Letter of the week: Annette Perjanik, Mt Roskill
The growing opposition to the Parnell Rose Gardens as the site for a memorial to the Erebus victims (Weekend Herald, September 14) is understandable.
People who live in cities visit parks to enjoy walks and recreation in the natural world. It is nature that provides relief from the starkness of the urban landscape and our connection to nature significantly increases our sense of wellbeing.
The 8m-high stainless steel walkway is in stark contrast to the natural beauty of the surrounding trees and gardens and not in keeping with the simplicity of a rose garden. It would dominate the landscape and the natural environment would fade to the background.
A memorial is often more effective if it comes slowly into view and merges with the landscape. The size of the structure does not necessarily reflect the significance of the event it represents. I'm reminded of lines from Wordsworth:
"To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears".
Site and size
Having just been made aware of the size, 8m at its highest point, and scale of the Erebus memorial I am frankly very dismayed. We, the general public, were given no opportunity for consultation as to its size and location with the park. Surely, a site above busy railway yards and a noisy container port is hardly the place for "respite and contemplation" (to quote Brodie Stubbs, manager for memorials and taonga, Ministry of Culture & Heritage)
A memorial of this size should be sited in a wide open space not in a small urban park already crowded with memorials, and containing many heritage trees, including a 170-year-old pohutukawa; and the iconic Parnell Rose Garden with its 5000 rose bushes.
Jillian Lander, Parnell.
Flipping houses (Weekend Herald, September 14) is just another example of the way we consider a house to be not a home, but a profit-making commodity in New Zealand.
People will take advantage of any system and as long as we have absolutely no regulations preventing such exploitation, these things will continue. If we want a better society, we need to regulate against such practices.
Imagine if we had a capital gains tax that kicked in at, say, the 50 per cent level when a house is sold within 12 months of purchase, and dropped 10 per cent for each subsequent year of ownership. That would kill flipping of houses dead instantly.
But we don't do that. Instead of finding ways to curb the excesses of those who make money at the expense of others, we cater to and facilitate those people's activities by stepping back and doing nothing. We make very little attempt to reduce the growing inequality in our society. We could, other countries do, but we don't. And we all pay the flipping price in the end.
Susan Grimsdell, Auckland Central.
Being Pākehā and well past middle age. I was agreeably surprised at how connected I found myself to the sentiments expressed by Lizzie Marvelly (Weekend Herald, September 14). It is sad that many generations have been denied the opportunity to learn te reo, it's associated culture, and the history that is unique to Aotearoa. My hope for the future is that many of the students passing through Māori kura kaupapa will themselves become teachers in mainstream schools, thus enabling future generations to understand and enjoy the many wonderful aspects of this unique culture that is so entwined with the story of who we are as a nation. It would be wonderful if Māori Language Week lasted 52 weeks of the year.
Peter Kelly, Glendene.
Lizzie Marvelly blames her situation, which according to her, has been engineered by everyone else except her own shortcomings. This week it's the "earthquake of colonisation" which indirectly resulted in her inability to speak te reo (Weekend Herald, September 14).
It reminds me of lots people I know who, on hearing my wife and I have run several marathons, who say: "I've always wanted to complete a marathon too". There was nothing to stop you learning te reo either, Lizzie. All you had to do was commit to it and get cracking.
Murray Brown, Hillcrest.
In the Weekend Herald you pointed out that within the next three years, New Zealand history will be taught in our schools and asked four readers for their views. All four agreed it was the right decision, with two making the point that it would have to be unbiased. I strongly agree with that.
Who succeeded who on the English throne has little relevance to New Zealanders today. But, even if it starts off neutral, the danger is that certain people in the Education Department, and outside, with an agenda, would steadily chip away so that it eventually becomes 100 per cent Māori good/British bad.
Continued vigilance will be necessary to ensure that that is not allowed to happen.
In the same issue, Susan Margaret Verran urges that the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi should also be taught. Fair enough. But where are they actually written down? At the moment it seems to be that they are whatever someone wants them to be. Unless they are in some standard form, what is taught as principles at one school could vary considerably from what is taught at the school in the next town.
H E H Perkins, Botany Downs.
Although my children went to school in New Zealand and I taught mainly at new entrants level, I was only vaguely aware that history wasn't taught in New Zealand schools. I went to school in Australia where we were absolutely steeped in the history of that country.
Now I come to think of it, the focus was on the explorers who traversed the Blue Mountains and the vast deserts from South to North and East to West, etc.
I knew nothing about the treatment of Aborigines until I came to this country.
Perhaps the reputation of our homeland is at stake here?
Ailsa Martin-Buss, Glen Innes.
I have just sold a leaky home and, like all other sellers, find only land value is the sale price.
Banks do not lend on houses built without a cavity so, even with 45 groups through and five offers, land-only value was the highest.
The council set the consent regulations when the house was built and it is aware of houses without a cavity.
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However, it has not allowed for this on the CV it bases the rates it charges.
This value for the house is zero. I am expecting a refund of the years of overcharging
and I recommend all owners of homes without a cavity to challenge the CV they are rated against.
Craig Fraser, Mission Bay.
Given the resolve of mana whenua in having Ihumātao "returned to its rightful owners", I doubt Fletchers has the appetite they once had in proceeding with the development. Shane Jones' suggestion that the government leave it to Tainui to buy the land, which has a "future development" and SHA zoning, would allow Tainui to do exactly the same as Fletchers, build a housing complex. I don't think this is what SOUL has in mind.
The zoning of the land has to change back to "open space" as it was before the Environment Court overturning of Manukau City Council's zoning, to allow it to become integrated with the Ōtuataua Stonefields Reserve.
Like it or not, the Government and Auckland Council will need to be involved to try and rectify past inept decisions of the Environment Court and Historic Places Trust.
And Jones, Peters and Bridges will need to stop referring to it as a "Waitangi Settlement", which it never was and cannot be as it has been in private hands since Gavin Wallace bought it at auction in 1867.
Maurice Robertson, Torbay.
A Brief Word
With large areas of publicly owned reserves now closed because of kauri dieback, why not, as happens overseas, open up our attractive water supply dams for swimming, sailing and kayaking? A publicly owned resource which is too important to waste. Bruce Tubb, Belmont.
I wonder which version of history schools will get. Will it include intertribal warfare, slaughtering, enslaving or eating your defeated enemies? And the great colonial land grabs? Andrew Tichbon, Greenbay.
Regarding the "New voice of Rugby", let's hope the ego doesn't overwhelm the commentary.
Jeffrey Langford, Belmont.
Re: Troy Bowker. As a mechanic, I totally agree. EVs are only good for around town, just wait when they start "stalling" on motorways and highways. Towies will have a ball. Cliff Ginders, Ōtāhuhu.
Many thanks to Canvas (September 14) for the handsome presentation of my article on reading/writing for children and teenagers. May I just make it clear that I'm retiring only from writing novels? I hope to keep inflicting other work on editors and publishers. Beware. David Hill, New Plymouth.
After the revelations last week about the sex scandal in the Labour Party it appears that Jacinda's stardust is looking more like dandruff. Ben Walker, Hamilton.
I finally figured it out. The supermarket specials are what the average income earner can afford, all the rest isn't. Gary Hollis, Mellons Bay.
Well said that Emmerson cartoon (Weekend Herald, September 14) showing the double standard of the National Party, and Ms Bennett in particular. John Capener, Kawerau.
The price should not rise until we have used up the stockpiled fuel we have here. John Laing, Drury.
There is another endangered species - Auckland pedestrians. We are threatened by e-scooters, e-bikes and ordinary bikes who use our footpaths to our grave danger. Eric Strickett, Henderson.
So Trump is "locked and loaded". Would it were so - locked up and loaded into a straightjacket. Oh, and Pence and Pompeo and Kushner and ... Jim Colvine, Mangawhai Heads.
On ZB, I tune in to the early morning shows just to check the time now, otherwise I may as well be listening to Parliament TV. Lois McGough, Orewa.
Those huge iceberg-sized cruise liners, each displacing many thousands of tonnes of water, must surely be a major contributor to rising sea levels. John St Julian, Clover Park.
In recent decades, mothers have been too busy to advise children to slap the face of an unwelcome toucher. Jim Carlyle, Te Atatu Peninsula.
Bring back Len Brown? Mike Wagg, Freemans Bay.