Tuesday, November 12, 2013

If you had any doubt about NZ's 'colonial past,' then go check out the blog in the NZ Herald for today!

How many of us have felt berated at by those espousing a particular point of historical view about NZ’s so-called colonial past? I am sure you can all relate to those moments whereby you think---‘here we go again. Can’t the past be left just there---in the past?’ Well no, we can’t because we are the accumulation of what has happened and the promise of what is to come. The attitudes we express now are primarily fed by what we have experienced and learned from the past, some of it, badly informed. New Zealand’s history is not one in which everything was ‘nice’ and well-ordered or one that is based on fairness. If you need proof just go to the article in the NZ Herald of today where there is a blog written at the time about the first 50 years of the NZ Herald—it is a section of an editorial about the struggle to make Auckland a viable city. There was a time when many people felt that Auckland was just not worth putting the effort into re making it a prosperous city with a future. Read the article and feel the views of some people at the time. It looks and feels like there was only one possible future for the make-up of Auckland. There was a strongly held view that Auckland and New Zealand in general was meant to be a country that should only be settled by ‘white people.’ There was some doubt that this ‘ideal’ could be achieved and that maybe ‘it could be left to the radicals and discontents’ and to concentrate on areas south of Auckland. In some ways things have not changed but in other respects we see a very different picture. History has much to teach and inform if we want to understand where we are ‘going.’


The New Zealand Herald is reporting that Auckland is portraying itself as the city where the party never ends. Maybe not the exact words, but you get the picture. However---do you really want to see the whole picture? Do we want our visitors to hang around after the wee small hours of the morning in our queen city? Do we really want our visitors to sample the pleasures of drunken assaults, revoltingly behaved young men and women and some not so young as they throw up in the street and fight like trolls in the vomit. Am I overreacting in my description of Auckland after mid night? Well, just go and check for yourselves but make sure you have a safe escape route because I would not like you to get caught up in the drunken behaviour that the participants pass off as celebratory. Auckland is an ugly sight at these times. I am not just talking about young men spoiling for a fight; I include the girls and women who feel free to join in and I would very much discourage any of you to ‘have them on;’ challenging their behaviours.
Oh it’s just like the UK on a weekend night. You may also say that only young people go out at night and that those a bit older and that they should be wrapped up in bed. Wrong---just look at most overseas cities and you will see that the belief that Auckland is a safe place at night is pure misinformation. I know I felt a great deal safer when I walked around late at night in Jakarta, a city of 18 million plus people. Auckland has a problem, along with other NZ cities and we need to address it. Instead of getting uptight about the shenanigans of our mayor, maybe we should focus on something that really matters, the safety of our citizens and our visitors!