All Hallows Eve


This is the day I usually do my bah-humbug post lamenting the introduction of Halloween to New Zealand.

It’s so far in time and place from its origins.

Children making their own costumes and calling on neighbours who knew them might have been okay but children in outfits bought by parents calling on strangers is just tacky.

However, I’m setting my bah-humbug aside today to celebrate Oamaru Haunting.

It’s an augmented reality experience created by Derek Golding, a talented and imaginative photographic artist whose work you can see at Golding Arts.

The All Hallows Eve event starts at the Criterion in Oamaru’s historic precinct after nightfall tonight.

Even if you’re not going to be able to be there you can download the app and experience a little of the creativity that makes  #gigatownoamaru so special.

Can sharpest town be Gigatown? #gigatown #oamaru


Oamaru, New Zealand’s sharpest town, is vying to be the fastest town, and not just in this country but in the southern hemisphere.

The town, and it’s people, are doing their best to win Chorus’s  competition to become the first in the southern hemisphere to receive one-gigabit per second broadband speeds.

‘Welcome to Gigatown’ will be a year-long competition led by ultra-fast broadband (UFB) infrastructure company Chorus. The competition aims to spark innovation and mobilise the potential of UFB to transform local economies and services to drive better outcomes for New Zealand communities.

Chorus Head of Marketing and Sales, Victoria Crone says the one-gigabit fibre broadband will be deployed to the New Zealand town that shows New Zealand it has the most desire to be Gigatown.

“Over the course of a year we’re going to ask New Zealand communities to get creative, get online and tell New Zealand why their town should receive this gigabit connection,” says Crone.

“Over the next couple of months we will work with local communities and councils, as well as the rest of the telecommunications industry, to make sure we deliver a great competition that gives the widest possible range of communities the chance to be New Zealand’s Gigatown.”

All communities covered by Chorus’ Ultra-fast Fibre build plans will be eligible to enter the competition. Welcome to Gigatown is expected to launch on Labour Day 2013, with the winning town announced in early 2015.

Crone says that Welcome to Gigatown aims to encourage New Zealanders to start thinking about UFB as a huge opportunity to transform our country’s economy and also deliver great social outcomes.

Two international UFB experts are in New Zealand to support the announcement of Welcome to Gigatown and provide commentary on the potential of New Zealand’s unique fibre model.

According to Sheldon Grizzle, an innovation lead at CO.LAB in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the power of Gigabit fibre to transform a town’s economy has been clearly demonstrated as Chattanooga transformed from the most polluted city in the USA to one of its most innovative digital economies.

“The Chattanooga story can happen in New Zealand because it is one of the few countries around the world that is on track to provide fibre connectivity to the majority of its country’s homes, schools and businesses,” says Grizzle.

“It is absolutely possible that the Gigatown project will enable one New Zealand town to transform itself into a leading digital innovation hub for New Zealand and beyond,” he says.

Joining Grizzle in New Zealand is Benoit Felten, an international fibre specialist and founder of the French research and consultancy firm, Diffraction Analysis.

Felten has an incredible breadth and depth of expertise on fibre, from the technology through to industry dynamics, propositions, business models and applications. . .

Chatanooga shows the benefits of ultra fast broadband.

Previously shamed as one of the most polluted and unliveable cities in America, Chattanooga was one of the first cities in the world to roll out a fibre to the premise (FTTP) network offering gigabit connection speeds to homes and businesses. This has been credited with playing a role in attracting a swell of economic investment into Chattanooga, including the expansion of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant and the establishment of facilities. Chattanooga has also become a digital innovation centre that is driving development of next generation fibre applications.

Chattanooga’s fibre optic network has been emulated by a handful of other cities in the US and it is studied internationally as a model of how to build the smart cities of the future. . .

The competition requires towns to rally their communities to vote.

Winning Chorus’ gigatown competition is at the top of the agenda for a group of Oamaru people who are behind the local campaign.

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the town to access a one gigabit per second internet connection.

Lance Streeter, Derek Golding and Nicolas Erdody held a meeting on Wednesday night to discuss strategy plans on how to ensure Oamaru wins the competition.

The competition requires communities to rally together to vote for their town.

For a vote to be counted, Oamaru residents will have to take to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and use #gigatown and #oamaru together in a post.

Entries will be evaluated on the size of the town’s population to allow for a fair competition.

Facebook page was set up on October 10 and when I checked a few minutes ago already had 779 likes.

Then there’s twitter #gigatown#oamaru

The internet provides opportunities for people to work away from main population centres. An engineer lives not far from us and works on projects all around the world from his home through the internet.

Faster connections are better connections and becoming a Gigatown would make work like this even easier.

Victory for property rights


The Court of Appeal has upheld a High Court ruling that Church Property Trustees is entitled to demolish Christchurch Cathedral if it constructs a new cathedral on the same site.

Derek Golding  took photos of cathedral’s stained glass windows taken in 2007 which show how beautiful the building was before the earthquake.

But this is what it looked like in March.

cathedral march

New Zealand’s built heritage is young by world standards. Preservation of historic buildings for future generations should be taken seriously but not done at all costs.

The Cathedral has been regarded as public property but it isn’t.

It’s the property of the church and the decision on whether it is possible or preferable to attempt to preserve what’s left of the building is theirs.

By ruling in the trustees’ favour the court has upheld their property rights.

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