The Hobson June 2021

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june 2021

it's showtime! students hit the stage p good walks local news, views & informed opinions

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JUNE, 2021, #79




the editor’s letter

the teacher


Take advantage of extra-curricular opportunities, says Judi Paape

the contributors

11 the neighbourhood The water’s still rank in Waitaramoa Hobson Bay; wāhine return to the old Queen Victoria school site; the peaceful ‘protect’ at Dove-Myer Robinson Park continues; and more

20 the stage After an enforced silence, secondary students get to perform once again

22 the councillor The Ōrākei ward’s Desley Simpson shares her news

24-26 the politicians Updates from the three Epsom reps: David Seymour, Camilla Belich and Paul Goldsmith

Patrick Reynolds are back with an update to their popular Auckland Architecture: A Walking Guide

36 the magpie

28 the investment Warren Couillault on cleaner, greener, investment options

Going south? The Magpie has travelworthy updates

38 the menu

29 the plan

Lauraine Jacobs creates a very seasonal do-ahead dinner

Hamish Firth scratches his head (again) over congestion plans

40 the sound

30 the suburbanist

Blinded by the light — Andrew Dickens quite likes that

Tommy Honey loops into the house price cycle



the district diary

the arriviste Removing an old villa takes away more than just a house, writes Colin Hogg

31 the walk Writer John Walsh and photographer

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What’s going on in June Photo: This image of the Ladies' College that once stood in Remuera is part of a special exibition starting this month at Rawhiti Estate in Remuera. See The Neighbourhood news pages for more.

O issue 79, june 2021 Editor & Publisher Kirsty Cameron Art Direction & Production Stephen Penny Writers this Issue Kirsty Cameron, Talia Parker, Wayne Thompson, Justine Williams (The Magpie), Fiona Wilson (The Diary) 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

ur June cover captures a moment in the recent Selwyn College production of Chicago. I went to see the show based on my personal belief that you should never pass up an opportunity to see this particular musical. This was the ‘school’s version’ so a little less raunchy than the original, but still a wild jazz age, all-singing, all-dancing romp. It deserved the full houses it received. It’s fantastic to see students at our local schools back on stage after such a disrupted 2020, and to every cast member, musician, make-up artist, prop maker and stage hand taking part, we applaud your talent and commitment, and thank you for bringing such great entertainment to your audience. Talia Parker’s story about recent school productions is on page 20, and coincidentally, Judi Paape writes on the importance of joining in on extra-curriculars like shows, in her column, The Teacher, on page 27. Congratulations too to the Parnell Trust, which has announced that it’s now to be known as The Village Square. Founded by the Parnell community in partnership with the Knox Presbyterian Church almost 40 years ago, the trust has grown to be one of the city’s largest providers of community programmes. The new name and logo was developed by the leading brand agency, Richard Partners, and better reflects that the not-for-profit organisation works well beyond ‘just’ Parnell. Inspired by the space commonly used for community gatherings, The Village Square represents an inclusive place for everyone to intersect: a place for all to meet, learn, create and grow. And there’s not much more to the idea of ‘community’, than that.

Photographers Jarrod Brown, Stephen Penny Cover Oh Roxie! Rebecca Crawford as Roxie Hart, and co-stars in the Selwyn College production of Chicago. Photo by Antony Gray. See The Stage, page 20

THE HOBSON is published 11 times a year by The Hobson Limited, PO Box 37490 Parnell, Auckland 1151. F: The Hobson Magazine I: @The Hobson Ideas, suggestions, advertising inquiries welcome. 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 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 to discuss ideas. The Hobson Ltd is a member of the Magazine Publishers Association. This publication uses environmentally responsible papers.

ICG Logo CMYK.pdf 1 05/08/2015 6:19:01 AM

Kirsty Cameron 0275 326 424 Facebook: The Hobson Magazine Instagram: @TheHobson


PressPatron is a crowdfunding initiative to support community journalism. 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

Press Patron

the contributors

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.

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.

the neighbourhood

Local News

The modernist carvings flanking the entrance of the Glanville Tce building have seen generations of students pass through the doors. The artist is unknown.

WIKITŌRIA WELCOMES BACK WĀHINE SCHOLARS A new life as a safe and friendly home away from home for wāhine tertiary students is planned for the Wikitōria Hostel, a key part of Queen Victoria School for Māori Girls in Parnell, which closed after a century of service in 2001. After some weeks of renovation and painting, the hostel opposite the former school is opening to provide affordable accommodation for Māori wāhine who have moved to Auckland to study, says Adam Martin, general manager of the St Stephen’s and Queen Victoria Schools Trust Board. “No longer will the building be bereft of life, and in the coming months, laughter from 22 Glanville Terrace should be heard,” says Martin. “The live-in students will receive daily breakfasts, a shared whanaungatanga (kinship) meal once a week, and we are hoping to provide daily fresh fruit for them all. And for any local businesses looking for part-time staff, please let me know.” In its heyday, the hostel accommodated up to 90 students but it will reopen with 30 beds, in recognition that tertiary students need more space, and car parking, which will be provided on the old tennis courts. As was the case for boarders during their Anglican “Queen Vic” days, hostel life will be based on Christian principles. One reason for reactivating the hostel now is the trust board’s concern that nearly 60 per cent of Māori female students fail in the first year of their tertiary courses. Nearly half of them are the first in their family to attend university. This is where providing a supportive whānau-like environment comes in. Māori is spoken

and doctoral and master s̓ students will help those aiming for a bachelor’s degree. Resources such as tutorials will be introduced and the trust will work with tertiary and trade training institutions. “We will be judging our success on 100 per cent of them completing year one.” Martin says reopening the hostel is a short-term measure, because the long-term goal of the trust board is to investigate, with its stakeholders and the Ministry of Education, the long-term viability of reopening the former Queen Victoria School site on the other side of Glanville Tce as a kura (school), “so the legacy will continue to affect generations in the future.” It is intended to include the community in discussions about the school of the future. “The old girls want to make sure that whatever goes on that site in the long term, is going to last. We must offer the best possible academic opportunities. We can’t afford to be average. We must be outstanding.” Martin is also working with the trust board and old boys of St Stephen’s (Tīpene) School, Bombay to reopen that school, which closed in 2000 after 156 years of educating generations of Māori leaders but remained in trust board ownership. Earlier this year, old boys held a working bee to clean up Whitiora, the one building that complies with the building code, in the hope that the school can open for 50 students in 2022 and build up the roll slowly. The trust board has applied to the ministry to reopen as a designated character school, with the ministry leasing the buildings. “The kura will start at St Stephen’s but once that is up and running, we will do the master plan for the Queen Victoria site,

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A record of Remuera: top, rompers and gymslips at Remuera Intermediate. Below, first responders pose outside the original Remuera Fire Station. Both images are part of the ‘Remuera: A History ̓ exhibition at Rawhiti Estate from June 16.

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for what a kura will look like.” Ngāti Whātua gifted the 2ha site on Glanville Tce, bordered by Papahia St, to the Anglican Church for education in the 19th century. The trust deed is clear about its use for the advancement of education of children, principally for girls and boys of NZ Māori descent. Queen Victoria School opened in 1903 and closed with a roll of 60, after years of struggling financially, but the trust board has kept its options open for reopening a school. It also protected the value of its asset by getting it rezoned from ‘school ̓ to ‘mixed housing suburban ̓ during the Auckland Unitary Plan process. In the meantime, buildings on the complex have been leased to education-minded organisations, including a Parnell Trust child care centre, a hostel for foreign students, an ADHB eating disorders unit and a karate club. Parnell District School’s intermediate department used it during renovations and there’s also been a Steiner school on the site. The buildings include the heritage schedule Category B main building, designed by Auckland Anglican Diocese architect Edward Bartley and built and furnished with publicly-raised funds. Neighbours have been concerned for the preservation of their surroundings of single homes and heritage buildings and challenged the trust boards’ initial Unitary Plan bid to zone the property for intensive terrace housing and apartments. In 2017, the school properties total valuation for Auckland Council rating purposes was $64 million. — Wayne Thompson p

RAWHITI RECORDS REMUERA HISTORY In keeping with its location in the heart of Remuera, the Rawhiti Estate retirement village is opening its doors to all to enjoy a photographic exhibition, covering the history of one of Auckland’s first suburbs. More than 80 historic photographs have been sourced from Auckland and national archives, covering subjects from early Māori occupation, beautiful homes, street scenes, schools and local icons long gone, such as the Tudor Theatre. Rawhiti also worked with local historian Terry Sutcliffe to collate a display covering the commercial activities of one of the suburb’s original retailers, L J Keys grocer. The display includes Sutcliffe’s own collection of documentation and ephemera from L J Keys. ‘Remuera: A History̓ is free, and can be viewed from June 16, daily between 1pm-4pm, at Rawhiti Estate, 14 Rangitoto Ave. p

Listening first

SWEET GIFT KEEPS ON GIVING A green oasis in the Parnell shopping strip is likely to be used more for children’s play. Presently, Heard Park is orderly partitioned civic space. It has lawn, pavers, bench seats, low hedges and shade trees, and on its eastern boundary a set of steps leading to a double-storey office and apartment building. In the corner farthest from the street, are Plunket rooms, a big mural by artist Hiro C, and a swing set dangling over a soft landing pad. A plaque says that in 1955 “this playground was provided through the generous gifts of L.H. Heard”. Leonard founded Heard’s Candy in the neighbouring art deco factory building designed by Horace Massey. Today, the building has shops and apartments overlooking the park. The corner park with its weathered and worn designer fittings is nevertheless a calming presence in the heart of Parnell commerce and something that would not be out of place in a country town. At lunchtime it’s a popular spot for local office workers and each December, fans of Christmas lights come to see the ‘big bauble’ installed by the Parnell Business Association. The association is part of a bid to boost the park’s popularity by turning it into more usable space for children’s play, recreation and events. The Waitematā Local Board, which allocated $150,000 to renew the Plunket building and toilets, is having a Heard Park

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Concept Plan drafted for public consultation this month, with input so far from the association, the Parnell Community Committee (PCC) and residents who took part in forming the 2019 Parnell Plan. That plan identifies a lack of play areas for small children, says business association general manager Cheryl Adamson. “Part of the proposal is to make the play area larger and more interesting and functional. The consultation is asking what kind of play areas people would like to see, for example, water or sand or interactive.” When the final plan is produced in July, Luke Niue of the PCC hopes its major focus is on a playground that people want. He says the park should have more seating and some worthy additions to its present 14 trees. Niue also says the council budget doesn’t stretch to making improvements soon and it’s likely to happen in five to 10 years’ time. — Wayne Thompson p Have Your Say consultation on Heard Park opens on June 7, to July 4: There will also be a consultation session at the park on June 12, 10.30am-12.30pm

EREBUS PETITION TOPS 11,500 The petition calling for a rethink of the location of the National Erebus Memorial in Parnell reached more than 11,500 signatures by May 16. A site within Dove-Myer Robinson Park was chosen by the memorial developer the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and has Waitematā Local Board (as park landowner) consent as well as Auckland Council resource consent. Site work was to start on March 1 but when this was postponed due to a Covid-19 lockdown in Auckland, it gave time for a group of mainly Parnell residents and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei iwi members to grow support for a “peaceful protect” of open space and of a giant pōhutukawa. Sunday May 16 marked the 76th day of the protectors’ livein camp and about 70 supporters gathered under the tree for a ceremony led by co-host and kaumātua, Tautoka Witika, which was to send off the petition to Parliament. The petition was started by Margaret Brough, whose father, Aubrey, was on Air New Zealand Flight TE 901 which struck Mt Erebus in Antarctica in 1979. She says her petition represents the opposition of many Erebus victims’ families to the site for the $3.5 million memorial. The hope was the petition would be referred to Parliament’s Petitions Committee for consideration, which could result in a referral to a minister for a response, referral to a select committee, or debate within Parliament. Co-host of the ‘peaceful protect,̓ Ngāti Whātua kaumātua

Dame Rangimārie Naida Glavish told The Hobson that after the presentation of the petition, a rahui (ban) on site works placed by kaumātua would continue. “Even sticking a spade in the ground would breach that rāhui. My role is the rāhui and stopping the works which would stunt the growth of the 180-year-old plus tipuna rākau (ancestor tree). We will remain there until such time as we are assured that the memorial is shifted to an alternative site.” Tamsin Evans, deputy chief executive delivery for the ministry says “it remains committed to establishing the memorial at the approved site.” She says all agreements relating to construction are in place and it was intended to commence construction as soon as possible. — Wayne Thompson p

A WORD FROM THE CHAIR If you find the conversation at your next dinner party starts to wane or become mundane, try this for a spritzer: “Aren’t those new cycleways and shared pathways great, where mums with pushchairs and 60-year-olds on electric bikes and teens on electric scooters and kids on skateboards all get along so well.” I suggest that will liven the evening up. We have a challenge in this city. It has taken a hundred years to become a car-centric city. Our geography (bigger than metropolitan London), substantial growth in population, the availability of cheap cars and a public transport system that is only ‘underway’ has led to a congested city. I’m sure we agree that change is necessary and modal shift (getting people out of cars and doing anything else to get around) is part of a solution. The challenge is the pace at which we can implement change without wrecking the city. And wreck it we will if we move so fast as to make car transport non-viable, and if we don’t embrace and educate around the strategy and implementation of these changes. In the Ōrākei Local Board area we are constructing two major cycle enabling pathways — not without pain and at considerable expense. They are in the beautiful Pourewa Valley and along the waterfront. The Pourewa pathway is section two of a four stage project that will see a shared pathway all the way from Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr. Apart from giving access to one of the largest urban forests in New Zealand it will remove, potentially, about 800 car traffic movements a day by enabling students in Meadowbank to get to school in Kohimarama. At the same time the council is considering congestion pricing that would put a fee on going into the city at certain times and the abolition of cars in Queen St. These are major cultural changes

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live life local

A Life in the Business of Art

Tucked away on Garden Rd in the heart of Remuera village is Sgraffito, master framers of everything from original art to photographs, tapestries to diplomas, and even a lock of Jimi Hendrix’s hair. Their website says: “You name it, we have framed it” and after spending time with owner Stu Robb and his sweet little miniature schnauzer Sidney, it’s pretty safe to say that this is quite possibly true. The owner of the business for the past ten years, Stu first started at Sgraffito 26 years ago as a manager. He previously held the Auckland franchise for Art for Art’s Sake, after many years as a working artist. So why picture framing, was it something you always wanted to do? It happened purely by accident. A friend asked me to look after his picture framing business while he went to Los Angeles on business. I was still in my 20s and didn’t think I’d end up doing it for long. Then he says he’s staying there, and asks if I wanted to take over the shop. I never trained or anything, I just picked things up because I had to! Experience has given me all the knowledge I’ll need, as well as an eye for what looks best. And you were a working artist before that? Yes, travelling up and down the country selling my work. I was a painter but haven’t produced any new work for a while as I just haven’t had the time. I exhibited at galleries around the country, mostly works that represented history, but abstracted. That is how the Art for Art’s Sake connection came in, I would

sell through their galleries and would often paint instore, too. When someone comes to you with a piece to be framed, how does the process work? Sometimes they know what they want and sometimes they ask, it’s a collaborative process. It’s nice to recommend something that’s not the usual ‘white box and white mat’, but sometimes a white box and white mat is exactly what’s needed. You’re Christchurch born, but have been in Remuera for a very long time. What has it been like watching the changes over the years? When I first came here it had a really cool feel with a few boutique shops, then it went into a bit of a lull. Things seem to be definitely changing though, with some new developments and apartments arriving that will bring some real life back into what is a great little suburb. Fingers crossed for some new boutiques and speciality businesses offering something a little different to the standard fare. We don’t need to compete with Newmarket when we have the potential to be a funky little village all on our own. What are some of your favourite local businesses? Tosca has great coffee, and for tea I always recommend Coffee and Tea Lovers. The guys at Kebab Serai are another favourite, and I’m really excited about the future developments at New World.

Master framer Stu Robb of Sgraffito, 1 Garden Rd. Photo by Christian Espinoza, interview by Hélène Ravlich.

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to our perception of ‘transport rights’ we all feel we have. We also have rising demands for huge investment in electric buses and other carbon reducing initiatives. We have ageing roading infrastructure feeling the pain of increased freight, and population growth also demanding investment. It is hard to absorb these massive shifts in the concept of how we move around the city. The questions I ask your dinner guests to solve are: Who does council engage with to get balanced input (especially about the pace, direction and magnitude) of change? How fast can a bike or scooter safely travel on a pathway shared with a pram-pushing mum and who will enforce any rules? Can the city afford a public transport system that will negate or slow the current rise in car and truck movements? Can the city afford not to develop public transport and alternative modes of getting around, and what are the consequences of that decision? After that, it’s probably best to get on to a lighter topic to avoid indigestion! — Scott Milne p Scott Milne is the chair of the Ōrākei Local Board. These opinions are personal and not (probably or necessarily) the opinions of the board. He is 65 and rides a Magnum Metro electric bike.



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INGRID GRIEVE M +64 21 659 673 Each Office Is Independently Owned And Operated. Browns Real Estate Limited (licensed under the REAA 2008) MREINZ.

Seventeen months ago Auckland Council’s Safe Networks’ testing showed extraordinarily high and unsafe levels of human faecal contamination flowing, almost continuously and in all weathers, into all streams tested flowing into Waitaramoa Hobson Bay. The tested waterways were the Newmarket, Hapua, Portland Rd and Waiata streams, and the Ōrākei Creek. Continued dry weather spillages should not happen and no-one we know thinks this is okay. Nor is the fact that this could continue for a long time to come. The current situation is that the water quality in all the streams has not significantly improved and the streams are still all unsafe. This is despite the fact that since January last year, at least 19 significant public and private network issues have been identified and more than 15 have been resolved. Testing frequency, as well as the number of locations tested, has been markedly reduced, and there is significant concern around the operational maintenance and effectiveness, both prior and ongoing, of the existing infrastructure and processes. In December, Auckland Regional Public Health Service publicly acknowledged the problem. They, council and Watercare have said the problems will take some time to fix. Cardboard public health warnings put up in key locations over a year ago look rather tired, however they are definitely current. It is not recommended that you swim, or partake in other water activities or collect or eat kaimoana. Council and Watercare have added more resource, and from March a dedicated investigations team has beeen working on Waitaramoa Hobson Bay. Further resource is likely to be allocated to fix these problems through the council’s long-term budget through both operational funds provided to Healthy Waters and through the extension of — and increases to — the water targeted rates. A big thank you to those who have supported that. Councillor Desley Simpson has organised a meeting with the general manager of Healthy Waters and senior staff from Watercare for this month to establish more clarity around the funded plan. And although the updates from council and Watercare are not always ‘good news’ we encourage them to share this information widely with the public. Reporting pollution when you see and/or smell it does help the investigations team find and fix problems — call them on (09) 377 3107. Talking about the issues with your local politicians, neighbours and friends also helps. Please keep safe and active in promoting healthy practice and clean water. p Update provided by Hapua Thrive, one of the community groups working to improve local water quality.


Get Behind Screening In a year where we’ve all become more health-conscious and learned the correct way to use masks and wash our hands, we’re being encouraged to remember the other life-saving initiatives also on offer – such as cancer screening.


he National Bowel Screening Programme, already operating in most other DHBs, is now being rolled out to people aged between 60 and 74 living in the ADHB area.

People in this age range are mailed the test kit to do at home and send back free by mail to the testing laboratory. The great thing about this programme is it can find bowel cancer before symptoms even begin. Finding and removing precancerous polyps (growths on the bowel) can also prevent the development of cancer in the future. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the OECD and is the second highest cause of cancer death in the country. Bowel screening aims to find cancers early, when they can successfully be treated. People who are diagnosed with early stage bowel cancer, and who receive treatment early, have a 90% chance of long term survival.

Invitations to participate in the programme will now begin to appear in the letterboxes of those eligible (dependent on their birth date) and continue on a two-yearly cycle. Programme Manager, Gaye Tozer, says: “More than 3,000 people are diagnosed with colon cancer annually in New Zealand, with 1200 people dying from this disease each year. We want to see ADHB residents stay out of those statistics. Please make sure your doctor has your up-to-date contact details and do the test when it arrives.” Screening is for people who do not have symptoms of bowel cancer. Anyone with symptoms should see their doctor.

For more information, contact the National Bowel Screening Programme on 0800 924 432 or go to


TAKE A SEAT IN PARNELL Gail Hoddinott, long time Par nell resident inter views Dr David Gaimster, Chief Executive, Auckland Museum.

Gail Hoddinott and Dr David Gaimster, photographed in The Foundation Precinct Parnell, both seated on Seax dining chairs by Dedon, available from Dawson & Co.

ABOUT GAIL HODDINOTT I first moved to Parnell in the mid-1980s and purchased off plans a unit in Dilworth Terrace - a group of 8 terrace homes, originally built in 1899 by Thomas Mahoney and at the time being meticulously renovated by architect Donald Ellison. I later moved to Awatea Rd and when children came along, I became involved in the usual - Parnell Plunket, Parnell Kindy, Parnell School etc – at a time when there was an explosion of young families coming into the small suburb. At one point I was invited to join the Knox Centre Trust, a local working relationship between the Knox Presbyterian Church and the Parnell Committee. In the mid-1990s our Knox Trust became the Parnell Community Trust. Our Trust team, plus a band of enthusiastic locals, worked tirelessly to make a dream come true. In 1996 the Parnell Community Centre was opened in the newly restored Blind Foundation Jubilee Building. A true

‘centre’ for the community to come together. Meeting rooms, Plunket room, library, community engagementt courses, a hall, farmers' market, after-school programme and more. I fondly remember the grand ball opening - it necessitated a visit from noise control towards the end of the evening. Oh - What a night! More recently, well actually 12 years ago, I became involved as a volunteer at Auckland War Memorial Museum. I am part of The Flying Squad. If a department needs extra help on a particular project - we fly-in, do the task then fly-out. I love being an insignificant little creature that helps our Museum keep our taonga safe. What I love most about volunteering at Auckland Museum: I get to meet passionate people who get passionate about things I didn’t even know you could get passionate about.

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Gail: David, as chief executive, you lead the strategic direction of the museum ensuring its ongoing relevance, building the capacity as a place of learning and engagement and cementing its status as a leader in the cultural sector. How important is the role of the museum in Auckland?

Gail: A goal I have for Parnell is better documentation, education, understanding and recognition of the joint historical significance of Parnell from both early Māori and Pakeha. If it were put to me to create a slogan for Parnell, it would be "Parnell – come share our taonga"

David: From its foundation in the fledging years of the city in the 1850s, Auckland Museum has always been at the heart of our civic culture. From a community perspective the role of Auckland Museum as a social anchor could not be more important than it is at the minute. As we recover from the worst impacts of Covid-19, the museum has strengthened its connectivity as a hub for education, information-sharing and collective reflection. With the loss of international tourists, the museum is refocusing on its local and regional culture audiences. As most Aucklanders are prevented from travelling overseas, Auckland Museum’s pipeline of international touring exhibitions is bringing the world to Auckland.

What do you think will be compelling about Parnell in the future?

Gail: You arrived in Auckland in 2017 with an extensive CV. Your career spans more than 30 years in senior roles in museums and cultural heritage organisations, you have worked in central government policy-making on cultural property, you have organised several major exhibitions that have toured internationally, and in 2019 you were appointed Hon Adjunct Professor in Museum and Cultural Heritage at the University of Auckland. All in all you have extensive knowledge in the museum and cultural heritage economy.

"Cultural vibrancy is a defining feature of the Parnell community and gives the suburb an unmatched quality of life."

In your view, what does it take to have culture and meaning in the community? And how does Parnell rate in this regard? David: With its museum, galleries, restaurants, markets and natural amenities, such as the Domain, cultural vibrancy is a defining feature of the Parnell community and gives the suburb an unmatched quality of life. No wonder we are seeing urban intensification and a boom in retirement village development in our precinct. People want to live here at all stages of life. Gail: Since you have been at Auckland Museum, there have been several major projects of which you would be rightfully proud – recently the opening of the new South Atrium as well as the Tāmaki Herenga Waka galleries, which tell diverse stories of the people who have shaped Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland across three centuries. How do you plan to inspire more connectivity between the community, businesses and institutions such as the Museum? David: Previously, I think the Museum was seen as rather remote from local businesses and the community. Its situation on the top of the Domain was seen as more of a barrier to engagement, rather like a castle on its motte. The development of our Te Ao Mārama South Atrium precinct has given us, and indeed the city, a new place of gathering and community engagement. I’d like to see Parnell and Newmarket businesses see us as a place to meet for professional and social connection, either in our new Tuitui Bistro and Café or more formally in one of our bookable meeting or conference spaces, including our historic art deco board room. Imagine hosting a business event or conference that has the added value of cultural orientation and manaakitanga that no other organisation can provide.

David: Parnell has a compelling cultural character and atmosphere and I believe we can leverage that further in order to drive greater footfall and spend in the area. I’d like to evolve a stronger collective narrative and identity for Parnell as a cultural precinct. This could emerge as a new brand for Parnell, rather like Heart of the City acts for the CBD. Together with Newmarket and Auckland Museum, this side of the city could be seen as a cultural hub and a visitor destination in its own right.

Gail: my memories of Parnell go back to the Early 1990s – regular summertime fish and chips Friday nights. Our Parnell Plunket Playgroup (mums, dads and our children) would meet under the big pōhutukawa tree in Dove-Myer Robinson Park. The long branch tentacles made fun climbing and bouncing for even the smallest, still crawling child. We parents formed close friendships during these early parenting get-togethers and to this day we all still enjoy dining together, holidaying together and sharing in life's celebrations and challenges. What is your favourite spot in Parnell? David: As a historian I’m always looking for a heritage angle in any place I live or work. For me, Ewelme Cottage, managed by Heritage New Zealand, is a hidden jewel. This Victorian weatherboard cottage built by the Reverend Vicesimus Lush and his wife Blanche takes you straight back to the beginnings of the fledgeling city. Like so much of the modern city’s early heritage, now surrounded by modern development, this oasis of historic buildings and garden provide a unique portal into local life and conditions over 150 years ago. Gail: 'It takes a village to raise a child' was the best advice I have ever received – what was yours? David: For me personal satisfaction depends very much on feeling that you are making a difference to the institution or community you serve. The best advice that I have received has always been, do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.


the hobson 19

Celebrating the residents and businesses of Parnell. Parnell Business Association

the stage

Strike up the Band! After a year of no shows, senior students return to the stage with song, dance and plenty of team spirit. By Talia Parker


any schools missed out on valuable performance opportunities last year due to Covid-19 lockdowns, or if they could put on a show, it was in a reduced capacity. This absence has made productions this year even more special for students and teachers alike. Recently, several of our local schools dusted off scripts, tuned up their instruments and turned the spotlight on senior school productions.

Selwyn College’s senior production of Chicago performed to rave reviews and sold-out audiences in the college’s theatre. Directed by head of music Duncan Allan, it starred Year 13 students Rebecca Crawford and Jess Sanders respectively as those infamous inmates of Cook County Jail, Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, and Leo van Druten in the role of celebrity lawyer Billy Flynn. Being involved in a school production offers the students opportunities for “connectedness, time management skills, and the chance to relate to others”, says Allan. “There’s a huge cross-over between different groups of students and year levels.” Chicago saw 65 students in the cast and band, with another 35 involved as technicians, designers and stage managers. Dilworth and Dio collaborated on their production of Les Misérables. Dilworth students Taliai Fifita and Kanaipono Schwalger shared the lead role of Jean Valjean. More than 60 students were in the cast and the large-scale production was staged at the new Diocesan Arts Centre. “It feels as if the cast has become one massive family,” says Demetrius Shortland, who played the student rebel, Marius. “I will definitely miss the atmosphere and the long hours of rehearsals with them.” Auckland Grammar and EGGS also returned to the stage, working together as they have done many times over the years. This year, the choice was the comedic musical Monty Python’s Spamalot, which played for 10 performances at Grammar’s Centennial Theatre last month. St Peter’s College also partnered up, collaborating with Marist College for The Sound of Music, which was staged at the Glen Eden Playhouse Theatre. The show involved 120 students, as well as 30 students in the band. “The production has been one heck of an experience, you learn new techniques, and make lifetime friends,” says Marist Y13 student Lisandra Solis, who played Liesl von Trapp. “The memories will stay forever in your heart.” The “very successful” show was produced by St Peter’s teacher Brett Fricker, who says the performing arts are an essential part of education. “Everyone from band to backstage crew comes out of their shells, and grows before your eyes,” he says. “It’s something I would recommend all kids get involved in at some point.” Selwyn’s Duncan Allan concurs. “It instils students with confidence in their abilities — they’re inspired and motivated, and find it a joy to contribute to such a big process. They’re participating and contributing, and they feel good about their place in the community. You never forget the joy of being involved in a school production.” And while April and May were busy for school shows, there’s more to come. St Cuthbert’s is staging The Sound of Music later this month in conjunction with Grammar; and Baradene, Sacred Heart and St Peter’s are working together on Legally Blonde.

Chicago photographs (opposite, top half of page) by Jarrod Brown, courtesy of Selwyn College. Les Misérables (opposite, lower half) photos courtesy of Dilworth School.

the hobson 20

the councillor

Figures, Flooding & Fixes


ne of the biggest decisions at the moment is the Auckland Council budget for the next 10 years. The Ōrākei ward comprises of a mix of communities from two local board areas, Ōrākei and Waitematā. Responses are catalogued by board area, not by ward, so it’s always a bit challenging to know what my wider ward feedback says. To help, each local board considers feedback from their area and officially resolves in a public meeting their advocacy for councilors to support. So, what did the local board feedback say? On general rates, both the Waitematā and Ōrākei local boards supported a one-off 5 per cent and then 3.5 per cent for the remainder of the budget. Why? Because this higher investment in year one will enable a greater investment into the Ōrākei ward over the next three years. Climate change: both boards supported investment into initiatives that will help mitigate the impact of climate change. Water quality investment — both boards supported an increase and extension to the water quality targeted rate, which directly invests in water quality enhancements in line with the general rates rise. The key reason behind this was the ability for this money to be directly spent on Hobson Bay and improvements to beaches from Parnell to Glendowie. The increase also allows this work to be brought forward six years, and started next year. At time of writing the final call has not been made but I am hopeful the mayor will amend his proposal noting the feedback, especially as it applies to extra water quality investment which wasn’t part of his original proposal. I will update details of the final decisions, which will be made later this month, in my newsletters and on my website ( If you live near to the Waitaramoa Reserve on Shore and Portland roads, you may be aware of the Waitaramoa Wetland Enhancement project. This is a year-long environmental project which will clear sediment from the streams in the reserve and remove blockages in order to reduce flooding events. I have long been an advocate for action on the longstanding issue of flooding on Portland Rd following heavy rain, and am extremely pleased to see progress.

While there have been some frustrating Covid-related delays, things are now finally underway. The project went out for tender in early May. The first step in the process, to commence in August, is vegetation removal. That will include the removal of 2000m2 of mangroves from the stream, 10 large crack willow trees and three Brazilian pepper trees, whose roots are restricting stream flow. The waterway desilting stage of the project will commence in October, and is expected to continue for eight months. 7000m³ of silt will be removed from the stream and be reused to build a landform, or mound, on the Hobson Bay side of Waitaramoa Reserve. This mound will represent future flood levels over the next 100 years. At the same time, walking tracks and footbridges will be upgraded to enhance access and enjoyment of the area. Each tree that will be removed will be replaced by two native specimen trees. These won’t be small trees either, we are talking pūriri, kōwhai and pōhutukawa, which will grow to be 4 to 6m high. In total, 15,000 native trees and shrubs will be planted, significantly more than what’s there now. Planting work will greatly enhance the ecological features of the area and will take place towards the end of the project, which is expected to be next March. The final part of flooding mitigation involves raising the bottom section of Portland Rd. This will be managed by Auckland Transport (who I thank most sincerely for putting up with my nagging about this and finally supporting delivery). Ever since I was a child, we have seen rubbish bins floating down the road and frequent flooding, causing major safety concerns for the users of lower Portland Rd, a major transport route for local residents and the four neighbouring schools. Construction associated with this will take place next year. To those of you who are impacted by the Waitaramoa Reserve works or have an interest, I would urge you to reach out to our Healthy Waters staff via They can answer any questions and continue to update you on the project. Desley Simpson is the Councillor for Auckland

Big enough to do the business, small enough to care.

the hobson 22



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the politician

A Story Worth Telling


any readers may recall Helen Kelly, the former president of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, who tragically died of lung cancer in 2016 at the young age of 52. Helen was a friend and mentor of mine and I miss her. That’s why I was delighted that former NZ Listener journalist Rebecca Macfie, also the acclaimed author of Tragedy at Pike River Mine: How and Why 29 Men Died, has written a book about Helen’s life and her and her family’s place within New Zealand’s political history. The book is entitled Helen Kelly: Her Life and I was honoured to speak last month at a gathering in Wellington of friends, family and contributors to the book. I first met Helen when she was secretary of the Association of University Staff and I was co-president of the New Zealand University Students’ Association (now called the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations). She worked with NZUSA on a few joint projects before the 2005 election and I was grateful that she always made time to come to our demonstrations and events. After my time at NZUSA I went to work for Helen at AUS as a part-time policy analyst while I finished my law degree. One of my responsibilities was drafting the Tertiary Update, the comprehensive AUS newsletter that went out to university staff. I didn’t know until I read the book that Helen had actually started out doing a similar role, writing a publication for members of the early childhood education union. After graduating, Helen was again instrumental in getting me a job, this time working for law firm Oakley Moran. Starting out in this role led to my long-term career as an employment lawyer. Like many young New Zealanders, after I had qualified as a lawyer and had a few years work experience I left for my OE in London. I regularly saw Helen when she passed through London to see family based in the UK, usually on her way

home from a meeting at the International Labour Organization where she was on the governing body. She also visited my law firm in London and told my boss to “train her up and send her back”. And eventually, my boss did just that. In 2016 our family came back to New Zealand. We were glad to be home and I was pleased to spend time with Helen in those last months before we lost her. My personal story of the role Helen played in my life is not unique and many others were mentored and supported by her. In her last recorded TV interview, Helen famously said that she just wanted people to be kind. She didn’t mean for people to simply be polite. She wanted people to show empathy with others, especially those injured in the workplace, or living in pain. Helen was very active during her final months. Everything she was doing during this time was to draw attention to issues that she felt were important. Health and safety at work, the working conditions of those working in forestry, in farming, as security guards, in mines. And of course, dignity for those who are in pain. Her commitment to fighting for her health and to live every minute was also for her family. I remember her saying to me: “How can I stop fighting?” She never did. In my maiden speech last year, I imagined that if things had been different, Helen might have been sitting a couple of rows ahead of me in Parliament. In her book, Rebecca Macfie also considers that Helen would have become an MP. I would not only recommend reading Helen Kelly: Her Life by Rebecca Macfie to those who remember Helen, but anyone with an interest in New Zealand political history. She was an extraordinary New Zealander who never stopped fighting for what she believed in. I miss her greatly. Camilla Belich is a Labour list MP based in Epsom

Camilla Belich Labour List MP

Get in touch: Freepost PO Box 18 888 Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160 /CamillaBelichLabour

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the hobson 24

the politician

Taking it to the Streets


f dungarees and vinyl records can come back, why not street corner meetings? A retro relic, on one view, but a timeless way of hearing people’s views, too. In case you missed it, nearly 1000 Epsom electorate folk came to 50 recent street corner meetings. We should all ask ourselves, what business am I in? I’m in representation. In a representative democracy it’s a representative’s job to take the concerns and aspirations of a community, translate it into a cogent programme of political action, and implement it in the capital (what could go wrong?). The whole process falls over without the initial feedback at the fat end of the funnel. Politicians are known for talking, but listening is foundational to the representation business. So, thank you to everyone who came out to my autumn meetings. What did folk have to say? We want vaccination, now. Epsom people overwhelmingly raised the issue of vaccination, with the questions being: why can’t it be rolled out faster, why are our local pharmacies and GPs not being employed in the effort, and when will it be here? Even the government doesn’t seem clear on whether it is the lack of actual vaccine on shore, the lack of distribution, or the lack of information systems for coordinating a roll out that is the problem. It may be each of them at different times, and the government is now promising an ambitious plan where 70 per cent of the population will be vaccinated in seven weeks to get it done this year. We can only hope they pull it off. ‘The name of the country,’ was a common debate. “When was this decided?” people asked. The answer is 1987, when the Māori Language Act of that year made Māori an official language. I, for one, believe in individual freedom over state control. If there are two languages at law, surely the choice of which one should be with private individuals and firms?

You’re invited.

The discussion generally got to this: something’s afoot, and it’s not a resentment of te reo Māori per se. The issues are two: change without consultation, and putting symbolism before practicality. It’s all very well to use the Māori name for a place or a government department, but people shouldn’t be left out because they’re one of two billion English speakers. Tsunami warning information, for instance, is not the time to introduce unfamiliar terms. The government’s housing policy was topical and got a big response. The Epsom electorate believes there’s a problem with housing. They want it fixed for their kids. The question is how. The problem with the government’s policy is that it’s not actually a housing policy. It’s a tax policy. The end of mortgage interest deductibility means that, other things being equal, more tax will be taken out of the housing tax. Ditto the new 10-year bright-line test. Adding insult to injury is the government calling those who own an investment property ‘speculators’, and mortgage interest deductibility a ‘loophole’. These descriptions are not accurate, but they sure are divisive. A final recurring issue was traffic. It’s nice to get our lives back from Covid, but returning to normal in Auckland means the return of rat-runs, noise, and danger from people making their way through the electorate suburbs. In that last case, I’ll be in touch with Auckland Transport about traffic calming measures where appropriate. With any of the other issues mentioned here, or any others at all, I’m always happy to help you, your family, or your business with government-related problems. Please feel free to get in touch on or 522 7464.

David Seymour is the MP for Epsom

Join local MP David Seymour and special guests.

Friday, 11 June 2021

Friday, 2 July 2021



Keeping safe from fraud and scams on the internet Speaker: Sean Lyons, Director Education and Engagement, NETSAFE Where: Mt Eden Village Hall, Mount Eden Time: 10.30am

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the hobson 25

the politician

A City of Many Languages


elect committees are the engine room of Parliament, where MPs have the opportunity to listen to the views of the general public and specialist groups around proposed legislation. I’m writing this column after three hours of the Education and Workforce Select Committee, hearing submissions of a private member’s bill for which I’m responsible, the Education (Strengthening Second Language Learning in Primary and Intermediate Schools) Amendment Bill. The bill, originally introduced by Nikki Kaye, would have us identify 10 languages and have government properly resource primary and intermediate schools to teach at least one of them. We want to increase access to language learning in the first years of schooling. This has prompted passionate speeches in person, or on Zoom, from men and women from all manner of backgrounds on the merits of Punjabi, Hindi, Mandarin, Tamil, Samoan and many other languages. Such love of their languages, their culture and stories, and such desire to ensure their children have a better chance of holding on to their mother tongue in New Zealand. It’s ironic that while immigration means that more and more other languages are spoken on our streets — as all of us experience anytime we walk through Newmarket — and in our homes, our education system is churning out increasingly monolingual students. As the director of the Asia New Zealand Foundation lamented, plenty of children enter our education system bilingual or multilingual but exit, aged 17, monolingual. Others, like me, arrive monolingual and exit monolingual (though I did manage to survive two months in France on “deux baguette s’il vous plait”). That’s long been the case, but sadly in the last decade the number of Kiwi kids learning an Asian language has decreased 29 per cent. That’s unbelievable, given the

increasing importance of Asian countries in the global economy and within our own communities. Google translate might be helpful for many things, but it’s no substitute for the clear benefits for brain development and the cultural empathy gained through the process of learning another language. Kiwis will be at a disadvantage in a competitive world being monolingual, when so many of their international contemporaries master many international languages. Sadly the Ministry of Education opposes the bill. Their view is basically, yes Kiwis should learn a second language, but it must be te reo Māori. That strikes me as sadly narrow. Of course, learning elements of te eeo is interwoven through everything students do at primary schools these days. But there’s also a big, wide world out there. The core challenge in schools right now is that too many kids aren’t turning up at all — attendance rates and truancy are a national crisis. There are many elements to this but a lack of engagement is part of the problem. We have to recognise that kids are interested in different things. For some, learning te reo Māori might like the spark of interest, for others it might be Hindi, Samoan or something else. Let them choose. More broadly, I believe we New Zealanders are at our best when we’re facing outwards —embracing the world in all its diversity — but we often fall into an inward looking mindset. A good blast of multi-culturalism is the best antidote to this. The reality of life here in Auckland is that we live in a massively diverse city, a city of many, many languages and cultures. Language is a great window into understanding other lives and other ways of thinking. I hope my fellow MPs will be support the bill. Paul Goldsmith is a National list MP based in Epsom

Paul Goldsmith

National List MP Based in Epsom 107 Great South Road, Greenlane 09 524 4930 paulgoldsmithnz

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the hobson 26

the teacher

A Break from the Books


s the world continues to struggle with the Covid-19 pandemic we in New Zealand are very blessed to be able to continue life in a reasonably normal way. While we must never be complacent about remaining free of this devastating virus, at the same time we need to keep life as normal as possible for our children, and that includes extracurricular activities. Every year, in every school, a new school term brings a focus on seasonal extracurricular activities that fit in alongside the academic programme, and serve to ensure a well-rounded education. There are so many activities to choose from in schools that cover the interests and the talents of students whether it be on the stage, on the sports field, in a debating team, in the kapa haka group, a choir or an orchestra, or in one of a myriad of other opportunities offered; all of which provide a range of benefits to children that they can carry into their adult lives. As I travelled around over the last holiday break I was impressed with the billboards advertising all the different school productions and how sophisticated the choices were. I had the opportunity to attend a few, and I say many of them would rival some international stage performances I’ve seen. New Zealand is blessed with a large number of very talented students who discover these talents in their school years. The talent in the students, brought out and encouraged by passionate music and drama teachers, and the fun they have on the stage, makes for a very enjoyable and entertaining evening for all. Findings suggest that the impact of an activity of this nature on wellbeing, physical health and the brain in general are far-reaching. Musical and drama productions provide students with an opportunity to challenge themselves to step outside of their comfort zones by offering learning about on-and-off-stage professional practice, technical and performance skills whether in the spotlight or in the wings. Whether behind a microphone

or the lighting desk, or working with costumes and make-up; there is something for everyone in the performing arts. Children across all the year levels love to perform, whether it is reading a part in a classroom play from a School Journal (remember those?) to reciting or performing in a Shakespearean drama in the higher secondary levels. Performance is by no means restricted to the stage. There are so many opportunities for students to perform in any field of choice that interests them. ‘Let them play’ is a call from the World Health Organization. The WHO recommends children and teenagers do at least one hour of physical activity every day. According to statistics, 42 per cent of young people in our country don’t meet the minimum amount of physical activity per week. Being such a sporting country this statistic is worrying. The benefits of any physical activity are multiple as we all know, and schools work hard to run a variety and inclusive number of activities to support the physical wellbeing of every student. The winter sports season is about to get underway and what this will bring to all who participate will benefit them enormously in every area of their wellbeing. Playing a team sport allows students to practice resilience and self-awareness, as well as at times having to face conflict resolution. All are excellent skills which will serve them well into the future. Extra-curricular activities are many and varied and I strongly recommend children join in and experience as many as possible, especially in their younger years. After working for so many years in schools that work hard to find the balance between the academic, the performing arts and the sports programmes, I am always reassured that Kiwi students receive the very best over their 13 years in school. At the end of it all, these experiences will contribute to achieving a successful academic record and will equip them with a full ‘tool kit’ of experiences that will enable them to choose a satisfying and fulfilling career pathway. — Judi Paape

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the hobson 27

the investment

A (Do) Good Return


e have all heard about the armaments exposure in our KiwiSaver funds and the debate that started several years ago regarding their appropriateness. After a huge public uproar, all the major KiwiSaver providers have now removed their investment exposures to the defence industry and some have gone even further and removed exposure to other ‘sin’ industries like tobacco, alcohol or fossil fuels. The investment world has now moved on, driven mainly by feedback from investors and everyone seems now to be talking about socially responsible investment (SRI) and environmental, social and governance factors (ESG), impact and social investing. But what does this mean and does it, maybe more importantly, really matter? Is it not just another fad or a niche solution for those on the ‘green’ side of the investment world, the tree-huggers? But first things first, what actually is SRI? Essentially, SRI is a very broad-brush term that has been used to cover everything from divestment from companies seen as doing harm, to restricting investment to only those companies that do measurable good for their environment, communities, employees, etc. The investment industry initially struggled defining the term, mainly because SRI can be a very personal thing and what might be acceptable, good or ‘ethical’ for one person may be a complete nono for another. In my view and that which we apply at Hobson Wealth, a broad definition of SRI is an investment that has a positive effect on the widely understood environment, and this seems to be the definition increasingly generally accepted. Although negative screening or exclusion from an investment portfolio of ‘sin’ companies is still widely practised by investment managers and advisers, it is increasingly the inclusion of companies that ‘do good’ that is seen as the way to properly apply an ESG and SRI overlay when undertaking investments. Historic research carried out over the years provided evidence that when it comes to investment returns, the negative screening excluding certain investments from your investment portfolio could negatively impact investment returns. This diminishment however was largely because the investment universe is limited in comparison to ‘non-ethical’ companies. In contrast, positive screening and choosing companies that effectively address ESG (ethical, social and governance) considerations proved to affect performance positively. Research showed a clear connection between better company sustainability practices and lower cost of capital,

better operational performance and better share price returns. Having said that, there is still not enough evidence to support claims that SRI securities and/or portfolios actually outperform their non-SRI peers, at least in financial terms. But if indeed an investor does not have to forego their financial returns while applying an SRI overlay, and at the same time can create positive social or environmental impact with their investment, is that not an appealing option? The answer for a lot of people would be “yes”, and as a result there has been a growing investor demand for SRI/ ESG investment approaches and products especially from the younger investors, the millennials who see doing good and investing as intricately linked. Growing demand has spurred the investment industry into action and an increasing number of investment managers are now applying ESG/SRI criteria when researching and choosing their investments and a plethora of new investment products have also started popping up. As with any investment, caution and common sense are always a good approach as not all of them may be suitable investments or may actually be managed well enough to provide positive financial returns. Having said that, this should be seen as a positive as we have now more investment options available. Choice can never be a bad thing. So, is SRI and ESG only for the tree-huggers? The answer would have to be a definite no. SRI has now entered the mainstream and is gaining momentum. We can no longer afford to ignore it, especially as the younger generations — for whom environmental, social and governance issues rank highly — will soon be controlling a big chunk of global wealth. For them it is an obvious choice and they will influence their parents. In NZ alone, the responsible investment universe represents more than $150 billion in assets or around half of total professionally managed assets under management. So, it’s here and it’s big business! And on another matter, remember what I wrote back in late 2017 in the wake of the formation of the Labour-led coalition government? ‘Tax and spend’ was going to be the theme of the next few years. I was unequivocally correct in what this government has done and continues to do, which is just tax and spend, but I should have broadened the headline to be more accurate to ‘tax, borrow and spend’. — Warren Couillault

the hobson 28

the plan

Carless Daze


uckland Transport has released its Draft Auckland Regional Land Transport Plan 2021-31 (RLTP) for comment. When compared to previous RLTPs, this document clearly articulates what Auckland Transport (AT) is trying to achieve and why. It is also an honest call on the challenges AT faces as it responds to an extremely complex transport environment in Auckland, and ever-increasing expectations and requirements from all stakeholders. The challenge is great, and will be greater as Auckland grows unilaterally. However, the response offered as a solution appears neither logical nor feasible, given the required heavy reliance on private vehicles. The solution, it seems, is found on page 33 of the draft RLTP: “Auckland’s transport strategy to avoid congestion increasing is to absorb future growth in travel demand by improving the public transport and active mode networks and encouraging more Aucklanders to change the way they travel. Targeted improvements to the road network to address key small-scale choke points also need to be delivered.” Let’s be honest, congestion is Aucklanders’ ultimate torment, and we are desperate to see improvements. We are all experiencing stress-inducing congestion delays on many trips and would prefer to see a balance between road improvements, upgrades and extensions and the public transport network – not solely a focus on one or the other. If the answer lies in more public transport, then I predict the result will fall well short of the needs of the transport system, the expectations of the public, and AT’s own goal of a “liveable, climate-friendly and productive city”. And of course, no one will be to blame as we rush from here to there and back again. In short, given the convenience of private vehicles and the spread of Auckland over an isthmus, private vehicles are going to continue to play a dominant role to meet our transport needs for a very long time. Relegating the role the private vehicle plays by not equalising road improvements with population growth will only strengthen the disdain many have for AT. Thousands of new households and new businesses will enter the Auckland area over the next 10 years, and all will have diverse travel needs, and will continue to rely predominantly on the flexibility and efficiency of private vehicles to meet those needs. As such, presuming that many of these new users will shift to public transport to manage work, play, kids, and life in general, without a private vehicle is a big mistake. That is unless AT and the RLTP actually wants gridlock to occur so that congestion

charging becomes a viable and obvious option. I’m not advocating that we abandon the potential to increase the use of public transport or an increased network, rather I am calling for an appropriate level of balance between public transport objectives and the use of private cars. In order to avoid congestion, AT is forecasting mode shift on a monumental scale over the next decade, with a number equivalent to 64 per cent of Auckland’s population growth being absorbed by public transport, walking and cycling. Yet no information is given in the draft about the anticipated changes in land use patterns (ie massive densification) and the walking and cycling infrastructure that would make it possible. As to congestion, rather than being kept at bay it is forecast to deteriorate markedly, with an increase in morning peak congestion levels of around 10 per cent. The overall strategy does very little to address a future increase in general traffic. The current approach appears to set Auckland on a path towards poorer levels of service for the bulk of transport users in order to improve conditions for a much smaller sub-group. Again, we will never eradicate congestion but surely the goal should be at the very least to maintain it at current levels as the population grows. The RLTP speaks to me that AT is an organisation that is not in touch with its customers or tuned in to the real-world decisions being made by transport users. I always chuckle when at meetings AT staff advocate for public transport, but turn up to the meeting by car. Until AT can develop a more realistic perspective on the role that private vehicles play, and will continue to play, in the transport network it will struggle to win the trust and confidence of Aucklanders, and struggle to provide meaningful solutions to our transport challenges. As an aside but very related, you will have seen that a group of Queen St landowners and the Heart of the City business association have taken a case to the High Court over the state of our “Golden Mile”. If you haven’t been to the lower half of Queen St of late, think a dilapidated amusement park with cones, temporary fencing and the homeless making for a complete shemozzle. The issue is the lack of urgency and direction from AT and council on getting on with fixing the problem. Whatever is going to happen – if Queen St is going to be pedestrianised or retained for vehicles — give us a plan, do it properly and get it done. The state of Queen St now and the time taken reflects on the organisation that manages it. — Hamish Firth

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the suburbanist

the arriviste

The Endless Loop

A Gappy Smile

was doomscrolling stories about housing when I saw it, there, in the chumbox, beckoning me . . . ’Writers! Your next story is here! We make it easy’ it said, ‘like shooting fish in a barrel!’. I know, I know, I should know better than hitting the clickbait at the bottom of the page but this time the algorithm had got me. Just one tiny click, a little peek. A site opened up promising me instant storylines, ‘1000s of journalists can’t be wrong!’. Well, actually . . . But click I did, in spite of the profligacy of exclamation marks and I stumbled into the space where journalists go when the property editor demands one thousand words by lunchtime. On each page were buttons, that led to more pages, with more buttons. I picked ‘housing’, then ‘front page’ and it gave me back, ‘23-year-old graduate can’t find 3-bdr house with a nice backyard in the city’. I clicked on this and was offered, ‘property ladder’, ‘statistics’ and ‘data’ (aren’t they the same thing?). ‘Statistics’ offered me only one button: ‘median house price rise’. I went back and hit ‘data’. Did you know that in the US right now there are 1.5 million real estate agents and only 500,000 properties on the market? I hit the back arrow and kept going till I got to the start and tapped ‘blame’ (I don’t know how I missed this the first time) and a page opened up with dozens of buttons: the government, investors, banks, landlords, Mom and Pop . . . I clicked on the latter and I could choose between ‘your parents’, ‘someone else’s parents’ or ‘hard done by’ – which led to ‘rental property’ on to ‘capital gains’ which branched out to ‘tax’ or ‘property ladder’. The ‘tax’ page had two buttons: ‘more’ and ‘less’. ‘Less’ gave me ‘landlords’ rights’ and a template for a story about terrible tenants, with a list of key words (lying, devious, sneaky, suspicious) and a specific example from the Tenancy Tribunal (good for at least 200 words!). I went back to ‘tax’ and clicked ‘more’ and got tenants’ rights’, another template, about a bullying landlord, with a list of key words (lying, devious, sneaky, suspicious) and the same example from the Tenancy Tribunal – seen through the eyes of the downtrodden. There was actually a button called ‘downtrodden’ which took me to ‘housing the poor’, ‘motels’, ‘the new underclass’, ‘the same underclass’, and ‘the poor – they’re not like us’ – I couldn’t resist. This led to ‘why don’t they just grow their own vegetables?’ and ‘how can I grow my own vegetables?’. This rabbithole led to ‘hunt your food’ and ‘I only kill what I eat’, and on to ‘gun control’, ‘fish and game’, ‘nothing left to shoot’ and ‘climate change’, which took me back to ‘blame’. So, I clicked on ‘Reserve Bank’ and then on ‘affordability’, which took me to ‘unaffordability’. Clicking on ‘unaffordability’ took me to ‘affordability’, in an endless loop. After a few cycles of this I saw at the bottom a small button that said ‘solutions’; nervously I clicked and got a grey page that said ‘404 message. Page not found’. Frustrated, I decided to get some air. It was May 1, the start of duck hunting season; what better way to escape. I returned to a favourite spot and there I found silence. Too much silence – not a quack, real or fake, no gunfire, nothing. A place once teeming with wildlife now empty, the quiet felt accusatory: like it was my fault (just click on ‘blame’, ‘climate change’, ‘car owner’). I made my way back to the car and there in the car park I saw it, off to one side: a barrel. I was drawn to it, but I dared not look in. I couldn’t help myself and peered over the edge; the barrel, half full. and in the dark water I saw them, the fish. I raised my shotgun. — Tommy Honey

veryone talks about the price of houses in Auckland, but no-one talks about the disappearances. Just a little while back, a big old bungalow that had been sitting quietly on Remuera Rd for the best part of a century was cruelly sawn in half, hoisted on two large trucks and driven off to a new address. The house next door to the newly-departed house had earlier met a similar fate and now there’s one just down the hill from our place that looks like it too is being prepared for an ignominious departure. Their replacements will probably be apartments or units or similar sensible modern accommodation options. And don’t write me off as another whining Not In My Back Yarder, a NIMBY. If anything, I belong with the YIMBYs, the Yes In My Back Yarders. There are two houses sitting in what was once our house’s back yard and we don’t mind at all. Our house is one of many in our small street that has long since sold off the back bits of their land for others to live on. But I also belong with a new movement, the Not In Our Front Yards crowd, and while I know NIOFY doesn’t slip off the lips quite as slickly as NIMBY or YIMBY, we have a solid point to make, though we may have lost the fight even before we’ve started. A lot of the lovely old teeth have already been pulled from the smiles of the streets in this part of Auckland and lately it seems as if the dentistry is picking up and soon the place won’t even look like itself anymore. And that would be rather sad. Though I am perhaps a little sentimental about old houses. My parents, having grown up in old places, wanted new ones when they got to own one and, as a result, I grew up in brand-new houses. Later, I’d see my father shudder when he clapped eyes on whatever saggy old house I was calling home at the time. “Get rid of your level,” he advised me and he was right. Nothing was in a straight line in Auckland’s old houses. But I didn’t care. I loved old places. It didn’t bother me at all that other people had lived and maybe died in them. I like ceilings as far away from the top of my head as possible and garages too narrow to fit modern cars. I like great big sections too, but I’m fine with having lost half a section to a pair of new houses. That old section would have been big enough to run livestock on with enough space left over for a badminton court or whatever it was the locals amused themselves with in these parts a hundred years ago when our house was built. But now, in our street alone, for every house at the front there’s an average of two more lurking up the end of a driveway. And it’s a sweet and discreet arrangement. The cars are tucked away and, really, the only time you realise what a crowd you’re sharing the street with is when we all line up our bins on the kerb for rubbish day. However, that was the old arrangement for getting new homes into streets. The new one is a smidge less subtle. A developer acquires two (or more) adjoining sections, removes everything and builds something new, something encompassing as many dwellings as possible and gives it a name like Sleepy Hollow or (if it’s on a hill) The Vista. It could be that one or both of those names are already taken and, if so, I mean no offence. Well, not much. Because, really, I would prefer that these futurists keep their hands off the frontline houses on our streets, along with their trees and neatly-trimmed hedges. Though, as mentioned, quite a number are already gone with, I imagine, many more to go. As I write this, our house is sporadically shaking while giant trucks haul load after load of earth out from around that nervous old house down the road. Another tooth gone from our smile. — Colin Hogg



the walk

Follow Those Men John Walsh and Patrick Reynolds update their popular walking guide of Auckland’s more interesting buildings


rchitecture writer John Walsh and his photographer pal Patrick Reynolds are back with an update to their popular 2019 book, Auckland Architecture: A walking guide. Celebrating the city’s beautiful, interesting and even misunderstood buildings, the new edition has been revised to include 18 more buildings and built forms of interest. The first edition sold out, and guided city walks offered by Walsh and Reynolds as part of the recent Auckland Writers Festival also sold out shortly after going on sale. The pocket-sized book released this month offers five suggested routes, snaking out from the CBD. Given the number of commuters headed to downtown from Ōrākei Train Station each day, we thought a look at some of the old and new of Britomart, and a glossy new structure just across the Te Wero bridge at North Wharf was worth a closer look. Enjoy your stroll.

The Hotel Britomart 29 Galway Street Cheshire Architects, 2020

Since around 2005, Cheshire Architects have been integral to the restoration and revival of Britomart, the downtown precinct bordered by Customs Street East and Quay Street, to the north and south, and Queen Street and Britomart Place, to the west and east. Britomart is a name that leads straight down an etymological rabbit hole: it derives from Point Britomart, a former headland used as fill for harbour reclamation, which in turn acknowledged HMS Britomart, the ship that brought soon-to-be-governor William Hobson to Auckland in 1840, and which seems to have been named for the Greek female deity Britomartis, although Britomart is also the name of a female knight in Edmund Spenser’s late-sixteenth-century epic poem The Faerie Queene. Curiouser and curiouser, but as colonial place names went, it could have been a lot worse; as far as the history of Britomart precinct goes, it very nearly was. In the 1980s, a proposed high-rise scheme was slowed down by public protest and killed off by the stock market crash. Auckland Council bought Britomart and was persuaded to prescribe development sympathetic to the area’s history. For nearly two decades, property developer Cooper and Company has been restoring and carefully augmenting Britomart’s building stock. The latest project is Cheshire Architects’ Hotel Britomart, a seven-storey building artfully inserted into, and partially interlocking with, a block of heritage buildings. The Hotel Britomart is slim and elegant, both at the macro level of its form and the micro level of the proportions of the bricks on its façades. The building’s east elevation on Gore Street gives Auckland a Miesian moment, a suggestion of planes sliding together as they do in the ineffably wonderful Barcelona Pavilion (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1929).

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Hotel Britomart. Photo by Patrick Reynolds.

The Excelsior Building, Stanbeth Hoiuse and Buckland Building. Photo by Patrick Reynolds.

Excelsior Building, Stanbeth House and Buckland Building 22–30 Customs Street East Edmund Bell (Excelsior), 1897; Joseph Becroft (?) (Stanbeth), 1885; Edward Mahoney & Sons (Buckland), 1885 Historic Place Category 2

Sited on reclaimed land near Auckland’s wharves, the three Victorian buildings in this block were designed as warehouses on either side of a decade-long depression. Starting at the east end (30 Customs Street East): the Buckland Building was designed for merchant John Buchanan, soon to be ruined in the late-1880s economic slump, by the architectural firm Edward Mahoney & Sons, which was led by founder Edward Mahoney (c1824–1895) and his son Thomas (1854–1923). Pilasters rising from a rusticated base form nine arcaded bays of windows with different frame treatments on each floor; a frieze of medallions runs beneath a cornice and parapet. Rising to the building’s taxonomic challenge, Heritage New Zealand defines the design as ‘eclectic Romanesque/Italianate in Victorian Commercial Palazzo style’. Ditto neighbouring Stanbeth House (26–28 Customs Street East), built for merchant John Coupland — another depression casualty — by Joseph Becroft who also, according to a contemporary New Zealand Herald report, ‘drew the plans’. Perhaps; whoever designed the building gave it a symmetrical façade centred on a pair of pilasters which meet a cornice and parapet. The third building in the block is the Excelsior Building (22 Customs Street East), designed by prominent architect, city councillor, Baptist deacon — and likelier author of Stanbeth House — Edmund Bell (1841–1917). More pilasters, this time with Corinthian capitals, enliven the brick façade of a building which is an amputated version of its original self — it was cut in half in the 1930s to allow the widening of Commerce Street. The Commerce Street façade has been covered by a permanent work — Maunga — by leading New Zealand artist Shane Cotton.

Park Hyatt Hotel 99 Halsey Street ar+d and Bossley Architects, 2020

An upmarket hotel in Wynyard Quarter was in the precinct’s masterplan, but many planets must align before such a facility eventuates. There are various interests to satisfy, including those of landowner, developer and hotel operator, and issues to resolve, among them appropriate levels of amenity and general corporate feng shui. The public agency responsible for Wynyard Quarter did its bit by reserving for hotel use a prime site projecting into Viaduct Basin, adjacent to Karanga Plaza and the footbridge to the city. After some of the kite-flying endemic to Auckland real estate schemes, a Chinese development company negotiated with an American hotel company to build a hotel luxury-branded as a Park Hyatt. The building, designed by Singapore-based ar+d and Auckland practice Bossley Architects, occupies all of a 100-metre × 50-metre waterfront block, and so presents all four of its façades. Planners prescribed a verandah, but the architects managed to translate that into a continuous colonnade. The Park Hyatt is the most prominent building on the city side of Wynyard Quarter, thanks to its scale, situation and façades of bronzed steel mesh screens. The building has sufficient mana that local iwi Ngāti Whātua consented to the screens being accorded the status of a cloak. Essentially, the building is a hollow rectangle: all rooms are arranged — to benefit from outward views — around the perimeter of the central atrium that rises through the seven-storey, steel-framed building. The Park Hyatt is an expensive place to stay, but you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy, temporarily, the experience of well-sited cafés and bars that offer cityscape vistas, including that of the shimmering polycarbonate façade of the Maritime Museum extension (2011) designed by Pete Bossley of Bossley Architects.

Reprinted with permission from Auckland Architecture: A Walking Guide, revised edition, by John Walsh and Patrick Reynolds. Published by Massey University Press, 2021, RRP $25

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Park Hyatt Hotel. Photo by Patrick Reynolds.

the magpie

Come Fly with Me


Ōtepoti, Oban or Ohakune — wherever you’re headed, the Magpie has you travelling in style 1. hej hej had us at hello with their linens, and the new release of winter knits gives us more to love. Mellowpuff Knit in periwinkle, $220, Pin Dropper Skirt, $190, Heads Up Hat, $80. 2. The North Face Unisex Deptford Down Jacket ups your chill and wind protection and style points too. It has a toasty 700 goose down fill and TNF’s patented WindWall protection. In green or white, $750,

5. Rest your head on some very fine feathers. The Ostrich Pillow was originally designed for flying, but works anywhere you fancy a nap. A little less fancy but still restful is the Light Versatile Pillow. Ostrich $140, Light Versatile, $63, both plus shipping, 6. Throw this baby over anything to keep warm and bang-on-trend. Aviator Coat in ochre, $349.90,

3. Luxe Cable Knit Socks are your friends on the ground or in the area. $21.90,

7. Easy to pack, invaluable on planes or wherever you lay your head, Silk Magnolia Travel Eye Mask, $59 at Hedgerow, 393 Remuera Rd.

4. Don’t leave town without it: the Kreafunk Portable Charge will keep you plugged in. In dusky pink or black, $54 from Hedgerow, 393 Remuera Rd.

8. Nothing says “I’ve arrived” like The Architect Spinner. Smooth on the path, blemish-proof thanks to the sleek ripstop cover and oh, so chic. Around $1295, plus shipping, from

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9. Dermalogica’s Smart Response Serum adjusts to your skin’s particular needs, making it ideal for weather fluctuations. Brightening, calming, firming and/or hydration, it delivers. $255, 10. Nix the disposables and get a great mask for now and future travelling. The Urban Air Mask 2.0 is KN95 certified and available in four sizes. From $105, 11. The Magpie was quick to spot this new addition to the Longchamp family. Le Pliage Filet Top Handle Bag will see you right whether you’re touring Ōtepoti or Oban. $185 plus shipping,











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the menu

Thinking Ahead


ne of the tricks to really enjoying food if you’re sharing a dinner with friends is to think ahead and be organised. Always leave time to relax before sitting down to eat – great for reducing stress in the kitchen and certainly very important for easy digestion. There’s another golden rule in the kitchen, which is never to try out a complex-sounding recipe for the first time when guests are coming to eat with you. Too many recipes (often those sourced from the internet) actually do not work! Cooks may blame themselves for a failure, but the reality is frequently those recipes have not been held up to the scrutiny of the experienced book or magazine subeditor who ensures that all the ingredients are listed in the order they are to be cooked and the instruction or method for the recipe makes complete sense with nothing omitted, including checking cooking time, size of the dish, correct temperature and much more. Oven temperatures can be another stumbling block. Using the fan-bake function means the selected temperature can be 15°-20°C lower, as this efficient method of baking moves the air more evenly around the oven. But be aware that not all ovens are created equal. My experience is that a good cook quickly learns whether they have an exceptionally hot or cool oven and adjusts the prescribed temperature to suit. Recently ‘tray bakes’ have become very popular with food writers. Tray bakes are a wonderful way to cook as you assemble an array of harmonious ingredients, lay them out in an even layer in a shallow roasting pan or sturdy baking tray, cover everything lightly with olive oil, a sprinkling of fresh herbs and some seasoning and even a touch of well-chosen spice mix. You pop the tray in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes and produce tasty food in a very relaxed manner. The chicken with fennel, olives and mandarins shown here is fragrant and tasty. To get maximum flavour in a dish like this I think it’s worth spending a little time giving the ingredients a little extra love before placing them on the baking tray. By gently cooking the fennel until it is soft and turning golden and browning the chicken well, you will add extra layers of flavour. And try to use homemade chicken stock or buy the supermarket version sold in clear plastic pouches. That stock will make a world of difference to the finished dish. Mandarins have arrived in stores, heralding the arrival of the winter citrus season. These wonderful little orbs of golden orange deliciousness are my current favourite fruit. Take care when peeling them to get rid of as much of the white pith as possible. It requires patience and gentle handling to do this but you will be well rewarded by a very professional looking finish for the fruit. Eat mandarins as a snack. They are perfect for kids’ lunchboxes, and an ideal between meal pick-me-up. I also like to slice them and serve them on Greek style yogurt, drizzled with a little maple syrup. Mandarins add both sweetness and acidity to this chicken dish which can be prepared ahead and refrigerated before baking in the oven. Enjoy! — Lauraine Jacobs

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Chicken with Fennel, Olives & Mandarins 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 large bulbs fennel, sliced lengthwise Sea salt and black pepper Several sprigs thyme 4 Maryland portions of free-range chicken (thigh and leg) 2-3 tbsp flour 1 cup chicken stock 4 large mandarins 150g large Sicilian green olives Warm half the oil in a large pan over low heat and add the sliced fennel bulbs in an even layer. Season with salt and pepper and add the thyme leaves. Cook over a low temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes until soft and golden. Remove and place in an oven proof roasting pan. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Dredge the chicken portions lightly in flour and season with a little salt and pepper. Add the remaining oil to the frying pan and over a medium heat cook the chicken pieces for 4 to 5 minutes, turning occasionally until the skin is golden all over. Place the chicken on top of the fennel. Keep the frying pan over the heat and scrape well with a spoon while adding the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer. Meanwhile peel the mandarins carefully and cut the skin of one into thin strips to add to the simmering liquid. Also add the juice of two mandarins and bring the liquid back to a simmer. Pour the simmering stock over the chicken, tuck the olives in amongst the chicken pieces and bake in the oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. The meat on the leg part of each portion should start to shrink a little and seem to be pulling away from the bone, indicating it is cooked. Peel the remaining mandarins and carefully remove all the white pith. Slice the fruit horizontally and add on top of the chicken to make an attractive garnish. Serve with mashed potatoes and fresh green vegetables. Serves 4

the sound

Sound & Vision


o, who doesn’t like a like a good sound and light show, eh? ‘Son et lumière’, they call them in France. Wait for nightfall, light something up, preferably with fireworks and let the orchestra play. You could say the old son et lumière has been with us since the cave-dwelling days, when cave dudes would light a fire, draw some bison on the walls, chew on a psychotropic plant root and beat some sticks until their fingers bled. Just like the summer of ‘69. The fact is the first official son et lumière event happened in 1952 at the Château du Chambord and the phenomenon really took off in 1961 after a big show at the Great Pyramid of Giza caught everyone’s imagination. The whole thing was waiting for the technology to arrive. The ability to light vast areas and to amplify sound. And one of the driving forces of all of that was rock ‘n’ roll. As guitars electrified in the 50s and speakers became essential for more than just voice, a group of boffins started fooling around with amps and speakers and the technology development went into overdrive through the 60s. It had to. Look at the tragic footage of The Beatles playing Shea Stadium in 1965 in front of 55,000 screaming fans, commonly recognised as the first stadium gig. The band was amplified through the ground’s tinny sound system. There was no lighting other than white arc lights. People said you had to be there. These days we’d be queueing to get our money back. People like Bill Graham, the guy behind the legendary venues Fillmore East and West in New York and San Francisco, drove this stuff on. He hired a youngster called Joshua White, also known as the Joshua Light Show. Joshua figured out how to do swirling oil patterns using overhead projectors, like the ones you had at school. He turbo-charged them and gained more control of the patterns. He figured out how to play cartoons on his screens as well. Apparently the times he played Road Runner cartoons at Fillmore were described as transcendental by super-stoned patrons. As the light shows became more professional, so did the bands. Bill Graham tells a great story of Joshua Light Show getting the crowd amped with light effects and then Jefferson Airplane wandering on stage and spending an age tuning. After

a serve, the next time they played they tuned backstage. So on we went. ABBA named an album and song after the big spotlights invented for rock called Super Troupers — the bright light provided by xenon filaments. It was 1995 that things really changed with the invention of the LED. It took a while for people to see the advantages but that changed in 2006 when Daft Punk played Coachella. They produced a pyramid made out of LEDs. Famously their stage design cleaned the entire United States out of their supply of LEDs. LEDs are clear and cool and bright. And now they’re everywhere. Look at many stage lights now and they’re not one fierce burning bulb but a collection of LEDs, and they’ve changed everything. At the head of that is U2 and a Belgian company called PRG Projects. Ever since their ZOO TV tour which used massive, heavy and hard to transport video screens, U2 had been looking for lightweight screens. PRG did it with LEDs in carbon fibre frames. U2’s screens pack away into nothing and look amazing, as anyone who went to the Joshua Tree concert at Mt Smart will tell you It’s rock ‘n’ roll’s work with LEDs that have led to the explosion of video billboards that you see these days. Blade Runner come to life. I was thinking about all this as I watched Six60’s gig at Eden Park, where video screens stretched the width of the park.The displays were monumental. I thought of the technical bods who made it all and the creative bods who imagined what they could do with it all. The skill of it. The work it must have taken. The moment of truth. Because you only get one shot at this sort of stuff and everyone remembers the technical breakdown. I thought of my summer of helping a band with their stage shows as they played church halls around town. We’d pop down to the milk bottling plant to get aluminium offcuts that we'd hang behind the band and light with two bulbs and some coloured plastic film . . . awesome. It reminds you that to make it these days you need a skillset that goes far beyond knowing some chords. You need imagination and the technical skill to make it all real. It’s a lot more than sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll now. — Andrew Dickens

It's only rock 'n' roll but today's stadium events have a lot more going on than neon. Photo Merch Husey/Unsplash.

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the district diary

Auckland Festival of Photography: Chronostasi, Wednesday 8 April,Milan, Italy, 2020.

June/Hune 2021

June is Bowel Cancer Awareness month. See page 17 for more info 3 The Auckland Festival of Photography (image from the festival, above) is a city-wide contemporary art and cultural event. Visit photographyfestival. for venues, dates and times. To June 20 5 Take the whole family out for a Saturday night treat to see Alice in Wonderland, performed by The Classic Theatre Company. 7.30pm, Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre. Tickets from

Bonaventure, Derek and Kalauni of Operatunity. They perform today at Somervell Presbyterian Church, cnr Greenlane and Remuera roads, 11am. 8 Lust, revenge, role reversals and a wedding: it’s The Marriage of Figaro! Mozart’s subversive hit opens tonight in a new production by the NZ Opera, directed by Lindy Hume and conducted by Zoe Zeniodi. Also on June 10 and 13, at the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Aotea Centre. See or

7 Queen’s Birthday Monday

11/12 Te Wheke the octopus and guardian of the sea is symbolised in this contemporary dance work from the Atamira Dance Company. ASB Waterfront Theatre, 7.30pm, 138 Halsey St. All ages, tickets from

Great melodies, charm, a bit of cheekiness — it can only be The Three Tenors:

12 Drop into Heard Park to check out proposals and have your say

6 We can build it — kids 5+ are welcome to join the Remuera Library’s LEGO Club. Every Sunday, 12.30-2.30pm, free

about what you’d like to see in the park and playgrounda. 170 Parnell Rd, 10.30am-12.30pm. Feeling lucky? Māori Television’s new family game show, Lucky Dip, is the show where the studio audience are the stars and can win amazing prizes. NEP Studio, 60 Stanley St, Parnell, 4pm-9pm. Free but you must book to get a seat, see BYOB (bring your own bear) to Paddington Bear’s First Concert.The orchestral score by the APO includes themes from Thomas the Tank Engine and Harry Potter. Auckland Town Hall, sessions at 11.30am and 2pm, tickets from 16 Look back with Remuera: A History, an exhibtion opening from today at Rawhiti Estate, 14 Rangitoto Ave. Free, every day 1pm-4pm 17 The Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival World Tour is here as a fundraiser

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for the NZ Alpine Club, so you can get up close to adrenaline-packed action sports in this exploration of the mountain world. SkyCity Theatre, 7.30pm, tickets from 19 Mataraki begins today. The constellation will be visible until July 11 24 The APO’s wind and brass musicians will shine in Baroque & Beyond — Joie de Vivre, conducted by Vincent Hardaker. Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell, 7pm. Tickets from 26 The Tiny Tot Groovers Hippest Hottest Fundraising Disco has face painting, candyfloss, popcorn and of course dancing. Orakei Community Centre, 156 Kepa Rd, 2pm-5pm. Cash only, $5 entry, $2 food/activities. See

Specialising in Luxury Homes, Apartments and Projects Scarlett and Jason have the expertise and connections to deliver the premium result your property deserves. Together they bring years of experience transacting luxury homes and apartments amongst some of the most desired locations across Auckland and the regions. This experience along with their established networks, databases and market knowledge is reflected in their recent sales results of $42,000,000 YTD. Whether you are considering either buying or selling, contact Jason and Scarlett for a private discussion.

JASON GADDES +64 21 994 921

SCARLETT WOOD +64 21 686 856

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