Animal Crackers by Trevor Plumbly

Roll Up! Strange days indeed down under, with a perfectly healthy elephant waiting in transit for entry to NZ at the same time as an equally healthy female gorilla is battered to death in an enclosure  by a ‘dominant male’. You have to wonder what it is about us humans that drives us to transplant animals across the globe and cage them for public entertainment. In Victorian times the practice extended to mental patients as well, and it was common for the upper and middle classes to treat a visit to the… Read More

Looking Forward by Trevor Plumbly

You’ve Got Your Troubles My last piece was about looking back at some of the positives from last year, so it makes sense (at least to me) to look at the negatives which it looks as though we’ll be carrying into 2015. We’re somewhat isolated from the world’s problems down here in New Zealand. To compensate for that, we grace ourselves with nifty titles to describe our little corner, like ‘Godzone Country’ and to an extent, there’s a bit of truth in that title. We don’t suffer from many of the social… Read More

Driving Time by Trevor Plumbly

‘It’s Just Too Much Hassle.’ (Quote from an Auckland resident on visiting the city centre.) It’s amazing how internally dysfunctional cities are – despite the fact that they are supposedly intended to house and serve people, the majority seem to struggle to do either with any degree of success. You name it, most cities have got it: casual crime, noise and air pollution, overcrowding and, of course, transport nightmares. It seems that regardless of the obstacles presented by the abysmal traffic flow and parking shortages, everybody travelling into the city must take… Read More

DIY Aliens by Trevor Plumbly

They’re Coming to Get Us I remember with some fondness the 1950s and 60s. The popular theory at the time was that the Aliens were up there and intended to invade; indeed, according to the more fanciful newspaper accounts of the time, ‘they’ had actually visited, abducted a few of America’s fairest, transported them to the mother ship and impregnated them. However, time has shown that if indeed ‘they’ are up there, they’re either not in any hurry to ‘get’ us or they’re quite happy to let us ‘get’ ourselves. By virtue… Read More

The Flood: Myth and Reality by Angela Caldin

Tamaki Drive in Auckland is flooding this morning as I write. Cars are at a standstill, wheelie bins are floating around like pieces of flotsam and the sea, swollen by heavy rain, is lashing wildly at anything in its path. There’s no denying the destructive power of water when it’s in the wrong place and this idea is melodramatically portrayed in Darren Aronofsky’s film Noah where humans and animals are wiped out in a mighty deluge leaving only Noah and his family on board the ark with a massive CG menagerie of… Read More