Saturday, December 7, 2013

Lake Tekapo Weekend & SA / NZ Apartheid

Friday 06.12.13. Leah took a day off work for our Lake Tekapo weekend. During our early Christchurch days, when  Jake & Luke were small we'd travelled past Lake Tekapo several times on trips to Mnt Cook or Otago. Our last sojourn was with Leah's mom when she'd visited NZ 10 years ago.

Our Lake Tekapo weekend trek, via Geraldine, Fairlie & Burkes Pass, was about 3 hour's drive. We stopped at Dog Kennel Corner to look at roadside lupins. On all our trips to Mt Cook we'd never seen so many miles of roadside lupins in all their pinks, purples & creams. The contrast between blooming lupins & dry, brown Mackenzie Country was stark. Although hot, high summer, snow still speckled Alpine ranges.

06.12.13. Roadside lupins, Dog Kennel Dog Corner near Lake Tekapo. Mackenzie Country & Ben Ohau Range, Southern Alps beyond

Roadworks went on by the Lake Tekapo Canal turnoff to the Salmon Farm in Tekapo Canal, so we gave the Salmon Farm. On previous trips, we'd visited the Salmon Farm & fished for salmon in Tekapo Canal, which carried Lake Tekapo waters from Lake Tekapo A hydroelectric power station to Tekapo B hydroelectric power station at Lake Pukaki, about 40 kms away.

Thereafter canals in the vast Waitaki Valley carried Alpine lake waters to Ohau A, B & C power stations, then dropped Alpine waters to Benmore, Aviemore & Waitaki power stations, a total of 8 power stations in Mackenzie Country supplying NZ electricity. Lake Tekapo had started off as a hydroelectric village in the 1950s, so too Twizel along SH8 nearer Lake Pukaki & Mt Cook.

My last fishing trip with Luke to Mackenzie Country was 10 years ago, then he became a teenager & found other interests besides trout fishing & salmon lures.

06.12.13. Some Lake Tekapo shops

As it was high tourist season, tourist buses piling into Lake Tekapo car park by the shops, accommodation at Lake Tekapo was scarce. In 1994, when I did my LSD - Look-See-Decide trip, in a hired 1000cc Suzuki, I'd slept in my car at Lake Tekapo shops car park. Tourism was as busy then as it was now in 2013.

06.12.13. Lake Tekapo campsite office

06.12.13. Mt John seen from Lake Tekapo campsite

06.12.13. Mt John seen from Lake Tekapo village

06.12.13. Lake Tekapo, Southern Alps. Two Thumbs Range beyond, incl Mt Richmond, Mt Ardmore, Mt Hay

06.12.13. Lake Tekapo view, Two Thumbs Range incl l to r: Mt Ardmore, Mt Dobson, Tekapo Saddle, Mt Maud, Mt Edward

06.12.13. Lupins, Lake Tekapo, Southern Alps

06.12.13. Kayaks, Lake Tekapo, Southern Alps

06.12.13. Lake Tekapo view, Mt Maud left, Mt Edward right

We hired a cabin at the campsite & wandered Lake Tekapo shore, looking at yellow kayaks for hire in turquoise waters. I looked at nearby Mt John & resolved to climb to the Observatory & Cafe on top during my next Lake Tekapo trip. Lake Tekapo was famous for its turquoise lake, pristine Alpine scenery & clear night skies. Mt John was the perfect place for astrophotography at the Observatory headed by Canterbury University.

06.12.13. Lake Tekapo holiday house, Aorangi Cr. 2018. A cottage was built below the house

06.12.13. Holiday house, Aorangi Cres view, Lake Tekapo, Two Thumbs Range, Southern Alps

06.12.13. Lake Tekapo view, Mt Maud left, Mt Edward right

06.12.13. Lake Tekapo view, Mt Dobson left, Tekapo Saddle middle, Mt Maud right

06.12.13. Lake Tekapo view, Mt Ardmore left, Mt Dobson right

06.12.13. Lake Tekapo view. Two Thumbs Range. Mt Gerald below. Motuariki Island right

06.12.13. Lake Tekapo view, Mt Chevalier, Mt Ross, Mt Ajax

06.12.13. Lake Tekapo view, Two Thumbs Range, Mt Richmond right

06.12.13. Lake Tekapo view, Mt Richmond left, Mt Ardmore right, Mt Hay below

06.12.13. Lake Tekapo view, Mt John left, Two Thumbs Range right

06.12.13. Lake Tekapo School back dropped by Mt Ardmore left, Mt Dobson middle, Tekapo Saddle, Mt Maud right

06.12.13. Lake Tekapo housing seen from Lake Tekapo School

Early afternoon, we looked at old & new Lake Tekapo village. Leah was interested in Lake Tekapo School which had magnificent views over Lake Tekapo & Southern Alps.

06.12.13. Lake Tekapo School, Aorangi Cr

06.12.13. Lake Tekapo School view, Lake Tekapo, Southern Alps

06.12.13. Lake Tekapo School view, Lake Tekapo, Southern Alps

Late afternoon, I drove to Lake Pukaki lookout with its views over the lake to Mt Cook & Alpine ranges. Since we'd last passed that way, beside the Info Centre, a new Salmon Farm shop was built, so Leah splashed out on a pack of smoked salmon (tourist price $16) which we scoffed, while watching clouds descend over Mt Cook. While we picnicked, the wind came up over Lake Pukaki, ruffling the waters & disturbing a flock of floating seagulls fishing in the lake. Seagulls in Mackenzie Country, far from the coast.

Since our last visit, a bronze statue of a Himalayan tahr had been erected lakeside. An info board gave the history of the Himalayan tahr in NZ, its pest status & culling by hunters.

06.12.13. Himalayan tahr statue, Lake Pukaki, Mackenzie Country. Southern Alps beyond

06.12.13. Roadside lupins near Lake Pukaki, Mackenzie Country. Southern Alps beyond

Sat 07.12.13. We visited Church of the Good Shepherd overlooking Lake Tekapo. A bus load of Asian tourists enjoyed the church & the bronze Sheep Dog Statue, celebrating high country sheep dogs.

07.12.13. Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo, Mackenzie Country

07.12.13. Sheep Dog statue, Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo, Mackenzie Country

A bronze plaque below the statue read:

This monument was erected by the runholders of the Mackenzie County and those who also appreciate the value of the collie dog, without the help of which the grazing of this mountain country would be impossible...

On a hot, blustery nor'wester afternoon, we returned to Christchurch via a paddle to cool off at Caroline Bay near Timaru's harbour.

Straight along Canterbury Plains, boring SH1, from Timaru to Christchurch, was relieved by a pit stop at Rakaia, where a Salmon Farm cafe & aquarium was built to trap tourists & thirsty travellers. As always, I vowed never again to drive that hot, boring stretch & instead vowed to drive Thompsons Track from Rakaia to Geraldine, or the tourist, scenic route via Alpine foothills, Geraldine & Darfield.

Despite cops threatening in the media to speed trap at a 104 km/hr maximum, there wasn't a speed cop in sight. While I drove a steady 90 km/hr through heat mirages, most vehicles, including horse floats & trucks, whizzed past, exceeding 100 km/hr.

SA / NZ Apartheid:

Monday 09.12.13. Mandela was dead. We'd left SA as we didn't want our sons to grow up in SA hatred, which hadn't abated under post apartheid ANC misrule. We now witnessed the spectacle of NZ politicians PM Key, Maori Sharples & 1981 Springbok rugby tour protester Minto & other hacks, squabbling as to who should go to Mandela's memorial junket in Soweto. (OneNews).

Hypocrisy of NZ 1981 Springbok rugby tour protesters: Post 1981 they were happy to accept 1 000s of SA immigrants. It was SA immigrants' money they coveted to prop up NZ's economy & to inflate NZ's housing market. (There were imported Nederburg wines too, superior to NZ & Aussie plonk). NZ protesters happily savoured their 1981 can of worms, but during our 19 years' NZ residence so far, I'd never heard nor seen any protests about SA immigrants.

Pity those junketeers & 1981 protesters didn't question why so many 1 000s more people were killed in post apartheid SA than during apartheid. (Never mind rapes & other crimes). The latest SAPS report recorded 18 793 murders in 2004/5 & 16 259 murders in 2012/13. 16 259 murders in one year! During apartheid, murders were divided into political killings (whatever that meant?) & criminal murders. Nowadays it was just criminal murders. While SA killings continued, self promoting Kiwis congratulated themselves on their 1981 Springbok rugby tour protests.

As for the SA black, deaf-signer, hobnobbing with junketeer politicians at Mandela's memorial, he was an example of post apartheid, black, affirmative action. Like the schizophrenic, black, deaf-signer, signing gibberish & jabbering about angels, we'd endured many apartheid, white affirmative actions, jabbering apartheid & pseudo religious rubbish - Verwoerd, Vorster, Botha, DeKlerk, Treurnicht, Hertzog, Vlok, Malan, Terreblanche...

Despite Mandela's memorial junket, Minto hadn't protested NZ govt's apartheid forced on Christchurch over the last 3 quake years:

- Ever increasing CERA bureaucracy on the apartheid gravy train. SA apartheid had had vast bureaucracies to administer apartheid, all those desk murderers.

- Like apartheid SA, NZ National govt's biggest apartheid disaster was housing. After quakes, state & Council housing was closed & boarded up, tenants dumped elsewhere. There were many such boarded housing in Sumner, New Brighton, CBD, Avonside... where I'd wandered, snapping pics.

Since the quakes I'd seen many homeless people in caravans, vehicles & tents by quake destroyed housing. I still regularly saw a homeless, pony-tailed man seated on a bench in N Hagley Park, staring across Avon River to Salisbury St & quake & CERA ravaged CBD. I regularly wandered past a bald, Asian man, homeless with suitcase, plastic bags & open newspaper on a park bench near Fendalton School. Yesterday I saw a homeless bloke sleeping in his van on Woodford Tce, Fendalton. His van wasn't a tourist van.

- Demolition of property rights by CERA's red zoning 1 000s of residential properties along riversides & on the Port Hills & scores of  commercial properties in the CBD Frame, with the threat of forced acquisition should property owners not comply. A few housing developments on Christchurch fringes had so far failed to replace red zone housing which CERA demolished. Then there were 1 000s of quake damaged houses still needing repairs or rebuilds. Apartheid SA had demolished property rights too.

The Press December 12 reported:

Three factors were "hammering" Christchurch's housing market:

- The 14 000 homes that had been lost overall in quakes.

- The 60 000 homes that had been damaged to the point where they needed to be vacated for repairs.

- 30 000 workers flooding the city for the rebuild.

In April 2012 CERA minister Brownlee had denied there was a housing crisis & believed the housing market would solve housing problems. PM Key had supported Brownlee in June 2012. Due to red zone reduced housing supply, all the housing market did was inflate with increasingly expensive housing & rentals. So far our rent had increased twice since the quakes due to rates & insurance increases.

Recently in 2013 Brownlee flip-flopped with a LURP, Land Use Recovery Plan, wanting to create high density ghettos in Christchurch, future slums.

In apartheid Durban during the 1960s-70s, our elderly Indian servant Rosie was SA govt evicted from her May St, high density, slum dwelling (think NZ red zone) in Durban CBD to a slum shack (think NZ red zone) in Jacobs, built by her nephew, before she moved into a high density Chatsworth township / ghetto house with her family. (Think NZ LURP). Near our Durban North home, there were Umgeni River, Indian slums (think NZ red zone) & Indian slum shacks by the northern freeway (think NZ red zone) which were replaced by upmarket Durban North white housing (think Fendalton) & shops, like Pik 'n Pay hypermarket.

As an adult during SA's 1987 national state of emergency, I had taught primary school, std 5 to Sotho kids in QwaQwa's high density, township / ghetto. (Think NZ LURP). Leah & I had lived in the township in a housing compound for whites surrounded by a barbed wire fence & Sotho gate guards. (Think post quake Christchurch, cop & NZDF cordoned, red zone CBD). So I knew a thing or two about apartheid slum dwellings & townships. (Think NZ red zone & LURP). SA's Nationalist, apartheid govt had used cops & conscript troopies too, to do dirty work for decades.

In 2012 MOE, without properly consulting Christchurch schools, used the quakes as an excuse to rationalize schools with closures & mergers. Never mind LURP which wasn't concocted yet. Although Brownlee desired a LURP ghetto in his Ilam electorate off Wairakei Rd, MOE had already closed perfectly good Kendal School, off Wairakei Rd. That farce between MOE & LURP would continue all over Christchurch. Apartheid SA had racially separated schools, with better funding & no overcrowding for white schools.

- Crown insurers, EQC's & Southern Response's tardy, low ball repair or rebuild offers on housing & commercial properties. Commercial insurers just followed their slow, seedy examples to harass property owners with tardy, low ball offers.

CERA's Greater Christchurch Recovery Update, Issue 28, Dec 2013, reported the Insurance Council of NZ Update, regarding Canterbury residential insurance claims:

Out of 24 660 over-cap residential properties, 10 000 (41%) claims had been resolved. It had taken 3 years to resolve only 10 000 (41%) claims, dooming home owners to endure Third World, quake ravaged conditions.

Worse, the Insurance Council reported that after 3 quake years, a total of 11 250 (46%) claims had resolution in progress, ie - delays, with the weasel words:

This means that a resolution has been agreed with the customer and they're in the repair or rebuild queue or are awaiting their cash settlement or house reinstatement. 

The Insurance Council reported that 3 420 (13%) claims were unsettled. What a disgrace after 3 years! No wonder irate home owners were hammering at the gates of Southern Response, while CERA did nothing about slack insurers.

- Separate development of First World suburbs like Fendalton & Third World suburbs like New Brighton. Although Council had plans for renewal of suburban shopping centres like at Redcliffs, Linwood, Sydenham, so far few rebuilds or new builds had happened after demolitions - just weedy demolition sites scarring suburbia, where many shops had once stood.

- CCDU's Blueprint loss-makers in the CERA demolished CBD, like a 35 000 seater, covered Stadium, Convention Centre, Metro Sports Facility... covering vast tracts of CERA acquired, CBD land. Apartheid SA was big on grand loss-makers too, like racially separated stadiums, homeland govt bldgs & so-called border industries.

- CERA usurpation of Council functions & staff, like SCIRT, like 2 town clerks - CERA's Isaacs & Council's Marryatt (now resigned). The expensive duplications of Council functions were reminiscent of apartheid SA's expensive separations of white, black, coloured, Indian urban Councils.

- Unelected Crown manager sniffing out Christchurch Council communications, or presently an unelected Crown manager allegedly sorting out Council's bldg consents processing. In apartheid SA there had been hordes of govt bureaucrats sorting out apartheid intricacies, like QwaQwa Development Corporation, QDC officials & myriads of judges presiding over court cases.

- Unelected Crown managers on ECAN, ensuring NZ National govt's pollution of Canterbury's pristine waters, in the form of ever increasing stock farming, irrigation & oil fracking. SA's apartheid govt favoured rich white farmers too.

See LURP, Land Use Recovery Plan (CERA).

See CERA jobs boost fits workload (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Subdivision all go under new plan (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Christmas fast track on house crisis (The Press / Stuff Co).

 Christchurch people in dire need of homes (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Schools ready to say goodbye (The Press / Stuff Co).

See Rents out of reach (The Press-Stuff Co). 

See Protesters swamp Southern Response (The Press / Stuff Co).

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

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