Education: Porirua’s high-tech schools

Education: Porirua’s high-tech schools

We had this kid who was in Year 4 last year, and got really into Adobe Pho­toshop. He star­ted to do some quite inter­est­ing stuff, and his auntie said, ‘I can’t believe the dif­fer­ence in my boy. I now know what he’s going to be — he’s not going to be a paint­er like his […]

Saddlebacks: back in the saddle

Saddlebacks: back in the saddle

You could say it’s just a tree stump; or you could say that it’s a hal­lowed place, a spot where some­thing truly spe­cial occurred. For in this stump, on a bank in the Pol­hill Reserve on the slopes between Aro Valley’s Hol­lo­way Road and Zeal­and­ia, two saddle­back chicks hatched late last year — the first […]

Education: Porirua’s high-tech schools

Education: Porirua’s high-tech schools

We had this kid who was in Year 4 last year, and got really into Adobe Pho­toshop. He star­ted to do some quite inter­est­ing stuff, and his auntie said, ‘I can’t believe the dif­fer­ence in my boy. I now know what he’s going to be — he’s not going to be a paint­er like his […]

Fanfare for the Commons man

Fanfare for the Commons man

Jeremy Com­mons used to put on draw­ing-room oper­as. He doesn’t now, but for 14 years he ensured that these intim­ate dra­mas were reg­u­larly re-enacted, for a small audi­ence of the dis­cern­ing, at the James Cook Hotel and the Welles­ley Club. Rehears­als took place in his house on Hawker Street, in the shad­ow of St Gerard’s monastery. […]

The cat guardian

The cat guardian

One day last year, when I was pok­ing around the grounds of the big semi-derel­ict house on the corner of Abel Smith and Wil­lis Street, I noticed a sign that pro­claimed its writer to be, under the Anim­al Wel­fare Act, the guard­i­an of the small colony of stray cats liv­ing under that house. That writer turned […]

Every machine is different

Every machine is different

Simon Hax­ton was once an oper­at­or. If you played a pin­ball machine in Wel­ling­ton any time up until about 2008, there’s a good chance it was one of his. You prob­ably didn’t, though: pin­ball, post its 1970s hey­day, was until recently in eclipse. Now it’s hav­ing a renais­sance, and Hax­ton — for whom pin­ball is […]

Here for an iconoclastic time, not a long time

Here for an iconoclastic time, not a long time

Most of my friends”, says Nic­ola Young, “are scream­ing lefties.” This is apro­pos of the view in some parts that the city’s new­est coun­cil­lor — one who hap­pens to have her eye on the may­or­al chains — is rather right wing. “That’s not the case,” she says, lightly but firmly. “I think I’m a centrist.” […]

Travel: Away from it all

Travel: Away from it all

Every­where I went in Marl­bor­ough, people said they were wait­ing for sum­mer to really begin. I said, “What do you mean?” It was sunny, it was still, it was hot. What more did they want? But then I am a Wel­ling­to­ni­an, and eas­ily sat­is­fied with a warm day. They have high­er stand­ards in Marl­bor­ough. Wine, […]

Secrets and ties

Secrets and ties

On the wall behind me, a long-hid­den secret is being brought into the light. The secret is a tiled mur­al of Māui fish­ing up the North Island, and it was made in 1962 by a New Zea­l­and artist, E. Mervyn Taylor, for the open­ing of a cable sta­tion on Auckland’s North Shore. That sta­tion housed the […]

Health: The cuts that don’t heal

Health: The cuts that don’t heal

When Debbie Ley­land goes to see her GP in New­town, it can be a stress­ful busi­ness, and she doesn’t always feel able to pick up her pre­scrip­tion straight away. So she gets the GP to fax it to the phar­macy. For that, they charge her $5. Then, when she goes to pick up the prescription, […]

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