Sunday, May 29, 2005

WellyWood, why am I here?

For those curry fans at The Wellingtonist, my take on this fine city, Let me count the ways.....

Why are you here?
I am here so that my kids can enjoy growing up and I can enjoy watching them growing up. I grew up in the sunny climate of east Africa and remember vividly my school days of sport, holidays to the beach and Fanta. My wife grew up in Nelson and had a similar life but substitute Fanta for L&P, I guess.

When you compare the two, Africa has many animals and insects that would like to eat you, alive or dead. The most dangerous thing in Nelson is, I believe, a rather dodgy pub near The Warehouse. Bringing our kids up in Africa might stress me too much. " Where are the kids?" "They're in the garden." "Holy smoke, get them inside they could get eaten/bitten/shot/mauled/stung/poisoned/kidnapped/toasted/roasted..."

Bringing our kids up in the UK would be similar although I would be too busy working to ever see them. We're in New Zealand for the time that the Kiwi lifestyle gives back to us. The best place to make the most of that extra time is in Wellington as you can live within minutes of the city and yet so far away.

What do you like about the town?
I like the harbour and the water. I particularly like the view down from the hills where you can watch planes land, boats sail, yachts race, and the cars on the motorway. There is always something happening in Welly and if you blink, you might just miss it. But never fear, 'cause there is so much going on you just have to cross the road and join something else. The thing I love most though is that if you stand on any street corner for a few moments, you'll usually see someone you know and you can say "hi", have a great coffee in a cafe that will be near and take a little breather whilst you take it all in.

What don't you like about the town?
Man, everyone says the wind but I don't mind it. Haven't you ever wondered why the streets are so clean? It is a well hidden fact that the stadium is actually a giant dustbin and all of the rubbish ends up there; all the council have to do is clean the pitch every Friday night. Just check out the place after any match - about 6,000 white plastic bags can be seen flying around yet nobody arrived with any you know.

If it isn't the wind, what's my beef? It's gotta be the thin roads. These tiny little skinny roads to houses on the hills, with cars parked on both sides. If you meet an oncoming car, you have to reverse 600 metres through wiggley, windy, u-bend type corners to get back to where you started. I’m' all for living in the hills, but Lord, give us big fat roads with footpaths and lighting.

First time experience?
It was 1995 and lasted all of 3 hours. My memory is somewhat faded but I swear everything was closed. I landed. I came into town. I went up a hill. I left. The flight was magnificent and the view was breathtaking. "Closed or not, gimme some of that", is what I thought.

The best of times, the worst of times?
Finally settling into this house and being a real family with our own front door, garden and plants. Owning my own patch with lots of Pohutukawa trees feels just great.

The worst of times was getting to this stage with a nightmare of epic proportions, best forgotten now.

What does the city mean to you?
It is the place I choose to live and the place I choose to die. Scatter my ashes over the harbour for I am never leaving. I hope one day my children will travel the world and see great sights and magical wonders only to return to Wellington to stand in the hills and say "damn, what a view, it's good to be home."


  1. Oh yes, those roads. I couldn't believe how narrow they were when I first got here... but now here I am hurtling around them like I was born here.

  2. That was very beautiful and I'd like to ditto all your points!

  3. It still amazes me that not only do cars park on both sides of those roads, but buses come hurtling along them too...

    Watch those pohutukawas too, they're all inexorably creeping their roots towards your plumbing....

    Excellent post!

  4. I cant work out why cars continually risk their wing mirrors and bumpers and park opposite another car on a skinny road only to leave a mere 3-4 metres for those buses to navigate!

  5. alan: hurtling is a scary word that I'd kindly not like to think about! I fear for my life most days and now that word is going to feed my paranoia.

    martha: thank you, you may ditto to your hearts content.

    llew: I will never recover from the morning bus trip from Miramar through that tunnel at a speed mildly slower than warp 3 - who in their right mind would build a tunnel about 4 inches bigger than a bus and call it a bus tunnel? I'd call it a cycle route and one way at that.

  6. So true about the roads! The quiet side street we used to live on in Christchurch is wider than most of the main roads in Wellington!
    I find it funny that the council is so proud of their one truly wide road that they name each half seperately (Cambridge and Kent Tce!!!)

    To be fair about the bus tunnel though, they didn't build it a bit bigger than a bus and call it a bus tunnel. They called it a tram tunnel and there was no danger of the trams hitting the side. It became a bus tunnel after the trams were extinct.


  7. Tar
    Good job those buses aren't any bigger then - my ears alway used to pop as we entered the tunnel of death......wonder who was the first one to drive through..."Reackon my bus would get through that there hole." "Yeah. Best measure it though". "Nah, she'll be alright"......

  8. Thanks for the heads up re the roads down there. We have decided to leave our car at home during our Welli visit and enjoy the theme park style bus rides. Waaahhhoooooo.

  9. bring spare pants, it is scary out there.

  10. LOL yes we'll bring all our pants...