Privilege to watch NZ sports hero
In 1964 I had the huge privilege of being in the Tokyo stadium with my parents and two brothers to witness Peter Snell win his two gold medals.
On October 10 we sat high in the stand near the Olympic flame and had immense pride as our New Zealand team marched at the opening ceremony with 7000 athletes from 97 countries.
Over the next days we went to basketball, swimming, hockey, rowing, football, boxing and wrestling.
Then on October 16 the feature event of the athletics programme was the 800 metres final. After the first lap Snell was boxed in by the other athletes and had to run four lanes wide to pass them. He won in a new Olympic record time of 1.45.1.
Five days later we were back in the main stadium for the final day of athletics where Peter Snell lined up attempting a historic double in the 1500 metres.
Actually another NZ athlete, John Davies, who came third, led for much of the way before Snell powered home to victory several metres ahead of the other runners. We hadn't come across any other Kiwis watching the various events and wondered if we might be the only spectators who had made the long voyage by sea to Japan. But these thoughts were dispelled when four men in black shirts jumped the fence to the track perimeter and performed an impromptu haka.
Our sense of pride was only surpassed when the NZ anthem was played and we saw Peter Snell on top of the victory dais receiving his second gold medal. Although this was 55 years ago it is vivid in my mind and in March 2017 I had the honour of meeting Peter in person when I went to watch him play table tennis at the World Masters Games in Auckland. I introduced myself and he was a lovely man as I knew he would be.
It had taken over 50 years, but finally I got to meet my sporting hero.
Glen Stanton, Mairangi Bay.
Readers of Saturday's Weekend Herald were privileged to read a very accurately researched article by Lizzie Marvelly, "National Catches Ugly Political Virus".
As a former National Party supporter, it was a great sadness to read that Simon Bridges is stooping to the social media tactics of Scott Morrison, Boris Johnson, and Donald Trump.
He should be reminded that, if he chooses, we could still continue to live in a society where how you ran the race is as important as winning.
Over recent years, the behaviour of National Party leaders at times suggests that this once principled party has decided "anything goes" and they may experience a pushback from voters contrary to their expectations.
Norman Harris, Tauranga.
One of the things that stands out about the UK election is that Scotland wants independence, Northern Ireland is moving towards unification and Wales wants separate government. Only England appears to want a united kingdom. It seems that, after 75 years, the euro is mightier than the sword.
Gerald Payman, Mt Albert.
Thank you for your very encouraging and inspirational edition on Saturday, entitled "Courage of a Nation". It made me proud to be a New Zealander.
Rosemary Way, Beach Haven.
Air NZ safety video
What a display of arrogance by Air New Zealand, to continue making its very unpopular and expensive safety videos.
Air New Zealand is completely ignoring its customers who have told it in no uncertain manner that they do not like these safety ads. I thought in these tough economic times it would be trying to save money, not waste it.
Jock MacVicar, Hauraki.
Having proclaimed that New Zealand is not a Christian country, how does Trevor Mallard reconcile what is happening throughout New Zealand this month?
I trust, Trevor, that you are not taking the Christmas holidays off and are holding the fort at Parliament, and that you are not accepting or giving out any presents to those you love?
Brian Main, Hamilton.
In case anyone hasn't made the connection, it's called "adventure tourism" for a reason. If you want safe tourism stay in your cars and buses and visit castles, museums and cathedrals.
John Capener, Kawerau.
After the publicity Huntly has received from being voted the s*** town of New Zealand, I hope hoards of tourists will visit out of curiosity to find out why it has earned this label. At the same time they might discover it has a beautiful lake, Lake Hakanoa, and walking track which has not, as far as I know, been mentioned.
Anne Martin, Helensville.
The problem with White Island is that it has never been perceived as "adventure tourism". Adventurers don't go on Royal Caribbean cruises. A quick scan of Tripadvisor shows most tourists are the plain garden-variety, many of them children or elderly, expecting a good time and a few good selfies. People buy tickets as gifts for their parents or children and the greatest worry for many of them are the weather or seasickness.
The Whakatāne operators should do more to highlight the risks and make sure that potential tourists know it.
Quang Tuan Pham, Sydney.
When Jacinda Ardern was put into office in 2017 she said she wanted to emulate a previous Labour Prime Minister.
Who can still remember the Labour Prime Minister of the 1950s who pledged to not increase prices during his tenure? Crude oil prices doubled overnight in the early days of that Government and they turned a very healthy inherited balance sheet into the red and our country has been in the red ever since.
Ardern has had her wish fulfilled.
A.J. Petersen, Kawerau.
I would like to endorse the positive sentiment expressed by your recent writer, John E. Binsley about the contribution of Sir Dove-Myer Robinson. Robbie was a short man with a huge heart.
He fought hard and not just for Auckland City but for the whole region.
Robbie was instrumental in creating the Auckland Regional Authority and he served on it. Robbie was prepared to argue for Auckland's interests with a powerful Prime Minister.
Robbie did not win every argument with the Wellington mandarins but his reasoning was sound. Just imagine today the harbour with human waste and soiled toilet paper and various other unsavoury items floating in it. That odious experience would have happened if Robbie had not had the courage to fight against powerful vested interests who had no vision.
Robbie had vision and he loved Auckland and many ordinary people loved him because he fought for all of the people who lived in the Auckland region.
Johann Nordberg, Paeroa.
The New Zealand Herald makes a lot of money by publishing death notices, yet won't spend anything on obituaries of well-known Aucklanders.
In the past week or so, Rick Bryant, Arthur Baysting and Joe Moodabe all died. Each made significant and distinctive contributions to the city and the country's life, yet none warranted an obituary. Was it because they didn't play rugby?
Roger Hall, Takapuna.
In the early 1960s there was a night club called The Dutch Kiwi. It was at the top of Scenic Drive in the Waitākeres. My wife worked there as a part-time waitress.
One Saturday I drove her to work in my 1946 Austin 8. I had the car in second gear on a steep part of the Scenic Drive doing 8 miles an hour when to my astonishment a man ran right past me up the hill. It was Peter Snell.
We all know now that he went on to win three gold medals. Well done Peter.
Peter Spenley, Mangere Bridge.
Praise for Huntly
I take exception to Huntly being labelled s*** town of the year. We recently stopped there both ways on a trip to Napier.
At the loo on the way into town we liked the view of the iconic old power station across the river. We've all benefited from the power it's produced over the years. We should treasure it as part of our history, much like London does the Battersea Power Station, which features on one of Pink Floyd's album covers. The main street is quaint with buildings of a bygone era, a little careworn but with an unpretentious character. There was a great op shop, and the people were friendly and welcoming. We enjoyed a snack in a cafe and the array of food was extensive and reasonably priced, so we went there again on our way back. We bought some wonderful black pudding from an old-fashioned butcher who was closing up, but reopened just for us. There are marvellous little railway and mining cottages. We enjoyed a little hiatus in this modest, laidback town before heading back to the Monster City. We loved Huntly.
Sarah Meikle, Birkdale.
Boy from Opunake
Peter Snell — the boy from Opunake. Didn't he do well?
H.E.H. Perkins, Botany Downs.