Auckland Council will come under much closer scrutiny next year, when a project funded by NZ on Air starts in February.
Beacon Community News is one of six independent Auckland newspaper publishers to be involved in a two-year trial, which involves employing one journalist to cover Council meetings for the group.
Beacon’s John Subritzky says the business of Council and its Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) such as Auckland Transport has a huge impact on the lives and communities in the north.
“When the Whau became part of the supercity, and the council chambers moved from Waitakere to Queen Street, Council’s decision-making processes and the players involved became distanced from our newsrooms,” Subritzky says. “Council has a well-oiled communications team to put their messages out, but what this new position will do is allow us to give our readers a more independent view of Council, its spending and its performance.
In 2020/21 alone, Council had a planned capital investment programme of more than $2.5 billion plus another $40 million on transport.
Mr Subritzky says that a dedicated reporter who learns to understand and interpret council plans and budgets will be an incredibly valuable resource for our papers, translating complicated policies into everyday language that readers can comprehend and digest.
“None of the papers involved could have, on their own, justified employing a journalist fulltime solely to cover Council, but thanks to this funding we will once again have our own eyes and ears in the chambers.”
The other newspapers involved are Devonport Flagstaff and Rangitoto Observer, Gulf News Waiheke, Howick & Pakuranga Times and Botany & Ormiston Times, Pohutukawa Coast Times, Mahurangi Matters and Hibiscus Matters.
Seeking self-motivated journalist with experience covering local councils
Full-time, no trial period and good remuneration.
If covering council meetings is your beat, and you have a bent for investigate journalism, then this may be the job you’ve been looking for.
Six independent community newspaper publishers in the Auckland region have secured funding to employ a full-time journalist for two years to cover Auckland Council and its council controlled organisations. The job will entail being in the council chamber for meetings and filing stories to the member newspapers. We are looking for someone who can work independently, ignore council propaganda and find real stories, and has a strong interest in Auckland’s future and wellbeing.
While you will be a sole operator in one sense, you will have the support and experience of at least eight newsrooms to draw from. Stories will be published both in print and online.
The group is looking for an experienced journalist who understands how councils tick.
You will need to be able to deliver well-balanced stories accurately and in a timely fashion, and an understanding of Tāmaki Makarau’s mana whenua will be an advantage.
Specifically, we are looking for someone who has:
The successful candidate will need to be based in central Auckland. The starting date will be mid to late January 2022.
There will be no trial period.
Applications close 30 November 2021.
Within a week of going to Alert Level 3, five men lost their lives in three separate incidents on the Manukau Harbour.
On Saturday 9 October, the first weekend after L4 ended, a diver was reported missing off Cornwallis Beach at 8.25am. The conditions at the time were strong swells and the usual currents near the Manukau Heads. Emergency services responded and the Police and Westpac Rescue helicopters conducted a search. Eventually at 10am they found the missing diver who was deceased. The Police have referred the death to the coroner.
The next day, Sunday 10 October, people in Hillsborough were shocked to see the Police and Westpac Rescue helicopters searching the harbour at low level in front of their houses. Dr Anup Chand was fishing at the Kingswood Reserve when he noticed a pink outrigger canoe mid channel. He saw a person in the water being carried in one direction by the current, while the craft got blown in the opposite direction by the strong winds. The occupant had a flashing light in his hand but then he disappeared. A woman near Dr Chand on the reserve called 111. A body was winched from the harbour by helicopter at 2.40pm. Dr Chand was deeply affected by witnessing the tragedy, but being powerless to personally help.
The man has since been named as Kafoa Hala Latu. His friends called him the ‘Ultimate Waterman’ and ‘King Kafoa' for his achievements in outrigger canoeing. He had moved to Auckland from Tonga aged 8. He won a scholarship to Auckland Boys Grammar and played rugby. From that he got a contract with the Manly Sea Eagles. Kafoa then moved to the USA to play NFL football with the San Francisco 49ers, but a knee injury ended his career in that sport.
Kafoa then pivoted to outrigger canoeing as a way to help Tongan youth in Hawaii. His crew competed very successfully in both the Molokai and Queen Lili Races. He has coached many groups in the USA and NZ, turning amateur paddlers into medallists. Over the years, Kafoa had rescued many others from the waves, said his partner, Katherine Williams.
The tragic events on the Manukau continued following weekend on 16th October, when a boat flipped crossing the Manukau bar. Other boaties came to assist, but three men drowned. They were Niveth Boutsady, aged 70, Mongkhon Wongmongkhon, aged 61, and Udom Roopsom, aged 54. A fourth man, aged 23, was airlifted to hospital and has since recovered. The boat sank, but lifejackets and debris were recovered from the area.
According to the Coastguard there were as many boats out as could be expected at the height of summer. Police thanked those members of the public who offered their assistance at the scene. The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) has launched an inquiry into a boating tragedy.
Whau Ward Councillor Tracy Mulholland has welcomed the news that Watercare has found a way to avoid planned disruption in Whitney Street, Blockhouse Bay, by rerouting a Central Interceptor link tunnel.
This site would have caused a road closure and major traffic diversions for 18 months starting in January, including a bus route, along with potential loss of custom to at least one business.
Now, instead of two shorter straighter drives, the tunnelling machine will complete a longer, slightly curved drive which avoids the need for the Whitney Street shaft.
“I’m really pleased at this news and the reduction of disruption on Whitney Street,” says councillor Mulholland.
“The central interceptor project will play a crucial role in reducing waste spillages into our harbours and streams, which is welcome, but the massive construction requirements are certainly disruptive.
“I hope our communities can see and understand the necessity of this project, and the benefits it will bring, and I am pleased that Watercare has been able to find this workable solution.
“There will still be disruption caused by the project, not least to Dundale Ave in Blockhouse Bay which will remain closed for another year, and I ask Watercare to continue working with residents there to mitigate the impact as much as possible.”
Whau Ward Councillor Tracy Mulholland is calling for locals to support local business get back on their feet this festive period.
With the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak yet to be fully revealed on council finances, local businesses have felt the brunt of Auckland’s longest-ever lockdown.
“We are a nation of small businesses, and it’s no different here in Whau. And most small businesses will have been significantly impacted by the lockdown, so it’s important that if you can, visit and support your local business before going elsewhere. That will play an important role in helping everyone get back on their feet.
“While lockdowns do play an important part in keeping us safe, they also remove the ability of many businesses to operate properly.
“This puts a strain on them and the people who run them, your neighbours, friends and other acquaintances. People will be feeling the impact of the lockdown, so it’s more important than ever to support them now, especially over the festive period.” she says.
Recently, in the October Cadbury Netball Series, Grace came off the bench in the first game when the Silver Ferns were trailing the Aotearoa Men. The men had a 16-9 lead at the first break, when Grace Nweke and Jamie Hume came on as replacements. (Not only is Grace part of the Whau community, but Jamie, who teaches at Glenavon Primary School, is too. The whole school is excited about her elevation to the Ferns.)
Nweke’s presence in the shooting circle – safe hands, strong in the air and accurate under the hoop – made an immediate impact for the Ferns. She played a crucial role in turning the score around with her stand-out performance, for an eventual win 58-47. It was a far more confident Grace, compared to her first outing for the Ferns.
In the second game of the series, Grace earned her first start in the black dress. Captain Gina Crampton in the midcourt was able to deliver ball to Grace at speed in the first quarter. Momentum changed during the match for both teams. The Ferns held their nerve for a thrilling 59-58 win and won the series.
Grace is already making her mark in the Silver Ferns as a leading goal shooter.
Dayne Smith recently started a new role as a community development manager with Kainga Ora. Dayne has had a huge impact on the social fabric of Avondale over the last seven years in his pivotal role starting the “I Love Avondale” organisation.
Dayne posted on Facebook “Friday [1 October] was my last day running I Love Avondale as a community development project. I’ll still be heading the Storytelling arm of I♡AD, but my new day job will be as a community development manager with Kainga Ora so it’s the end of an era.
Not tryna sound dramatic, but I♡AD has changed my life. I started it as a social media project near the end of 2014 to celebrate and tell local stories. In 2017 I was employed as a community developer in Avondale and brought the project along with me. From then on I♡AD evolved into more than a social media platform.
Today, it has 4 strands of mahi: Kai Avondale community food initiatives; Eastdale Hub recreation and youth space; Storytelling online and in the community; and Whanaungatanga – collaborating, connecting, and advocating.
The journey to get to that point has stretched my brain and taken me way outta my comfort zone. I’ve grown heaps as a person in the process. I’ve made a lot of personal sacrifices, especially with Katy and our kids cos I haven’t always been mentally or physically present, or mentally and physically good. Busy every day, some nights, some weekends, always doing, thinking, or stressing. That’s my only regret.
Apart from that I’m so proud of what I and we as a community have achieved. I’ve been involved with so many things, but if I had to name 10 I’m most proud of cos of their impact or what they represent it’d be:
NOTE: There are some part time paid roles that I Love Avondale are looking to fill. Contact www.iloveavondale.co.nz if you are interested.
Despite the challenges of the past 12 months, Whau Local Board has seen some memorable successes during the year.
Whau Local Board Chair, Kay Thomas, says that the board has been working hard for the community.
“We know things have been difficult, and the future can be uncertain at times, but we hope that the wide variety of work that we do has managed to be a positive influence in the community these past few months. Here’s to a more stable 2022.”
In addition to completing its Local Board Plan, which sets the goals and direction of the board for the next three years, the board celebrated a number of successes in 2020/21, including:
Improving the Avondale Pavers
With numerous reports of the paving stones on Great North Road in Avondale becoming slippery when wet, the Board pushed ahead with a project to remove the slippery pavers and upgrade the streetscape in Avondale town centre.
Avondale Library and Community Hub
The $21 million community hub will be the envy of Auckland when completed, and following public feedback, plans were adjusted to increase car parking capacity, future play provision and amended kitchen layout.
Tahurangi/Crum park signage
Crum Park in Titirangi now carries the dual name of Tahurangi/Crum Park and is the first local park to have signs in both te reo Māori and English.
The stunning, board-funded state of the art Archibald Park playground is extremely popular, with a 25 metre Flying fox, bespoke fenced toddler area, a maimai-themed climbing tower from which kids can spot birds and a slide that reflects the importance of the Whau River to the community.
Successful Grants programme
The board grants programmes continue to be a success, with grants for various activities ranging from $500 to $8000. Successful recent grants include helping fund a new classroom for Odyssey Trust, an organisation that helps people with addiction issues.
You can follow the board and keep up with the latest news by following us on Facebook. Just search for Whau Local Board.
The redevelopment of the old Crown Lynn site by Avanda continues. You may be interested in the process of naming roads. This is how it works.
Theme: The section of the site where the new roads are located was the original clay quarry from which the bricks raw material was dug out and manufactured into bricks. Many existing roads in the area surrounding this development have names that refer to the bricks and pottery history of the area, such as ‘Crown Lynn Place’ (ceramics manufacturer in this area), ’Clinker Place’ (clay bricks), ‘Ambrico Place’ (‘Ambrico’ is the name of the parent company ‘Amalgamated Brick and Pipe Company Limited’ before it became known as Crown Lynn) and ‘Clark Street’ (named after the Clarks who were the original largescale pottery manufacturers).
The Auckland Council Road Naming Guidelines also state that road names should not be commercially based. The applicant originally wanted the name ‘Avanda Way’ in the pool of alternatives. However, this is not permitted as Avanda is in reference to the developer and the name that they have traded under.
The following suggestions were put forward for the three new roads that needed naming. This is the background behind the suggested names:
Brickmakers Lane This new road is at the intersection of existing Clinker Place and Crown Lynn Place, so all those names relate to the history of bricks and pottery etc. in the area and hence the Brickmaker reference.
Dorothy Thorpe Way Crown Lynn ceramics commissioned international designers like the American Dorothy Thorpe. In Dorothy Thorpe’s heyday (probably 1930s and on into the 1950s) she purchased glass and ceramics from various companies, decorated it, and sold it.
The Crown Lynn ‘Santa Barbara’ range launched in 1965. Later designs included the ‘Pine’ and ‘Palm Springs’ range. Dorothy Thorpe passed away in 1989; her work is very sought after today.
Clay Works Lane The original clay quarry from which the bricks raw material was dug out and manufactured into bricks was located around the proposed new road. The developer also managed to get many old bricks from the demolition of the St Andrews Sunday School Hall next door to build walls as part of the entry into Stage 2. Those recycled bricks are returning to the place from whence they came – the filled in clay pit that is now being developed for housing.
The Council’s Subdivision Specialist team assessed the suggested names, based on these factors:
Mana whenua were contacted in June. Of the ten groups contacted, the only response received was from Waikato-Tainui who indicated support for mana whenua to take the lead role in this matter. Noting the scale of the development and that the site is not listed as a site of significance to mana whenua, it is considered that a sufficient period of time (eight weeks) had been made available to receive comments from mana whenua and the road naming process can continue.
At the Whau Local Board meeting in July, Chair Kay Thomas moved that the suggested road names be adopted. This was seconded by Susan Zhu and carried unanimously.
By John Cowan
I wrote down these thoughts in bed the other morning prior to a radio interview. The electric blanket was on which could explain why you might think them half-baked…
Wow! There are lot of opinions out there: vaccinations, the moon landings, the shape of the earth, how the Bible is interpreted, how to discipline or educate children, political views, the value of supplements, so on and so on. I have views and opinions, and so do you… the difference is, my views are all absolutely correct!
A multitude of views has always existed, but the internet puts those opinions much more in my face… and up my nose. I confess, I get heated and uncomfortable online at times.
Here’s a few tips for surviving in this marketplace of ideas.
1. Realise: I don’t think many people change their mind because of on-line debates. Regardless of how logical and true your argument is, I doubt it will do much good, so why bother wasting emotion and risking offence? I confess I have engaged in back-and-forth arguments online. Every time I hit ‘send’ I think, “Right, that settles it. Irrefutable logic and evidence. They will now grovel in submission and concede I am right.” It’s never, ever happened to me… I wonder if it ever happens at all.
2. Relationships are going to be more compelling than facts. It’s a fallacy that people make their decisions logically. Maybe they should, but we actually make our decisions emotionally. If you are ever going to convince your daughter to vaccinate your grandkids or budge your cousin from his belief that the Queen is really a lizard, have them over for a barbecue and tell them how nice their hair looks. They will not let you anywhere near their beliefs until you are first of all warmly held in their heart.
3. They may be wrong, but they are not necessarily dumb or bad. You might be astounded that they believe what they believe, you might detest what they think is right and true, but there is no need to doubt their integrity, sanity, or intelligence. Good people who hold valid views on just about everything else can still have a few wonky ideas in their brain-cabinet. There is no need to denigrate or demonise them.
4. Humility and respect are always worthwhile. People are always worth listening to. It’s a scary thought but … I can be wrong. But not about that - I am one hundred per cent certain that I can be wrong! It might be me that needs to change my mind.
5. Some ideas really are dangerous and need to be resisted. But as toxic as those ideas may be, always remember those ideas are currently residing inside of a human being: a person of immense value and worth. Still try to like, love, and respect the person, even if the software they are currently running is seriously suspect.