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February 2024

Now that we're nearly a sixth of the way through 2024, I hope everyone is finding their mojo and rhythms again. Sunshine notwithstanding (it's kinda hard to appreciate it without feeling the weight of climate change), there's been a great buzz around the central city. 

I availed myself of the Academy Cinema's $5 Wednesdays to enjoy a packed viewing of the Big Lebowsky with some mates. We caught up before at Father Teds and then wandered up. An easy way to connect and share a memory—for around 12–$15.

I'm still experimenting with the formatting. Mailchimp is quite limited for formatting and the look and feel of last newsletter felt a bit bland for my liking. So I thought I'd try sending us to this web-page directly instead. Again, let me know if this doesn't work for you and I'll see what else I can do before Myk gets back for the April edition.

Freeplay for free!

I mentioned this last month as it's a real simple way to get out of the apartment and spend time 'playing in the sandpit' as it were. Remember at kindy when we used to not care who was around us, but we just invented great CivileEngineering Projects with trucks, boxes, hands and sticks? Yeah, playing with strangers doesn't always need to be as big a deal as adulting makes it out to be—especially when it's contained in the safety of an event.

Living in a sponge


Sponge Cities are an innovation from the Chinese landscape architect, Kongjian Yu who bases his urban design on time-tested Chinese irrigation practice. In some senses it's a no-brainer. Using the already existing natural waterways and vegetation flooding is reduced. Some of the parks around Auckland are actually designed now to become massive sump ponds in storms—naturally processing and draining the water into the land surrounding them. It's ironic as we could think this is poor drainage, when in fact the flooding is consolidating the water in the catchment area and storing it for slower dispersion. 

In spite of the flooding last year, Auckland is in fact top of a list of spongy cities. Contributing to this is the lower density of housing where private gardens allow water to be absorbed into the volcanic layers beneath. 

Look, I’m no geologist, but the idea of daylighting some of the natural waterways in the central city makes a lot of sense. 

Link here

Poetry Live!
An Auckland institution finds new home.

Poetry Live has been running for 40 or so years and over that time many of Aotearoa's great poets have been there as a guest. Many of our current greats cut their teeth here too, and it continues to be a place of nurture for those who, like me, want to just give it a go. Over the years it has been hosted at the Globe, Albion, Comedy Central and other Auckland landmark venues. After a number of years at the Thirsty Dog on K'Rd, it's had to move to Bamboo Tiger on Wednesday evenings from 7:30pm

Venturing onto the stage with a few lines of your heart, feeling clumsy as hell and full of self-doubt about whether it will be acceptable or not sounds absolutely terrifying. But as we have seen time and time again, the first time poets, hands shaking with nerves, blush with satisfaction as the crowd hoorah at their bravery, their desire to do poetry and most often, the wonderful surprise that someone has performed.

Full disclosure, I've been part of this event for 8 years, but I put it here because it's been such a good place to make friends and fill my soul. It's free (koha appreciated to support musicians and guest poets)—just make sure you grab a drink from the bar if you can.

Link here

Learn to play Mahjong

Mahjong looks like it should be an ancient game put alongside chess, draughts and go. But it was actually developed in the mid-1800s towards the end of the last imperial dynasty—the Qing Dynasty. It exploded in popularity when the Chinese 'treaty' ports were opened after after the Treaty of Nanking was made. This meant merchants and travellers would head back through the ports to their hometowns bringing the game with them. There's more history here.

Katie from Splice invites you to come and join in on Tuesday afternoons, 2pm Ellen Melville CenterIt will be a safe and welcoming space and beginners are very welcome. Or if you already have experience, do bring your set and play with us. 

The aims are straightforward: to learn, play, talk and have fun. Seems like a pretty easy way to make connections. 

For more information contact Katie

Recycling Standards update...


I've got to say, I'm a bit late to the new recycling standards—my landlord called me out on it. I think it's an easy assumption to make that the recycling will just sort itself out through some kind of process that smart engineers have developed—but the reality is that there is a large amount of manual sorting. Here's the standards in a nutshell:

Items accepted in your kerbside
recycling bin from 1 February 2024:

  • Glass bottles and jars

  • Paper and cardboard

  • Plastic bottles, trays, and containers (grades 1, 2 and 5 only)

  • Tin, steel and aluminium cans

New items excluded from 1 February 2024:

  • Items less than 50mm (e.g. caps, small cosmetic and spice containers)

  • Aerosol cans (steel and aluminium)

  • Liquid paperboard (beverage cartons and juice boxes)

  • Plastics 3, 4, 6 and 7

  • Aluminium foil and trays

  • All lids

  • Items over 4 litres

For more information go here.​

What lies beneath...

albert park  tunnels.jpg

As a kid I remember hearing about lava tunnels under Auckland and they took on a life of their own after watching the TV series "Under the Mountain" based on Maurice Gee's 1979 book.  Nothing like a couple of alien races fighting it out in our own back yard. Tunnels captured my kid imagination and it's endured well into my adulthood. The idea of there being a plane stored under North Head, or there being a vast array of interconnected tunnels under Albert Park—wait, what?

Ok it's not a vast array but there are tunnels built as Air Raid shelters during WWII. 

Alas the they were filled with 8.8 million clay blocks because the timber framing was perishing (which doesn't fill me with a huge amount of confidence about how they would survive an air-raid). There have been various proposals to reopen them (YES please!), with one idea actually to connect Victoria Street and Parnell for pedestrian and cycling use. 

The forgotten story of Auckland’s Luna Park

Thanks to a post by Adam from the City Centre Residents’ Group (CCRG), I learned about this amusement park from 1926–1931.


Based on Coney Island in New York, Luna Park it was built on Quay St. It featured a roller coaster, dodgems and sideshows.

Its short lived tenure was in part because of the Great Depression, but also a couple of fires hampered its ability to remain viable.

On its first day they reckon around 10,000 people visited. There was a serious injury from the roller coaster as it went up an incline which dampened people's enthusiasm somewhat—but nothing like the injuries sustained continually at America's infamous Action Park (link here for the documentary trailer—it's wild).

So I go thinking about Footrot Flats Fun Park which had a roller coaster for a while. It seems that it fell on hard times because of the stock market crash of 1987. Even a merge with the struggling Safari Land couldn't save it and it was closed in 1991.

So to Rainbows End, we salute you for somehow surviving since 1982. 

Still, an amusement park on the waterfront does seem like a pretty cool idea.


Foodtogether is on a mission to provide easy access to healthy fresh produce. As a social enterprise it has a community focus and the Auckland City Mission has now become a pick up point.

Basically, order a bag online for $15 and head down to Hobson Street between 1 and 3pm on a Wednesday. Anything that isn't picked up automatically gets donated.

It could even be worth considering whether you wanted to start another hub in the City Centre. They'll help with all the logistics and guidance to make it work. 


Pride Whānau Day at Ellen Melville Centre

To celebrate of Pride and the Lunar New Year, an event designed to bring families together in a fun afternoon of cultural and creative activities. All ages will be engaged in a range of entertainment, from master circus performers (ribbon twirling, flower stick manoeuvring, hula hooping, and juggling), to participating in artistic endeavours at the activity table (face painting and balloon arts). There's also a dumpling-making workshop by Connie Clarkson and also tasting sessions.  The market will showcase emerging local illustrators. There'll be a panel discussion hosted by the 'Asian in Aotearoa' podcast, highlighting leadership, creativity, and self-love, with contributions from notable queer Asian figures, including MasterChef victor Sam Low. 


Link here


The Kūmara Awards are back! It is on a mission to celebrate fabulous placemaking projects across Aotearoa, especially in Tāmaki Makaurau. So that anyone can experience a better connection to the place, learn more about the community and get inspired to do their own projects. Big or small, permanent or temporary, many kinds of placemaking projects can win a Kūmara Award! Nominate all the projects you came across and enjoyed.


Let's share Aroha! 

More info here...

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