Photos: Auckland Weekend Adventure

In November a friend of mine from Europe was visiting Auckland. I went across for a weekend to show them around my hometown.

Below are some photos from that day, they were taken at Mt Victoria, Long Bay, and Western Springs Speedway.

The highlight of the day was capturing a photo of a tui in the bush at Long Bay.

Tramping in Karekare

Launch of Electric Trains in Auckland


Adventures in Tāmaki Makaurau and the Waitakere Ranges

Len Brown – New Mayor of Auckland

Len Brown has just been elected the first mayor of the Auckland Supercity.

This is a positive result and hopefully one that will see much benefit come to Auckland. Now is the time for long term planning and investment in the city to bring it forward. Three years is both a short and a long time in politics. I don’t know how much Brown will achieve in only three years but lets hope in the long term he will deliver much needed forward thinking for Auckland.

Update 1: A earthquake happened and Bob Parker has been re-elected to the Christchurch Mayoralty. This result shows how quickly the media and natural events can change the fortunes and expected outcomes of people in politics.

Auckland Council Elections – Where My Ticks Went

It has just taken me an hour and 20 minutes to decide who to vote for in the elections for the new Auckland Council. I tried my best to read all the candidate blurbs and make an informed choice. I did not follow a particular party but instead judged each candidate on their vision and experience. And here is where my votes went:

Auckland Mayor: Len Brown.
I chose to vote for Brown to strategically stop John Banks from winning. My first preference was for Andrew Williams but the chances of him winning are so slim that I do not want to waste my vote.

Auckland Council – Waitemata and Gulf Ward: Rob Thomas.
It is likely that Mike Lee will win this seat, however, of the six candidates, I chose Thomas as he appears to have the best vision for Auckland and is not an old politician but rather a fresh face.

Auckland Council – Waitemata Local Board:

  • Anna Booth
  • Jesse Chalmers (City Vision)
  • Shale Chambers (City Vision)
  • Christopher Demsey (City Vision)
  • Rohan Evans
  • Bruce Kilmister (City Vision)
  • Rob Thomas

In my local board my votes went primarily to the left. However, I did not select every City Vision candidate, instead I chose independents who would bring a good mix of skills to the table as well as some experienced old hands.

Auckland District Health Board:

  1. Helen Gaeta
  2. Edward Saafi (Citizens and Ratepayers)
  3. Jo Agnew (City Vision)
  4. Judith Bassett (Citizens and Ratepayers)
  5. Moira Macnab
  6. Ian Ward (Citizens and Ratepayers)
  7. Jeanette Elley (City Vision)

My votes for the ADHB was split across both the left and the right. I chose candidates who have experience in the health system not those who are there for politics or business reasons.

Rainbow Warrior bombing 25 years on

Today marks 25 years since French Secret Service agents, allies of New Zealand, committed the first and only act of terrorism ever in New Zealand’s history when they bombed Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior ship while it was docked in Auckland killing one person; an act of war committed by an ally against a pacifist organisation.

I was born two years after the bombing, however, the bombing not only changed New Zealand history it also had an important role in shaping my political views. When I was at primary school during the 1990s the French resumed nuclear testing at Mururoa and during that time Greenpeace sent their replacement Rainbow Warrior II ship from Auckland to protest the testing. My connection to the two ships comes through primary school friends, the father of one of my friends was onboard the Rainbow Warrior when it was bombed in Auckland harbour in 1985 and parents of other friends were onboard the Rainbow Warrior II and other ships when they were detained by the French in 1995.

So 25 years on where are we? Once France had finished “testing” aka bombing the shit out of an island in the middle of nowhere because apparently no one would care they signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty, since then France has not detonated another Nuclear Weapon. However, Pakistan has, India has, North Korea has. The work of Greenpeace has slowed the Nuclear Winter but I don’t think we are out of the autumn yet.

Today Greenpeace have blogged links to 4 videos on the Rainbow Warrior.

They have also posted a long blog remembering the ship, the life lost, and what the Rainbow Warrior achieved.

There is also the remaking of the song Anchor Me done for the 20th Anniversary

And who can forget French Letter (audio only, can’t find the video):

Finally a year and a half ago I blogged on why it is so important for Kiwis to never forget the Rainbow Warrior.

This is why Auckland will never be a “World-Class” city

Jon C at AKT reports that the platforms at the new Onehunga train station will only be 55m in length, whereas the new electric trains will be 70m long.

KiwiRail says the platforms are of a shorter length because of “constraints on keeping the line away from nearby apartments”, electric trains could run to Onehunga but people would only be able to travel in the front two of the three car trains.

Not only is Auckland 100 years behind most of the developed world in getting an electric rail system (remember that Britomart is the only underground diesel railway station in the world!) we can’t even get the size of the platforms right. This would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

Meanwhile in Sydney next week sees the commencement of the 4th Metrobus route from Bondi to Chatswood with 80,000 people per week capacity. The Metrobus system in Sydney has been a great success with bus running so frequently they don’t need timetables. In Auckland there has been the Link bus for a number of years working on this system, but how about seeing it on routes like the Northern Express, Dominion Road (ARTA are launching the “B.Line” here), Great South Road, New North Road, Great North Road.

There is a reason why “Public Transport” in Auckland has been called an oxymoron and this stuff up in the length of the train platforms is yet another example of it.

Satellite, Star or Planet?… It’s Jupiter

I ended up going to be very late last night thanks to assignments.

But the one positive thing to come of going to bed late was the fullness of the moon. I got a few photos of it and then noticed a very bright object to its right.


At first I thought it may be a satellite and I tried to zoom up on it to get some good shots, most of them turned out blurred or weird because of the lack of light and long exposure time, but I did get a few good ones.

Panasonic DMC-FZ5 1/8s f/8.0 ISO: 100 12x Optical Zoom
Panasonic DMC-FZ5 1/8s f/8.0 ISO: 100 12x Optical Zoom

At this point I began to notice the odd colors coming off it, still convinced it was some form of satellite I zoomed up onto the digital zoom and changed the settings to TIFF format and ISO 400


At this point I was thinking okay I have some really bright star, maybe Mars.

It wasn’t until this morning I decided to look up a star map. And what do you know?

Star Map for 00:00 Sep 3 2009 NZST, Look right next to the moon.

So off to the star dome website we go for confirmation.

Another planet visible at this time is Jupiter. High in the sky to the east, Jupiter is the brightest thing in the evening sky apart from the Moon, making it easily noticeable. A small telescope or good binoculars will reveal some or all of Jupiter’s four largest moons, named the Galilean moons after their 17th century discoverer, Galileo.

You can see the moons too? Okay time for some image correction, Increasing the shadows on the picture and we have a moon there (with a green tinge).

Moon on top of planet
Moon on top of planet

And I am loving the red-shift too.

Update the moon will be IO and it is green in real life it is not a camera trick