear experts explain how to untie the complex knot of a problem that was embarrassing for a first world city. “This is going to allow our community to settle on a view on what needs to happen and people are in a position to demand the right action from the right people so the problem gets fixed.” The meeting was five days after the Ōrākei and Waitematā local boards’ joint public meeting that concentrated on water quality issues in Hobson Bay, ongoing since public health warning signs were erected there in January last year. Held under Covid-19 level three restrictions, this meeting had water experts too but was reduced to a Skype session with only 20 members of the public dialling in. Free of gathering limits, Seymour’s later meeting boasted a line-up including mana whenua Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Maia chief operating officer Tom Irvine, community group Hapua Thrive’s Margot Nicholson, council’s Safeswim programme manager Nick Vigar and Watercare’s improvement programme manager, Anin Nama. Irvine, who came from a fatal whale stranding in Northland to be there, said Ngāti Whātua as a large ratepaying organisation and as kaitiaki guardian of environmental health, supports anything that the majority of people want in Waitaramoa Hobson Bay. “The important thing is to clean up the Waitematā Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf for now and the future. The water that we touch in this bay touches the water of the Coromandel so we want the mauri or life force restored.” Margot Nicholson said her neighbourhood group’s focus was on a healthy Hapua Valley and foreshore, appreciated and nurtured by the community. “It is a significant ecological landscape. We love our bay and foreshore and are particularly sad about the highly polluted waterway in and around Waitaramoa and Whakatakataka bays. The great message is they are the polluted forgotten bay no more.”
The audience reacted sympathetically when Nicholson said a family member was denied an 80th birthday wish to swim in the bay because poor water quality flunked the Safeswim guideline. She showed a video clip of a boy saying he would like to snorkel or kayak in the bay but warning signs said he was not allowed contact with its water. There was applause for a woman who said she lived on the bay and experienced an unpleasant odour from the vortex drop shaft in the Ōrākei trunk sewer tunnel. There was applause too when a woman asked why this $120 million tunnel had not solved the bay’s pollution — contrary to the council’s claim in 2010 that it would. Nicholson added: “Let’s see a timetable and committed action plan for Waitaramoa. Desley will show how the process might be sped up and how you can help that but we also know this will require more money from central government and you might like to talk to David (Seymour) about that.” As reported in the March issue of The Hobson, the water quality target rate council introduced in 2018 to fund an improvement programme over 10 years, is a topic for debate in the council’s 10-year budget (public submissions closed on March 22). So far, the extra money has allowed stormwater upgrades and separation of stormwater/wastewater services west of the CBD, which will help the efficiency of the Central Interceptor tunnel being built from the western suburbs to the Māngere Treatment Plant. The council proposal for consultation was to extend the target rate by three years to raise money for a boost to other water quality improvement projects. These include, said Simpson, fixing the Hobson Bay health risks but the funding available meant waiting an unacceptable six years. Her alternative proposal is to both extend the target rate and increase it 5 per cent, in line with a general rates increase. Looking at the water officials present, Simpson said:
“Increasing it in year one  means that these guys can get cracking in 2022.” The impact on ratepayers of a 5 per cent rise in general rates and the target rate, Simpson said, was a home in Parnell would pay an extra $147 a year and a Remuera home $245. — Wayne Thompson p Footnote: Household drinking water and wastewater costs are also due to rise. The Watercare section of the 2021-31 Plan proposes to help fund its $8.1 billion capital works by increasing average charges by $75 and $80 a year in the first two years.
A DETAILED PICTURE The event central to Joseph Jenner Merrett’s 1844 painting, The Maori Feast at Remuera, has long intrigued viewers and historians. Why was it held? Who was there, and where exactly was it? Many of the answers are found in contemporary accounts — the hosts of the great event, or hākari, were Ngāti Whatua leaders as tangata whenua of Remuera, and the feast had a political purpose, to demonstrate mana to the new colonialists and remind them of the impact on the iwi of the region. Over four days in May 1844, 4000 guests dined on 9000 sharks, 100 pigs and 2000-odd bushel baskets of kūmara. In attendance were 17 tribes from Auckland, the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, along with Governor William Hobson, who had agreed to relocate the capital from Kororāreka in the Bay of Islands, to Tāmaki Makaurau. In a new book, Remuera Heritage chair Sue Cooper has set down the who, why and how of the feast. But one mystery
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The book, now available. Below, a lithographic copy of Merrett's work. The original watercolour is held at the Hocken Collections at the University of Otago.
remains: where exactly did the great event take place? Remuera was and is a large area geographically. In The Great Māori Feast at Remuera, Cooper collated the views of several experts who have studied the original watercolour and its lithographic versions (there are differences in each) and its distinctive maunga to pin down the locus, and where exactly Merrett himself had set up his easel. Bruce Hayward, principal scientist at Geomarine Research and Auckland volcanoes expert, believed the main maunga to be Te Kōpuke Mt St John, and that the hākari was located close to what is now the grounds of Dilworth’s senior school on Mt St John Ave. He picked Merrett’s position as being the intersection of Market and Great South roads, to get the Three Kings peaks in the background correct. “The pool on the left was the wetland that existed just south of Market Rd, down towards the old ice-cream factory.” Another expert Cooper writes of is Malcolm Simpson of the Auckland Geology Club. In 2015, he mused that if the prominent cone is indeed Mt St John, it would follow that the artist was viewing the scene from the lower slopes of Ōhinerau Mt Hobson. But, Simpson points out, that “nice solution” is compromised by the two Three Kings peaks included, but which are blocked from view from Mt Hobson by Mt St John. Simpson raised the question of whether the image is indeed a composite view, with Merrett adding the background cones “to give verisimilitude to the view”. A differing location comes from the late David Simmons, who was an ethnologist and assistant director of the Auckland Museum. For Simmons, Merrett’s vantage point would have been the upper veranda of Mainston, the grand
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house that stood on the corner of Remuera and Mainston roads. It is from this birds-eye perch that the hills line up as they appear in the work. Copies of The Great Māori Feast at Remuera by Sue Cooper can be purchased for $25 via remueraheritage.org.nz or the Remuera Library. Email email@example.com p
GIVING BACK VIA THE PARNELL TRUST The Parnell Community Trust is seekng two new members to join its board. With a mission to build strong, connected local communities, the registered charity offers services at several venues and will shortly be launching a new name which better reflects “who we are and what we do”, says chair Kate Wiseman. Core to the trust’s services are community classes and activities; the Parnell Farmers’ Market; venue hire at its Jubilee Building, Parnell, and Epsom sites; early childhood centres, and before and after school and holiday programmes for primary school students. “We are seeking two new trustees to join our board,” says Wiseman. “We have an excellent management team and a broadly experienced, caring board of trustees. We’re particularly seeking people with experience in PR, marketing and communication, and also those with finance and accounting skills. Though if you think you could contribute and have other skillsets, we’d like to hear from you too.” A preferred supplier for Auckland Council for community programmes, the trust employs around 80 people in full and part-time roles, and has average revenues around $4 million. Trustees are volunteer roles, and the time commitment is about a day a month. To find out more or to send your CV and a note saying why you’d be interested, email Kate Wiseman: firstname.lastname@example.org p
THE COMMUNITY CLUB When you think of a competitive swimming club, you might think of gruelling training and a ruthlessly competitive atmosphere. At the Parnell Swim Club, you should think of family, say the coaches, swimmers and parents. Established in 1913 at the Parnell Baths, these days the club has traded salt water and a limited season for year-round training and meets across three venues: the indoor pools at St Cuthbert’s and Sacred Heart schools, and SwimTastic in Mt Wellington. Members range in age from seven to 18. Currently, they have more than 100 competitive and training swimmers, and are always on the lookout for new students to jump in. The club’s head coach, Sam Caradus, was himself trained by top coaches, including Duncan Laing and Jan Cameron, so he understands what it takes to be the best. But he doesn’t believe in the harsh and cutthroat style that often characterised competitive swimming in the past. “I’m grateful that my training taught me discipline, rigour, and hard work,” he says, “but I want my coaching to also be encouraging, uplifting, and positive.” This ethos is the centre of everything the club does. Their focus is on supporting their athletes in a positive way so that they can meet their goals. And you don’t have to be a competitive swimmer to join the Parnell Swim Club. While those with swimming aspirations can join with a competitive membership, there’s also an option for fitness membership, where members can develop their swimming skills with a wide variety of aquatic activities. Notably, the fitness membership is helpful for young people wanting to get
From top Parnell swim stars Mulan Chan See and Ryan Peck, Chan See with a junior swimmer at a meet; current club member Chloe Dickinson with her granddad, the late Alan Dickinson, a former club swimmer, and his souvenir towel from the club's 1960 carnival.
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involved in water polo, which is very physically demanding. Club chair and Remuera resident Tim Yeoman is committed to this diversity of options. “Our point of difference is our community feel – while some other clubs don’t want members who aren’t competitive swimmers, we welcome everyone.” Caradus, who away from the pool practices as an architect with Crosson Architects in Parnell, shares his commitment. When a new member arrives, Sam isn’t assessing their height or their parent’s height or other physical factors – he’s focussed on them as a person. “We’re excited to have them in the community. All our athletes are on a journey with us, and it’s a journey anyone can take. Anyone can be involved in our club.” Clearly, this leadership style gets results. Under the guidance of former international competitor Khaled El Seaidy, the coach for over 13s, young swimmer Mulan Chan See has thrived. She’s been swimming with the club for only 15 months, and has already collected a number of successes, including breaking the record for the 50m breaststroke event in her age group, and received a coveted ‘gold cap’. Gold caps are awarded to swimmers nationwide whose times match worldwide trends of performance improvement patterns. That a PSC swimmer is of this calibre is not a matter of luck, but hard work and determination. Chan See’s training is intense, but rewarding. “My coach can usually fit two hours’ worth of good, hard training into only an hour and a half,” she says. “We
swim an average of 4.5km a session.” When asked about her favourite part about belonging to the club, Chan See’s answer comes easily. “The amazing people, camaraderie and positive environment.” She is also thrilled to be training with a swimmer of El Seaidy’s pedigree. “His extensive experience and great teachings have helped me to better understand how I too can strive to achieve my goal of representing New Zealand internationally.” At this rate, that goal is well within her sights. “We want to create a place that athletes feel good about going to,” says Caradus. “Competition is the facilitator, but for us, it’s secondary to community.” For Mulan’s mum Rita, the PSC has achieved just that. “Right from the start, we felt like we belonged at the PSC,” she said. “At the club, Mulan is learning vital life skills, including goal setting, accountability, and responsibility for herself and others. She has a wonderful circle of swimming friends and comes out of every session smiling, talking, and happy.” Mulan Chan See was identified by the club’s board as a promising young swimmer who would thrive under their elite coaching team. A sponsorship arrangement with the Parnell branch of NZ Sotheby’s International Realty saw her coaching fees covered. “She had a lot of potential,” says Yeoman. “Thanks to Sotheby’s, we could bring her on board.” “Our team is made up of phenomenal ex-athletes,” says q
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live life local
Crafty Moves They're back! A Remuera favourite opens its doors again
Jonathan: Yes, absolutely. It will be wonderful to make a profit of course; but seeing so many people coming into the pharmacy very upset when it closed, really broke Hayley’s heart. The two businesses share a common customer base too, so it was also a way of honouring that. How did people react when they knew it was coming back? Hayley: The reaction was incredible. We put a sign up in the pharmacy saying the sewing store was coming back, and within days we had a list pages long of people wanting to be contacted the minute the doors opened. Hayley, you were the real driver behind this project as you love getting crafty yourself — how did that come about? Hayley: When we first bought the pharmacy six years ago, I popped in to say hello to the lovely women that were working here. One day they said, “why don’t you give knitting a go?” I’d knitted as a child but somehow, just stopped. It was the push I needed to get started again, and they were amazing. I’d bring in my projects and they’d help me every step of the way, and now I knit all the time. I’ve got a four-year-old daughter I knit for, and it feels like every friend I have seems to have a baby shower just so I can knit for them!
Visiting the just-reopened Remuera Wool and Sewing Boutique in its first week back, it’s evident that the local icon had been sorely missed during a period of closure when the former owner retired. Now under the stewardship of pharmacists Hayley Tapp and Jonathan Macdonald — also co-owners of the Life Pharmacy next door — the timing couldn’t be better. With the growth in all things crafty over lockdowns, there couldn’t be a better time to re-establish the business as the destination for premium yarns, guidance and more. Was it a nod to the community and loyal customers that lead you to decide to take the business on, as opposed to just as an extra commercial venture?
Are some of those same staff who helped you back in store? Hayley: Yes! We hired them back again, all of the original staff who taught me to knit again all those years ago. They are so supportive and encouraging, guiding you every step of the way. We have plans in place to start hosting classes and workshops in store, and maybe approach some of the local schools to see if they’d like us to help run some courses for their students. Who made the beautiful pieces on display in the store? Hayley: The women who work in the shop knit when they’re not busy with customers, so we decided to put some of their work up as inspiration. These will rotate so there’s always something new, and what you see, you can make. Follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/RemueraWool) for what’s happening in store, and to see what classes are on offer.
Pharmacists and now wool shop owners Hayley Tapp and Jonathan Macdonald. Photo by Aislyn Stevens, interview by Hélène Ravlich.
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Caradus of the adult coaches. “Our coaches all share the same baseline commitment – that every athlete feels valued.” Former and current competitive swimmers assist as coaches too: Maggie Hubert, who looks after the younger students, was a competitive swimmer in the US. Imogen Rodgers, a student at the University of Auckland is a coach, as is Jack George, a Year 13 Grammar student, swimmer and water polo player. The George family has been involved with the PSC for almost 16 years. “With us, you’re not just jammed into a lane to do drills,” says Yeoman. “You’re part of a whānau.” When asked what she would say to other parents, Rita Chan See offered this advice. “Come and have a look. Come and see the awesome coaches and swimmers in action. Come and meet the PSC parents, buzzing and supporting behind the scenes. Come and feel the vibe of a wonderful community for your children to grow up in.” — Talia Parker p
See parnellswimclub.co.nz for further information
COMMUNITY SERVICE WITH HEART The Parnell Rotary Club has a number of events planned this year to continue raising money for charities that benefit thousands of Aucklanders. Already the club has kicked off its fundraising with a breakfast to go towards installing a community defibrillator in Heard Park on Parnell Rd. A defibrillator is essential in emergency situations. Quick access to one increases the chances of surviving a heart attack significantly. The breakfast’s headlining guest speaker was Parnell local, former PM Sir John Key. Janine Jones, who fundraised for a community AED (automatic external defibrillator) to be installed in Devonport after her own cardiac arrest, knows absolutely the value of a unit being available at any time. “Ours was used within days of being installed,” says Jones. “It was a young man you wouldn’t expect to suffer from this. It really speaks to the value of the community AED. It’s not [just] old or unwell people – it can strike anybody.” The chances of survival decrease by 10-15 per cent with every minute defibrillation is delayed. Having a defibrillator nearby can help ensure that this life-saving treatment is administered in time. Rotary has partnered with the Parnell Business Association on the project. “Many businesses around Parnell have a defibrillator, but when the business closes for the day, it can no longer be accessed,” says club member Avis Nelson. “This one will be available 24/7.” Moving towards winter, the club is continuing its ‘Curtain Call’ initiative with Habitat for Humanity. This project collects unwanted curtains and upcycles them into new drapes, providing families in need with curtains made to fit their homes. Additionally, a golf tournament run in partnership with Countdown at the Titirangi Golf Course will raise funds for Dementia Auckland, an organisation committed to improving the lives of dementia patients, as well as caregivers and family members. Also ongoing across the year is Rotary’s ERK programme, which is the assembly and storage of Emergency Response Kits for countries in the Pacific when extreme weather events hit. “Those are always packed up and ready to go,” says Nelson, to allow a quick response when emergencies arise. “Throughout 2021, we want to continue our ongoing commitment to the community. It’s rewarding, it’s fun, it’s fellowship,” says Nelson of belonging to the club. “You know that you’re doing something really worthwhile.” For more information about their work or joining the Rotary Club of Parnell, see www.rotaryparnell.club. Meetings are held at the Parnell Hotel and Conference Centre on Gladstone Rd on Wednesdays at 7:15am. You can also become a friend of the club and be notified of their upcoming events. — Talia Parker p
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TAKE A SEAT IN PARNELL Alison Ward, Interior Designer and blog ger Cor ner Room Design, and a Par nell resident, inter views Jonathan Gooderham, owner of Jonathan Grant Galleries Par nell.
ABOUT ALISON WARD. I’m a bit of a free spirit so my career unfolded rather than being planned. I have roamed the world absorbing ideas and culture like a sponge and feel most free when I am exploring new places and cultures. I gravitate towards imaginative ideas, wanting to make people think, imagine, smile. With my interior design, I always aim to achieve spaces that give a sense of who the dwellers are on a deeper level. For me that’s something of real value. Online is in…but I really want to connect on a personal level. I believe when you speak your truth with compassion, people will hear you. I seem to be developing a reputation for enlivening commercial spaces with creative treatments such a murals, but my passion lies in protecting our planet with better design decisions. My favourite place in Parnell is on the banks of the Rose Gardens overlooking the ports. I go there with the dogs and my daughter Poppy… it’s our thinking spot. If I were to create a slogan for Parnell, it would be Parnell, powered by the magic of artisans.
Alison Ward and Jonathan Gooderham photographed at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell. Alison Ward seated on Drop chair by Fritz Hansen available from Cult, Jonathan Gooderham seated on Cite armchair designed by Jean Prouve for Vitra, available from Matisse.
Alison: Jonathan, I know you established your first gallery in 1984 and that you deal in traditional and contemporary paintings from the 18th through to the 21st Century. In 1989 you purchased ARTIS Gallery and moved both galleries to their current location at 280 Parnell Road, right in the heart of the Parnell, the ‘Creative Quarter’. Both galleries sit successfully side by side, offering clients a selection of both classical and contemporary art plus you have a basement gallery developed to exhibit sculpture collections. What do you think is the main ingredient of your personal success? Jonathan: I was an art collector long before I opened my first gallery. I am still an avid collector. I feel I see the business interaction between artist, gallery and client from both sides. Alison: How has being located in Parnell contributed to your success? Jonathan: I came to Parnell because at that time the Remuera shopping strip was losing its speciality shops and cafés, which were
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being replaced by banks and other corporate businesses. Parnell is an established area of boutique shops, great restaurants and has a long established history of Art Galleries and Antique Shops. The whole vibrant ‘scene’ was a perfect fit for my business. Alison: When I was pregnant with my little girl Poppy who is now eight, I would drive in each week, from where I was living in West Auckland and would walk around Parnell School with the dogs, imagining Poppy would go there one day. Those walks made me feel like I was home. I have only lived in Parnell for three years so am relatively new to the area, but I’ve been so lucky to feel welcomed in by beautiful, interesting and creative people who live and work here. You have been in Parnell a lot longer than me, what is your best memory of Parnell? Jonathan: I vividly remember Les Harvey, resplendent with cane and straw boater, sitting on a Coalbrookdale park bench outside John Stephens Antiques (opposite my gallery at the time) chatting animatedly to every tourist who walked past. What an example he was to all of us! Alison: There is a great photo of you taken in 1997, sitting in a chair much like the one you are sitting in today, what do you remember about those times in Parnell? Jonathan: We had a lot of fun as can be seen in all the photographs in that exhibition. Sherry Roberts did an amazing job capturing our diverse spirits with fun and good humour, and the launch party in Artis Gallery was an absolute cracker followed by an all-nighter at the VBG. Alison: What do you think is the essence of Parnell? The spirit of place? Jonathan: A vibrant, creative, friendly artistic atmosphere of village life, and as the first established suburb in Auckland in 1841, tradition anchored by the modern architecture and artworks of the Cathedral at the top of the road and the Museum in the Domain. Alison: We’re sitting in front of the famous Mountain Fountain by Terry Stringer, an artist I know you hold in high esteem. The buildings that used to be on the grounds of the Holy Trinity Cathedral were the buildings that inspired me my whole life. The day they were being torn down, I stood there and cried, as to me they represented possibility. I spent hours outside those beautiful buildings imagining the interiors I could create and the ways they could be utilised and filled with purpose again. I’m sure you have imagined many things for Parnell. If you could curate Parnell Road, with no restrictions, what would you do? Jonathan: Several years ago, Miles Nathan and I put together a proposal for a sculpture walk the length of Parnell Road. Starting with the Mountain Fountain here at the top with each gallery on the way down installing sculptures on plinths. We also had ideas about sculptures on other spots of private land. Rotary were keen to get involved and sponsor some plinths, but council bureaucracy at the time soon scuppered that idea! I still think it is a great concept and something that would create a real point of difference for Parnell.
Parnell Business Association liven up some empty store fronts. You have travelled extensively – what would you like to see in Parnell that we don't have at the moment? Jonathan: The installation of 'Blue Plaques' like in London, recognising the important residents and businessmen of Parnell’s long history such as Robert Tod, Sir John Logan Campbell, Gustavus von Tempsky, Sir Frederick Whitaker, John Kinder, Bishop Selwyn, and of course Les Harvey, Bob Sell, and Tony Astle to bring the list up to date. Alison: I would love to see a pop-up gallery event in one of the large empty buildings, something new, interactive and a destination for activity in Parnell. My daughter and I have travelled to Melbourne to visit the national galleries events and they are always inspiring and educational. Do you think Covid has helped us connect more and if so how? Jonathan: Our three gallery websites have been particularly busy with online sales, both here and internationally, New Zealanders are discovering their own country instead of their usual overseas travels.
“I vividly remember Les Harvey, resplendent with cane and straw boater, sitting on a Coalbrookdale park bench chatting animatedly to every tourist who walked past. What an example he was to all of us!” Alison:That's interesting, I feel like Parnell has come out fighting through Covid. There has been a lot of movement on the high street, some stores sadly closing but new and exciting things popping up everywhere. Moving forward I think Parnell will keep welcoming a more diverse community of people and crafts which will help it to evolve and grow. Something not many people reading this would know about me is the fact that I worked a season in Antarctica as a chef out at Cape Roberts for a scientific drilling operation. I had dreamed of going there since I was about 5 and I have never felt so at home in the world as when I was there. I was also an Army trained senior level Chef in The RNZAF, it was an amazing time in my life and I made some friends for life during that period. What is something not many people would know about you? Jonathan: I flew under the harbour bridge on a parasail in 1980– and got into quite a bit of trouble for my efforts!
Alison: As a result of my interior design background and my love for creative spaces, I have a passion for the appearance of the streetscape and windows and have really enjoyed helping the
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Celebrating the residents and businesses of Parnell. Parnell Business Association parnell.net.nz
Hitting a Few Bumps
range cones, orange cones, orange cones, reduced traffic lanes, cycle challenges! If you use Tamaki Dr you’ll be well used to the disruption, particularly along the stretch from the Ngapipi Rd bridge to the port entrance. We’ve all been impacted heavily over the last few years and it’s not over yet. While these have been challenging times of a different sort, I know that this work — whether raising the road to help prevent future flooding or widening Ngapipi bridge to improve safety at one of the worst intersections — is necessary and eventually will be worth it in the long-term. With the orange cones gone from the north construction side, what looked like the completion of the Ngāpipi bridge to Solent St cycleway should have been a cause for celebration. It was to be a safe separated cycleway constructed in such a way as to not compromise vehicle traffic or pedestrians. The reality was, within days of what felt like a soft opening just before Christmas, both Twitter and my inbox were flooded with feedback from justifiably angry members of the public. Keen cyclists had tried out the brand new $14 million cycleway, only to find it unpleasant to ride on, unreasonably bumpy and therefore not really as safe as it should have been. After all this time and money spent, was this really the best Auckland Transport could deliver? I sought an explanation, and almost more importantly an assurance that mistakes would be rectified without further ratepayer spend. Auckland Transport staff explained firstly that this was never a finished product – AT had yet to carry out their quality assessment and sign off on the project. Secondly, they explained that owing to the narrow width of the cycleway, the contractors had opted to lay the tarmac by hand rather than by machine, as they’d done successfully elsewhere. Other sections along the cycleway including the section approaching Mission Bay were agreed to have been completed satisfactorily, with a smooth riding surface. AT has worked closely with cycle stakeholders such as Bike Tamaki Drive and Bike Auckland to identify the areas which need fixing. The good news: because the project has not yet been signed
off, and the work was not considered up to the required standard, the cost of correcting the problem will be met entirely by the contractor. It was agreed that where connections were poorly completed the asphalt will be repaired to provide a smoother surface. In areas where there are serious bumps, the tarmac will be fully replaced and resealed. This work is scheduled for completion no later than the end of April meaning the whole path will be ready for the Easter break. It wouldn’t have been possible to make these improvements sooner without requiring a new traffic management plan which would have been more inconvenience, something we can all agree was to be avoided! It’s simply not good enough that mistakes were made which further delay completion of this vital piece of infrastructure and return Tamaki Dr to its full capacity for road vehicles (more on vehicle lane widths to come). However, I am pleased that Auckland Transport didn’t just leave the job as it was, but listened and responded to the feedback received and worked in collaboration with elected members and stakeholders to ensure the right outcome. Crucially, I’m satisfied with a result where the problem is fixed at absolutely no cost to the ratepayer. Finally, a big thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in our Long-term Plan 2021-31 Recovery Budget consultation. The week-long move to alert level three on Sunday February 28 meant that unfortunately not all ‘in person’ events were able to go ahead as planned. Our engagement team were prepared for this eventuality and had planned a programme of online regional webinars along with some on specific topics such as ‘rates’ and ‘water quality’. Additionally, I know many of you took the time to submit your feedback online or via a phone interview. I really appreciate reading your insights and ideas and always ensure they are central to my decision making process, so thank you. Desley Simpson is the Councillor for Auckland representing the Ōrākei ward
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We Can Do Better
ew Zealand’s Covid performance has been among the best in the world. All 26 deaths were tragic and every one of the 2382 cases (at time of writing) of the virus caused suffering. However, in the context of the global pandemic in which over a million people have died, New Zealand’s figures are exceptional. Furthermore, it has been achieved with fewer total restrictions on freedom within New Zealand than almost any other country has experienced. New Zealand’s success has been attributed by many to the performance of the government, but this is an error. In reality the government of New Zealand had the least challenging job of any government combatting Covid-19. No country could match New Zealand’s combined natural advantages of isolation, wealth, low population age and density, and sophisticated civil society. This made eradication of Covid-19 for long periods possible (although eradication was not the government’s goal when beginning the March 2020 lockdown). Furthermore, the government’s actual performance has, in many respects, been woeful. The initial March lockdown was found to be illegal, while other rules were often illogical and contradictory. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was regularly missing from the frontline, despite assurances from the government that it was available. The government has never rolled out an effective digital contact tracing app, and its manual contact tracing is performing no better now than in August. Altogether, rulemaking, logistics, and technological innovation by the government has been poor. So there is plenty of room for improvement. Success stories in Taiwan and certain states in Australia show that there are areas where New Zealand can significantly enhance its strategy. Additionally, the government's own report following the August 2020 Auckland outbreak concluded its surveillance and testing strategy was not fit for purpose to manage the New Zealand response over the next two to three years. Examples of poor communication, confusing governance and a lack of innovation were highlighted in the report and have already been on display
during the early part of 2021. However, this isn’t a look through the rear view mirror at New Zealand’s successes and failures, but a look through the front windscreen at where we’re going. We now enter a period where New Zealand’s approach needs to change. Four trends; vaccination, public fatigue, virus mutation and technological innovation are changing the nature of the pandemic. As a result, New Zealand’s response must adapt to a world where people are tired of restrictions and are anxious to recommence travel, with the additional safety delivered by vaccines and new technologies. The government’s response to these trends will be critical. Our current response of isolating New Zealand from the world externally and locking down when any outbreak occurs internally is not sustainable as the world changes. It risks being undermined by new virus variants and public fatigue at home. Meanwhile, progress with vaccines and other technologies abroad may leave us behind even if we manage to stand still. The Valentine’s Day outbreaks gave us, and still gives us, the opportunity for a reset in the response. It should come in three phases: immediate changes such as making the scanning in compulsory; short-term changes such as presenting a comprehensive strategy for when vaccination will happen and what being vaccinated will allow; then medium-term changes such as an Australian-style traffic light system for people arriving from different areas of risk. More than anything, such changes will require a change in disposition from the government. To date, it has jealously defended its performance, presumably to maintain public confidence in its measures. That is understandable, but not sustainable. The government must now move to a new paradigm where it invites criticism in order to practice continuous improvement, and maintain confidence for the long haul. David Seymour is the MP for Epsom
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Talk About Timing
ome personal news for the column this month. Ten days ago (as I write) our third child, James (named after my grandfather Sir James Belich) was born just hours before Auckland went into a level three lockdown. Covid-19 has been a consideration throughout my pregnancy with James but ultimately never something that I had to worry about too much. For this, I thank New Zealanders for the way they collectively responded to this pandemic. This meant there was almost no Covid-19 in the community during the past nine months. Like other expectant mothers, I could go about my business, lead a pretty normal life, and (in my case) even campaign in a general election.
I know the situation is harder for pregnant people in other countries. This is because of the research suggesting that those who are pregnant may be at greater risk of poor outcomes when infected with Covid-19 than the general population, meaning greater restrictions on their lives. Covid has shown the importance of New Zealand’s essential workforce. The healthcare professionals, support staff, supermarket workers, cleaners and others have, without fuss or fanfare, kept working in often difficult circumstances. They enabled us to fight the virus and keep our economy ticking over. While many of us spent lockdown with our families, our essential workers kept our country moving. A great comfort to me throughout a pandemic pregnancy was the professionalism and procedures quickly adopted by medical professionals. The staff I dealt with at Auckland City Hospital and Birthcare in Parnell also deserve our praise. I was in labour (small ‘l’) at Auckland City Hospital when the Prime Minister announced that Auckland would go back to level three the following morning at 6am. For staff on duty that night on the labour ward, this meant they had just a few hours to prepare the hospital for level three – no small feat. And like many shift workers, it would be level three by the time their shift ended, meaning they would not have an opportunity to organise their home life ahead of time or even speak to their family. The way the staff dealt with a busy labour ward and preparing for what was coming at 6am was professional and impressive. I want to thank them and acknowledge their unflappable work ethic. When baby James is older, I hope we will have overcome Covid-19 and it will be a part of our history, as a story about how New Zealanders in many ways led the world in our health and economic response. And I hope he will feel as grateful as I do for the care we received that made his journey into the world safe, even in the midst of a global pandemic. Camilla Belich is a Labour list MP based in Epsom Editor’s note: With what was on her plate this month, we suggested that Camilla not worry about writing a column. She gracefully demurred and asked only for a short extension to her usual deadline.
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The Quickening of the Political Cycle
hird term arrogance is a recognised political phenomenon. Ministers have heard all the arguments on any given topic many times already and become impatient with people stating views ministers have grappled with and, in their own mind, defeated five years earlier. They’ve become used to the limousines, public servants waiting at their beck and call, the fuss made about them wherever they go. Both sides of the spectrum have suffered from it. The chatter I’m picking up on the supermarket aisles in the Epsom electorate now, is questioning whether we’ve arrived at that state already — early in the second term of this government. Consider Jacinda Ardern’s recent decision to drop her weekly slot with Mike Hosking. It’s been a long tradition for Prime Ministers – and not always a pleasant one for them. Hosking puts everyone through their paces. Now the PM will do it when it suits, not regularly, week in week out, including when it’s highly inconvenient and doesn’t suit at all. This follows the Deputy PM and Finance Minister, Grant Robertson’s decision to drop his weekly slot of Magic radio with Peter Williams. Apparently Williams said something offensive and that was enough. Robertson was off. Again, Williams was in the habit of asking impertinent questions. Why bother to put yourself through the effort when you’re riding high and in command of Parliament? Consider Exhibit 3: Labour’s 2020 manifesto, page 23 on local government stated: “Labour will ensure that major decisions about local democracy involve full participation of the local population from the outset.” Nowhere did they talk about removing the ability of local populations to have a referendum before introducing Māori wards in local councils. But now in government they have. In bald, up-yours contradiction to their pre-election promise. Jim Bolger will be wondering what’s happened: when he famously broke his promise over means testing superannuation
in 1991, the political world nearly came to an end; he was pilloried. Jacinda Ardern has done it with a shrug. They’ve rammed the law change on Māori wards through Parliament under urgency, with a risible one day for the public to make submissions. Usually the process takes months. Their argument is that on most occasions previously when the public has had a say on the matter, through a referendum, the proposal to introduce Māori wards has been lost. Therefore we have to do away with referendums. The public clearly cannot be trusted to do the right thing. Exhibit 4: the shameless use by Jacinda Ardern of the live broadcasts for political propaganda before giving information. It’s now becoming a running joke for people to guess for how long she will give her sermon — will it be five, seven or 10 minutes this time — before she comes to the announcement everyone has tuned in to hear: are we going to level two or three, when, why, what went wrong? She knows it’s outrageous, but brazenly keeps on doing it. If the Prime Minister ever listened to the humble National List MP based in Epsom, I’d remind her that the period of peak arrogance in a government usually presages its demise. Now, more than ever, we need the Prime Minister and her deputy to be confronted regularly in the media with difficult questions. And when we’re grappling with constitutional changes — such as how we arrange our voting systems, with quite possibly permanent effect — we should have a proper discussion, with all voices heard. And when we’re dealing with a pandemic, the response to which has burdened future generations with untold debt and has dealt a heavy blow to small business owners particularly in affected areas, we need simple, clear and straightforward communication, without the spin. Paul Goldsmith is a National list MP based in Epsom
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Clutching at Straws on Housing
ome of you may recall that I have quoted President Reagan before, but I am going to repeat this now famous quote, as it is as valid today as it was back in August 1986. Reagan said that the nine most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” He really was the greatest small government/low tax president there was and it’s a great pity his successors and even our government leaders and Prime Ministers haven’t heeded his warning. Governments love to meddle and to ‘make a difference’ which is really their collective justification for taking our money and spending it where they will hope to win more votes. The best example of this over the past 12 months is the NZ government awarding $55 million towards ‘sustainable public interest journalism’, This amount is in addition to the $50m dished out last year during the height of the Covid-19 panic pandemic, as well as the normal recourse to relief funding that all other businesses had. This is unabashedly a payoff to those in the media that can and will continue to be a mouthpiece for government policies. Meddling . . . Anyway, the point of this article is the latest round of government meddling in the housing market. In early March, the Reserve Bank (RBNZ) reiterated its commitment to keeping interest rates low for an extended period, given the ongoing requirement for monetary stimulus to support the real economy. It further stated that any short-term inflationary pressures are just that, short term and temporary. This messaging has clearly rattled some in central government which, try as they may, can’t seem to do anything to stop apparent runaway house prices. I understand though: housing affordability continues to be a particularly prickly thorn in this government’s side. The latest Real Estate Institute of New Zealand national house price index had prices up 19.2 per cent year on year, which clearly feels like an unsustainable level of house price growth. And for the government which campaigned on dealing to this issue once and for all, clearly unpalatable. Although this rate of price increases is by all accounts expected to moderate as the affect of lower interest rates reduce and the reintroduction of LVR restrictions take effect, the issue remains politically worrying and maybe even calamitous. So right on script, following on from the RBNZ announcement, minister of finance, Grant Robertson, responded by announcing that “The Reserve Bank is now required to consider the impact on housing when making monetary and financial policy decisions.” As if this is some sort of new ground-breaking development? Sorry Mr Robertson, but financial stability for the overall economy has always been part of NZ’s central bank mandate, with the housing market a key component of this. To specifically imply that the state of the housing market is now part of an already growing remit for the RBNZ is ridiculous. Central banks will always be subject to pressures (meddling) from government, but the value of their independence should
not be understated. While social issues such as housing are an ongoing issue, monetary policy and financial stability best fit the job description. Best not to meddle with the functioning of the RBNZ, tempting as it may be. If the government wants to address the so-called housing crisis, how about taking a look in the mirror rather than searching for someone else to blame. Remember, this is a government that promised to build 16,000 houses over three years (and 100,000 over 10 years) and at last count the number was but a few hundred, with any future targets abandoned. Don’t meddle. With interest rates so low, net population growth and a very low rate of new housing construction is anyone really surprised that house prices continue to rise? Not me. My advice to the government would be to accelerate its acquisition of land, give it to private developers, don’t charge GST or income tax on their activities and help them get on with building houses for people who need them. Increase supply to meet the demand. — Warren Couillault
A 20 Minute Solution
positive to come out of the most recent lockdown is I was walking more, and all over the place (but obeying all the Covid-19 rules). One of my walks led me to St Heliers Bay village. A lovely collection of retail shops, cafés, restaurants and commercial services. From the look of things, you could see your lawyer, have your teeth whitened, have a coffee and grab your basic grocery needs all in about 100 steps. And there was plenty of parking and wide footpaths. A veritable utopia. And it got me thinking. When we are free from regressive lockdowns we rush about madly, usually in our cars, stressing as we hit red lights and drivers whose indicators are always broken. And with the roadworks happening all over the city, we snarl along in fits of rage wondering why it is all so hard. Auckland is a city on the move — everyone, everywhere, all the time. And the city’s growing, as you all know. The conveyor belt of choice came crashing to a halt a little over a year ago and we have at times been confined, more lately to the city walls. What we have rediscovered under a shrunken and a slower way is what it feels like to live in a small village. Your local shops become your go-to, often on foot. The local park is full of people walking, talking and passing time. We have discovered pocket parks and walkways we did not know existed. Many a glass of wine has replaced the usual hurried wave with neighbours. The end result being we are not rushing as much, we are creating stronger local communities and I think we are happier (nb: this happiness may not apply to parents who are home schooling and suddenly have to know the capital of India, the currency of Vietnam and the first 30 elements of the periodic table, all before morning tea). As time has gone on, I thought these lockdowns would get harder. To be honest with you, I now enjoy what they bring, a quieter slower way of living. I have walked every morning, time
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that would normally have gone to being a taxi driver for my children. That is not to say that some businesses will not survive the brutal shutdowns, but in terms of a pace of life, it works for me. So, I wonder if we take the good that has come out of the lockdowns and look to live more locally, and slower. Call it the ‘20-minute precinct’, such that everything you need can be reached within 20 minutes by foot or bike. This would minimise travel time between housing, offices, restaurants, parks, health centres and churches. As I walked through St Heliers village, I wondered if the locals realised that they already have this utopia. The concept itself is not new. In the 1920s, American urban planner Clarence Perry proposed the idea of the liveable ‘neighbourhood unit’ before the mass production of private cars and restrictive city zoning arrived. Copenhagen, the Danish capital, pedestrianised its main shopping street in 1962, before other densely-built European cities took the same approach to their downtowns. Then New Urbanism, an urban planning movement promoting walkable cities, swept across the US in the 1980s. And you will never forget the 1998 movie, The Truman Show. Starring Jim Carrey, it was set in a ‘20 minute’ planned town called Seahaven Island. The 20 minute city represents a major departure from the car dominated lives that we live now. And more importantly, how we respond to the climate change phenomena, Covid-19 and the ever-changing globalisation. While the past has been driven by an ease of how quickly we can drive anywhere, maybe the focus needs to change to be about proximities by walking and biking to the places we need to go. Maybe this also will help with our mental wellbeing and our happiness. On a similar theme, I walked through the Portland Rd wetlands too recently. The stench of polluted mud and sewage fill my nostrils with disdain. I spoke to a more senior gentleman and asked him (as he looked like he had time) why he had not complained to the council. He said he had, many times, but after being met with platitudes but no meaningful actions, he had given up. The state of that wetland is a disgrace. Shame on you Watercare for an under investment in repairs and maintenance and upgrading pipes whose lifespans and design have long passed. — Hamish Firth
Reversing the Trend
here are some pressing issues around the delivery of an excellent education in New Zealand schools that are top of mind at the moment. If we want to lift our students’ achievement to create successful and happy learners who will achieve not only academically but emotionally in the future, then we need to do something different. Every child has a right and deserves a good sound education that will provide them with a successful future — one that will enable them to contribute successfully to their community and ultimately their country.
One pressing issue is the worrying decline in mathematics achievement reported in the latest PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) results released by the OECD. NZ students’ performance in mathematics (at 15 years of age), while still above the OECD average, saw us ranked 22nd out of 37 countries, lower than in previous years and declining. According to the Ministry of Education, this result equates to almost a year of learning. Not too many years ago, around the 2008-9 report, NZ was well up in the top OECD rankings for mathematic achievement. This decline is not only in mathematics but also in reading and science, a worrying trend. Any one of these subjects will have an impact on the other two as they are heavily related in their content. So, to what do we associate this pretty rapid decline? While doing a bit of research I found my own thoughts were pretty general in the teaching world. Schools have changed over the years, which is no surprise. As generations replace other generations of course this is going to have an effect. Children are growing up in a very different world today, particularly with the continued development and sophistication of social media and the development of being able to run a normal school day, online. This really is an exceptional modern-day development which brings with it huge opportunities as well as many disadvantages, for teaching and learning in the future. However, we do need to keep in mind that even though these important subjects, particularly maths, are all recording declining results, which is a worry, New Zealand still rates 8th across the combined three subjects in the 37 OECD counties. The ministry’s evidence, data and knowledge deputy secretary Dr Craig Jones found these latest results a “cause for concern” with those of us in education keen to know who is keeping a close eye on this downward trend and what will be done about it. On further investigation and exploring data on some key issues, we find disproportionate rates of bullying and a high rate of truancy in schools. Also, in this data I noticed there were rising gaps between high and low achievers and a negative attitude to going to school. This saddens me as I always thought that in New Zealand not going to school was never an option. The most important and valuable years for teaching reading, writing, mathematics and science are the early years, the academic starting point when children still have fun and that wonderful curiosity about the world and how it works. Every year is so important in the life of a student and every experience is a learning platform, whether it be a positive or a negative one. I have to say there is no getting away with either of these experiences in life; they are important to academic and personal growth. However, the outcome of both experiences — the learning — is always in the way in which our students are taught to understand their thinking patterns which will result in how they feel and react to any experience that comes their way. Teaching students to understand ‘how to think’ is a highly valued skill for them to understand and which will have a positive effect on every aspect of their learning, particularly in mathematics. Asking questions and valuing their answers is a great way to get them thinking. In my view this is a great starting point to making some positive changes to lifting achievement. There is an urgency from now on for those who manage our educational policy to keep a watchful eye on the PISA studies in the future and to continue to check our results against the rest of the world. Our goal in schools and as a country needs to focus on reversing this downward trend for the sake of our children, so we can proudly prepare them for success in the future. — Judi Paape
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At the Cutting Edge
y gardener moves in mysterious ways. And, yes, I do admit I like using those words “my gardener”. They make me feel like someone in a P G Wodehouse comic novel from early last century. But I’ve always slightly fancied living in a Wodehouse story, perhaps as a befuddled baronet with a long name ending in de Lacey. P G Wodehouse remains one of the few olde worlde writers who might still make you chortle like a fool before strangers if you were to read him while travelling on public transport, though no one would hear you chortle these days, thanks to the masks. But let’s get back to my gardener and his mysterious ways. I really only know he’s with us, out there in the garden, when I hear the roar and rattle of his outdoor equipment as he deals with any unseemly growth by lawn, hedge or encroaching edge. He did the same sort of thing for the previous owners too and he knows what he’s about, so I don’t interfere, except occasionally. “When do you usually do the hedges?” I asked him a while back. “When you want me to,” he said, in that mysterious way of his. So I said sometime soon might be good as it was getting a bit hard to battle my way through to the house. Then one sunny day, a week or so later, I heard the familiar chatter of his trimmer out there as he set about cutting edges back on the hedges. And there are quite a few edges on our hedges, which
usually have rather a disciplined look about them – as many hedges in Remuera seem to. I remain deeply impressed by the hedges of Remuera and environs. So much so, that I mentioned to the editor of this very magazine at our Christmas lunch a few months back that a contest for the best hedge in Remuera might be a splendid idea if enough people could get in behind it and take it off my hands. I thought her smile was encouraging, but it might have been the light, which was low. So I mention it here again just to remind her and, also, in case there are enough proud hedge owners out there to spontaneously get themselves organised, find big-hearted garden-loving sponsors with deep pockets and put our characterful hedges in the spotlight where they belong. Hedges can say an awful lot about the people who live behind them and, given the encouragement of a top-hedge award, I’m sure they could say a great deal more. Around these parts, the hedges are already saying quite a bit anyway. When I previously lived in a more bohemian part of Auckland, I don’t recall much in the way of hedge pride, though there were a lot of hedges. One of my own once became so neglected and out of hand that it fell over. It was a shameful thing and I don’t intend to let it happen again. In fact, I’m currently building up the courage to ask my gardener if he’d consider getting a little more adventurous with the hedges. Right now, they stand in rows with their foliage pulled up and trimmed square, exposing their trunks. They’re so ordered, I feel I should salute when I walk down the path between them. I’m thinking a little topiary might loosen things up a bit, though I’m not sure how the gardener will feel about that. He does have an artistic air about him and it would be great if he could tune into an inner creative streak and pimp up the hedges somewhat. Nothing too outrageous. Well, not at first. And, really, is there any such thing as a little topiary? Whenever I’ve run into topiary, there’s usually quite a lot going on. Though, as mentioned, I’ll have to creep up on the topic with the gardener who, from the little I’ve learned of him, is a chap of fairly wide experience, though he did mention once that he doesn’t think much of politicians. Which might slow down my plan for a nice big bust of Jacinda. — Colin Hogg
Editor’s note: Ok, we’ll salute the fine hedges of our suburbs. Stay tuned.
Colin Hogg contemplates a crisply cut hedgerow
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Just a Bit Too Smart
he Teasmade can perhaps lay the claim to being the first ‘smart’ home appliance. It is a machine for making tea automatically, kept by the bedside and triggered by an analogue alarm clock. They were a symbol of modernity in the 1960s, but the first patent was granted in 1891 and they have been in production since 1933. Now of course, you can control your coffee maker or electric jug from anywhere with your phone thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) which connects your smart appliances to your WiFi network and from there, the world! Preferably just your world and not the one that includes everyone else. Estimates of how many connected devices exist in 2021 range from 14-35 billion, offering convenience and security, but not always both. Video doorbells send alerts to your phone so you can talk to a visitor whether you are home or not — hopefully deterring would-be criminals — and are designed with security in mind. Your electric jug may not be, as was the case with the original iKettle, which was hardwired with the password 000000 allowing a pathway for hackers to access it and from there your WiFi network (and presumably your video doorbell). Stories of such crimes seem to be more apocryphal than evidenced but more insidious things have happened with home connected environments, particularly when relationships break up. The partner no longer in the house can use the technology to stalk or abuse the one who remains. This can be anything from tracking when someone is home or leaves the house, to eavesdropping or manipulating devices remotely. Domestic abuse is about power and IoT devices can allow abuse to continue long after the abuser has left the home – particularly if the system has a single admin account giving one person a password-protected way to control the system; which, inadvertently or not, is built to allow one person to control and monitor the life of another. Voice-controlled virtual assistants can provide a detailed breakdown of questions it has been asked and its search history, personal data that can easily bring relationships into conflict. A trade-off of security for comfort can lead to devices that reveal more than they conceal. Out in the wider world, the use of IoT devices and networks is increasing rapidly in the move to ‘smart cities’ where sensors monitor everything from people to vehicles to infrastructure. Smart cities can improve efficiency in the management of resources, or in transport networks that use the data collected to better understand — and meet — demand. However, there is growing concern about this collection of data, how anonymised it is and how it is used. I like to know when the next bus is due, but do I want the bus company to know that it is me who is waiting? When I use my phone to access data on a network, that access becomes a datapoint on that network. All well and good if I remain a point and not a person. If, the next time I access the same network, it ‘remembers’ me, I wonder how, why and what else it knows about me. Where to place ourselves on the spectrum from total off-grid anonymity to complete, and completely identifiable, connection is perhaps the question of our age. We might individually want to be shielded from Big Tech and their advertisers while collectively be easily identified in a Covid app or to receive an accurate tsunami alert. You may be excused for being bewildered. No more so than the MP who (in the heyday of the Teasmade) was asked what he considered to be humanity’s greatest invention and — in a remarkable anticipation of IoT — replied that it was the Thermos flask: “It keeps hot things hot and cold things cold; how does it know?” — Tommy Honey
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Growing Good Men Papatoetoe translates from te reo Māori to something akin to ‘where the toe-toe grows’. Turns out, it was also rich soil for nurturing two men who shape the future in completely different ways. By Kirsty Cameron
arren and Vaughan are the Couillault brothers. The elder by two years, Warren owns and heads up Hobson Wealth, a successful private wealth advisory business. He has 80 employees across offices in central Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch. As principal of Papatoetoe High School, Vaughan has 1500 students and a staff of 150 under his wing (at 1.9m tall he has a decent wingspan). Papatoetoe High made the headlines recently for its unwanted starring role in the most recent Covid drama to hit Auckland. Vaughan’s “we’ve got this” manner saw him not only being the assuring, empathetic leader of his diverse school community, but also role-modelling How to Be A Great Principal to the country. “He was an exemplar of how we want principals to lead their schools and wider community in a crisis,” says Melanie Webber, president of PPTA Te Wehengaru, the secondary school teachers’ association. “It was clear, calm leadership that made people feel safe and that things were being taken care of.” The Couillaults have deep roots in the Papatoetoe High community — Vaughan was both student and teacher at the school before he returned as principal. The three Couillault kids all attended; the boys and their younger sister, Adele. To hear the brothers tell it, it was a very typically average suburban upbringing of the time (albeit with an unusual French surname courtesy of a great-grandfather). Mum Margaret, a nurse; dad Bob, a business manager; three kids, a dog, the quarter-acre block, jumping off the garage roof onto the high-jump mat (Vaughan), sharing a room (Warren and Vaughan), treehouses, fights with rotten plums, lots of sport, football coached by Bob, Margaret on PTAs, school boards and school committees. The boys both did commerce and business subjects at university. A student job tutoring at Dilworth saw Vaughan drawn to teaching, as was Adele, who became a primary school teacher. At home there was a strong thread of serving, of giving back to the community. “Warren’s the black sheep,” sighs Vaughan, shaking his head in mock despair. “We make a difference. He makes money.” “I look after people’s savings,” counters Warren. “I’m looking after their futures.” There’s a lot of ribbing and poking at each other when the brothers are in the same room, which they haven’t been for some time thanks to the recent lockdowns. They are meeting today at Warren’s city office. He relocated Hobson Wealth last year from a bland city tower to the top floor of a refurbished merchant warehouse. Sitting above retail in the Britomart precinct, the soaring kauri and rimu ceiling is reminiscent of a ship’s timbers, original windows framing the view of the harbour. Captain Hobson would feel at home here and Warren loves the history of the place — his house in Remuera is a restored 1880s grand villa that again honours heritage but with an architectural buffing that melds new with old. From the Hobson Wealth eyrie, it’s also a short walk to Britomart’s hostelries, where the brothers will head for a beer once their chat with The Hobson is the hobson30
wrapped. If anyone deserves a drink today, it’s Vaughan, or Vern as Warren (Woz) calls him. On Valentine’s Day, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden annouced that Auckland would go into a three-day lockdown after a border worker and her daughter had tested positive for Covid. The girl was a student at Papatoetoe High School and its community was urged to get tested. That Sunday, Vaughan was at home in Beachlands with his wife, Vanessa, and their two teenagers. Then the phone rang. It was the Ministry of Health. “At one o’clock on the 14th, I knew it was coming. I didn’t know it would be three weeks, I thought it would be a week!” News of the outbreak and coming
Vaughan, left, and Warren Couillault in the Hobson Wealth meeting room.
lockdown was embargoed for another quarter of an hour after that first call. “Vanessa said guys, your dad’s going to send the email in about 15 minutes so if you need anything, now’s the time to ask.” She was right; from the moment Vaughan sent his own email at 1.15pm, he was managing the school’s response, juggling student and staff needs with a non-stop request for media interviews. “At 1.15 I sent the text and email to the parents. At 1.16 the first phone call came through from the parent community, a member of my board actually. When the news was announced by the minister at 1.45, the first media phone call was 45 seconds later.” The phone didn’t stop ringing. On the seventh day, when he might have rested, it all started again when more community cases linked to the school returned positive tests and the school closed again. On February 28 the entire city
entered its fourth period of lockdown, this time for a week. During the rollercoaster of level changes and lockdowns, Vaughan fielded calls from the Minsiter of Health, Chris Hipkins, director-general of health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield and the PM, offering their thanks on his management of the crisis. Once the dust has settled, there will be a debrief with the Auckland Regional Public Health Service — the on-the-ground managers — about what was good, what could have been better. There was wide criticism about communication around lockdown 4.0, to which Vaughan offers a considered response. He thinks it’s right that there are varying degrees of ‘casual’ contact; did you walk through a shop where a positive case worked, or did you spend all day at school with one? “I agree with there needing to be some gradient. We just hadn’t been socialised [to the new terms]. So that’s some
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feedback we’re going to be giving around how the tiers of ‘casual’ can be more effectively communicated. ” What was effective and inspiring to see unfold was the testing set-up at the school, for anyone in the affected community to come and get tested. The news broke Sunday afternoon, “seven o’clock Monday morning there’s nothing on my site. At 8:45, testing people, bang! It was holy shit, where did that come from — there’s a marquee going up on the asphalt! “It was just amazing. An amazing, slick operation. And a whole lot of volunteers turn up to do the admin, running between, taking this bit of paper from there to there. For us, that was done by the Waipareira Trust team, the Manurewa marae, all volunteers. The second testing set-up was just for our kids, so it was in the hall, a bit less intimidating. And that got up and running in under two hours.” It was probably inevitable a border breach would bubble up in a South Auckland suburb. “I’ve said it before, that the community that we serve, serves the border. So Papatoetoe, Manurewa, Ōtāhuhu, Māngere, all those areas are where people live who work in the airport precinct. You don’t live on the North Shore, unless you’re a pilot. The service side of the airport sector, the drivers, the cleaners, whatever it is, are from the suburbs that surround it. So you’re exposed.” Vaughan thinks his students will cope and chalk up the whole episode to a learning experience. “My guys, from what I can see, they are getting a little bit closer together even though they’ve been forced to stay quite a distance apart. “It’s a resilient community for a start. They’ve done quite a good job in the background keeping each other up, all through last year and this year. So perseverance, persistence, all of those sort of things. And some of them live through real hardship. Some of them are in risk, they’re not ‘at risk’. They’re in risk.” Leading a school in a decile three socioeconomic area is to be with hardship, the working poor, poverty, close up. At the Hobson Wealth offices, Warren is cognisant that while his people can work from home and continue to earn their salaries, they have their own back stories too, of partners made redundant, businesses and jobs gone in the Covid sinkhole. While he likes to keep his philanthropic activities private — “he’s been extremely generous to a wide range of people, myself included,” chips in Vaughan — Warren was chuffed by the response of the Auckland office when he shook the bucket after seeing a TV news clip on the increasing demand in lockdown for food parcels. In a Zoom catch-up, he told staff the business would match any donations they could pool, to be directed to two charities distributing food. He expected the staff would raise around $1000: $5000 came in, making a total of a $10,000 donation. “Everyone dug in. It was amazing because they’ve all got their own things going on.” What’s still going on throughout the conversation is those brotherly jabs. There’s back and forth asides and eye-rolling about who’s the most handsome, the most intelligent, better at sport. They can divert any subject into a competition, such as when Vaughan professed to being the more gifted athletically. Warren: “I’ve just remembered!”
Vaughan: “What? What?” Warren: “I was the captain of the first XI soccer and the captain of the tennis team and the captain of the table tennis team in my Year 13, seventh form. Which has never been repeated.” Vaughan: “I was only football and tennis.” Warren: “It had never happened before — you should go and check your records. Thrice captain.” Under the joshing, there’s true pride in each other’s achievements. Warren majored in economics at university and discovered he was really good at it. “And to be very frank, I liked being good at something! I came top at the university and I liked it. I was lucky enough to have job offers as a result of that — it was 1990 when there was a big recession, post the change of government.” He worked his way up through investment firms here and in the UK and joined Fisher Funds when it was a few years old. He headed a local buy-out of Macquarie Bank’s NZ private wealth arm, which in turn became Hobson Wealth. Vaughan turned out to be as good in his chosen field as his brother was at economics. Following university and teacher training, he taught commerce, became a head of department and at 41, was appointed principal of James Cook High School in Manurewa. These days at 52 and 50, they still have a lot in common; children of similar ages, lots of involvement with the kids’ activities, Vaughan trackside at Mt Smart Stadium with his athletic pair; Warren towing boats to Karāpiro for his rowing daughters and son, or using his networks to fundraise while a trusteee on the Dio Heritage Foundation. The following day after their conversation with The Hobson, both would be returning to their physical workplaces in the near-normality of level two. Vaughan intends to parlay his high profile for continued good. The beneficiary of not one but three Covid tests during the crisis (all Papatoetoe students and staff were required to return two negative tests before the school could finally reopen), he’s also offered to be the poster principal for the vaccine programme. “To both the PM and Dr Bloomfield I’ve said if there’s anything I can do to help with the vaccination programme, if having a photo of me getting vaccinated helps, happy to do it. The profile’s there at the moment and I’m happy to use that to get a message out. The Prime Minister was happy to hear that.” But before then, there will be work to be done resettling a school that’s had massive disruption since the beginning of the term, and just getting on with the business of education. While he could do without the relentless pace of the previous three weeks, going to work is never a chore. “It’s never a tough job to go into the office. It’s a tough job in the office. But it’s never hard to get there. It’s always a pleasure really.” Warren concurs. “Same. I didn’t have to do what I’m doing now with Hobson Wealth. But I saw the opportunity a few years ago and I love every minute of it. Looking after the team, building the business, creating hopefully a good brand and a good business. It’s good fun.” And with that, it’s finally time for that beer. p
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The Genealogy Genie At a fabulous age, Remuera local Diane Wilson has launched a website that will bring joy to family history researchers. By Prue Scott
ho was James who abandoned his wife and went to the Boer War never to return? What did ‘Bog Irish’ mean and why was it spoken of with such disdain? Why did it matter if that woman’s family asked for money? Why was there such grief over Francis who was killed in a shunting accident on an Auckland railway? Who was Aunty Morgan and why did she live with the family for all those years?” Genealogist Diane Wilson QSM JP has been delving into her family history for more than 40 years. Now 86, she has launched an impressive collection of resources online in a well-designed, easily navigated website, www.wilsoncollection. co.nz. And significantly, Diane has made her work free for others to access. “It began in 1953 on a family trip to Ireland where I created a tree in blue ink on a piece of airmail paper, to try and make sense of it all,” says Diane, a long-time resident of Remuera and now living at Edmund Hillary Retirement Village. “In those days, children weren’t part of discussions about people like Francis and Aunty Morgan, but my grandparents had a very large dining room table, often covered in a velvet tasselled cloth reaching the floor. I heard a lot from under that table,” she says with a knowing smile. Diane was hooked and began her lifelong search for the connections across her family – the Polands – and that of her late husband, Murray Wilson. “You start here and move onto records in England and Ireland, passenger lists from the early boats to New Zealand, who owned sheep, and you learn to read cursive script.” Sheep? “People who owned a particular number of sheep were recorded in lists published in the annual journal of the House of Representatives. This could tell you who was living in a district in any year.” Diane joined the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, making use of its large network of researchers around New Zealand. In creating what would become The Wilson Collection website, she has also called on the services of other genealogists. “I’ve led various teams I jokingly called the Chocolate Fish team. Why chocolate fish? When we hit a goal
or made a breakthrough, I would award a virtual chocolate fish to all those working on the project.” The team’s first assignment was transcribing the sacramental registers of the Auckland Catholic Diocese records. “This was a huge project, not helped by the fact that most registers were in handwriting from priests for whom English was a second language and they had to cope with broad dialects,” she says. From here, the team transcribed WWI service personnel records and the two reserve sets, five significant electoral rolls, early settlers, sheep owners, the Wairau Incident petition, a burial locator, and some Māori marriages found in archives. They spent over five years transcribing every headstone and plaque at Purewa Cemetery. “At times, we had to remove old vegetation and then dredge headstones in talcum powder so we could read the weathered inscriptions.” On to electoral rolls – the next best thing to census records – for 1881, 1893, 1896, 1911 and 1925. More recently, they began work on annotating some of the 850,000 New Zealand marriage records, dating from the first recorded marriage of one Phillip Tapsell to Maria Ringa in June 1823, officiated by Thomas Kendall. To date, they’ve completed about a third of the the job with information such as the place, church and celebrant. Why indexes? Why not the full information? “Ah,” says Diane, “many a researcher has been led astray from a partial transcription, or one that is unchecked. An index provides the researcher with a set of well-sourced clues so they can look at the original and decide if it is useful.” Diane had two goals in creating The Wilson Collection online. “I’ve been working on indexing for over 40 years and didn’t want this work of mine and others to be lost. And I wanted it to be free of charge, so that those who can’t pay for the commercial sites could still research their family.” What’s next for this dedicated genealogist? “Oh, there are still more marriages to find. It would be wonderful if people dug out New Zealand marriage certificates that I know are lurking in the bottom drawer,” she says, heading for the computer. p
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Opposite: Diane Wilson with then-Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae in 2016, when she was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for services to genealogy and the community. Family jewels: from top: an election poster for Diane’s grandfather, Hugh Poland, who represented Ohinemuri 1905-25.; the obituary for Janet Munro, Murray Wilson’s ancestor, who emigrated from Nova Scotia in 1850; the hand-drawn family tree which started Diane’s interest.
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Sage Advice A
mongst the more wintry herbs, there are two that are truly rewarding to grow in the home garden or in a patio tub all year round. The sturdy rosemary bush, found in so many urban gardens, will give endless pleasure, adding a lovely scent to cooking both sweet and savoury. And then there’s the much smaller sage bush with leaves that add amazing savoury flavour for a surprising lift to meats and vegetables. Both these herbs are hardy, can be pruned back viciously and have leaves that are far better lightly cooked rather than the fresh raw tastes of their summer companions, chives, basil and parsley. Sage has become one of my favourites. Don’t be put off by the very strong flavour of those dried sage leaves packed into small boxes on the supermarket shelves, which can become assertive and dominant in stuffings and casseroles. Using freshly plucked leaves from the bush, especially when young and tender, will make all the difference to your food. Sage originated in the Mediterranean and on the popular Dalmatian coast bees feast on endless bushes to produce a very special flavoured honey. (Our equivalent here is the lovely wild thyme honey from Central Otago.) The ancient Romans established sage everywhere they travelled, loving its healthgiving properties, to aid digestion and prolong youth. In Italy sage is still much loved today, and one of the star recipes of Italian cookery is saltimbocca, fried thin slices of veal wrapped in prosciutto with sage leaves tucked in. The Italians also sauté fresh sage leaves in butter briefly to make them crisp and sweet to add to all manner of dishes. When I am in a hurry and in need of a tasty lunch I will heat a little oil and butter in a very small frying pan, drop in fresh sage leaves and as they start to sizzle I carefully break two eggs on top of the leaves. I flip the eggs over and cook until almost set and then enjoy a perfect quick meal. Sage fried eggs — so tasty and prepared in less than five minutes. Fried potatoes with sage is another way to take your cooking up a few notches. Take those beautiful little perla potatoes, rinse them and if they are larger, wash and cut the potatoes in half or into even chunks. Place them in a steamer over boiling water and cook until tender, which should take about 10-12 minutes. Put a little oil and butter into a heavy frying pan and gently heat until the butter is melted. Make sure the potatoes are well drained and dry and add to the pan with a handful of fresh sage leaves. Cook over gentle heat for about 15 minutes, tossing frequently so the potatoes turn golden and the sage leaves become crisp. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and serve hot. In this recipe, take advantage of the array of the autumn harvest. A tray filled with delicious sage roasted vegetables makes a lovely meal to accompany steak or baked chicken. To finish the dish you can add anything that takes your fancy such as olives, feta or little cherry tomatoes. — Lauraine Jacobs
Sage Roasted Autumn Vegetables 2 medium agria potatoes 2 medium kūmara Quarter of a small pumpkin 1 medium eggplant 2 medium onions 1 King Sweeties red pepper 4 cloves garlic 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper A large bunch of fresh sage leaves For the dressing: 2 tsp wholegrain mustard 1 tsp salt 1 lemon, juice and grated zest 1 tbsp maple syrup Preheat the oven to 190°C. Peel potatoes and kūmara and cut lengthwise into quarters. Peel the pumpkin and cut pieces roughly the same size as the potato pieces. Slice the eggplant in half and then cut into similar sized pieces. Peel the onions and cut into quarters, leaving the root end on each piece. Cut the pepper in half, remove the seeds and cut into six pieces. Peel the garlic cloves and squash them gently. Put all the vegetables except the pumpkin in a large roasting pan and toss well with four tablespoons of the olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Place the pan in oven and roast for about an hour, adding the pumpkin and sage leaves after 20 minutes. Turn the vegetables once or twice, to get nice browning on all sides. While the vegetables are roasting, whisk together the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and maple syrup with a little salt. About ten minutes before the vegetables are ready, scatter over the remaining sage leaves, and continue roasting. When all is cooking and smelling aromatic, take the pan out and place the vegetables on a serving platter and pour the dressing over. You can add cubes of feta, some nice olives or halved cherry tomatoes to add even more interest and flavour. This is lovely served warm or can be prepared ahead and served at room temperature. Serves 6.
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The Magpie is delicately bedazzled just in time for thinking about Mother’s Day (May 9)
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Oi Mate, Do the Right Bloody Thing!
write this on a Wednesday in the middle of lockdown 4.0. Not the worst lockdown of the series but the most disappointing. Turns out we’re not a team of 5 million after all. More like a team of 4.8 million, along with a few hundred thousand who think they’re above the rules or by some feat of ignorance, they have no idea of the rules, even though we've been playing the Covid game for a year now. We’re here because two women thought having a stroll together when you’re supposed to be self-isolating is ticketyboo. And a son at a tertiary institution who somehow calculated that going to a gym right after a Covid-19 test was a smart thing to do. We’re also grumpy at the Covid refugees who escaped Auckland in the middle of the night to other regions even though the Prime Minister asked, very nicely, if you could refrain. I wonder, Brian and Hannah, what part of ‘stay safe, stay local’ means you do a runner at midnight to Rotorua? Obviously, you need a live congregation to fleece them of their gold coins. In return, you might hand them some viral material you picked up from Papatoetoe members of your Auckland congregation over the preceding weeks. What riles me is how many people seem to follow only the letter of the rules, without comprehending the intent. Actually, the cynic in me thinks that’s purposeful. How many politicians have you heard defending their behaviour by saying “it’s not illegal”? I think you can probably tell that this lockdown made me angry. And you’d be right. We were so close for a moment there to proving that we can live with Covid-19: a three day mini-lockdown. Round up the suspects. Put out the fire. Carry on. But we failed. While many blame the politicians or the bureaucrats or the frontline health staff — who are not without their faults — I’m afraid to say that in my opinion it was the community who failed at the end of the day. We’re only as good as our weakest link. So once again we had the heartbreak of major event cancellations. Cricket tickets became useless. Horses preparing for the Hawke’s Bay Horse of the Year were despondent. Punk rockers shed tears. Like me. ‘Punk It Up’ is the semi-annual gathering of the punk clans from the late 70s and early 80s for a leer up and to find out if the artificial hip can cope with pogo-ing. They’re joyful
occasions. It was up to its fifth iteration and I’m proud to say I’ve been to them all, but Punk It Up V fell victim to the Papatoetoe Perambulation Club curse. One of the organisers is a bloke called Andrew Boak. Boak and I met at Radio B. He’s also the driving force behind the seminal skinhead “oi oi oi” band , No Tag. Famous for their classic, good time sing-a-long tune,“What A Great C*ntry, Like F*@k It Is”. Oi oi oi. Boak (we always use surnames) lives in San Francisco, has done for 30 years. Each year he treks home. Puts his balls on the line, hires a venue and PA. Gets the punks off their couches and puts on a semi-controlled riot. They’ve been epic. Legendary punks have performed, like The Terrorways and Proud Scum. The reformation of Spelling Mistakes (featuring Vicky Ave Primary alumni Nigel Russell) was particularly tasty and made even more poignant with the passing of drummer Julian Hanson a few weeks ago. This year The Plague were reforming — that’s Don McGlashan and Tim Mahon’s early punk group. No Tag were also going to play their last-ever gig. Boak’s journey this year was particularly monumental. Having avoided Covid in San Fran, Andrew set out on his own Homeric Odyssey. Dressed in Doc Martens, leather jacket, surgical gloves and N95-mask with a plexishield on top, Boak left nothing to chance in his expedition home. In the height of February heat, Boak plugged all his MIQ hotel room’s air con shafts with towels, and sweated buckets. Refusing to use lifts (virus hives), he starved and avoided all contact with everyone. Punks go hard. What was driving this punk on was the burning desire to thrash his fingers to a bloody mess in front of a heaving crowd. Something that was briefly possible in New Zealand this summer but not in America. After a Herculean effort to reschedule the gigs after lockdown 3.0, lockdown 4.0 came and scuttled the ship. All because a dick thought he could complete his set at the gym. Boak would have lost thousands. While the cancellation notice offered refunds, it also said that if you wanted to leave your money in the pot that would be appreciated. I’m leaving my money in the pot. Punk It Up V has to happen one day. Because the punks are beginning to pass. They’re beginning to make rest homes rowdy. They’re lovely, loyal, loud people. I want to see them together one more time. Up the punks! — Andrew Dickens
Jonathan Jamrag and Alistair Rabbit from Proud Scum at the Windsor Castle, Parnell 1979. Photo Stephen Penny.
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the district diary
Pre-dawn at the Parnell Baths. Photo Rendell McIntosh
1 April Fools’ Day 2 Good Friday 3 Slightly outside the confines of our neighbourhood, but every month the Grey Lynn Community Centre hosts a vegan potluck dinner for $5 at the door. Turn up, bring a plate. It’s that easy, and an opportunity to share a meal with others who follow the vegan way of eating. At 510 Richmond Rd, Grey Lynn, 6.30pm-9.30pm 4 Daylight saving ends: clocks go back an hour 5 Easter Monday 6 Schools closed today 9 Dive into the depths of Blue Planet II live in concert, a musical collab between the APO, BBC Studios and Auckland Live, based on the award-winning TV series. Aotea Centre, Mayoral Dr, 7.30pm-9.30pm today and tomorrow, tickets from aucklandlive.co.nz
10 For sci-fi toys, diecasts, model trains, books & magazines, collectibles and more, the Auckland Hobbies & Toy Fair is where it’s at. Eftpos available, 11am-3pm, Freemans Bay Community Hall, 52 Hepburn Rd 11 Moe is leaving his home on top of Mt Moehau to present the APO 4 Kids concert, Britten's Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. Loads to learn, heaps of fun to be had, and kids get to have a go! Aotea Centre, Mayoral Dr, sessions 10am-11am and 11.30am12.30pm. Tickets at apo.co.nz 13 Wondering where that sweetest little boy or girl went? Neuroscience educator Nathan Wallis presents The Teen Brain, explaining why parts of the teen brain are “shut for renovation” during adolescence, and how to navigate what can be a challenging time. Sacred Heart College, 250 West Tamaki Rd, Glendowie, 7.30pm-9pm. Tickets from eventfinda.co.nz 14 It’s Wear Your Slippers to Work Day, a fundraiser for Communicare, to support the work they do to support the elderly, lonely and disabled. For event details see communicare.org.nz
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16 Last day of Term 1 for most schools 19-23 Kids can dance and sing their way through the holidays at Artz on Show’s Peter Panthemed Performing Arts Workshop. At the end of the week there’s a show for the whole family to enjoy. EGGS, Silver Rd, Epsom, 9am-4pm daily. More info at artzonshow. co.nz 22 International Earth Day. Be a friend and support the environment; ride your bike to work or plant something 24 Every Saturday from 8am to midday the Parnell Farmers’ Market has a selection of artisan products and produce available from local and regional makers and growers. There’s always live music and a great atmosphere. In the carpark at the Jubilee Building, 545 Parnell Rd 25 Anzac Day Whether crowds can gather remains to be seen, but wherever you are, take a moment to reflect, honour and remember those who served 26 Anzac Day public holiday
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The magazine for Auckland's inner-eastern suburbs, The Hobson connects, informs and entertains. This month's cover stars are brothers Warren...
Published on Mar 28, 2021
The magazine for Auckland's inner-eastern suburbs, The Hobson connects, informs and entertains. This month's cover stars are brothers Warren...