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Simon Gundry is a Devonport and North Shore identity, and character, who is known for calling a spade a spade. He is a director of contracting company Gill & Gundry, is an enthusiastic and active sailor (past crew-member of Ceramco New Zealand, Lion New Zealand and Shockwave) and is a life member of the North Shore Rugby Football Club.
It’s been a really nice year for me, as I’ve started to listen to the guy who writes for the Channel Magazine and tells us to get out and do things.
It started off in June, when I was lucky enough to help a friend sail his boat over the Atlantic. Then he went cruising in the Mediterranean for a while. Then in October, I was asked to help take it back to the United States, which I duly did. Again I was lucky enough to catch up with friends and family in Europe and in the United States. It just reminds me again how big the world is out there, and how small we are here in this little country, called “Godzone”.
While I was in California in October, I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days with my number five son who is currently riding a bicycle from Victoria Island in Canada down to Tijuana in Mexico. This is quite a long trip for a kid on a bicycle I thought, through the States of Washington, Oregon and California. He’s been travelling quite extensively over the last couple of years, through Southern Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, South Africa, Vietnam, Australia and also over the last couple of years he’s spent a couple of stints teaching sailing at an American summer school in the Mountains at the back of Fresno in California. Everywhere my number five boy has gone, he has been treated with unbelievable kindness and generosity. A true reflection of the people of the world, the way I see it. People have taken him in and fed him, done his washing for him, given him a bed for the night – it certainly does restore your faith in humanity.
I know myself I have had kids of my friends or friends of the family staying with me at times, feeding and looking after them, it’s a ‘what goes around, comes around’ thing and I firmly believe if we look after other people’s kids here, then our kids get looked after when they’re overseas. Couch surfing the kids call it.
Here’s one for you. About three weeks ago, there was this young girl from California called Katie, and she’s the daughter of a great friend of mine in the San Francisco Bay area in California. She had been in NZ for six months studying at Canterbury, and was making her way home to come and stay with us for a few days before finally departing to head back to her home for Christmas. On the way here to the North Shore, she stopped in Hamilton – by the way I should have told you she had broken her leg in a sports accident and was on a pair of crutches. It was on a Tuesday night and pretty wet here in Auckland, I knew she was heading our way and was just waiting for a phone call to confirm when she was going to be here. The phone went about 10.30pm, with a very distraught young lady telling me of the agonising previous couple of hours – she’d got on the Intercity Coach line bus at Hamilton earlier in the evening, and was told by the bus driver where to put her bag, which she duly did. She then travelled on to Auckland, finally stopping at the bus depot in the inner city, I think at Sky City. She hobbled off the bus, to find that her bag had not arrived with the bus. On asking the driver, he said that he had put it out at Manukau City and that’s where the bag was. The driver then told Katie that the only way to get the bag was to get a taxi and go to Manukau City and pick it up. She arrived at Manukau City bus depot, and was advised the bag was not there, it may have been stolen but nobody really knew. The bag had just been left on the side of the road at the depot. So she got another cab back to the ferry buildings, and got herself to Devonport where she rang me, and I went down and picked her up.
The next day, we rang the Inter City Coach Company to ask if anyone had seen her bag, and were duly told no, and there would be an investigation to see where it was. After numerous phone calls to Inter City the bag was located, at their Depot in Auckland. I asked if they could courier the bag as that night Katie was flying home to the United States, but they said there was a policy of not couriering bags. My feelings were that as they had lost it, then they should have it returned. After at least four hours on the telephone and speaking to half a dozen different people, I was fobbed off. It was finally agreed by a member of staff that the bag would be indeed couriered to Devonport. By 4.30pm it was obvious it was not coming and I rang the bus company again as Katie had to be at the airport in the early evening for her flight.
I was told there had been a miscommunication and the bag was still there, and their policy was they were not going to courier it.
It ended up that my number four son had to make a panicked trip into Auckland, and then onto the Airport to get Katie onto her flight. Is this really any way to treat young visitors to our country?
That’s my final grumble for the year. Have a great Christmas, and remember to make time for your friends and family, and enjoy everything.
Channel Magazine: Issuu 50 December 2014 | January 2015