Happy New Year to all my faithful and loyal readers. I hope you all had a wonderful break, as I did. I spent most of the time in the beautiful Bay of Islands. I managed to haul out and re-wax my 1969 Wayne Parkes’ designed and built longboard and spent some happy and most challenging afternoons in the surf at Elliot’s Bay. This is one of the most picturesque beaches in the world, as far as I am concerned anyway.
I barbecued with friends, took part in the Tall Ships’ Regatta in January, sailed off Russell and had a couple of beers on the verandah at the Duke of Marlborough. I had a couple of rum and cokes with my old mate Earle Williams, who has moved out of the Auckland city mayhem to relocate in the Bay of Islands, a smart man, that one. I spent time with friends and family, kids coming and going, watching cricket. I managed to dodge the big storm that swept through the top half of the North Island in early January.
Speaking about the big storm, didn’t I say a few columns ago that we must look carefully at the Northern motorway between Esmonde Road and the old toll plaza? I stated that in the event of a perfect storm, meaning a spring tide and a big northerly or easterly wind and sure enough when we had the big blow, it flooded. As it was holiday time, and not peak hour traffic, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Also, on that day the water was so high at Ngataringa Bay it flowed over the small bund adjacent to the golf course in Devonport and completely flooded that area. I see even three weeks after that storm, the beaches have not been cleaned at all from storm debris littering many North Shore beaches. Meaning that as you walk past the beach, it stinks. Not the sort of thing you want tourists to see on our beautiful beaches.
Before I go much further, I must give my heartiest congratulations to our beloved publisher of this magazine, who was award the Queen’s Service Medal in the 2018 New Year’s Honours’ List. Aidan has been awarded this for services to the community. I’ve known Aidan for many years and have had various and many ongoing battles with him. The main one being the lack of payment for the articles I write every month, and the lack of recognition at the annual awards ceremony, which I never get invited to. These coveted invitations only seem to go to the high end real estate agents, European car dealers, money launderers, and the high class glitterati of Takapuna – who get their magnifying glasses out every month to see if they’ve made the social pages of the Channel magazine, holding a cold glass of Pinot Gris – invariably from the best vineyards. Also the ridiculous Disney-type playground, which completely obliterates the view of the magnificent Hauraki Gulf from the Strand in Takapuna and completely wrecks the tranquility of being able to sit on the grass and gaze out at the serene water. Instead people are forced to listen to the screams of a couple of hundred squealing brats, overseen by their overbearing helicopter parents.
Aidan Bennett obviously came from very humble beginnings as is evident from his only having two names, his parents couldn’t afford to give him a middle name, mainly because the gold engraving on his leather schoolbag would have been too expensive. He has emerged from these humble beginnings himself, and forged a very successful business career and as I know personally, has given back to our community in a significant way.
Just another thought, and not detracting from Aidan’s achievements in any way, but maybe somebody could seriously look at giving his brother, Dallas Bennett, a knighthood - for one, having to put up with Aidan as his brother, two, for being a really good bloke, and three for services to New Zealand yachting.
I saw in the New Year’s Honours’ List one Bryan George Williams (Beegee Williams), the first Polynesian superstar in New Zealand Rugby who was thrown onto the world stage in 1970, was awarded a knighthood. He went on to forge a magnificent and unprecedented career in Rugby. He was awarded the knighthood for services to rugby. What a fitting and well deserved honour, he has done so much work amongst the wider community in rugby. He is a man of dignity, huge mana and standards.
I’ve been told by very reliable sources that during that recent storm the traffic lights were out between Devonport and Takapuna, from Esmonde Road, Barrys Point Road, Hauraki Corner and Bardia St and the traffic moved beautifully. Perhaps we could abolish these traffic lights, and leave it up to the manners and consideration of motorists to ensure the flow of traffic is smooth and trouble free. It might be worth the experiment for a week or so?
We have a lot of things to look forward to for the rest of the summer: the test cricket in Auckland, with the day/night test; the Volvo Ocean Race fleet coming to Auckland in March, when we will surely see some spectacular inshore racing; the announcement of the final design for the America’s Cup base. Small things one by one, but each is significant in its way. We all have a lot to live for.
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Thanks for your congrats around the QSM Simon. I was chuffed, so chuffed in fact that I forgot to fill in my middle name on the form I had to fill out when asked to accept the honour. I reckon you're grumbling up the wrong path about the Takapuna playground. The joy it provides for youngsters, caregivers, parents and grandparents far outweighs disturbing the tranquility of a grumpy few. Love your work though!
– Aidan Layne Bennett – Publisher, QSM.