Friday, August 26, 2011

From El Hierro to the Great South Road

[A number of people have contacted me over the last week to say how much they enjoyed Sebastien Bano's discussion of the ecology, history, and politics of the Canary Islands. I wonder whether, like me, they envy as well as admire Mr Bano's adventures off the coast of Africa. It is hard at the moment not to want to exchange frigid New Zealand for the warm climes of the Canaries.

Sebastien sent me an email this morning to tell me that he and Severine have taken the kids on an adventure to El Hierro, the westernmost and smallest of the Canaries. 'It's one of these end of the world islands', he reports. I've begged him to send me some pictures.

While Sebastian explores exotic and sunny corners of the earth, Paul Janman and I are pressing on with our preparations for an expedition down that veritable Amazon of Auckland, the Great South Road. I've posted Paul's promo clip for our project, as well as my rather long-winded justification for the journey; here, to concretise matters a built more, is a 'hit list' of locations we've drawn up. We plan to film in all these places, but we're keen to add new locations to our hit list. Do you want us to come to your street, your local boozer, your supermarket, or the neighbourhood wasteground? Want to rant about buse timetables or air pollution or the immense indifference of history? Want to pay homage to Rainbow's End or Sir Ed Hillary or Double J and Twice the T? Drop us a line...]

Twenty Steps Down the Great South Road


The Albert Barracks were built in the 1840s to protect the nucleus of the Pakeha town of Auckland from potential attack by Hone Heke's Nga Puhi warriors. In 1862 hundreds of troops marched out of the high stone walls of the barracks and headed south, to begin the construction of a road designed to help deal with the Crown's enemies in the Waikato. Today a mossy section of the barracks wall still stands in the grounds of the University of Auckland's central city campus.

Scott makes the short walk from the old wall to the Auckland Domain, near the northern end of the Great South Road. In the 1860s the Domain acted as a sort of botanical barracks, marshalling the army of alien flora and fauna - gorse bushes and willow saplings, blue ducks and trout - that would continue the work of the solider, in the decades after the conquest of the Waikato, by occupying and subduing native ecosystems.

Dilworth and its discontents

Located at the far northern end of the Great South Road, Dilworth College embodies some of Auckland's social contradictions. Funded by donations from the city's business elite and from the Anglican church, the private boarding school selects 'deserving' pupils from the poorer parts of Auckland and the rest of New Zealand and attempts to turn them into pious gentlemen with posh accents and impeccable table manners.

Some Dilworth pupils resist this process of deculturalisation; others begin to identify with the posh suburbs at the northern end of the Great South Road, rather than with the more modest communities further down the road. Dilworth survivor Michael Arnold talks to Scott about escaping from his old school down the Great South Road.

Imperialism and Beer

The Waikato War was one of hundreds of small conflicts which accompanied the expansion of the British Empire in the nineteenth century. Most historians now see the war as an unjust act, and the 1995 Treaty settlement between Tainui and the Crown included an apology for the invasion of the Waikato Kingdom.

British imperialism may be out of fashion in some circles, but Ellerslie's Cock and Bull Tavern is decorated with portraits of Queen Victoria and other British monarchs and paintings of British troops subduing dark-skinned enemies and raising the Union Jack over conquered lands. While the Cock and Bull celbrates the British Empire as a whole and British conquests in Africa and Asia, the pub's interior makes no reference to the Waikato War, nor indeed to any aspect of the colonisation of New Zealand.

What does this trendy new bar tell us about our consciousness of the past? Scott attempts to answer this question by drinking with the locals.

The Ruined University

On its way from Penrose to the northern edge of Otahuhu, the Great South Road passes through a zone of ruined buildings and rusting railcars that resembles the set of some postapocalypse movie. A quarter century ago this area was the home of the Otahuhu Railway Workshops and a string of related businesses which together employed hundreds of men and women.

In his PhD research at the University of Auckland, the veteran trade unionist Len Richards has reconstructed the political and cultural world of the Otahuhu workshops. Richards' research reveals that the workshops were a centre of socialist politics and working class self-education, a place where the Communist Party sold hundreds of copies of its weekly paper and electricians and welders argued about Marx and Jean-Paul Sartre during their lunch breaks. Nicknamed the 'working class university of New Zealand', the workshops produced alumni like the poet Hone Tuwhare and the sociologist Dave Bedggood.

The deregulation of rail by the Lange-Douglas government destroyed the workshops, and much of the culture they represented. Scott explores the ruins of New Zealand's working class university with some of its graduates.
Landing at Mutukaroa

Every day hundreds of thousands of Aucklanders pass the low bare hill called Mutukaroa as they travel down the Southern Motorway, the Great South Road, and Sylvia Park Road. Few people, though, ever visit this unprepossessing but fascinating place. Scott lands on Auckland's largest traffic island and explores its interior.


In the 1960s and '70s tens of thousands of Pacific Islanders began to settle in South Auckland. Today the Pacific Islands community is beginning to flex its political muscles, sending MPs to Wellington and campaigning for the recognition of its languages. Scott talks to an Otahuhu-based activist in the Pacific Language Coalition.

Eyelight: Richard Taylor's Panmure

Five years ago the celebrated poet and boozer Richard Taylor retired from the central Auckland literary scene, with its endless poetry readings and get-togethers, and returned to his childhood suburb of Panmure, where he began work on a 'blog-poem-art project of infinite scope'. Scott traps Richard in the anarchic museum which is his home and talks with him about Eyelight.

'Welcome to the Bronx'

Scott remembers a piece of graffitti, visible where the Great South Road passed the outskirts of Otara, which read 'Welcome to the Bronx'. Outsiders commonly think of South Auckland as an enormous slum, but the region is in fact a patchwork of different socioeconomic zones. Even the poorer suburbs have enclaves of privilege and prejudice.

In Papakura, where Scott spent a lot of time in the '80s and '90s, the difference between a 'good' and a 'bad' area could be as little as a few metres. Scott remembers cousins who lived on the deadend Magnolia Avenue, which curves off Great South Rd near the southern end of Papakura and has regularly been deemed one of the suburb's 'ten best streets' by land agents.

Near the end of Magnolia Avenue is a very narrow walkway, which curled about twenty metres between high wooden walls, and led to a street where the signs had been stolen and where supermarket trolleys and the rusting torsos of Valiants and Holdens sat in front yards and pit bulls drooled and howled. Thirty years after he was warned not to use that walkway, Scott revisits Magnolia Avenue and neighbouring streets to see whether the old racial and class divisions remain.

Two utopias

Manukau City Centre is the Milton Keynes of New Zealand: a carefully planned 'new town' conceived in the 1960s and '70s by architects and politicians keen to accomodate the overspill from a rapidly growing city. For many of the Kiwis who work and shop there, though, the 'MCC' can be a bleak place, exposed to winds and dominated by traffic.

Further down the Great South Road, just beyond the low income suburb of Manurewa, a different sort of utopia was established in the late 1970s. Conifer Grove was New Zealand's first 'gated' community, and its video surveillance cameras, grid-like streets, rows of faux-Tudor townhouses, and weirdly dour streetnames ('Syntax Place', for example) can still bemuse visitors from the outside world. For many of its residents, though, Conifer Grove was a welcome escape from a city they found increasingly chaotic and incomprehensible. Scott retraces childhood shopping expeditions to Manukau City Centre, and revisits the mean streets of Conifer Grove.

Ihaka Takanini

With its car yards, petrol stations, and fast food outlets, Takanini Strait is one of the less outwardly interesting sections of the Great South Road. But the Strait, which connects Manurewa with Papakura, bears the name of one of the most fascinating figures in the history of South Auckland. Ihaka Takanini was a rangatira of the small Ngati Tamaoho iwi, which was connected by whakapapa and politics to the peoples of the Waikato.

During the middle decades of the nineteenth century, Takanini struggled to balance his support for the anti-colonial Waikato Kingdom with the presence of increasing numbers of Pakeha in the South Auckland area. Again and again, Takanini acted as peacemaker between Pakeha and Maori, and between pro-British and anti-British Maori.

In 1863, though, Takanini's balancing act failed. A few days after the invasion of the Waikato, a group of British troops entered Kirikiri, a village he had founded south of Papakura, in the foothills of the Hunua Ranges. The British demanded that Takanini and his people swear loyalty to the Queen or else leave for the Waikato Kingdom. After Takanini refused to swear an oath of loyalty he was branded an enemy of the Crown, and his village was destroyed. Most of Takanini's people moved south, but he was imprisoned on Rakino Island in the Hauraki Gulf, where he soon died of what one observer described as 'a broken heart'.

Scott visits the remains of Ihaka Takanini's village and asks why this remarkable man has been almost completely forgotten by the non-Maori residents of Papakura and South Auckland.

'The Little Rock of New Zealand'

The little town of Pukekohe near the end of Great South Road has the unhappy distinction of being the cradle of anti-Asian racism in New Zealand. In the 1920s Pukekohe farmers founded the White Defence League to lobby for the deportation of the Chinese and Indian horticulturalists who had settled around their town.

Racist ideas enjoyed wide support in Pukekohe, and as recently as the 1950s Maori as well as Asians were routinely denied service in the town's pubs and hairdressers, and barred from sitting upstairs at its cinema. In the middle of the 1950s some newspapers even dubbed Pukekohe 'the Little Rock of New Zealand', after the notoriously segregationist Arkansas city.

Scott talks to Mark Derby, a Pukekohe-born historian who has written about the town's racist history.

After Arouge

In 2010 the Azorean-Pakeha poet Hamish Dewe and his Chinese-born wife Sabrina were married in a battle-scared Anglican church called St Bride's in the Franklin hamlet of Mauku. Scott talks to the happy couple, and discovers the intriguing historical incident which made them decide to tie the knot at St Bride's.

The 'Bombay Obelisk' and related delusions

For believers in an elaborate conspiracy, a handful of rocks which mark the Great South Road's ascent of the Bombay Hills are the remains of an ancient white civilisation. Scott visits the supposed 'Bombay Obelisk' with Matthew Dentith, an expert on conspiracy theories who is doing post-doctoral research on the proponents of the idea that white people reached New Zealand before the ancestors of the Maori.

Digging In

Anne Flannagan lives on farmland in Drury which has been occupied by two foreign armies over the past century and a half. In 1862 and 1863 British troops camped on the land, which borders Hingaia Stream, one of the many small waterways which flow into the mangrove-fringed southeastern arms of the Manukau Harbour. General Cameron, the rather reluctant leader of the invasion of the Waikato, built himself a house which still stands beside the Flanngan property. According to family tradition, a set of earthworks - deep ditches, and mysterious hillocks - at the back of the Flanngan property, near the Hingaia, were made by Cameron's troops.

Eighty years after the Waikato War, the Flannagans hosted some of the thousands of American soldiers who trained in South Auckland before heading north to reconquer the Pacific from Japan. American tanks and trucks clogged the Great South Road, and hundreds of troops staged mock 'invasions' of the Drury Hills.

Scott and the archaeologist Edward Ashby visit Anne to study the earthworks at the bottom of her farm and to hear some Flannagan family stories about the events of the 1860s and the 1940s.

The Glass Archipelago

Every year, hundreds of men and women from the Kiribati archipelago swap their coral atoll homes for the Franklin District south of Auckland, where they pick tomatoes and courgettes grown from the fertile soils of Bombay and Pukekohe. Accepted by local employers because they are used to high humidity and low wages, the I-Kiribati labour in glasshouses which are sometimes larger than their home islands. Scott talks to the I-Kiribati about their double lives.

Marching to Pokeno

By the middle of 1863 the Great South Road crossed the Bombay hills and ended in the village of Pokeno, where the Queen's Redoubt held thousands of troops waiting for war. Scott visits the redoubt, which is being reconstructed by dedicated local historians, and talks with a military archaeologist who excavated the site in the 1990s and found both sinister and curious objects amidst the dirt.

Crossing the Aukati

The Mangatawhiri Stream is a minor tributary of the Waikato which entered history when the great Tainui leader Wiremu Tamihana made it the 'aukati', or border, of the Waikato Kingdom. Scott has long wanted to find the exact spot where General Cameron led six thousand troops into the Waikato on the 12th of July, 1863.

A Memorial

A Drury oral tradition holds that a piece of bare ground near the edge of the yard of the local Anglican church hides the bodies of several Catholic soldiers who died during the early stages of the Waikato War. After a good deal of investigation, a group of local genealogists which included Scott's mother managed to prove that three soldiers of an Irish regiment of the British army had indeed been buried in the churchyard at Drury during the war. Scott attends the blessing of a memorial raised by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture to honour the lost Irishmen


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check it out

12:30 pm  
Anonymous raych said...

hey scott, two of my bro's went to dilworth...they remain less than impressed with their time there. raych

6:07 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

Fascinating, Raych: could we get them to testify against their former school? We've already offered one Dilworth dissident voice and face distortion, to protect his identity!

7:40 pm  
Anonymous Redbaiter said...

Can I be please be in this?

8:12 am  
Anonymous Traedlis said...

Over the years I’ve read a great deal about the drastic climate change (cooling) that occured right at the end of the Roman Empire. People severly underestimate how dramtic and traumatic that change was, and yet owing to the technologies of the time it certainly wasn’t caused by humans.

Nor was it just a question of a few lousy summers or a couple of severe winters; whole plant species were wiped out. Throughout the roman period, Britian had had a thriving viticulture industry, but in the early 5th century ALL of those vines EVERYWHERE were completely wiped out.

Some climatologists suggest that certain regions of Europe dropped in terms of plant hardiness zones, with come places going from zone 7A ( good for peaches, pears apricots and all sorts of grapes etc to zone 4B where they’d be few other fruit other than Macintosh apples ( if that species even existed at the time). In addition, rainfall increased dramatically and the number of hours of sunlight was sharply reduced.

People really suffered because the abundance and variety of foods available was severly reduced. In fact, there was a drastic drop in population.

Then at the begining of the Middle Ages the climate quite suddenly became warmer with the reheating taking only a few years to complete.

By the 12th century, Britian was once again covering in vines, and its wines were of such good quality French vintners imposed tarrifs on them in order to protect their markets.

2:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Posted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:56 pm Post subject:


There are two types of MAORI the ones who come down the Paternal DNA Bloodlines such as MANUKAU, PARAPARA, KAWHARU WANOA, TAURUA, TARAWA and these are TRUE NATIVE NON WHITE FATHER DOMINANT Blood line Hereditary Names attached to AOTEAROA New Zealand and these are LANDLORDS who will be the LAST MAN STANDING on the MARAE after they said their WHAKAPAPA up their OWN NATIVE NAME no other connecting names THESE are INDIGENOUS FIRST NATIONS PEOPLES who should be doing all the TALKING just like JAPAN NATIVES only JAPANESE NATIVES with INDIGENOUS Names TALK and NO WHITE MAN at ALL!!

The other MAORI is the Maternal DNA Bloodlines who have WHITE Father DOMINANT Bloodlines which is ALIEN to the NATIVE LAND TITLE INDIGENOUS Bloodline connection to the LAND and its the MAN who is GOD where the MAN DOMINANT TITLE Descends from GOD whereas the QUEEN is a WOMAN GOD that the WHITEMAN WORSHIP the QUEEN as their SOVEREIGN over her own NATIVE ENGLAND and the INDIGENOUS MAORI CLAIMS his Inheritance from EARTH MOAI GOD NA ATUA E WA EARTH WIND SEA LAND GOD that is our DNA to MOAI EARTH GOD STATUE that the QUEEN STOLE off my INDIGENOUS EASTER ISLAND so I say WHITEMAN has a THIEF GOD who uses WHITE SURNAME MAORI to Steal the TRUE MAORI INDIGENOUS LAND and TRANSFER it out of the TRUE MAORI TITLE and into the WHITE MANS TITLE to SELL! THE TRUE MAORI NEVER SELLS LAND! Its the PAKEHA SURNAME MAORI Who sells MAORI LAND that don't belong to him in the TRUE SENSE as is JAPAN the MALE LINE would not TRANSFER his LAND to a WHITE MAN and SELL JAPAN like the PAKEHA SELL our MAORI LAND because they say only WHITEMAN can SELL MAORI LAND is wrong as I am challenging anyone who has a TITLE SUPERIOR to my MOAI WANOA TITLE STICK your TITLE in FRONT of ME and my INDIGENOUS PEOPLE and not People like PITA SHARPLES who is selling my MOAI LAND out and names like PARAONE is BROWN WHITE MAN and WIKIRIWHI is not REAL INDIGENOUS NAMES because they are WHITE MAN SPERMS who their ANCESTORS Corrupted the HISTORY and made these names up IS NO GOOD that I am STRAINING OUT AWAY from REAL TITLE is what I am EXPOSING the FRAUDULENT TITLES and SIR HUGH KAWHARU was not the TRUE KAWHARU TITLE for AUCKLAND I dare anyone to CHALLENGE ME and the REAL MAUKAU and KAWHARU TITLE yet the CROWN has gone with the CORRUPTED NAMES in their TREATY CLAIMS I AM GOING TO SPLIT OPEN AND BILL DEBT CHARGE ALL THOSE RESPONSIBLE IN CORRUPTING our INDIGENOUS TITLE and CONFISCATE those TITLES as OF RIGHT so do not take me lightly. I HAVE THE RIGHT TO INVESTIGATE EACH AND EVERY TITLE to see if it is FRAUD and if it is YOU WILL be Compensated by the MINISTERS OF LAND who are FRAUD I NAME and there is NOTHING they can do to STOP ME and my SOVEREIGN UNREBUTTED TITLE RIGHT TO DEBT ANYONE WHO CANT CHALLENGE MY MOAI-WANOA, PUPONGA-MANUKAU, PARAPARA, KAWHARU DNA BLOOD INDIGENOUS CUSTOMARY SOVEREIGN RULER TITLE! I expect any interjection and COMPLAINANT PERSECUTORS to FILE a CLAIM SUIT against me as the same opportunity given to the CROWN of NE ZEALAND who FAILED to CHALLENGE my TITLES is passed the time now to SUE ME if you can I DARE ANYONE TO TRY!!


John Wanoa MOAI Customary Legal Advocate Assignees Royalist Investigator of CROWN MAORI LAND TITLES

10:07 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Everyone potentially at least, should be able to be involved in art or films or whatever. My'The Infinite Poem" started as a kind of almost elitist idea of or to be an "epic" but I slowly rethought it and thought it could reflect or be a symbol or reflection of an idea that really the author or "originator" of any work does die and that everyone can anyone can should if possible (if they want) participate.

Of course this is really what the internet does (or can do potentially).

And in fact it is Utopian (to say mix "high" and "low" art etc and (potentially) all media) yet it is through EYELIIGHT an attempt on one level to show or point the way that more can participate in art and learning or creative things.

Without pushing people out who may not be seen perhaps to be "brilliant" or "great" and opening things up (this is not to ignore such talent etc but not necessarily to privilege it).
Hopefully to open it up to all people of all abilities and views.

Thus many who might see themselves as "failing" might be encouraged to work in some creative sphere without fear of ridicule or "competition" and hurtful criticism.

Thus I put my own poems (and my collages and mixes and fragments etc) EYELIGHT and images and anyone can use them (but I would like to be acknowledged as the writer or the "progenitor") and I would want everyone to be able to read anythhing I have written without any charge.

(I will, time and life permitting, eventually get most of my poems etc up on line and or where others can see or read them) [YouTube is thus a great thing and Wikipedia]

But of course there are circumstances when this impossible as one day I might actually make some money for my writing! But the idea and ideal is there.
And it points the way that many are taking using say the internet or their own resources.


12:05 am  
Blogger Richard said...

"Traedlis said...

Over the years I’ve read a great deal about the drastic climate change (cooling) that occurred right at the end of the Roman Empire. People severely underestimate how dramatic and traumatic that change was, and yet owing to the technologies of the time it certainly wasn’t caused by humans."

Some of those times were caused by large volcanic action and the resulting ash clouds.

The temperature of that earth varied as a result of fluctuations in the radiation intensity of the sun. Also at various times in history and geologic "history" there has been more or less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. At a very early stage there was little or no oxygen and bacteria etc (see Carl Sagan in 'Forgotten Ancestors') developed which converted to using oxygen and much more was produced.

Early in the 20th Century the main concern was with a possible cooling of the Earth as we could be moving toward another ice age...

Much of the "pollution" is actually caused by rotting vegetation and natural processes. But there are enough trees to balance that. It is not clear if the climate is getting warmer or not.

We have a lot of potential energy as the sun puts out in 1/1000th of a second enough radiated energy to provide human energy needs for 5000 years! (from a book about the Sun). Nanotechnology? Perhaps all is not lost...

12:19 am  
Anonymous Tips for Paul #1 said...


Caverns west and west-north-west of Wiri are legendary for stories of deep cavern systems, encounters with hairy humanoids with an attitude, giant serpents and insects, deadly gas pockets, strange electro-magnetic phenomena and unexplained disappearances. One of these is "Blowing Cave" which lies in 1/4 km north of a road leading west, one of several caverns in the area, some of them possibly connecting at the deeper levels. Between the large
entrance and an underground lake far back in the cave is a trail that winds through an area of rubble or "breakdown". The trail is intersected by a crack in the earth [between the entrance and the lake] that, if followed into the breakdown, widens enough to enter. This chasm is
reportedly an entrance to the endless networks of the underworld...more later...gotta get 'back under' 4 now ay...

8:47 am  
Blogger Richard said...

I went into cave in Wiri once in about 1980 or so I was with the
P'n T (now Telecom or Chorus basically) and a amet and I deciced on off the cuff to have a look ...we didin't go far as we eraly had to ge back to work.

They were formed by the not gases in the very hot but cooling larva.

Around Wiri we wer putting in poles and digging the holes for them was rally hard as scoria can be dug with a poppa gun but then I had to lift the scoria rocks out by hand. (Like unassembling a three dimenional jigsaw). The alternative which was used in such places and Mt Eden was to use explosives.

We then started using those big trucks with a very large hydraulically operated drill. It was still hard going.

I used to like going to the Manukau City Centre and my kids liked Rainbows end. The bloke who started that place (or he was there when it started or something) I have met. He lives locally and operates a local radio station.

The pubs around there (Wiri and Manukau) were pretty rough though. Islanders and Maoris always getting into big fights...a couple of times I had to exit from what was massive brawl...One time an Islander threw a glass at some bloke and everyone was sent out and and a huge fight erupted at the Wiri pub...some dangerous bastards around there...

10:12 pm  
Anonymous AHD said...

Scott -- I think I speak for everyone when I say: you're not going far enough south. I can give you a tour of Ashburton that is second to none. I'll show you around the fitness track in the domain and get you a pint at The Devon. Afterward we can take a packed lunch to the Ashburton Railway Station and imagine just what life would have been like getting railway sandwiches on the Dunedin-Christchurch-Picton route.

Hell, if I'm feeling really keen I'll take you to the Hakatere Marae (rebuilt following arson) and the Rakaia scout den.

See you there.

10:10 am  
Blogger FreshyNZ said...

Hi Scott. I'm a fan of your blog and your current project sounds exciting. I would like to share my connection with Great South Road, if I may. I've noted there are sections about Pacific Islanders already listed, and my comments maybe additions to those sections. I am Samoan, and althought born and bred in South Auckland, my parents sent me to an inner city high school, as most Pacific parents wanted their kids to have the best educational opportunities available. Great South Road was one of the main passages for public transport, which thousands of us South Auckland students depended on to get to and from school. Otahuhu Bus Depot in particular was a central point for us South Auckland students to catch the multitudes of bus services. It was also a meeting place, with hundreds of kids going in one direction to schools such as the Grammar schools, inner city Catholic and Anglican schools etc. (I remember that many of the more affluent South Aucklanders from Conifer Grove etc had private vehicles or had their own school buses that went direct from the City to their homes.) While in the other directions were kids from the same communities/families going to De La Salle, Otahuhu College etc. Zoning has meant there aren't as many kids travelling into the city along the Great South Road anymore. Hope this is of some use or at least spurs on further ideas. Thanks for the opporunity.

1:15 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Otahuhu is a major Polynesian (city, centre?) Compared to Panmure (fro example) it really buzzes. A lot of people of many ethnicities there and also many shops.

The bus centre is or was very big. Otahuhu is an interesting place for sure...

See what Scott Maps has to add...

4:27 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

Thanks for the fascinating comments Freshy NZ: I think Paul will be really keen to ask you to share them on camera!

I had somewhat similar experiences on Cityline and on the trains going in and out of the city on weekends and later commuting to uni. I still sometimes catch the train north at the same time as the Otahuhu College and Kings College kids heading home - the Otahuhu kids are normally just going a kilometre or so, of course, whereas the Kings kids are going way up the line. There are such extraordinary differences between the speech of the two sets of students, and this is I feel more a class thing than anything else...

I spent an interesting eveing watching Pasifika students present papers on law at the U of A last week: some of them (or some of their children, perhaps?) are going to reshape that institution, I reckon. There was one especially powerful paper - I've been meaning to blog about it - on Samoan customary law and how it contradicts Western economics and legal systems.

You're on as far as Ashburton goes, Andrew, but aren't you in Europe at the moment? I haven't been out of the car in Ashburton but I have spent some time in Timaru, which I think is an unfairly maligned place. I'd been keen to visit Arowhenua and to follow some of the route of 'long march' of Te Maiharoa and his followers.

3:14 am  
Anonymous AHD said...

Hi Scott -- I actually return to NZ on the 6th of September! After that I'd be happy to show you just how things work in the south (hint: they don't).

7:40 am  
Blogger FreshyNZ said...

Thanks Scott. I'm a bit shy, but as I was thinking of others I could con into appearing before a camera for you and Paul, I actually wrote out a long list of names of friends. I realised how many of them I would not have met if it wasn't for meeting them on the bus on our way to school in town - lifelong friendships. Perhaps if you drop an email at, and I'll see who I can get (if I haven't picked up the courage to do it myself - hah).

3:14 pm  
Anonymous raych said...

Scott - will put out the word and see what they say... fantastic project!

3:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Scott.
A good start to your fascinating project.
How about including the Otahuhu Portage(Te Tapotu 0 Tainui) as you pass Te maunga o Otahuhu (Mt Richmond)? (
From an article by Brian Hooker:
"Otahuhu portage (Te Tapotu o Tainui) 11 B, C,D,E
Twelve hundred metres south of the Karetu Portage the Otahuhu portage was the most important in the immediate Tamakimakaurau area because of its central position, length, and easy gradient, Slightly under one kilometre in length it was the shortest portage between the east and west coasts of New Zealand. And it was one of the main links in the communication network between the northern and central districts of the North Island.
Present-day Portage Road, Otahuhu, follows approximately the line of the old portage. The Manukau Harbour end is named Te Tapoi [o?]
Tainui (i.e Tainui's arrival at the bottom of the portage slope). Also at the Manukau Harbour end is Nga rango e rua o Tainui. which is the name given jointly) to two small islands in Manukau Harbour, and according to legend. is said to be the final resting place of Tainui's skids which had been used to haul her across the portage.
In 1822, when he was on his way to seize the triple pa of Matakitaki on the Waipa River, Hongi Hika (c.1780-1828) dragged his canoes over the Otahuhu Portage to the Manukau Harbour ( see Holloway, 1962, 76-77). Henry Williams, who visited the Otahuhu area, in 1835, described the portage in his journal thus: " ... the appearance of a cart track which has been formed by a number of canoes which have been drawn over from time to time". (Carlton. 1877, 171)."


11:26 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

You seem to share Tim Bowron's extremely dark view of the Ashburton-Ellesmere area, Andrew! Surely it's not quite as bad as all that? There is the Jenny Shipley connection to consider, I suppose...

Raych's partner Mike Beggs, who nowadays teaches the economics of subversion in Sydney, has blogged about his experiences as a wee lad in Timaru:

I think that the transmogrified, outwardly bland nature of the South Canterbury landscape is part of what makes the region interesting (I'd connect the place, in that respect, to the Hauraki Plains - though nothing can quite compare with the Plains, for me!).

I also think that flatlands can have a certain mystical quality for New Zealanders, so accustimed are we to bumpy territory. Have you seen the section of John O'Shea's Runaway (the first proper New Zealand movie and still the best) which deals with the villain-hero's flight across the Canterbury Plains?

"Have you ever driven across the Plains before at dusk? Let me show you. You don't drive, you float..."

Magical stuff.

11:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

moronic stuff more like!

self important pontificating lefty cunts

11:08 am  
Anonymous AHD said...

I have actually seen 'Runaway' -- not so sure I'd say it's the best NZ movie though! It's a fantastic example of the sublime, however, when the main character is last seen running up a mountainside. And any film with Ray Columbus in it gets a nod in my books.

I wrote about Ashburton a while back.

There is something about the plains. It's all mixed up for me with Shandan/Lanzhou now too, when I followed Rewi Alley's journey and found out that he stopped in a place that looks like the Canterbury Plains, but drier. Stick to what you know I guess.

2:29 am  

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