Only 15.5 percent of eligible voters in Wellington have voted in the local body elections halfway through the election voting period.
Three years ago the news of a large earthquake in the top of the South and lower North Islands would have been even bigger news three years ago.
But the September 2010 and February 2011 and the thousands of others which followed them have changed our perspective.
Fortunately there have been no reported deaths or major injuries from last evening’s one and the smaller ones which preceded it.
Without in any way dismissing the fear and anguish of those who went through it and are still dealing with the aftershocks, especially people whose homes were damaged, and the hassles associated with trains not running and buildings which can’t be accessed, this was an upset, not a disaster.
Let’s hope it stays that way.
My farmer and I were looking for somewhere to eat in Wellington on Wednesday evening.
The first place we stopped at had no spare tables and the second couldn’t take us until 9pm, which would have meant nearly an hour’s wait.
The next two were full and we finally got a table, and delicious food, at the fifth – Tuatara – which was busy but not quite full.
The city might not be booming but if full-houses mean anything there’s no sign of recession at the inner city restaurants.
It’s not my land and it’s not my city so the outcry over the plan to erect a Wellywood sign on a hill overlooking our capital passed me by until I realised I would be paying for it, albeit a tiny amount.
I fly in and out of Wellingtona several times a year, using the airport which is going to put up the sign and therefore some portion of the airfare I pay must be paying for this wanton wannabeness.
If you apply the adage if you can’t be first you must be better to the sign then the airport board which wants to erect it appears to have got it wrong.
Imitation may be the most sincere form of flattery but it doesn’t necessarily make the imitator right.
Wellywood was a clever enough word play linking Wellington with Hollywood, but turning it into a sign which imitates the one which overlooks the USA’s film capital isn’t so smart. As Lonely Planet says:
Lonely Planet New Zealand commissioning editor Errol Hunt said he was “torn” on the idea of a Wellywood sign, seeing it as partly bold, and partly cringe-worthy.
“On one hand, it’s a bit cheeky, a bit quirky, which does feel right. On the other hand, the tryhard-o-meter is beeping furiously.”
Jim Hopkins says it even better:
It is, after all, simply evidence, writ large, of how provincial, insecure and derivative we can be.
If you have to try that hard to impress people, you really shouldn’t bother. Better to pull your bottom lip over your top lip and pretend you don’t exist.
The Wellywood sign is just the biggest, dumbest version of all those gormless billboards we see bestrewn along the roadside all over the country, halfway between nowhere and somewhere else. . .
Well, of course it’s tacky, y’ daft ha’porths!
But it’s not tacky enough. It’s limp tacky, wimp tacky.
It should be wacky tacky. If it’s going to be tacky, it’s got to be Oh! tacky. Nothing less will do. . .
Since all such signs and symbols invite derision, get in first. Create one that will transcend silliness and scale the highest heights of kitsch. Then, when people say, “Strewth, that’s awful!” you can reply, with a satisfied grin on your gob, “Thank you.”
That sums it up – the sign is bad, but not bad enough, a desperate sign of desperation, not that I’m likely to see it.
In spite of many flights to and from Wellington I have no idea which hill the sign is destined to despoil. I am usually reading, sleeping or, in the case of Wellington sometimes more than exciting landings, praying, and don’t recall seeing a hillside on any descent or take-off.
On my most recent trip a couple of days ago all I saw was cloud until just before we touched down and more cloud when we took off again yesterday.
Therefore, in the spirit of the tackiness of the sign and with apologies to Ogden Nash I leave you with:
Deck your grassy hill in signs, the hill is yours my sweeting,
I’ll not see it flying in, nor when I’m retreating.
On January 22:
1561 Sir Francis Bacon, English philosopher, was born.
1840 The New Zealand Company’s first settler ship, the Aurora, arrived at Petone, marking the official commencement of the settlement that would eventually become Wellington.
1889 Columbia Phonograph was formed in Washington, D.C.
1899 Leaders of six Australian colonies met in Melbourne to discuss confederation.
1905 Bloody Sunday in St. Petersburg, beginning of the 1905 revolution.
1906 SS Valencia ran aground on rocks on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, killing more than 130.
SS Valencia shipwreck, seen from one of the rescuing ships
1924 Ramsay MacDonald became the first Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
1934 Graham Kerr, British-born, New Zealand chef, was born.
1940 John Hurt, English actor, was born.
1946 Iran: Qazi Muhammad declared the independent people’s Republic of Mahabad at Chuwarchira Square in the Kurdish city of Mahabad. He was the new president; Hadschi Baba Scheich was the prime minister.
1946 – Creation of the Central Intelligence Group, forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency.
1957 The New York City “Mad Bomber”, George P. Metesky, was arrested and charged with planting more than 30 bombs.
1973 The Supreme Court of the United States delivered its decision in Roe v. Wade, legalizing elective abortion in all fifty states.
1984 The Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to popularize the computer mouse and the graphical user interface, was introduced during Super Bowl XVIII with its famous “1984” television commercial.
1987 Pennsylvania politician R. Budd Dwyer shot and killed himself at a press conference on live national television, leading to debates on boundaries in journalism.
1999 Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons were burned alive by radical Hindus while sleeping in their car in Eastern India.
2002 Kmart Corp beccame the largest retailer in United States history to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.
. . . to whoever planted the pohutukawa on the road side between the centre of Wellington and the airport.
They look glorious.