The Eye of the Fish

November 6, 2008

Fireworks for Obama Day

Amazingly, the weather held off enough for a perfect evening for another great Fireworks night. 


Photo courtesy of Jake Faulkner on Flickr. And Wellington’s best comes out on Guy Fawkes night, as the waterfront fills up, the roof parties get going (neighbours greeting each other from their Mt Victoria rooftop locations for the first time again since last year), and Oriental Parade opens up their expensive sea views and we get to see them instead. But possibly never before had the notion of celebrating Guy Fawkes Day seemed so inappropriate, so English, so totally pointless. So why do we keep celebrating the day when someone tried but didn’t quite succeed in blowing up the British Parliament – some 400 years ago. So he was a Catholic – so what? So he didn’t quite succeed in giving the Brits a well-deserved rocket – so what? The only Wellingtonian still banging on about that is Hector Westfold of Haitaitai, who no doubt was out burning an effigy of the Pope as he has done for the last 400 years

Yesterday for me was all about Obama this and Obama that, a total Obama-rama (ramalamadingdong).


Photo courtesy of Delta Niner. And that all seems a lot more reason to celebrate – the day that America dared enough to grow up and have hope in the future, to have hope in itself again.

Dare I say, ten hours into election day, that our “white knight” came in the form of a multi-racial, articulate Harvard graduate whose own family looks like a page from the United Nations facebook. A man whose father is Kenyan, whose sister is half Asian, whose brother-in-law is Chinese Canadian and whose grandparents are as white as the Kansas plains. A man whose mother gave him all the books of religion to read in the hopes that he would recognize that everyone has something beautiful to contribute. A man who only half a century ago could have been lynched for the words he speaks today.

Lets hope it lasts. And lets ditch Guy Fawkes for a well deserved rest, and celebrate Obama Day in the future. Normal transmission of Wellington urban matters will be resumed shortly, once we’ve got our own, less exciting election out of the way. 

6 - 11 - 08

H Westfold is magnificent.

6 - 11 - 08

If magnificent means raving, misogynistic, anti-catholic, pompous, cantankerous, and psychotically self-opiniated, then sir llew, you are right.

6 - 11 - 08

apparently he’s only 114

Biblical idolaters
IN 2009, at the age of 114, H Westfold died and arrived at the Pearly Gates.
God, seated at a desk, greeted him: “Let’s see… Westfold, Westfold… ah yes. Thought it rang a bell.” God reached for a recent copy of Capital Times. “One of your fellow correspondents says your name is Harold. Is that right?”
“Hector, sir,” Mr Westfold replied, “but I prefer not to be addressed by my first…”
“Come with me, Harry,” said God. “We’ll put you in Room 8.”
Mr Westfold entered to find a group of similarly cold, humourless men and women silently sipping Earl Grey tea.
God returned to His desk, where a recently deceased woman was waiting. “Welcome,” He said. “Anything to declare?”
“I belong to the Baha’i faith,” she replied.
“I am a lesbian.”
“I might have been born reprobate.”
“No such thing,” God grumbled. “Calvin is downstairs paying for such nonsense as we speak. Follow me. But keep very quiet as we pass Room 8.”
God took her into a laughter-filled room containing people of all faiths and persuasions drinking pina coladas and telling rude jokes.
“Thank you, God,” said the woman. “Before I go in, I have one question: Who is in Room 8?”
“The biblical idolaters,” God whispered, rolling His eyes. “I don’t want to upset them – they think they’re the only ones here.”
Robert Perry, Rongotai

6 - 11 - 08

but on a more relevant and upbeat note:

6 - 11 - 08

Yep! Now that’s what i’m talking about….

8 - 11 - 08

“Hector. Westfold” is a pseudonym for a bunch of students living in Hataitai. they write in with rediculous opinions for a laugh.

There was a similar correspondent a few years ago, with an even more pompous name (Smythe, I think, from memory), also from Hataitai. I suspect a link between these two writers.

8 - 11 - 08

The car dealership across the road from Te Papa doesn’t seem to have many cars in the yard. Is the site going to be redeveloped? If so, then hooray. But what is going there?

Two other sites in Wellington that shouldn’t be wasted on cars:

1. The multi level parking building attached to the mirrored blue building that used to be Southpac House. It has unobstructed views over the park and the harbour. Apartments there would be worth at least a million each.

2. The paved parking area on the Chaffers end of Te Papa. Almost certainly some of the most expensive land in NZ and we park cars on it. (Except at the weekend when it is used to retail fruit and veg.)

8 - 11 - 08

DavidP: The dealership on Cable/Tory was owned by the GT Gazley Tory group, who’ve just consolidated everything on the Kent Tce site.

Site #1: Is that the former Council-owned parking building behind the Duxton Hotel?

Site #2 has been earmarked for the UN Studio’s Te Papa extensions. It’s been consented, now they just have to get round to financing the thing.

8 - 11 - 08

you’re right mr P. I suspect they’re being land banked till the economy improves. Your number 2 has been earmarked for a building by UN Studio, but unless Te Papa suddenly decides to go with the consensus and agree that it does a terrible job of running a National Art Gallery, and finance the proposed building, its not going to go ahead.

Does anyone know of the status on the other two sites?

8 - 11 - 08

phil, you sure about that? I thought he was a real person, old and curmudgeonly, short, bald and ugly, but still all real… he’d be very disappointed to find out he was just a figment of some student’s imaginations.

8 - 11 - 08

I’ve heard that Woolworths are involved in the site opposite Te Papa. Is it naive to hope that it’s part of a mixed-use redevelopment?

9 - 11 - 08

“the site opposite Te Papa” – do you mean the site to the south (car yard) or to the east (by Waitangi Park)?

I haven’t heard of any involvement by any supermarket in sites along the waterfront – and indeed, that would be a terrible waste of a good site. The 2 proposed supermarkets in town are the ones at each end of Adelaide Road – one for each of the 2 major supermarket chains – i really doubt that they need another one a few more blocks further north, taking up a prime waterfront site, although i agree the possibility to try and compete with the predominate New World must be hugely tempting.

What would be good however is if the Council, or somebody, could think about all these sites in an overall manner, rather than picking them off piecemeal and developing each as they arise, leaving the city poorer off. I’d like to see a cohesive plan for the area, and less of the wall of 10 storey apartment blocks, killing off the city to sea connections.

9 - 11 - 08

DeepRed>Site #1: Is that the former Council-owned parking building behind the Duxton Hotel?

Wait a minute while I consult Google Maps…

No, the building bounded by Jervois Quay, Victoria St, and Willeston St and with a great view out over Frank Kitts Park. There is a tyre place on the ground floor. It’s an amazing site for offices or apartments but the views are wasted on the parked cars.

Max>I haven’t heard of any involvement by any supermarket in sites along the waterfront – and indeed, that would be a terrible waste of a good site.

Not a waste if it would be a supermarket on the ground floor and something above it. Like the mini supermarket on Willis St opposite the BNZ.

9 - 11 - 08

According to the WCC’s Central Area Building Heights map, the Site 1 area concerned has a non-notified height limit of 60m. in other words, any consent for a new building in that particular block only needs to be publicly notified if it goes over 60m.

9 - 11 - 08

Hey, DeepRed, how long ago did the UN Studio building gain consent?

9 - 11 - 08

WellUrban had the inside skinny here:

Wellurban – all posts on ‘UN Studio’

And the official info from the Council:

Wellington Waterfront – Waitangi Park Projects

9 - 11 - 08

Yeah… I was more in the mood for celebrating Obama’s victory than the prevention of James I’s assassination a while back.

9 - 11 - 08

second try with the link…

13 - 11 - 08

Verbal – I’m stunned – your deep throat contact put you right. It was in the paper yesterday – Progressive have bought the site, are demolishing the existing building, and have plans to put a supermarket on the site, exactly as you said. What a complete and utter waste of a prime sea / park front site then. I’m staggered that they could think in such a banally predictable manner. And it’ll just make the traffic snarlup even worse. Hopefully it won’t be a 1 storey high box with a carpark like New World, but have 6 storeys of office / apartment buildings above it.

“Supermarket on cards for site facing Te Papa
DAVE BURGESS – The Dominion Post | Wednesday, 12 November 2008
“Another supermarket is planned for central Wellington, opposite Te Papa. It is understood it would be built by Progressive Enterprises, which operates Foodtown, Woolworths and Countdown. Progressive Enterprises declined to comment. The supermarket would potentially be bigger than the rival New World supermarket opposite Waitangi Park. It would straddle a large chunk of a city block bordered by Cable, Wakefield, Taranaki and Tory streets. It is understood Progressive paid $3.7 million for the perpetual leases to the site, which includes land once occupied by a Caltex service station, an Ideal Electrical shop, and two car sales yards. Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean confirmed the council was aware of plans for a supermarket in the area, but said no paperwork had been received.”

15 - 11 - 08

Just back for a sec on the Barack trail, before we got sidetracked onto caryards and supermarkets: check out this link.
warning: contains drunken rednecks

It really is a wonder that Obama got elected – or would want to govern a country with these people in it….

27 - 11 - 08

and just keeping with the thread on the Supermarket site for a second: letter to the Dompost from Pauline Swann on the 18th November:

“A daft place for a supermarket”

Where in the world would a local body consent to the location of a supermarket opposite their national museum? “Creative capital” should read “creative chaos” given that we will undoubtedly have another architectural monstrosity and an increase in traffic on the already heavy traffic flow in Cable, Wakefield, Taranaki and Tory streets.
Waterfront Watch

27 - 11 - 08

and then the follow up from Ronald Smythe on the 24th November:

“It could hardly be any uglier”

“Pauline Swann must surely have had her tongue firmly in her cheek with her comments that a supermarket across the road from Te Papa would be an architectural distraction. Te Papa, which is hardly a national museum (though that argument can be saved for another day) is a hideous monstrosity, and could hardly be outdone by any supermarket design.

“Furthermore, the prices at Wakefield St New World are not very competitive and some much-needed competition across the road would be wonderful for those unable to shop elsewhere. Mrs Swann should stop and think more clearly before putting pen to paper in future.
Mt Cook”

27 - 11 - 08

and to complete the round up of news from grumpy old trolls, this front page story from the Wellingtonian on the grumpy old Grinch that is Hector Westfold of Haitaitai:

“Bearer of bad news”
ESTHER LAUAKI – The Wellingtonian | Wednesday, 19 November 2008

“As the old story goes ‘everyone is entitled to their opinion’ but one Wellington man found a unique way to share his. “Well he would wouldn’t he? the uppity nigger he is!” was one such comment written Rongotai resident Hector Westfold on copies of The Wellingtonian about a local African-American Obama supporter.

Mr Westfold says he collects copies of inner city publications, annotates articles he has an opinion on and distributes them to local businesses that he frequents and sends them to friends. Local business owner Steven D’Armes of Copy NZ Print says Mr Westfold’s been distributing to them every week for years and now believes he’s gone too far.

“It’s got to a breaking point now, I find it offensive, the staff find it offensive.
“Anything to do with Obama, women in power, women that look gay, he writes comments on.”

Westfold says he does it to draw attention to issues he has an opinion on.
“I write some things that are not very PC and I’m in favour of freedom of speech
“If I write something on a copy that’s not very PC and I distribute it around I don’t expect people to accept it; that’s my opinion.”

In one annotation on the front pages of three publications he calls the newly-elected MP for Wellington central Grant Robertson “the prize poof again”.

“I’m just sick and tired of gays getting up in front of everyone and flaunting it around how hard-done-by they are,” Mr Westfold says. Mr Robertson regards Mr Westfold as a man entitled to his views.

“Mr Westfold has some fairly extreme views and clearly this is how he’s chosen to express them at the moment.”

Wellington resident African-American Lewis Scott says he hopes people who are close to Mr Westfold find him some help.

“My immediate reaction to this is that I would think that in this day in age people wouldn’t still use the word ‘nigger’. It’s sad that he doesn’t see the inclusiveness that Obama is all about. We are so far beyond this.”

3 - 01 - 10

Yeah… I was more in the mood for celebrating Obama's victory than the prevention of James I's assassination a while back.