By John Subritzky
Often in legends, the hero dies for the cause. Big Mac did not die in vain.
Avondale’s macrocarpa may have become a turning point for tree protection in Auckland. In the last year, Avondale has become the epicentre of the tree wars, as developers have sought maximum utilisation of sites. The beautiful native trees at Canal Road with their incredible history of being planted as an abortorium by Walter Burgess, are the ongoing focus of the tree protesters. But it was not those natives that brought people to the table to make undertakings for tree protection. The protest over the felling of Big Mac shone national media attention onto some dodgy looking back room deals done by Auckland Council. As owners of the tree, the Council has no-one else to blame but itself.
The Council’s Senior Heritage Arborist supplied the following view on 31 August 2020: Once it is a notable tree it must be retained, which is the very intent of it being notable, unless there really is no other alternative to its removal. In this instance, there is a viable alternative, being a design, which would accommodate the tree and distance all works from it. The developer would have been aware of this impediment to unrestricted development as part of their due diligence, and I did state in a pre-application meeting that all trees within the site would need to be retained and incorporated into the design.
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei noted …this macrocarpa is a notable tree, it is loved by the community, it plays a significant role in the ecosystem and is contributing to reducing our climate impact…There is limited tree protection left in Aotearoa, we would like to trust that the Auckland council, as our Treaty partners will appropriately value the protected trees. Auckland Council should be showing the people of Tāmaki Makaurau that they respect their role as kaitiaki."
The Mana Rākau tree protection group began as the last line of defence for trees. After weeks of protesting to save Big Mac, Juressa Lee wrote: “The only way to potentially save this tree was to stop the project in its tracks and find funds to take them and Council to court, thereby locking things up for a year or more to try and force Ockham-Marutūāhu back to the drawing board. That would cost all parties tens of thousands of dollars and hit the iwi investors hard. It would cost the 78 families and individuals who had already purchased an apartment stress, uncertainty, and money. It would absorb our movement’s resources in a pitched battle over a single, magnificent tree.
“We decided we were not prepared to do that. Our only option was to make sure, if this tree was to die, that it would not die in silence or for nothing. As I contemplated the prospect of this mighty tree being cut it occurred to me that mana survives death. This macrocarpa will not be forgotten. It spent decades as a shelter belt for other trees and its mana will live well beyond death in the thirteen more trees - or stands of trees - it will save with its life.” [Ockham has agreed that that they would work with Mana Rakau and Council to have at least thirteen notable, local trees scheduled in the Whau.]
It was the last stand in the tree by Caleb Azor that really brought focused media attention to Big Mac. By the end Caleb was worn down and exhausted but there are signs that Auckland Council staff and police have also tired of being involved in the ongoing tree war in Avondale and would like also to see solutions instead of conflict.
Significantly, Kāinga Ora recently advertised the position of Urban Ngahere Lead to “Establish the Kāinga Ora pathway towards regenerating the urban ngahere within its property portfolio and around its large-scale projects” This is a huge change to the clear-felled approach of it’s recent large developments. Things are getting better!
Big Mac’s sacrifice has mana as part of the solution and really is a humble hero.
Wedding anniversaries are always a great excuse for a night out, but when you’ve been married 65 years it’s definitely worthy of a celebration.
Daniel and Christina (nèe Landman) Bothma were married in Durban, South Africa, on February 2nd, 1956. They raised two children: a daughter, Dalene, who lives in Singapore, and a son, Phil, who lives in the Waikato. They have three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren who live in New Zealand, and two grandchildren living in Singapore.
Danny and Tina – or Danny and Tina as they are known - moved to New Zealand from South Africa in 2007. They are very pleased to be in New Zealand and live happily in the Salvation Army Village on Blockhouse Bay Road. They enjoy the company of their supportive and kind village friends.
Danny and Tina on their wedding day, 2nd February 1956. Photos: Bothma family.
EcoFest West 2021 is on its way! This annual community festival, now in its tenth year, runs from 20 March to 18 April 2021 and celebrates our beautiful environment by sharing practical ideas to make sustainable living easy, for a better future.
Organised by EcoMatters Environment Trust, EcoFest West is Auckland's biggest environmental festival and features more than 120 events hosted by a range of organisations.
EcoMatters Environment Trust's CEO, Damon Birchfield, says, "The festival has been designed to inspire environmental action amongst all Aucklanders. It champions our unique environment, supports collaboration, and celebrates our local communities."
“This year’s programme includes interactive workshops to deepen your connection with nature, community events that celebrate and restore our natural environment, and experiences that share ways to live more sustainably in our neighbourhoods.”
Events categories include Waka Hourua/Clean Transport, Kīnaki Kai Reka/Foodies’ Fix, Te Whaihanga/Makers’ Mayhem, Torohē Nuku/Explore Nature and Mauri Noho/Conscious Living. Covering a wide range of topics and subject matters, most events are free or low-cost, and whānau friendly. Many events will also be available at any Covid-19 alert level through webinar or other digital options.
Festival highlights include:
New to the festival is the EcoFest West Speaker Series 2021: Ngā Karanga o Ngā Wāhine Toa. A collection of live events and webinars, the Speaker Series offers an opportunity to hear from four wāhine toa, or women leaders, as they reflect on their learnings from 2020.
Whether joining the live event at EcoHub in New Lynn, or watching the live Zoom webinar, visitors will hear from Dee West, Dr. Nicole van der Laak, Dr. Karlo Mila and Robin Taua-Gordon. Each of the speakers have been active in conversations about sustainability, science, environmentalism, and carbon divestment through a range of mediums and forums.
Coming up near your neighbourhood during EcoWest Festival:
To see full details of all EcoFest West events, please visit www.ecofest.org.nz.
EcoFest West is brought to you by EcoMatters Environment Trust, with events hosted by a range of organisations, generously supported by the Whau, Henderson-Massey, and Waitākere Ranges local boards.
Photos: new additions to the school which enhance learning.
One of the casualties of Covid-19 last year was the Blockhouse Bay School Centennial. Originally planned for March 2020, the event had to be postponed as we headed into lockdown, disappointing lots of people and spoiling the preparations that the children had made to welcome back ex-pupils, staff and parents.
We are very pleased to confirm, though, that we are full speed ahead for our 101st celebrations which will be held on April 9th and 10th of this year.
At 10.30am on Friday 9th, we are inviting our guests to attend a short welcome in Te Whau, our school hall/performing arts centre, before our school ambassadors lead tours around the school. We expect that our visitors will be surprised by the changes that have taken place in teaching and learning since they were at school as well as the many property upgrades that have taken place.
After lunch, we are planning a series of performances for parents and visitors to show off the children's hard work in preparing for these.
From 7.00-9.30pm, any and all ex-pupils, staff and parents are invited to a mix and mingle over food and a drink in our newly refurbished Te Manawa.
From 11.00am on Sunday 11th, attendees are invited to come along for school tours once again before our official welcome in Te Whau at 12.30pm. After this, our visitors can either take part in a school tour or meet with other attendees to reminisce and talk about the 'old days'.
To register or for more information please contact the office on 6279940, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to the school's website www.blockhousebay.school.nz and click on the information link, scrolling down to the Centennial tab.
We are looking forward to hosting lots of people for this important and fun event.
Caption: Another new addition to the school that is great for kids’ learning
It was early February when Wally Martin made the familiar journey down the rough driveway at the back of Green Bay’s Pinesong Retirement Village to the tiny bay where he has kept his dinghy for many years. A keen yachtie for most of his life, Wally, who is now 83, sold his yacht some time ago, retaining the dinghy for his regular fishing trips on the Manukau. On this occasion, much to his surprise, the little boat was not there.
The dinghy had been secured to a sturdy pohutukawa root by two chains, and well-camouflaged under a tarpaulin. It has been in this position for eight years, and was practically invisible from the shoreline, hidden as it was behind dense pohutukawa foliage.
Wally, who worked in boat building at Unitech before retirement, built the white 9ft dinghy in about 2005. It was based on an American-designed ‘Nutcracker’ model, which Wally had modified slightly. He had also made a distinctive set of large oars out of Oregon wood, which were permanently secured to the boat by chains.
The boat has a set of clip-down wheels on the back, and a small wheel on the keel at the front. The name “Lady J” is in plywood on the transom (back) of the boat. It was valued at about $500.
Any sightings or information can be reported to Warren Strand at the New Lynn Police Station email@example.com, quoting file number 210205/4232.
First night back on the water for 2021 for the New Lynn Cubs. With Monday being a public holiday (Waitangi Day), the Monday and Tuesday night Cub packs from the New Lynn Sea Scout Group combined for a night of fun on the water. With around 40 Cubs (aged 8-10years) assisted by the senior scouts it made for an energising evening.
Josefine one of New Lynn’s Senior youth members is at the helm of their RHIB taking new cubs for an explore along the river edge of the Whau, a place New Lynn have been boating since the 1950’s. Josefine as a Scout originally started attending the Cubs section evenings over 2.5 years ago to help out for a term as part of her Chief Scout Award service. But she never stopped helping… one of the strengths of New Lynn is the many youth role models like Josefine whom the younger sections look up to. As a role model it helps the older youth to develop their leadership and communications skills, while the younger members often onboard their knowledge so much easier from the Scouts as opposed to the adult leaders thus accelerating their skill development.
Auckland Anniversary Regatta
The Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta (once the world's largest one day sailing regatta) ended up being a bit of a drift with the tide in 2020 as the fickle winds eventually died away to nothing; and out came the oars.
With the memory of lock downs slowly receding the local Sea Scout groups were keenly looking forward to the 2021 event and a bit more wind. The forecast was for a fine summer's day, but the wind outlook was indicating a repeat of 2020. Not daunted by this, the New Lynn, Owairaka and Western Bays Sea Scout groups duly turned up to Narrow Neck Beach ready for a day of fun, regardless of whether the wind would play ball.
As the boats were rigged ready for sailing, the oars were left in as crews slowly resigned themselves that rowing may again feature. The plan this time to test some seamanship by using oars while under sail looked like the likely course of action.
But then around 1100hrs there was a sniff of the wind so the boats were quickly launched for a short race with a beach start; out around some marker buoys and a finish back on the beach with a short sprint up the beach to the finish line. It was initially a test of light wind sailing, being patient and picking the puffs of sea breeze. But as the first race proceeded the wind strength gradually built, so on completion of the race a second was immediately sailed. A lunch break ensued as the crews watched the keelers in the passage race off Rangitoto. A slight wind shift over lunch and the best wind of the day arrived in time for a third race, before the day ended as it started – with the wind gone.
It was an unprecedented result on the water for New Lynn, gaining first, second and third places with both line and handicap honours for the cutter class, along with the top three places in the smaller Sunburst class. Western Bays gained a 4th overall in the cutter class while Owairaka gained 8th and 13th placings.
Summer is an ideal time to join your local Sea Scout Group, catering for boys and girls aged 6 – 19 years. Contact Andrew on 027 6939 756 or see newlynn.seascouts.org.nz for more information about the New Lynn Group.