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

When I become the Mayor...

I remember when I first started writing this column for the Channel magazine a few years ago, it was actually for the inaugural printing of the magazine.  I have actually written several dozen articles by now (53 actually - Ed), some of the topics I have written on have annoyed me, completely frustrated me or made me feel pleasantly happy. I do have people come up to me in different parts of the North Shore saying they have read my article and maybe they agree with what I have said, or maybe they don’t agree – but whichever way I have found the feedback to be very helpful.

The first article I wrote, was about my concern about kids’ participation in sport.  My concerns were not enough kids were getting out and participating in some sort of sport or recreational outdoor pursuits, away from the school room, away from the iPad and away from the modern devices.

I’ve actually probably written several different versions of articles about this, but I do honestly think we should treat this as a major concern in our Society.  As the late High Court Judge Mick Brown used to quote so often in his court room when a young person was appearing, he used to say “If you keep a child in sport, then he will stay out of Court” and this is so true.

But I don’t know that this problem starts with the child, it starts with the parents, the grandparents, the uncles and aunties, guardians and caregivers. We need to get ourselves off the couch, and get down to the local sporting facility and see where we can help out. Sure, we are not all going to be great coaches, we aren’t all going to be great mentors to young sports people, but the vast majority of us can get out there and set out football fields in the early mornings, or sweep out changing sheds, or help with the administration. I see so many kids’ sports teams with only one parent who is coaching, mentoring, gathering the gear, trying to run the whole thing until it all becomes too much and they throw it away in frustration when the burden becomes too heavy.

A group of us for many years now have got up at 6.30am during the winter months and met down at the local Rugby Club. We do whatever the tasks are to set up for the games, put out the line flags, place the pads on the goal posts and set out the crowd control line fencing, sweep out the changing sheds and all in all get the fields and the clubrooms ready for the games that day. It usually takes about an hour and then we meet up at the local coffee bar, Platters, where we have some breakfast and a coffee. It really is a good way to start the day, and a good feeling to know you have helped the local sports club.

I do commend people who have done the Waterwise Course, and are now helping at the local sailing clubs and schools, passing on the wonderful sport of sailing. There are a lot of other tasks that can be carried out on shore for the Sailing club – they might be menial but they all need to be done. I know the kids are encouraged to do tasks like washing the wetsuits down, and washing the boats down, but it’s always a good thing to have an adult involved for their perspective.

NZ Sports are volunteer based, and unfortunately the volunteers are getting older and in some cases, running out of steam. We need a whole new generation of volunteers coming through, because without this help we may lose some of our wonderful sporting facilities and with that the sporting culture that is this Country. I can’t be more passionate about this, having brought up many kids in the sporting codes, having managed, coached, sat on committees, put out flags and collected them in, sat on Boards. It’s time to pass the baton on to some new people, the new generation of administrators, coaches and floor sweepers.

I went to Melbourne with a friend to watch the World Cup Cricket Final – what a great weekend and what a beautiful city. So easy to get around, either walking or on the trams, but I must admit I did come back with a sinking feeling, not at the outcome of the cricket, but the feeling of Oh My God, why didn’t we get our stadium in downtown Auckland. For all our codes, the Warriors playing there, the All Blacks playing there, the Blues playing there, and Auckland playing there in the NPC. The ferries coming in to the stadium wharf, the trains coming into Britomart with the punters only a short walk to the stadium, and then post game an easy slide back into the restaurants at the Viaduct.  So simple, so sensible and yet so hard.  Eden Park is a dinosaur, Ericsson Stadium is a dinosaur – we should close both of them and organise a decent stadium down in the Britomart precinct.

When I become the Mayor, as I have said before, the first job on the first Monday morning would be to start to implement this plan.

Here’s another one for you, why would the special service ticket givers (aka the parking wardens) be cruising around the Churches on Easter Sunday morning, were they trying to get into Church to worship or were they handing out tickets to some of those poor old parishioners who had to park on the footpath to get a spot.  Dear me, am I over them.  I note they even have new uniforms, with epaulettes, so they look even more officious.  Does this bring to mind something in recent history?

By Simon Gundry

Channel Magazine: Issuu 54 May 2015

Columnist articles by Simon Gundry