Day 108: Land of the Long Grey Cloud

Aotearoa is the Maori name for the country of New Zealand. The literal translation of Aotearoa is “land of the long white cloud”.

Today in Auckland, it’s more “land of the long grey cloud”.

We haven’t gone far.

I wore my trusty ‘Vera‘ hat for our excursion – the one, while wearing, that I’m not allowed to speak with my usual accent in case anyone thinks the UK ITV show is filming its overseas Christmas special.

Waterproof hat from Rohan

However, Tenzing and Mr How Fucking Much disagreed with this description…

They think it’s more Bill and Ben as in ‘The Flowerpot Men‘. Explanatory link here, kids.

They spent the morning replying to everything I said with flob-a-dob.

Slow news day, here, obviously.

We didn’t wander the far. The weather has not been appealing.

Mr HFM briefly considered a suggestion of climbing the Sky Tower but, looking up at the Long Grey Cloud, we decided against it.

Here’s what you could have seen!

There was nothing for it but coffee and cake and, in a break from tradition, I’m including a short review here (rather than saving it for a monthly round up) as I overheard a staff member saying that the cafe ceases trading on Friday.

If you want to sample this caramel goodness, you’ll need to get down to Citizen Q in the Q Theatre on Queen Street very soon.

This Caramel Cookie Dough Slice for the bargain price of 5 NZD was essentially like eating a two chocolate chip (generous with the chips) cookies sandwiched together with a generous caramel filling.

Tenzing and I agreed that it might be perfect.

The cookie dough was chewy, the caramel was smooth and it was a generous size.

Strolling through the city again… much of Auckland, especially the main roads by the waterfront and up on Karanghape Road, is being dug up.

The Auckland City Centre Masterplan has eight plans to be implemented over the next twenty years with the underlying principles being to ensure the city is:

  • more family-friendly
  • more pedestrian-friendly
  • more environmentally-friendly

As we have navigated the barriered streets, the issue that struck me was the lack of communication about what is going on.

New Zealand, overall, seems to be a place that extensive information is provided – whether it be on the buses where the drivers tell you about the area you’re travelling through or display boards by buildings of historic interest.

Rotorua’s development plans were described in detail on the construction boards that were closing off access.

We have not seen anything like this in Auckland.

Information is available online though it appears to be plans rather than progress updates. There may be information displays in community centres but we didn’t see anything at the Ferry Building or Britomart Station where commuters will be passing through on a daily basis.

And we didn’t see anything on the construction boards we passed. Information on site would surely be useful.

It’s a missed opportunity.

Not only does this create a poor impression for visitors (and local people), it doesn’t inform residents and commuters about what is going on.

Is there any end in sight to the inconvenience of my commute? Has any progress been made? These roadworks are never ending.

The Masterplan is clearly an ambitious and a longterm project with the intention of improving life in Auckland.

A little communication about progress would go a long way.

EDIT: We later found these marking the rail link development.

These explain the rail development which is a key part of the Auckland Masterplan – connecting suburbs and city.

There wasn’t a strong emphasis on consultation – the children’s contribution was to draw pictures of where they would like to go.

Meanwhile… back on our wander around the city…

The weather worsened to the extent that we were being passed in the street by sharks. It was clearly time to retreat to higher ground.

*Featured Photo: The harbour and long grey cloud viewed from our apartment.

Categories: New Zealand, Public Transport, Urban Renewal/RegenerationTags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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