The Hobson May 2021

Page 1

may 2021

mother's day p mataharehare local news, views & informed opinions


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MAY, 2021, #78


The welcoming display by Wonder Florals at the launch of The Foundation (see page 28).




the editor’s letter

the suburbanist

the mamas

10 the contributors

Tommy Honey tips his cap to smart ways to get on the property ladder

Our Mother’s Day portfolio by reporter Talia Parker and photographer Sonia Chelli




the neighbourhood

the investment

the magpie

A peaceful protest to save Robbie’s Park, Rawhiti Estate honoured for design excellence, the Athenians turn 50, and more

Warren Couillault pays attention when Prof Harry Dent speaks

Stylish accoutrements for the ladies, as found by our fine feathered friend

17-19 the politicians Updates from our three Epsom electorate reps: David Seymour, Camilla Belich and Paul Goldsmith

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

25 the arriviste The jay-walkers of Remuera are frightening the life out of Colin Hogg

38 the menu Lauraine Jacobs serves up soup



the sound

the plan

Andrew Dickens’ viewing habits are happily broadened

A different model is clearly needed to fund local infrastructure needs, says Hamish Firth

42 the district diary What’s going on in May (we hope)

the hobson 6


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M issue 78, may 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, David Seymour, Desley Simpson Photographers Sonia Chelli, Stephen Penny Cover Madura and Siyona, photographed in Remuera by Sonia Chelli as part of our Mother’s Day portfolio. See The Mamas, page 30

ay brings Mother’s Day, and while many of us will be able to be with our mums or mother figures, others will only be able to turn to memories. As Desley Simpson observes in her column (page 18), it can be a painful time due to loss or geographic separation. On that sad note, we extend every sympathy to the family and friends of the roundly-adored Beth Astle, who died in March. Beth was the ‘other half’ of Antoine’s, the Parnell restaurant she ran with husband Tony for 47 years. She was described as the “wind beneath the wings” of Antoine’s in our March issue. And the family and colleagues, as well as visitors to the Remuera Library, are mourning the passing of librarian Mary Virtue. Mary worked at the library for 25 years, a friendly face and good friend to many. “Mary was a vital member of our Remuera Library team and we miss her greatly,” says manager Sue Jackson, “Mary loved her job, loved being part of a close-knit library team and loved serving her community.” Our sincere sympathies to the Astle and Virtue families, their ‘work families’ and friends. And midway through last month we learned of a different kind of loss. Nothing as terrible as losing a loved one, but it’s another “so long” to a local establishment — Woodpecker Hill, one of Parnell’s best hospo spots. The lease was up for renewal, and the longtail financial sting of Covid influenced the owners’ decision to shut Parnell and concentrate on their other eateries across town. Woodpecker and its newer fledging, The Golden Nest, was a great place. We’ll miss its relaxed charm and great food. Thank you Nigel, Mark and Che for your hospitality.

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.

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


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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 PROTECTING MATAHAREHARE “A busy yet tranquil public green space” is how Dove-Myer Robinson Park is described on the website of Manatu Taonga, Ministry for Culture and Heritage. The blurb also says the Parnell park is “home to what is thought to be the largest pōhutukawa tree in Auckland”. Such attributes make it seem an idyllic spot for the group whose tents have occupied the lawn near the tree since early March. They say their love for the place grows by the day. Watching the dawn’s colours bloom above the gulf islands and tint the still waters of the Waitematā Harbour, makes up for a night of trying to sleep in spite of the background noise. Below the cliff-top camp is Auckland’s container port and shunting yard for rail freight, the city’s heliport and Tamaki Dr. Daybreak brings a ritual for the Protect Mataharehare group of going to the park’s street entrances to stand guard should trucks arrive with steel fences and machinery to build the National Erebus Memorial. They hope drivers respect that a rāhui — a ban on activity — was declared by kaumātua on March 17. Preparatory work, including putting in a temporary access road to the site on the cliff top that the group call Mataharehare, was to start on March 1 but clashed with the most recent Covid-19 lockdown for Auckland. Work was then postponed by the memorial’s developer, the Culture and Heritage ministry. The delay turned into a month’s opportunity to grow Protect Mataharehare’s public profile. Protect is the successor to the ‘Save Robbie’s Park’ campaign from a group led by local residents Anne Coney and Jo Malcolm. The women had lodged multiple objections about the site selection process for the memorial with the Waitematā Local Board, which is the nominal landowner of the park. Auckland Council granted resource consent (without the opportunity for public input) earlier last year and after a 4-3 vote in November, the local board granted its necessary permission, the final procedural step for the monument to go ahead. The Save Robbie’s Park group had emphasised that they were not opposed to an Erebus monument — just not on that site — and this sentiment was adopted by Protect, albeit with a new emphasis: that the site has special significance for Māori. Kaumātua and historian Tautoko Witika of Ngā uri o Tuperiri (part of the Ngati Whātua iwi) stood beside Dame Rangimārie Naida Glavish in her wish that an alternative site be found to do the “right thing” for the families of Erebus victims.

They did not want site works affecting the pōhutukawa and the park land that had been Mataharehare pā. For many, the naming of a historic pā site at the container port end of the park was news. The land has an association with Sir John Logan Campbell, whose Italianate mansion, Kilbryde, had the veteran pōhutukawa in its garden when it stood at Campbell’s Point, the tip of which was quarried to form the railway line. A historic pā site is recorded at nearby Taururua Pt Resolution. In his book, From Tamaki MakauRau to Auckland: A History of Auckland, historian Professor Russell Stone does not mention Mataharehare pā but says in the 1840 Deed of Purchase of Ngāti Whātua land, the eastern boundary was a stream called Mataharehare. In most records, that stream is shown near the western end of Waitaramoa Hobson Bay. The most recent introduction of Māori opposition to the monument site has also been a surprise to those following the dispute. Since late 2018, when it was first announced by the ministry the memorial would be placed in Dove-Myer Robinson Park, the site has been supported by the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust. “We made sure that the location of the memorial would not damage the environment or be culturally inappropriate,” trust chair Marama Royal has said. “As mana whenua we will ensure that the works are completed sensitively and are culturally sound.” In an interview with The Hobson, Dame Rangimārie said her disagreement was not with her Ngāti Whātua iwi, but with the process that chose this site above others. She wrote about her concerns to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. This led to a meeting with the chief executive of the ministry, Bernadette Cavanagh, and Andrew Coleman of Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, on whose Māori Heritage Council Dame Rangimārie sits.

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Listening first

She said if her meeting were to result in a slimmed-down version of the monument, to reduce its footprint on the park, it was still “imposing a structure of concrete and steel into an environment where it doesn’t belong . . . a 180-year-old plus tree, the birds and Mataharehare. The whenua is as much heritage as the tree and when you touch the whenua, you are touching that tree, all the trees.” Dame Rangimārie said that when Protect co-ordinator Paul Baragwanath showed her the pōhutukawa, she put her arms around its drooping branches. “I cried to the rākau tupuna (ancestor tree) and sang a karanga to the tree. It was like walking into the past.” When The Hobson visited, the old tree sheltered neither the monument site nor the campsite from a cool northerly blasting in from the sea. Its human friends talked enthusiastically about experiencing “the magic of Mataharehare”. They explained they were on a “peaceful protect, not a protest.” Many have never protested publicly against anything. For more than a month they had kept a constant watch with a roster of day and night shifts, sometimes enjoying communal meals and baking delivered by supportive locals. To people from all over Auckland passing by, they explain their aims. They believe that the monument site should be abandoned. No hurry to leave, though. A successful community Easter egg hunt in the tree had been held for park guardians of the future. A gathering with live music was being planned to celebrate 5000 signatures on the online petition initiated by Margaret Brough, whose father, Aubrey, was among the 257 who died when Air New Zealand flight TE 901 struck Mt Erebus in Antarctica in q

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Above and previous pages, the protestors' tents in Dove-Myer Robinson Park and the giant pōhutukawa central to concerns about the placement of the National Erebus Monument. The orange-tipped pole visible beside the yellow tent marks the height of the memorial. The concrete and steel structure is 8m high x 17m long. Photos by Stephen Penny.

1979. Addressed to the Prime Minister, it calls for a rethink of the memorial location. Steve Phillips and Matt Rua, of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, were sitting around a folding table with Jo Malcolm and fellow Parnell resident Roger Burton. Phillips said they were upset that a structure going on Mataharehare pā was not referred to the taumata (council of elders) for approval as something which affected hapū values and mana. The Māori Heritage Council was bypassed with the resource consent being non-notified. The men said that initially they had known the iwi’s history around the headland at Pt Resolution, but nothing about Mataharehare. That has changed, says Rua. “Coming here, the significance of the pā has just grown for us, because we have learned quite a bit about it.” Phillips said Māori cultural values had not been satisfied. “How much of the pā has gone? We don’t know if there are grave sites here but there would be middens spread around . . . certainly, the footprints of our tīpuna.” Question marks over the age of the pōhutukawa, the significance of Mataharehare pā in history and whether it’s being confused with the pā at Taurarua, the men say, shows the lack of investigation and cultural consultation before the monument was approved. The ministry’s deputy chief executive delivery, Tamsin Evans, says the independent arborist who advised the memorial project said the tree was approximately 150 years old. “While the exact age may not be known, everyone agrees the pōhutukawa is a magnificent specimen and the memorial plans ensure the health and longevity of the tree is not at risk.” Evans says the ministry acknowledged cultural and heritage values. A detailed archaeological assessment of the site was done to get permission for earthworks from Heritage NZ Pouhere Taonga. “This assessment notes the memorial site is close to two recorded archaeological sites: it is near the original recorded site of Mataharehare pā and within the former Kilbryde property owned

by Sir John Logan Campbell. The assessment also notes that the site of Mataharehare appears to have been largely or completely destroyed when the headland was cut down during the early 20th century, and that to date, no archaeological remains of the pā have been found.” Evans said an archaeologist will monitor the digging of foundations. — Wayne Thompson p For further information, see Protect Mataharehare on Facebook or

ARCHITECTURAL HONOURS BeGroup NZ, developers and operators of retirement villages, are celebrating a significant honour for their Remuera complex, Rawhiti Estate. US-based Senior Housing News, or SHN, holds an annual global architecture and design competition for developments across 10 categories, including independent and assisted living, and memory care units. The judges evaluate entrants on not only architectural excellence, but also design innovation and the use of technology. Rawhiti Estate has been judged the overall international winner, across all categories, for 2020. “When we acquired the original Rawhiti Bowling Club site, we knew that we were sitting on a special place, and that our team needed to do something incredible to create an exceptional space residents can feel proud to call home,” says BeGroup chief property officer, Brett Meyer. “Many hours were spent to ensure that the design fitted in with the character of Remuera, and the spaces were sensible, practical and beautiful. The atrium [pictured] in particular needed to work both functionally, and aesthetically.” While feeling “quietly confident” there would be some level of recognition for Rawhiti, Meyer also knew there would be

the hobson 12

competition from some exceptional developments globally. “The judges were particularly impressed with our design, which created a woven interplay between communal and personal space,” says Meyer. The year-round atrium garden was noted and that “our design was focused around normality but with focused attention on providing an exceptional level of care.” Meyer is delighted the award recognises the work not just of architect Anthony Flannery of re-Imagine Ltd, but also Argon Construction, “who accommodated our requirements with meticulous patience. “And thank you too to our passionate staff, who make this a special place, and to our residents, who have chosen Rawhiti to be their home.” p


The Auckland Quiltmakers Group is back with its annual quilt show and sale after a lockdown-enforced cancellation last year. The group will be displaying its handiwork at the Jubilee Building, 545 Parnell Rd, over the weekend of May 1-2. “Lockdown gave us the opportunity to build up a great range of quilts to show both traditional and modern,” says quiltmaker Gail Moore. As in other years, a quilt has been made to raffle (pictured above), with all net proceeds donated to Mercy Hospice. Tickets to the show are available at Mercy Hospice shops, including in Remuera and Ellerslie, and at the door. p

NOT RETIRING OVER THIS Local residents have continued to voice concern over plans by Summerset for its retirement village in Parnell’s Waipapa valley. A group of residents attended council planning hearings last month to present their views on the resource consent application for a village of 316 units and communal areas, housed in eight buildings of between three and eight storeys. It will be built on former railway land accessed from Cheshire St. Summerset estimates construction will take up to seven years. Of critical concern to residents is the site’s bulk and the impact of the works, including restricted access to Parnell Station, the use of narrow streets for truck access and the noise and vibration for the duration of the project. “This is an astonishingly over-scale development crammed onto a small site,” says resident and registered architect Claire Chambers. “And there’s also the removal of contaminated soil and replacing it with other fill, the 100,000 truck trips needed along small back lanes to achieve that. This building project is going to do as much damage to the local community in my opinion, in both the short and longer term. “I’m also seriously concerned about Wellington’s interference in local democratic process in Auckland, and the pressure Auckland Council is under to overlook its own Unitary Plan. It’s role is to enable local democracy and to promote the well-being of communities.” The commissioners are expected to release their ruling on the application later this month. p

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ATHENIAN ANNIVERSARY Councillor Desley Simpson was guest of honour — and ‘down the decades’ fashion show compère — when the Athene Club celebrated its 50th anniversary recently. The women’s club has, since its inception, discussed topics as broad as urban development, health reforms, ethics and economics. Guest speakers are invited to monthly meetings held at the Ellerslie racecourse. Councillor Simpson noted that when the club was formed, women’s groups were often focused on fundraising. The Athene — named for the Greek goddess of wisdom — ditched the ‘bring a plate, buy a raffle ticket’ model and instead, gathered to hear an informed, topical speaker share their knowledge. In their first decade alone, those speakers included politicians Sir Robert Muldoon and David Lange, social justice campaigner Father Felix Donnelly, Māori language advocate Merimeri Penfold, and SIDS researcher Dr Shirley Tonkin. Over the years, they were followed by leading jurists, social activists, sports stars and business titans; a model which continues to today. p

Founding members of the Athene Club, pictured at the recent 50th anniversary celebrations. Back row, from left: Lois Morrison, Margaret Griffiths, Patricia Maud, Jenny Vernon, Cynthia Brown, Marie Taylor. Front row, from left: Margaret Sinclair, Hilary Reid, Jenefor Maiden, Joan Thompson.


Fire started in toi toi has damaged an extensive area of the bank near the Fred Ambler Lookout, Gladstone Rd. The colony of wild cats who live on the bank has been reduced in recent years but locals report seeing a few hardy kitties around after the fire. p

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live life local

New World Remuera — Two’s Company

Moving to Auckland after three years owning and overseeing the redevelopment of Wellington’s New World Whitby, Sam and Pauline Cockroft have slotted effortlessly into the Remuera community after taking ownership of the village’s supermarket. With a home nearby and plans for the business to develop and grow exponentially over the next few years, it’s an exciting time for Remuera and for the couple. Have you both always been in supermarkets? Sam: No, I started many years ago pushing trollies at The Warehouse in Christchurch, which is where we’re both from. It was a fun part-time job that helped me pay for my first year studying commerce at university, which I then dropped out of as it just wasn’t for me. I went on the store manager development programme at The Warehouse instead, and never looked back. Pauline, are you from a similar background? Pauline: Not at all! Supermarkets were always Sam’s dream, but I have a degree in fine arts and graphic design. Before we had children I worked in advertising studios and branding agencies, then I took time off to be at home with Finn (7) and Millie (6). When we took over the Whitby store I started to become more involved, and the family business took off. I started off just

helping with accounts here and there, but now I’ve officially taken over the marketing side of things and can bring my background into play, too. Couples can either thrive working together, or quite the opposite! What is the key to your success? Pauline: I think we have deliberately carved out our different roles, we never went into the business as two bosses. Sam is the operator and I’ve always been around to play the support role where I’m needed. Sam: I think the biggest challenge we have is separating work and home time, we’re learning to switch off! In the past I could come home and download my own stuff while Pauline would listen, and she would do the same with me. We’re getting there, and learning all the time. Pauline: It’s made things easier with the kids because if they need me, I can step away. That was really important for us. And the kids have slotted straight into a local school? Sam: They have, and we love that. Making a difference to the community is so important to us. We dropped off Little Garden kits to the schools around us, and are hosting tours for the kids. I love that we walk to work and just love the village feel of Remuera. We really feel like we’ve come home.

Pauline and Sam Cockroft instore at New World Remuera. Photo by Christian Espinoza, interview by Hélène Ravlich.

the hobson 16

the politician

United in Division


f there’s one thing truly admirable about the Ardern Government, it is the promise of a gentler, kinder style of politics. We needn’t look far; across the Pacific, sometimes even across the Tasman, to see what politics can be. War by other means, as one wag put it. You can’t have disappointment without expectations, I guess, and the Ardern Government seems to have set itself up with its promise of kindness. The year has started with wave after wave of ‘wedge’ politics, where the government attempts to build support with one group by attacking another. Real empathy does not discriminate, and the early warning sign was there in the Government’s response to our tragedy in Christchurch. The longer you think about it, stripping tens of thousands of law abiding citizens of their rights was an unusual response to a terrorist attack. The gun law changes were a ritual in political theatre. A Royal Commission confirmed that the real problem was that someone who should not have been eligible for a firearm licence was given one by police through poor process. Most banned guns weren’t handed in and you have to wonder if some of them are not now fueling the endless gang shootings that fill our newspapers. First they came for the licensed firearms owners . . . or so the saying goes. Once a principle is established there are bound to be others. The ban on oil and gas exploration was popular with many of the government’s supporters, but the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has since reported it hasn’t helped, and may have made matters worse. There is likely more coal in our future, because we can’t look for any more gas. Ineffectiveness is often a consequence of wedge politics, the voices ignored may have had something useful to say, such as “what’s the alternative?” Firearm owners and the energy industry are groups many Hobson readers feel comfortable dismissing, but the wedge is cutting closer and closer to home. The 39 per cent top tax rate would raise almost no revenue in the context of government

You’re invited.

spending. It will raise even less after many of the 86,000 affected taxpayers give it an accountant-assisted side-step. So why do it? Well, the optics are that this government’s sticking it to those who they believe have more than they deserve, taking more off them. Then there’s the tax changes on residential property. The government talked of “speculators” exploiting a tax “loophole.” The language was inaccurate, but it wasn’t mistaken, it was designed to complement the Prime Minister’s ‘tilting the market towards first home buyers’. Most people who own a home they rent out are not speculators. Many are just a couple who kept their first home when they bought another, or bought a second home as an investment. As for the “loophole,” well, income tax has been on income for as long as it’s existed. By removing mortgage interest deductibility on rental properties, the government has gone halfway to creating a revenue tax, an extremely odd creature. In practice the truly well off will not pay this new tax (they will repurpose their debt so that they pay more or all of their interest against assets where it is still a deductible expense). Those who do will, at least in part, pass their new tax costs on to tenants. Tenants are, of course, often saving for a first home. The wedge has backfired, it’s created lots of resentment. But like firearm bans, oil and gas exploration bans, and new top tax rates, the new taxes on residential property will fail at its main goal. It has not tilted the market towards first home buyers. What would be better is if the government sought to unite New Zealanders behind good ideas, instead of dividing them with bad ones. We should have waited for the Royal Commission to tell us what went wrong in Christchurch before designing new firearm laws. We should have left specific decisions about fuel use to those who know what they’re doing within general limits. We should seek to fix a shortage of houses by creating the conditions to build more. Those are just a few good ideas our government should seek to unite us behind. David Seymour is the MP for Epsom

Join local MP David Seymour and special guests.

Friday, 14 May 2021

Friday, 28 May 2021



What will Auckland look like in 2030 Speaker: Hamish Firth, Resource Consent Planning, MD, Mt Hobson Group Where: Mt Eden Village Hall, Mt Eden Time: 10.30am

The state of Trans-Tasman Relations Speaker: Hon Patricia Forsythe, Australian High Commissioner Where: Remuera Club, 27-33 Ohinerau St, Remuera Time: 10.30am

RSVP: Phone 09 522 7464, or email

David Seymour

ACT Leader and MP For Epsom Authorised by David Seymour, Suite 2.4, Level 2, 27 Gillies Avenue, Newmarket, AKL. Funded by the Parliamentary Service.

the hobson 17

the politician

Letting Aucklanders Lead on Light Rail


t is essential both for the environment and for the future of Auckland that we have an efficient and integrated public transport network. But like in every democracy, achieving this requires ongoing work and commitment from central and local government. That’s why I was pleased to see the recent announcement by Transport Minister Michael Wood on the establishment of a unit to progress the important city-shaping development — the Auckland Light Rail Project. As many of you will know, the proposal prior to the announcement was for light rail down Dominion Rd, a route close to many in the Epsom electorate and with the potential to impact the whole of Auckland. I have spoken with many residents from throughout Parnell, Mt Eden, Remuera, Epsom and Grafton who are keen to see commitment for fully integrated rapid public transport through Auckland so I hope this is a project we can all get behind. When making this announcement, the minister was candid in recognising that the previous process didn’t involve Aucklanders enough in the decision making. Having buy-in for this process from communities and stakeholders in Auckland – and partnering with Māori – is essential for its success. I’m sure the residents of Mt Eden and surrounding areas will appreciate the minister’s honest recognition of this fact. With the establishment of this new unit, he has drawn a line under the previous process and committed to getting this essential piece of infrastructure right for all Aucklanders. The unit that the minister has established with be charged with developing light rail as part of a modern, connected mass-transit system in New Zealand’s largest city; supporting jobs, growth, and housing. While the exact route will be under consideration by this unit, the objective is to support growth in Māngere, Onehunga, and Mt Roskill and giving people in these areas the option of leaving the car at home and helping ease congestion in the rest of the city. The unit is due to report back to the minister in six months. A more connected Auckland gives its residents greater access to everything our city has to offer, while ensuring that access is

sustainable and environmentally-friendly. I’m looking forward to following this project’s progress, and hope that you will take the opportunity to be involved in its development. As a Labour list MP based near the proposed routes for light rail I will endeavour to keep you informed of the best way to participate in this process. Once the advice from the unit has been received, the government will decide on the final route, mode, and delivery entity and provide the public with certainty. The overall aim will be to make Auckland easier and safer to travel around while making less of an impact on the environment. No matter what political party you support, I’m sure we can all get behind this goal. This is just one of the steps the government is making, working to transition to a more sustainable, low carbon future and ensuring our public transport is as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible. The government is also committing $50 million to help councils decarbonise their public transport fleet, with the goal of full decarbonisation by 2035. Alongside this, we are ensuring that environmentally friendly biofuels play a central role in our transport network, with plans to introduce a mandate requiring that sustainable biofuels are part of our fuel supply. Whether by plane, train, or car, every trip is an opportunity to reduce our carbon impact, and this mandate will prevent hundreds of thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions, and potentially create much needed job opportunities in a stimulated local biofuels industry. We’re also looking at options for an incentive scheme that would help Kiwis make the change to a clean car. We all have a role in reducing New Zealand’s carbon emissions, so it’s important that we help people switch to cleaner options that also reduce the cost of running a vehicle. The focus on biofuels and well-designed, integrated public transport options in Auckland and the rest of New Zealand will help achieve this goal. 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

Authorised by Camilla Belich MP, Parliament Buildings, Wellington

the hobson 18

the politician

More than Talk Needed


s new Labour leader a couple of months before the 2017 election, Jacinda Ardern was right to identify our mental health as something deserving of greater investment and focus. Few families in this country, if any, haven’t been affected by a family member’s battles with depression, anxiety or one of the many other afflictions of the mind. Sadly, too many families, from all parts of society – rich and poor – have been broken by the suicide of a loved one. Back in 2017 the mental health of New Zealanders, collectively, appeared to be getting worse. Theories abounded as to why this was – the impact of social media and the ubiquity of smartphones, especially on young people, was widely suspected as being relevant. Many parents were bewildered by the influence of social media on their children, and worried about the impact of it on their daughters’ and sons’ wellbeing. Ms Ardern declared mental health an urgent crisis and major focus of her new government, once elected. Sadly, nearly four years later – despite many announcements, including a headline-grabbing budget announcement of $1.9 billion to be devoted to the matter – too little has changed. Shaun Robinson, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, has concluded that the mental health system is in worse shape than it was four years ago. The much delayed and limited annual report of the Office of Mental Health and Addiction Services recently pointed out that the practice of locking mental health patients alone in a room – seclusion – had grown significantly since 2017. This is just a symptom of a system under intense pressure. Despite all the announcements of extra money, senior psychiatrists have seen no extra resources at the hard end of the sector and are run off their feet.

Sarah Dalton, executive director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, has said that mental health workers were “overwhelmed by skyrocketing demand and have seen no meaningful progress despite the promises of the 2018 mental health inquiry”. In Opposition we take no pleasure from pointing out the wide gap between rhetoric and reality – we all want our struggling loved ones to have access to better care – but it is our role to hold the government to account for their promises. Announcements and intentions are never enough; it’s the results that count. That’s why there has been such anger at the removal of many indicators from the annual report on the sector by the government, including waiting times for accessing help, suicide statistics and a measure of the overall proportion of the population using specialised mental health services. Reducing waiting times for help is critical. If people in need are waiting longer – despite all the extra spending – people are right to ask tough questions. Governments and health practitioners can’t, of course, solve every problem or mend every broken heart. It is a sad reality that while our physical health continues to improve on most measures, and we continue to live longer, healthier lives, our collective mental health appears to be declining. We each look to our own families and friends to try to rectify that in our way, recognising that sometimes that’s not enough. That is why there is wide political and public support for a realignment of effort and resources to reflect the increasing challenges across mental health. But, as ever, it is the implementation that counts. 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

Funded by the Parliamentary Service. Authorised by Paul Goldsmith MP, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

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the councillor

Celebrating, and Commemorating


ACHIEVING EXTRAORDINARY RESULTS Ingrid was the perfect choice of agent for the sale of my townhouse in Parnell. I live in the UK and wanted an agent who was honest, hardworking and easy to communicate with. Ingrid more than fulfilled the role. Ingrid was professional in suggesting options for marketing, she listened and I never felt I was being pushed in a direction that I did not want to go. At all times I felt that Ingrid had my interests at heart. I would highly recommend her. Lorraine Lipman - Vendor

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

n May 9, many of us will celebrate our mothers, those who have acted as our mothers and those of us who are mothers ourselves will hope to be ‘treated’ for the day. For some people, Mother’s Day can also be a painful time. I recognise that many have not been able to see their mothers since the pre-pandemic era and have had to embrace new ways to stay connected. Some no longer have their mothers. However, the role that mothers, grandmothers and if one is fortunate, great-grandmothers, play in supporting children to reach their full potential can never be understated. My mother and her family were instrumental in encouraging me to be the best I could be. In particular, her support of my political career was immense, and I feel incredibly grateful to continue to benefit from her guidance today. I’d also like to make special mention of working mothers everywhere. I know from experience that it’s not easy to balance the demands of motherhood and employment. I do wonder however whether council should continue to own and manage childcare facilities. Is this core council business? I’m not saying those childcare services shouldn’t remain, but should the ratepayer be funding them? That is being reviewed as part of our latest operating model assessment, which includes evaluating over 130 services the council currently provides and, where appropriate, considering if there’s still a need for them or if there’s a different way of delivering them. We will also shortly commemorate ANZAC Day, which for me is always a special time for reflection and remembrance. This year’s theme of ‘Women in Service – Service and Sacrifice’ is of particular significance as it recognises the often overlooked contribution of New Zealand’s women to the war effort. While women in 1915 did not have the opportunity to be at the forefront of conflicts, they were involved in many other ways. Women working in medical professions made vital contributions and often witnessed similar traumas to those on the front lines. Last year’s ANZAC Day fell in the midst of the nationwide alert level four lockdown and we were forced to adapt to ensure the safety of those taking part. Along with my family, I proudly stood at my gate at dawn to remember those who had been lost. This year, I’m grateful that while things aren’t completely ‘back to normal’, we are able to gather safely. There is something particularly moving about being part of a crowd of fellow New Zealanders connected by our solidarity and shared loss. I plan to attend the dawn service at the Museum and later speak and lay a wreath at the ANZAC event in Newmarket. Finally, an update on Waitaramoa Hobson Bay. Council’s Safe Networks investigative team have been continuing to identify incorrectly connected drainage - cross-connections and other issues which cause wastewater contamination of dry weather stormwater flows into the bay. I was able to secure funding to ensure a dedicated investigative team has been focused on Hobson Bay since March. Watercare are also assigning a full-time Hobson Bay project manager to work closely with the investigative team, and best direct their resources. While this is great news, it’s important we keep the momentum going until we have resolved, via our 10-Year Recovery Budget, the more serious issues of water quality in our community. Desley Simpson is the Councillor for Auckland representing the Ōrākei ward

the suburbanist

Grabbing that Rung


few years ago, not long after my niece got married, I sat down with her and her husband and gave them some tips about how to buy a house. They both had modest jobs and I suggested they approach their bank and determine what they could borrow, on their modest salaries – if they had a deposit – and what the repayments would be. I also suggested they put this amount into a ‘house’ account out of which they should pay their rent; any residual amount would be saved towards their deposit. When the day came that they moved from renting to owning, they would already be used to paying out the amount of their mortgage. Together we worked out what loans and grants were available to first home buyers and how to maximise the opportunities of KiwiBuild. My last piece of advice was to download the PocketSmith app, connect it to their bank accounts and get going; the rest was up to them. They were two things I wish I was at their age: scrupulous and disciplined. They used PocketSmith to manage their finances, set goals and make plans. Last year they were ready to test the waters with a KiwiBuild ballot on a soon-to-be-built development but missed out completely. Recently they set their eyes on an Ockham development, Manaaki, in Onehunga, with 210 apartments. Of those, 87 were set aside for KiwiBuild including 11 threebedroom, 47 two-bedroom and 29 one-bedroom units. There would be a ballot for the three-bedroom apartments only; if you entered the ballot but missed out, you could opt for one of the two or one-bedroom units until they ran out. The ballot closed on a Sunday and on Monday morning you could go online and book an appointment to choose one of the smaller apartments as ‘insurance’, should you not be successful in the ballot. The ballot would be decided on Thursday, buyers advised on Friday and the appointments would commence the following Monday. Monday came and the site crashed repeatedly and by the time they got through, their appointment was for late on Wednesday, behind many others. On Friday they were notified that they were not successful and they were resigned to the possibility that there might not be any apartments left by the time they got to sit down with the developers the following Wednesday. There are other options of course; recently a new start-up called Opoly was launched. It is described as a ‘residential crowdfunding investment platform’ designed for people who can’t reach the bottom rung of the property ladder who can buy shares in a property, rather than the whole thing. You buy a share – as little as $100 – in a specific property, collect your portion of rent, and, after three years,

get back your investment and any capital gains when it is auctioned. There are other models around such as The Property Crowd, which doesn’t have a fixed period of ownership until it is auctioned; investors can on-sell their shares to other investors, should they wish to exit, at market rates (assuming there is a market willing to buy). The Ownery is similar, where you make an initial investment in a house and are encouraged to increase your investment as you have more cash to invest; it may be in the original house or in another one. You can track your investment, and the houses you part-own, via their website. The idea of all these platforms is that because you're saving in property, your savings grow at the same pace as the market. For those saving for a house it is a form of hedging against the increasing unaffordability of the residential market. The catch – not often clear – is that as your investments increase on the back of an over-heated market, so too will any deposit you will need to purchase. To be effective, you would need to increase the proportion of your investment (through additional contributions) to increase your return and your chance of building a deposit. However, if home ownership is your goal, then saving within the market is probably the best option. There are two schools of thought about these schemes: one view is that it is a good way to stay in the hunt for a house; the other, that your investment only grows if you make a capital gain – your share in a house only has value if you are fuelling the very rampant market you are trying to enter . . . Last week I went with the nervous couple to their postballot appointment. They had studied the apartment plans diligently and had their list of preferred apartments, but were also anxious that it would come to naught if none were left. In fact there were five two-bedroom apartments still available and, after discounting two, they were faced with choosing from the final three. After whispered conversations about their relative merits and some kibbitzing uncle advice, they made their decision and paid their deposit. In two years’ time when the development is completed and they need to settle, they will have $250,000 of equity in their apartment, mostly their own savings, including what they can withdraw from their KiwiSaver accounts and the HomeStart grant. It will be six years since our initial conversation and what pleases me most is that they did it on their own, with no parental financial assistance – just diligence and a plan. — Tommy Honey

the hobson 21


TAKE A SEAT IN PARNELL Hamish Firth – Director Mt Hobson Group, and Par nell resident, inter views Jay Har rison, founder and CEO of Edison Healthcare in Par nell.

Jay Harrison and Hamish Firth photographed in The Rise, chairs courtesy Fang.

ABOUT HAMISH FIRTH When I started my career path, to be honest I had no idea what I was hoping to achieve - and some say I still don’t. However, I love the “deal”, in our case taking a concept, getting approvals and seeing it completed. We are long forgotten when the roof shout comes around but love pointing out the changes to our great city and country. I would really love Parnell to be a place to call home for more people. I am frustrated about the lack of accountable leadership in Auckland that should understand the issues and address them, knowing that the pathway in a public forum is not a simple solution. This goes for most of our infrastructure. It feels that drains, sea walls and water supply are not great photo opportunities, so they don’t get the funds they need. I am loving seeing all parts of New Zealand at the moment, but if I had to pick my first trip overseas again it would be another look at Tokyo – for the people, the culture and the

sheer scale of the place. Now that’s a city that knows how to plan and get things done! I would also like to walk the Camino de Santiago one day – a 1000km pilgrimage through Spain. On the local level, I’m a very amateur bee-keeper who has two hives at home which produced 82 kgs of sweet honey this year. Ultimately though, watching my four children progress from little babies to young children, is something I’m most proud of and is mostly a joy to behold. Having my health and happiness, a simple life well lived is my definition of success. Hamish: Jay, where did you grow up? Jay: I grew up on the small towns and beaches of the far north. I loved it, a carefree childhood. Hamish: The best piece of advice I’ve ever received was that when you’re starting out, a good attitude beats good aptitude. Learn

the hobson 22

from the best, by listening, watching and following. Be prepared to be an intern and work for free to have an opportunity to work with great people. I’ve always been inspired by Sir Edmund Hillary and think that success is built on hard work, a little luck and acknowledging achievements. Tell us a bit about your personal journey and what led you to be the founder of such a truly unique healthcare clinic? Jay: I've been in health for 20 years. Couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I’m a tech geek too so always imagined an experience that would use technology, Star Trek like science and a beautiful environment to help people achieve the inherent and epic potential of the human body. Hamish: You talk about precision healthcare, what do you mean? Jay: Precision medicine/healthcare is an approach to healthcare which is preventive in essence. We use DNA insights, along with a variety of clinical health assessments and ongoing check-ups, to create actionable healthcare advice that’s personalised to our clients. Hamish: What made you choose Parnell to set up Edison? Jay: In my mind Parnell has a very established ‘chic’ coolness to it. We’ve been in Parnell since 2018 and the vibe has definitely been building. I love St Georges Bay Road. Hamish: I agree, I often think of Parnell as a little village. The Domain, Parnell Baths and a great place to live, work and play. I have lived here for decades. I see the Parnell community as diverse, involved and dedicated. And very few people seem to move out of Parnell once they land here. I have spent many a night having fun at the old VBG, Iguacu, Ricks Blue Falcon and the Windsor Castle. I love all the classics at NSP and often enjoy stunning curries from Oh Calcutta. What about you? Jay: I love good coffee! The girls at La Cigale make a good drop and Red Rabbit has a pretty epic reputation. Hamish: One of my favourite spots in Parnell is the bush walk that comes through The Domain from Stanley Street. There are times, with the stream tumbling beside you that you feel you are deep in the Waitakere Ranges. Tranquil, yet surreal. I also love the botanical gardens and the fernery, watching the Port from Fred Amber lookout and the little secret pocket parks that all link up. But one of my best de-stress options is riding my bicycle, which I use almost exclusively now to get to meetings. When I am cycling back up Parnell Rise from a tedious council meeting, (combined with the effort of getting up the hill), the stress seems to disappear.

sugar-laden diets, and late nights staring at glowing screens. One needs to take a proactive approach. We are a very new concept in healthcare, and we are very early in our lifecycle, but we are noticing massive demand for our services. Our clients are amazing, health-conscious people who deeply understand the importance of proactively investing in their health and wellness - holistically; mentally, physically and spiritually. Hamish: Watching Parnell through 2020 and Covid, I reckon we must be grateful to long term experienced landlords and for tenants who have nursed their way through this crisis. It has brought us closer and made us cherish what we love about this great place. What do you think Covid has changed – for yourself and your business?

“I’m a tech geek too so always imagined an experience that would use technology, Star Trek like science and a beautiful environment to help people achieve the inherent and epic potential of the human body”. Jay: It’s obviously been stressful at times but it’s validated our purpose as an organisation. Our mission is super simple; we’re on a mission to help humans live better, longer lives. COVID has put health and wellness front and central for the entire planet. Hamish: What would you like to see in Parnell that we don’t yet have? Jay: A bigger Edison Clinic of course! Hamish: What’s your definition of success? Jay: Freedom. Living life in amazing health on my terms. Hamish: A favourite way of spending my free time is simply by the pool or on the water with my children. What is yours? Jay: We love doing new things. Travel, cultures, experiences and adventures. I want to learn to fly and build (with wood) Hamish: In closing Jay, what’s something not many people reading this would know about you? Jay: I’m deeply fascinated by the nature of reality. I thoroughly enjoy journeying down wormholes exploring quantum mechanics, consciousness and occult sciences.


What do you witness in terms of the impact of stress on many of the professionals you interact with?

Celebrating the residents and businesses of Parnell.

Jay: Great question - Stress refers to the running of a system at a level beyond where it was meant to operate. We humans did not evolve to lead the lives that most of us lead. Lives of fast food and

Parnell Business Association

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the investment

As Prof Harry Calls It


first came across Professor Harry S Dent in the mid 90s, having read a copy of his visionary book, The Great Boom Ahead. I think my friend, Tex Edwards (more recently of 2degrees fame) gave me the book as a welcome read as I embarked on my stock-broking career. I found Dent’s book fascinating as he made some bold predictions regarding the US economy and its stock markets, predictions that were significantly out of step with leading financial commentators of the time. Dent asserted that the 1990s and the early years of the 21st century would be remembered for their unprecedented boom years, rather than their early recessionary period. He gave a specific timetable for the economic trends he predicted, correctly — as it now turns out — calling highs and lows in interest rates, inflation, and the stock market. He relied heavily on demographic analysis, essentially seeing that the waves of maturing baby boomers would have a profound affect on all aspects of America. Dent pointed out that the baby boomers would unleash their vast and never-seen-before spending power and innovative thinking to create a new, strong, vibrant economy. As it shifted into a high-gear expansion, the US, with its dominant numbers of baby boomers, would regain its leadership position in world markets. And how accurate was Harry Dent? Well, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) hovering in the mid-3000s in the early 90s, few would have predicted levels around the 14,000 mark within a decade or so. Dent did though, and the DJIA did get close to 14,000 just prior to the start of the GFC in 2007. He also predicted the pullback before the subsequent rise again into the mid-20,000s by the 2020s. Fascinating. But why am I interested in dredging up Dent’s predictions from around 20 years ago? Well, he’s back with some new predictions, still based on his long-term demographic modelling, but this time around the story is not so rosy. Here’s the latest from Professor Harry S Dent, speaking to the ThinkAdvisor financial new site in March. “What could be “the biggest crash ever will hit by the end of June 2021, if not sooner,” he said. “It will be the initiation of the next big economic downturn. Fake [corporate] earnings, fake GDP, fake interest rates and super-high valuations make for an increasingly untenable situation. The expanding market bubble has been building since 2008. But the Federal Reserve keeps averting the next huge crisis by continuously printing money.”

Dent sees the US stock markets falling as much as 50 per cent from current levels, property prices falling by the same amount and commodity prices continuing to slide. Further, he thinks there will be a 10-year depression, akin to the 1930s before the economy and markets readjust, steady and begin to grow again. When considering the effect of Western government responses to Covid-19, Dent believes that everybody appears to be acting like “when we get over Covid, we’ll be back better than ever” and that stock markets are already anticipating that scenario. But he strongly believes the markets are wrong and that the only reason people are spending at present is because the government handed businesses and consumers tons and tons of money and continues to do so. On ThinkAdvisor, Dent said “it will get to a point where it’s not going to matter how much money is printed — and then you’ll have an avalanche. A huge collapse is coming”. Yikes. So, what to do with our hard-earned savings ahead of such a dire outlook? Clearly risk-assets don’t fare too well in Dent’s world, so a leaning towards government debt securities as well as higher-quality real estate – Dent likes affordable housing funds and the likes of medical centres – that will hold up better than other sectors of property. For those of you that have read my articles over the years you will (hopefully) remember that I espouse diversification in your investment portfolios and that view certainly holds true if we listen to Professor Dent. And as always, talk to your financial adviser! Finally, I have to make a comment on the government’s latest interference in the residential property market by extending the bright-line period on re-sales from five to 10 years and removing the deductibility of interest costs against rental income. Sadly, these guys are serious and this time with disastrous consequences, in particularly for those that need help the most: renters saving to buy a house. Increasing the cost of owning a rental property and further restricting liquidity in that market will only lead to increasing rents, nothing else. There’ll be a few bumps in the market as we transition to the new regime but not for long. I learnt in 1986 that when demand exceeds supply prices will rise and rental, in fact general housing demand, still greatly exceeds supply and the latest round of government interference won’t change that. Basics. — Warren Couillault

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the arriviste

A Step in the Wrong Direction


emuera, I’ve decided, is the jaywalking capital of New Zealand, which is quite an achievement, given the level of serious competition across the land. I’d previously thought Wellington was the centre of such criminal activity, but really Remmers takes the cake. Almost every time I scootch down Remuera Rd to my favourite supermarket – which is quite often – I have to be on a constant look-out for pedestrians quite taken up with terrifying themselves and everyone else in their determination to get to the other side of the roaring road. Often when there’s a perfectly safe crossing in sight. The urge to make an example of one of them is sometimes quite profound. So far I’m managing to keep it under control, but I can’t make any promises for the future. It’s hard to tolerate blatant criminality in a genteel suburb. And jaywalking is still a crime, just not one you’re likely to be arrested for. But there is a $35 fine for making your own way across the road within 20 metres of a legal crossing. There’s also a $35 fine for crossing against a pedestrian red light. The fuzz could make a fortune if they started laying down the law around Remuera village where lawless and often elderly pedestrians run rampant. The thing I notice they all have in common is a look of steely resolve in their eyes, if I get close enough – and often I do as they stride out through the traffic like they have secret powers that prevent them from being plastered all over the front of a great big BMW. Not that I have a great big BMW. And not that I want to make such an extreme example of these suburban subversives. But an example does have to be made and I’m wondering if we should start with something old-fashioned but non-fatal. Perhaps a set of stocks could be erected not too discreetly on a major intersection. There’s a good spot right outside the old post office on the corner of Remuera Rd and Vicky Ave. Passing drivers could share their empathy levels with the pinioned pedestrians.

It’s just a thought, but sometimes hard steps have to be taken if we’re to retain some last tattered vestiges of civilised behaviour in this town. When it comes to road and footpath manners, we’ve lost a lot of ground already. At the time I first moved to Auckland, back through the mists of time in the 1970s, it was a very different city – gentler and slower moving. And smaller, of course, though downtown Auckland was a busy, buzzy place, a real city centre. There were shops selling useful things, lots of pubs, a grocery and fish shops on Queen St, department stores, stationers. Pedestrians kept strictly to the left sides of crowded footpaths. At one stage, though I might be dreaming it, I recall there were dotted lines painted down the middle to encourage walkers to be orderly. There seemed to be no such things as street people or beggars. Though there was the occasional busker. Auckland was a very polite place, much like the rest of New Zealand. No one was in such a hurry to get somewhere that they’d hurl themselves into the roadway to save half a minute. Everyone lined up at the traffic lights and waited their turn. Though, if you look into jaywalking and where it started, things weren’t always so orderly between pedestrians and cars. A hundred years or so ago it was the driver’s responsibility to not hit the wandering pedestrian, not the other way round, but the death toll climbed and the authorities got involved and figured they could save some lives and harness some income at the same time. In Los Angeles, for instance, there’s still a $250 fine for jaywalking. In the early days of criminalising jaywalkers, there were safety campaigns that shamed them. Jaywalking was an insult anyway, a “jay” being a hick from the sticks, a slack-jawed yokel dazed and confused by the big city. Though here in my part of town we’re not dealing with slackjawed yokels so much. Just people in a hurry to be somewhere else. A bit like the chicken crossing the road. Feathers could fly. — Colin Hogg

In these times of decreased ability to travel, we are able to include family and friends via digital links. Recently we did a cremation for a woman who had a daughter in Australia and a son in England. We connected via Zoom to walk with them into our cottage, where they saw their mum in her casket and the flowers they had sent. They watched as we put the lid on the casket and took her to the hearse. We continued to chat all the way to the crematorium, and then they watched us pass her over to the care of the Purewa staff. This really helped with their despair at being so far away and was a wonderful way to include them. At Aroha Funerals, our personalised approach ensures each family is treated with compassion, kindness and empathy.

09 527 0266 0800 276 420

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the plan

Accounting for Stormy Weather


he old saying there is nothing more certain than death and taxes is pertinent as we ponder a 5 per cent rate rise and a special additional ‘Clean up Hobson Bay’ levy. The larger-than-normal annual increase in rates is attributed to Covid-19 and the lack of dividends received from carparks and airports. The shortfall in part is being met from our pockets, a reduction in service levels and some debt repayment adjustments. I suspect that the required dividends, especially from the likes of Auckland International Airport, are not returning to pre-Covid levels in the short term, so we may be faced with a greater call on our pockets to support the system as we know it. The ongoing problem of ageing infrastructure not being maintained is front and centre to us all as sewage enters Hobson Bay 100 times a year (every time there is rainfall). So, we are now looking to pay an additional targeted rate to bring forward the required works to reduce or hopefully stop this from happening. The issue I have with this special levy is that each year we have paid rates, some of it was required to be set aside for the repair and maintenance of the infrastructure. So, while I am in favour of bringing forward the works for Hobson Bay, it is a head-scratcher as to where the money set aside over time in the biscuit tin behind the fireplace has gone. I am sure accountants would have a field day on the merits of renewal accounting or traditional depreciation, but the end result is the same — the money set aside to maintain and repair the pipes was reallocated to other projects. Now we need to pay a second time to get works done which should have been undertaken over time, as required, from funds set aside for such matters. Local government and the way it is funded is not sustainable. I believe that the effectiveness of the system is seriously impeded by fragmented and unnecessarily complex governance systems. It is difficult to navigate as ultimately who is responsible. An interesting case in point is that Auckland Transport ‘owns’ the roadside stormwater catchpits that collect the silt in and below road level, but Auckland Council is responsible for the funding and delivery of cleaning them out. Does that not seem a crazy outcome, that the council — split into groups for so-called efficiency — is so inefficient in delivery of service and ownership? The council faces intense political pressure to keep rates increases to a minimum. It seems attention is much less focussed on delivering strong local economies and building vibrant communities but more on admin, balancing the budget, and dealing with the costs rather than the opportunities of growth. While we may not be happy with a targeted rate to clean up Hobson Bay, the alternative is there will be no works and the quality of the water will continue to decline. As such, the idea of the local board being able to set targeted rates to support local initiatives where mandated by the community must be given serious consideration. As a community we are also faced with rising expectations, where further cost pressure comes from an expectation that for instance a playing field is upgraded over time to offer a highquality all-weather playing surface. Climate change and its impacts are also a growing concern as potential sea level rises and increased weather events will add more cost pressure. We need to look at new governance structures which improve local interaction, are more transparent and offer better value for money in infrastructure delivery. Without serious reform death will get closer as rates continue to rise unabated. — Hamish Firth

the hobson + the foundation

Laying the Foundations Future residents and honoured guests were welcomed to the launch of The Foundation, a dynamic partnership project that will bring elegant, metropolitan retirement living to Parnell


hen you blend historic architecture with contemporary classic design and provide hospitality comparable with a luxury hotel in one of Auckland’s most desired locations, you’ve arrived at The Foundation. Nestled beside Auckland Domain, and the grandeur of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, The Foundation in the Parnell precinct neighbours vibrant Newmarket and Parnell shopping districts, with the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland City Hospital and major transport networks close by. This unrivalled and distinctive village offers bespoke retirement living with attention to detail, offering quality care in a stylish environment with tranquil surroundings. Mayor Phil Goff, Councillor Desley Simpson, future residents who have purchased apartments and project consultants were among 100 guests at The Foundation’s ‘breaking-ground’ celebration held recently in the historic Jubilee Building. The Jubilee Hall was transformed to reflect The Foundation’s seamless blend of historic and contemporary design, with guests enjoying stylish surroundings, canapés, champagne and a jazz duo. The Foundation is a unique partnership between village operator and developer, the Generus Living Group, and Blind Low Vision NZ’s property arm, Foundation Properties Limited.

The $300 million development will provide a sustainable revenue stream for the charity, which retains ownership of the land. The village’s spacious quality apartments with their innovative design and timeless elegance are in high demand, and Generus Living Group director and managing partner of The Foundation Village, Graham Wilkinson, described strong interest as no surprise. “Auckland, particularly Parnell and the surrounding suburbs of Remuera and Newmarket, is underserved for seniors who want upscale retirement living with security, peace of mind and community,” he said. Construction of The Foundation’s first apartment building on the corner of Parnell and Maunsell roads is getting underway with a scheduled completion date of mid-2023. Two additional buildings will follow with village amenities including a wellness centre, gym, pool, restaurant, bar, cinema and library, as well as aged care hospital and memory care centre. “We’re delighted that the historic Pearson House will also become part of the development. We intend strengthening and refitting Pearson House, which was built 95 years ago, so that this stunning neo-Georgian building which overlooks the Domain can become part of our village facilities,” Graham Wilkinson said. Designed by respected architects Peddlethorpe, The

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Clockwise from top left, left to right: Foundation Properties Ltd chair Greg Thompson, Auckland mayor Phil Goff and Generus Living Group director Graham Wilkinson; guests at the 'breaking ground' celebration in a transformed Jubilee Hall; councillor Desley Simpson with mayor Phil Goff, interior designer Stewart Harris of Macintosh Harris and Peddlethorpe architect Terrence Barnes; Generus Living Group sales manager Bev Dyson, centre, with guests. Event photos by Matt Crawford.

Foundation’s buildings are contemporary in style with stone facades to complement the site’s surrounding heritage buildings. “The Foundation’s design draws inspiration from the precinct’s remarkable history and is respectful of the buildings which came before it in terms of scale and symmetry,” Peddlethorpe director and architect, Terrence Barnes said. “The new apartment buildings will have double height protruding bay windows, horizontal stone reveals and upper balcony setbacks to complement the historic buildings,” he said. Landscaped gardens will bring communal spaces to life with courtyards and paving in keeping with the urban environment. The Foundation’s interior designers, Macintosh Harris, are at the forefront of their field. Award-winning interior designer Stewart Harris said: “We’ve created a warm and welcoming environment combining subtle tones and textures to spacious communal areas. The Pavilion entrance is inviting with peach and cream undertones using high-end finishes including oak parquet flooring, marble and art panelling and bronze pendant lights. The classic design flows through to the lift lobby areas where the use of oak flooring, bespoke inlaid carpets and wallcoverings

continue the elegant appointment of The Foundation’s interiors.” The Foundation partnership shows how commercial and charitable interests can work together for mutually beneficial outcomes. Blind Low Vision NZ chair Judy Small has been blind since birth. As a four-year-old, she received life-changing support, followed by many years of irreplaceable support before taking up a position on the board in 2013. “The days of a charitable enterprise surviving solely on assistance from the government and benevolent donors is rapidly coming to an end,” she said. “We recognise we must make the most of the Foundation Precinct land to drive our own future.” Graham Wilkinson said Generus Living Group establishes partnerships throughout New Zealand with charities, iwi and other groups, allowing the company to develop retirement villages in desirable locations, with hotel-like facilities and amenity. “Everyone wins; our partners are able to leverage their land and benefit those they represent, we can build beautiful villages, and residents can secure desirable living in unmatched locations.”p

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the mamas

To Our Mothers Sunday May 9 is Mother’s Day. To mark the occasion, The Hobson spent a drizzly autumn afternoon in Remuera with some local mamas and their children. Words by Talia Parker, photos by Sonia Chelli.

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Opposite, from top: Madura and her daughter Siyona, 7, were heading into the Remuera Library. Siyona loves her mum because she “loves what she cooks!” Nine-year-old Mia loves her mum Meng because “she always gives me a little treat after school.” Above, from top: Daniella’s children Ollie, 5, and Amelia, 7, were all smiles for their mum. They love her because “she looks after us”. Vanessa and her 14-year-old daughter Rhianna took a trip to the library. Rhianna says her mum is really nice.

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Opposite, from top: out walking in Remuera were three generations: Linda, her daughter Tessa, and Tessa’s 18-month-old toddler, Charlotte. Sophie, 10, loves her mum Fiona "because she's always really kind and helps me deal with problems." Last year Sophie saved her pocket money to buy Fiona Mother's Day flowers. Above: Denise and family dog Crumpet came to pick up daughter Summer (8) from school.

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Above, Qui is thrilled to have her son Quentin, who’s four, helping her out at the Remuera Deli café. Ellen’s son, three-year-old Aida, loves his frog umbrella (and his mum). Opposite: Odette was thrilled with her seven-year-old, Maxwell, for being named “Star of the Week” at school, which meant he got to take home that awesome stuffed dragon. Maxwell loves Odette “just because she’s my mum!”

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the magpie

Mothers & others


The Magpie’s found all sorts of fabulousities for Mother’s Day, or for any treat-worthy occasion

1. Carrière Frères Botanical Pallets are perfect for nestling between smalls or knits. $99, Wells Trading Company, Eastridge.


2. Witchery Pip Soft Crossbody Bag, available in Deep Berry or Canyon hues. $229.90, 3. It’s hard to put a foot wrong in Woman By Common Projects Original Achilles sneakers. $698, 4. Vanessa Bruno Mini Raffia Moon Bag for just the essentials. $539, 5. Let it rain: Rains coat in blush. $170, Hedgerow, 393 Remuera Rd. 6. Birgitte Herskind Nora Blouse is just the ticket for almost any occasion. $439, 407 Remuera Rd. 7. She will have music wherever she goes: Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2. $169.90,


8. Slip into Anine Bing Cade Sandals for instant style. $579, Maman, 407 Remuera Rd. 9. Ode To Women soy candle comforts with notes of cashmere, lavender and musk. $59.99, 10. Work it with boots, heels, trainers, it’s a go-to. LEO+BE Backyard Dress, $199, 11. Anyone’s feet will feel better in Emu Mayberry Lava slippers. $80, Hedgerow, 393 Remuera Rd. 12. Mecca Cosmetica Hydrating Moisturiser is packed with hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump the skin. $55, 13. A scent for our times, Byredo’s Mixed Emotions eau de parfum has androgynous, woody notes of maté, cassis and black tea. From $255,


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the menu

Souper Weather C

ooks love the feeling of the slightly chilly air as autumn sets in. With longer darker nights and maybe a little more time to spend in the kitchen, there’s a real reason for having a large pot of homemade chicken stock quietly bubbling away on the stove top, sending delightful aromas through the home. Authentic chicken stock brings myriad possibilities for those tasty flavoursome soups that are a hallmark of cooler weather. Chicken stock may simmer away for three or four hours to extract maximum flavour from the bones but it only takes a total of ten minutes of your time. I seize bags of chicken frames in the supermarket whenever I spot them, and am pleased recently to see the appearance of free range organic packs to work with. Back at home I toss the bones into a large stockpot and add a chopped onion or leek, sliced carrot, celery leaves if they’re on hand, any clean vegetable peelings, a handful of fresh herbs and peppercorns and cover everything with cold water. Leave the pot to simmer for about four hours, before straining into clean containers and refrigerating or freezing. For a vegetarian version you will need a load of root vegetables in place of the chicken frames — a great way to use up vegies that have been hanging around the fridge for a little longer than they should have. Now you’ve got the basis for wonderful soup and you can let your imagination run wild. Puréed soups are my favourite as there’s something truly comforting about a smooth creamy soup. Whether it’s potato and leek, parsnip and carrot, tomato and orange, kumara or your favourite vegetable, it will probably start with a chopped onion softened in butter or olive oil, and the vegetables of choice added with your carefully made stock, and allowed to simmer gently until well cooked. Purée it all with a stick blender or in a food processor and add a little cream, yoghurt or coconut milk when reheating to serve. There’s also something wonderful about what I call a hearty weekend soup. That’s when I use lots of root vegetables and onion or leek, all finely chopped and cooked up in my stock with a can or two of chopped tomatoes. Near the end of cooking time I add pasta or rice and continue to simmer until all is soft. Finally I will add plenty of fresh herbs, maybe a fresh green vegetable from the garden like spinach or broccoli, and some leftover chicken, roast meat or even sausage. Garnish with grated parmesan and you have an incredibly tasty and filling meal that’s on standby all weekend. All that’s needed is some warmed crusty bread or toast to make lunch or dinner when you come in from the cold. Soup can be wonderfully filling, but it is important to remember you must work on ensuring there’s plenty of flavour. Never be afraid of adding salt and pepper to your soup, and don’t forget to add a little lemon juice to give some zing and that necessary hit of acidity. This soup recipe is one of my absolute favourites and of course is perfectly timed to make use of the fresh pumpkin and butternuts that are being harvested right now. Citrus season is also upon us and the first of the crop, limes, will never be cheaper than they are at present. — Lauraine Jacobs

Spicy Pumpkin, Coconut & Lime soup 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 large shallots, sliced 2 cloves garlic, crushed 6cm piece of ginger, grated 2 tsp ground cumin 2 tsp ground coriander 1 tbsp red curry paste (add more if you want your soup very spicy) 1.5kg pumpkin or butternut, peeled and cut into chunks 450g tomatoes in juice 1 tsp sugar 2 tsp sea salt flakes 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock 400 mls coconut cream Freshly ground black pepper 2 or 3 juicy limes Coriander leaves for garnish Heat the oil in large saucepan, and add the shallots and cook gently until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Stir in the cumin, coriander, and curry paste and continue to cook for another two minutes. Add the pumpkin or butternut and toss this in the spicy mixture. Add the tomatoes and their juice with the sugar, salt and the stock and bring the soup to a simmer, stirring constantly. Cover the pan and simmer for at least 30 minutes until the pumpkin is very soft. Allow the soup to cool, then use a stick blender or a food processor to purée until really smooth. Rinse out the saucepan, return the soup and stir in the coconut cream, reserving a little for garnish. Bring to a gentle simmer. Taste and add the black pepper, juice of the limes and extra salt if needed. To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with a spoonful of coconut cream, fresh coriander leaves and extra black pepper. Serves 6.

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the sound

Tiny Desk, Huge Applause


ow many times have you heard this? “Covid’s changed everything!” All the time? And it has. It morphed the word ‘bubble’ .It invented the verb, ‘Zoom’. It got us out of the office. It trapped us in an everchanging border. From the size of a room to the size of a country and now even a region. Covid-19 came, saw, conquered and plonked us in front of a television screen. When Covid, YouTube and a smart TV combined, it changed my viewing habits, much to my family's horror. I now take great pleasure in letting the ‘Home’, ‘Recommended’ and ‘Related’ function on YouTube, when it plays on a smart TV, take me down little-traversed byways of human activity. And so by pleasant accident I have become an aficionado of Central American trolley derby racing. Who knew it was such a thing? It’s magnificent. It’s a thriving subculture through Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica. It involves mad men building two-person trolleys, which they race down the never-ending mountain ranges of various countries. They reach speeds of 100km/h in half hour races. Occasionally they grind to a stop and the crew jumps out and pushes. They hurtle through threadbare villages with teeming crowds of spectators and many random dogs who like to wander in front of the careening trolleys, causing wild evasive manouevres. It’s hilarious. Most thrillingly they power over traffic calming devices, becoming airborne. It’s got everything. Strangely, my family does not share this fascination. “We don't want to watch your mad Mexican trolley racing Dad! Or your new addiction to the Kitzbühel downhill ski race. Or the 20-minute nerd-fest analysis of the mechanics in an America’s Cup boat by Mozzy Sails.” But one discovery has become a family favourite. NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert. The Tiny Desk Concerts are intimate acoustic shows performed from the desk of a guy called Bob Boilen who works at National Public Radio in Washington, DC. After complaining that crowd noise at a bar ruined folk singer Laura Gibson’s performance, he asked her to come and sing in the office. So she did. He filmed the intimate concert, posted it online and it became a sensation. So he kept on asking acts in. The first one was back in 2008 and by now nearly 800 artists have performed from Bob’s desk. The rules are simple. All equipment has to fit behind the desk. No PA system, no elaborate effects rigs, no fancy electronics. The audience is about 80 NPR workers and it’s often swelteringly hot. The backdrop are the reference books and module shelving that you'll find in any radio prep room.

The thing about Tiny Desk? You have nowhere to hide. It’s just your performance and your songs. Like all challenges, the cream rises to the top. It was Harry Styles’ performance that confirmed to me that he is a shining light of a generation. Superb pop songs delivered with heart and panache with a super tight band. Coldplay shed their stadium pomp and fitted right in behind Bob’s desk. I finally got Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals by watching the show. I had no idea Anderson played the drums. And so well, and how their rap was a form of jazz more than hip-hop. During Anderson’s second performance he joked that he spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on glitzy videos. Yet his most watched video cost nothing but an afternoon in Bob Boilen’s office. Tiny Desk is big. You can get millions of views. Adele’s perfomance in 2011, where she sang “Someone Like You”, “Chasing Pavements” and “Rolling in the Deep” is now up to nearly 24 million views. One performance that really took my eye was Natalie Merchant’s. The former lead singer of 10,000 Maniacs and solo artist has always been one of my favourites. But nowadays, with a magnificent mane of greying hair, quietly singing her yearning songs and telling stories of their genesis was uplifting. And that’s the trick of Tiny Desk. By stripping everything away and getting so close to artists, the emotional and spiritual heft can be quite overpowering. I have been caught by my family having a little weep. I blamed the Mexican trolley racing. With Covid lockdowns in place, Tiny Desk took a hiatus until resurrected with the Tiny Desk (Home) Concert. Artists were told they could record their own performances as long as they were live and stripped down. Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas turned their bedroom studio into the NPR office by printing a giant photo of the NPR office backdrop and singing in front of it. Genius. And so was the performance. Michael Kiwanuka's 22 minute performance, filmed askance with just him and a guitar, has been heralded as one of the best ever. NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts are all the evidence you need to say that music will never die. Famously all a good musician needs is three chords and the truth. But they also need an audience. But that audience may just be one person on the other end of a TV screen feeling the connection. In these days of self-isolation and quarantine, Tiny Desk was a lovely medicine to enjoy. — Andrew Dickens

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the kiosk


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Come and join the team — get fit, stay fit for life. Adult (masters) morning swim squads, for ages 21-91 in mixed and women’s squads at the Olympic pool. Whether you’re training for an event, want to get fit or stay fit, Rick and the team welcome you. Come for the swimming, stay for the camaraderie!

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the district diary

Image courtesy of the Big Bike Film Night

May/Mei 2021

This month: NZ Music Month (nzmusicmonth., the Auckland Writers Festival and the Big Bike Film Night 1 If you’re heading to the city, check out the City Centre Market, held every Saturday from 8.30am-12.30pm in Freyberg Square. Fruit and veg, breads, honey, flowers, fresh pasta and live music The Urban Walking Festival is about people celebrating their place in Tāmaki Makaurau through walk and conversation. Check out for strolls near you. Festival runs to May 16 2 Don't miss the final day of the Easter Bunny Hunt that trails through the house and grounds of Highwic. Kids are free but must be accompanied by a paying adult ($10). From 10.30am-4.30pm, 40 Gillies Ave They’re not just ‘aving a larf, it really is World Laughter Day. So put a smile on your dial because not only will you be spreading good cheer and joy, laughing is beneficial to your health 5 Join Dr Julie Jackson-Tretchikoff for Libretti, Love and Laughter: 100 Years of Curtain Calls, the story of Auckland's longest-running

theatre group. Whare Wānanga, Central Library, 44 Lorne St. Free, 12pm-1pm 7-9 Whether you ride for exercise, convenience or just for joy (like the whiskered chap on the pennyfarthing pictured above) the Big Bike Film Night is a collection of cycle-centric short films inspired by and for the twowheel devotee. Info at, screenings at the Academy Cinemas in Lorne St, tickets at the door or

11-16 Author conversations, readings, workshops, performances, a children’s programme and even international guests — there's something for everyone at the Auckland Writers Festival. Head to for the full schedule 12 Smokefree Rockquest registrations need to be completed by today: see smokefreerockquest. Heats start in Auckland later this month

8 Comedy isn’t just for the grownups — start ‘em young at Stand Up For Kids; an interactive live comedy gig for 4-to-8-year-olds. Q Theatre, 305 Queen St, 3pm. Tickets from, parents and supporters get to enter at kid prices too

13 A lyrical Writers Festival event, A Celebration of Song: Reb, Tom, Marlon & Moana showcases four of our top Kiwi songwriters discussing artistry and inspiration, rounded out with acoustic performances. Aotea Centre, 8.30pm,

9 To all the mums, step-mums, caregivers, aunties, nannies and grans, whether with us physically or in our hearts, we wish you the very happiest Mother's Day

30 Become a bird-spotter at Guided Walk: Birds, an introduction to the many birds that cohabitate at Cornwall Park. Bring some binoculars and dress for the weather. Register at, 10am-12pm, free

10 Saddle up and head to Somervell Presbyterian Church for Operatunity’s Tennessee Waltz, showcasing country classics from the likes of John Denver, Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash. Cnr Greenlane and Remuera roads, 11am-1pm, tickets from

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31 It’s World Smokefree Day. Visit nz for resources and support

Another Record Year $207 Billion nzd GLOBAL SALES VOLUME IN 2020

32% YOY


$4 Billion nzd


42% YOY

IN REFERRAL SALES VOLUME Each Office Is Independently Owned and Operated. Browns Real Estate Limited (licensed under the REAA 2008) MREINZ.