Gundry's Grumbles

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.

Gundry's Gumbles

What a year it has been, but...

Well this is the last article for the year of 2015, and what a year it has been, and how quickly it has all gone past.

It’s nearly Christmas time again, and I’m really looking forward to some of my boys coming home from overseas, having a few barbecues with friends and enjoying the beautiful beaches of the North Shore and the Hauraki Gulf.

I never go far away at Christmas time because I love to spend time in Devonport, watching a bit of test cricket, the World Dart Championships out of London and walking down Church Street to Duder’s Beach and the wharf at the Devonport Yacht Club, where I can dive in and have a beautiful swim on the outgoing tide, washing me down towards North Head and Torpedo Bay. Life doesn’t get much better than that. I used to be able to have cold beer at the Masonic Hotel on the way up Church Street in the late afternoon, but that is now just a far off memory.

Recently I read a newsletter from the Bayswater Community Board, asking everyone to join in the fight to stop the proposed development at Bayswater Marina. Now, I went to the meeting where everyone listened to all sides of the story and I didn’t notice too many objectors. The Community Board should be more focussed on the plans the Ngati Whatua have for all the defence properties in and around the Belmont, Bayswater, Devonport and Hauraki areas and the impact this will have on our community.

There are plans for a retirement village and intensified housing in these areas, how much pressure is that going to place on the infrastructure, particularly Lake Road? I hear that there will be hundreds of new dwellings being built on the land around the Belmont and Bayswater areas. There is a bottleneck of traffic at the Belmont lights at almost all times of day, imagine a few more hundred cars contributing to that. The lines of cars travelling to and from Devonport are bumper to bumper and it doesn’t stop in the weekends, there is no respite for residents. I know this is a push for us to leave our cars at home and take public transport, but not everyone travels to the City or just to Takapuna for work, it’s just not practical to expect this. 

On another note, what a wonderful month I spent in the UK for the Rugby World Cup. We picked up a motorhome in Chichester and drove over 3000 miles through Devon, Cornwall, Wales and even going across on the ferry boat from Lymington to Yarmouth and driving around the Isle of Wight. We were blessed with absolutely beautiful weather. I must say how impressed I was with the camp ground facilities all throughout England and Wales. I couldn’t believe how wonderfully presented the camp grounds were, for cooking, bathing and laundry facilities, they were absolutely fantastic all throughout.  It really was a wonderful way to see the country, as against staying in the same hotel in north London for the duration. 

The afternoon in Cardiff where we played the French was a huge highlight with the memories of eight years previous still vivid in our minds. The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff is in a perfect position, right in the middle of town and only a short walk from transport and catering and watering facilities. It certainly reinforced my idea of having a downtown Stadium in Auckland, get rid of Eden Park, the Warriors Stadium, and the dream stadium at Western Springs – we need a 45,000 seat stadium built right downtown. Maybe with the decision from Len Brown not to run in the upcoming Local Body elections, this could be at the front of agenda for the new Mayor – more use to the City than this bloody stupid train set to be built under the city streets.

Then onto London for the semi final, and then the wonderful afternoon where we played the Australians in the final. It was an absolutely wonderful afternoon with 17 degrees and a nearly cloudless sky.  I was so proud to be a New Zealander that afternoon, walking out of Twickenham. 

I must also say how impressed I was with the quality of the pub food wherever we went, something I believe we could learn from in this country. The menus were extensive, the service was great and the quality of food was excellent wherever we went. 

I was out on the water on a magnificent Saturday afternoon last month, when the news started to filter through about the terrorist attacks in Paris and my heart went out to the French people and especially the French friends I met through my sailing days. I just could not believe man’s inhumanity to man, those gutless people killing innocent people before killing themselves. Perhaps it is time we reviewed our own immigration policies, and have a closer look at who we allow to live in our country. I can’t understand why people come to live here, but still walk around in a burqa when there is no need for that here.  If they want to escape those tyrannies, why do they bring those alien customs to our country? The old saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” should apply.

Ok, that’s it for the year of 2015; just remember what I tell you every year, spend some time walking the beautiful beaches of our North Shore, ring up a few friends and invite them over for a barbecue, remember the old lie you tell when you are at a funeral “We must catch up sometime” – make it happen before you meet up again at another funeral. Enjoy every sunset and sunrise, take a trip to Rangitoto and walk to the summit. Walk the coastal path from Devonport to Takapuna, rain or shine it is as beautiful either time. Walk to the top of Mt Victoria and treat yourself to the view, enjoy every moment because nothing is promised to us.

Merry Christmas to you all.

By Simon Gundry

Channel Magazine: Issuu 61 December 2015 January 2016

Columnist articles by Simon Gundry