Field Theory by Hadyn Green

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Field Theory: Four Years Ago

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  • Yamis, in reply to bmk,

    The irony is (according to twitter) everyone who drove had no problems are just suggesting that people just drive in future. How they expect tourists who don't have cars to do this - I don't know.

    If you have a car you drive, if you don't you get public transport. Sorted.

    I used to go to Eden Park for donkeys years when there were 30-40,000 for rugby test matches and cricket ODIs. I realise it's a bit different if it's 60,000 but we used to park about 15 minutes away (encountering NO traffic), and then leave quickly (encountering NO traffic). But that was with virtually nobody arriving by public transport, so most of those 30-40,000 were driving.

    What would be useful would be if the authorities spoke more about the capacity for those driving to the games. In other words what would be the number of vehicles/people that can park in the surrounding area within walking distance that isn't going to cause mass disruption and delays. Because the public transport option has been pushed, and pushed and pushed for years to the point where many people probably think it is the only way of getting there. It isn't.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Excuse me? If by that you mean I do actually listen when my partner talks about the industry he’s worked in for over forty five years, yes I do. If you’re insinuating I’m being some kind of political hack – be a darling and shove off.

    Woah. I don't think Jack was saying that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ross Mason,

    If I am correct people had to catch a train INTO Britomart and then OUT to Eden Park??? And all this at the same time as millions were arriving at the waterfront for the big show???

    Jeez Wayne.

    Yup. In retrospect, it all seems so clear, doesn’t it?

    But what this did show is that Aucklanders will flock to their new waterfront precincts. We need better means of getting them in and out and of handling them while they’re there.

    I really do think that last night showed that the CBD rail loop is a vastly higher priority than Joyce’s stupid bloody Puhoi highway. Auckland needs that upgrade.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • BenWilson, in reply to bmk,

    The irony is (according to twitter) everyone who drove had no problems are just suggesting that people just drive in future. How they expect tourists who don't have cars to do this - I don't know.

    Catch a taxi? I did that from the Wynyard Quarter to the friends place we went to for the ceremony and game. It took all of 2 mins to find one, and 10 mins to get back to Grey Lynn. In fact, we were that quick that the people who drove got there 10 mins after us because they had to walk to their car.

    As for the bus ride in, I drove to drop the kids off at my folks place and every single bus stop on the way had 30-40 people waiting at it. Then walked up to the bus stop, using only knowledge acquired 25 years ago as a schoolkid, that it's a good idea to go a stop back down the line, if you want to get there quickly. The bus came in a minute, we all boarded and filled the bus to capacity. We passed the next 5 stops in front of dismayed crowds. When we reached Ponsonby someone on the bus said "Goodness, why don't they walk? It's not that far...", to which another replied "that's easy for us to say, we're on the bus".

    My wife wanted to eat, I suggested Albert St food court, which would have been the best choice (as always, people), being accustomed to being extremely busy, and appearing to be at nothing more than a typically lunch rush. But she wanted a burger so we went to Downtown food court. That was a mistake, it was the most crowded that I have ever seen a food court anywhere in the world. Burger King had about 150 people queuing, so we decided to grab a slice of pizza instead (which took 1 minute to acquire). I attempted a tweet, but it was clear that I was unlikely to get my data connection. Indeed txts were iffy for the next couple of hours, failing up to 10 times in a row.

    We had deliberately left all plans open, because I knew in my gut that what happened last night would happen, that dour kiwis miserably griping about the RWC for months beforehand would turn around in one day, once they came to grips with what is actually happening in the city right now, how we have never had anything this big going on, and it's right here, right now. The advice to travel early given on every sign for 20 miles yesterday was well given and should have been well heeded by anyone expecting to attend a game they had paid for.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • bmk, in reply to BenWilson,

    Catch a taxi?

    Of course - you are right. Though there would be some critical mass when everyone realises driving/taking taxis is quicker that everything becomes grid-logged.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report

  • Jackie Clark,

    Well said, Ben, well said. And also, I wasn’t there last night, but from the tweets, it seems as if most people had a wonderful time. I can appreciate that some would have been pissed off not to have been let on the wharf, and outside those gates looked really packed, But I think we all knew that would happen, didn’t we? And didn’t we also know that our public transport system would find it hard to cope? I mean, it’s only about five years ago, that the same system was completely underused, for god’s sake. Give everyone a chance to catch up, I say. Hopefully Joyce will get the message – but I doubt it – and in the meantime, let’s live and learn, and be kind to the people who made it work. The people who were doing their jobs under extreme duress probably deserve a big thankyou.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report

  • BenWilson,

    The two things I most wanted to see were the waka arriving, and the procession and mass haka of the 600 warriors. I figured that half an hour from Downtown foodcourt would be sufficient to find somewhere to see these things. I was wrong.

    Half an hour was enough time to get from there to the middle of Quay St (a distance of about 200 meters). The crowd press was that deep. But the vibe was incredible, I could hardly give a stuff, there was that much fascination in a crowd phenomenon like that, where the entire length from Queens wharf to the Wynyard Bridge was shoulder to shoulder from building to fences.

    Spontaneous haka erupted everywhere - several schools had camped prime locations and gave near continual entertainment from vantage points along the strip. The black shirts were everywhere, but so were every other kind, and the demographics were predominantly young, but the full range was present, from newborns strapped to their mums, and pushchair drivers wending their way at the same crawl as everyone else to old folks, everyone milling around without a plan, mostly appearing to be soaking the vibe and just people-watching, with a basic thronging press that was infectious, to say the least.

    Security appeared to be taxed, and were polite but curt. We wended our way gradually toward the Viaduct, a work of about 15 minutes, to see the waka already moored in the harbor, and solid crowds all around the entire Viaduct. Every bollard had some standing on it, like sentinels, gazing out. I had to use my camera like a periscope to work out what was coming up, and spotted the approaching spears of the procession, so we camped down, to watch a very impressive array of Maori pass by over a period of about 20 minutes. We tracked this down - they were unable to outpace the crowd anyway, and the haka from the schoolboys stepped up a notch, tongues lolled, eyes rolled, as they competed school vs school to catch the attention of the warriors passing below. We were unable to see the mass haka - I wasn't sure if they simply changed their plans, and many of the tail end appeared to just do their part as they walked. Footage afterward showed something like a mass haka, but it clearly wasn't 600 people, that had become unfeasible (I think - was anyone else right there to correct me?).

    Then DD began, amidst a general cheer - lots of head bobbing and dancing in front of the huge screen on the side that was working. My wife and I were becoming footsore by this point, and some txt finally located where our friends were, over in Wynyard. We headed over there (15 mins work) and caught up with them as the sun set. Most people were just soaking up the scene.

    Not long after, it became apparent that the beautiful weather had the downside of a very cold night approaching and common sense meant that staying to watch the game there was going to be uncomfortable as hell, since there was nowhere to sit for miles. Thoughts of getting something to eat were dispelled by the 50 person queues at every kiosk, fish and chippery, the restaurants were packed or running private functions, and we hadn't brought anything. The friends' kids were getting cold and antsy, so we left party central to those hardened to rock-concert conditions, and headed to friends house. It took 15 mins to get to Grey Lynn using a taxi, cost $10. It was a no-brainer.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Woah. I don’t think Jack was saying that.

    No, you're probably right but the number of times I get accused of being a partisan sock puppet around these parts I just though I'd shut down that line of attack before it started. As I said, I'm not pretending every thing went perfectly and every FUBAR was unavoidable. That would be taking psychosis to a locked ward level, but I'm just hoping that the mooted inquiry isn't going to end up being an arse-covering witch hunt because I don't think Dave is the only person who would like to see some reality checks written in a public forum not even The Herald can distort or ignore.

    Yes, it's a fucking pain in the arse being in a long line for a bus on a Friday afternoon. But, hey, are you really going to crap on bus companies for not having a lot of excess capability at a time they had other contractual obligations -- i.e. school runs and the thousands of other bus services serving the rest of the city? Really?

    And, yes, while I'll happily concede that service delays were entirely newsworthy do you really think the headlines reflected an entirely appropriate response to fuckwits hitting an emergency stop. And, yes, I make no apologies for getting epically pissed off at the late news acting as if people walking on lines -- Epic RailSafetyFAIL 101! - was no big deal.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    I have a dozen ideas for a blog post about all this swimming around in my head, but it's too nice a day for that.

    It was an amazing day for Auckland and although some people had the worst of times, a great many Aucklanders had the best of times too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Russell Brown,


    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report

  • BenWilson,

    I'd also like to add that the festivities had started hours earlier for me - Avondale Primary ran their own opening ceremony, every class had chosen a team and dressed and face-painted accordingly. The hall echoed to the massed chants (a little oddity "U S A, U S A" was an especially penetrating one!). Zane's eyes boggled at the sight, and Marcus chanted "Go, Canada" with gusto. Then the Principal gave an address that put John Key's to shame, the kids were well rarked by the end, as he introduced the guest speaker, a veteran from the famous Manu Samoa team, who shared the motivational secret that had preceded their famous victory over Argentina. He then did the challenge dance of his team. I noticed lots of wet eyes amongst the Samoan parents.

    Then the main event began, two senior classes clashed in a game of "ripper rugby", a version of touch. One of the classes did a haka at least as spirited as the one given by the All Blacks last night, the other class stood their ground on halfway, as the tension mounted.

    In a curious parallel of last night's game, one team was clearly dominant, with at least 5 very talented little athletes, but the other team had resolve. So whilst red scored try after try (I got a fantastic full field length one on camera), the white team worked hard for one try, capitalizing on a knock on, and the pressure eventually got the smallest boy on the field over the line, and he was patted on the back by friend and foe alike, as the whole school cheered.

    I then attempted to find a decent flag, having the 2-dollar shops of Avondale at easy reach. But no, they had done roaring trade, and no All Blacks, nor even just a Silver Fern, were to be found in 10 shops I tried. I had to settle for the tedious old Jack&Stars. Wearing my All Blacks shirt, I enjoyed trash talk from locals the entire time, with the exception of the Chinese, who would seem to be All Blacks supporters without exception (if they support any team...I expect they don't care much, but were enjoying the festive mood).

    My favourite trash talk was from one of the Red team, wallowing in his victory, who said to me "Marcus's Dad? I'm sorry to tell you this, sir, but your team will be thrashed tonight, that's just how it is!". His Tongan friends all smiled and nodded, and I smiled and wished them well.

    And they did very well. I had my fist in the air for their try, a very well earned culmination of nearly 20 minutes of pressure and control. Well done, Tonga! Good luck against France, then it's the quarters!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Jackie Clark,

    Whilst I think of it, one person who would have been spectacularly pleased was my friend, Pulusea, who won the ANZ competition to make an ad for them to welcome the world to the RWC, which they are screening on TV. That's him in the front row, with the glasses, beanie, and beard.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report

  • recordari, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Woah. I don’t think Jack was saying that.

    Yeah, I didn’t think I was either.

    Great morning for end of season Football. 700+ junior plays at Three Kings after another perfect season. We do this sport thing well here, overall.

    I tend to look on the positive side as a rule, and there was lots of that. It would also seem that anger and finger pointing isn’t going to make things better, so a calm retrospective analysis would likely be a good thing. The weather tomorrow might be more conducive to quiet reflection. Or the Romania Scotland game this afternoon.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Yamis,

    Bloody hell Ben, that’s a bit philosophical (and correct).

    I've gone all melancholic.... for a minute
    Then I recalled the fireworks of last night, with the skyperdermic exploding with a rainbow of colourful explosions, the crowds and water below, the wormos all dayglo like, the faint echo as the band played on, then, I realised, I had a bit of fun. Oh and yes ,there was a game of rugby in a field up the road. ;)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report

  • bmk,

    I'm hoping the Argentina-England game tonight will be a good one. I'll be hoping for Argentina to provide the first upset of the cup - but certainly not expecting it.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report

  • BenWilson, in reply to recordari,

    It would also seem that anger and finger pointing isn’t going to make things better, so a calm retrospective analysis would likely be a good thing

    Yup, if you actually used MSM news as your source, you'd think that the mood at the wharfs was ugly, when in fact it wasn't. I'm pretty sure everyone there got that the numbers pressing in were unexpected, and that meant plans had to change. Furthermore, it was a change for the better, that such a crowd is just never seen outside of a rock concert, and is a real spectacle of its own.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to George Darroch,


    Actually if we weren't all treated like Neanderthals and had been left to our own devices, buses, trains and autos would I believe have managed ok. By telling the country to use public transport caused many an unnecessary problem. Our roads were almost carless (don't get me wrong, I found a car park easy near Victoria Park) making driving easy and pleasant. The only road problem we experienced was where one of our main arterial routes (not supposed to be) was blocked and closed off, leaving cars with no alternative but to uturn and/or watch a few fans leaving the game early.
    Also my view of the Queens Wharf for I was not far from it, there looked like there was lots of room, and I could see a bunch of people crushed up against the fence on Quay St, of which I opined it was good to be where we were, and then I forgot about them. Sad but true.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report

  • Sacha,

    That was a brilliant (armchair) spectacle, all of it. O for awesome.

    But yes, there could well be issues with slick brand marketing culture and government agendas dominating over an operational preparedness focus in the Auckland RWC organising effort.

    Encouraging people to all come on down and stroke McCully's cloud was always going to overstretch a transport network that can barely cope with just a big game on its own. Waterfront crowd control seems to have been hopelessly undercooked, with only a couple of hundred police for the whole area. Our tolerant national character has been a blessing.

    Frontline staff did brilliantly on the night with what they had, but notwithstanding Craig's hurt feelings the train operators continued a long trend of not communicating adequately with their customers. Part of the failure of the contracting agency to hold them accountable for resolving that ultimately goes back to government policy decisions over the last couple of decades about the power relationship in contracting PT services (felt more in Auckland's buses actually).

    Anyway, let's make damn sure that it's fixed in some way before the final. Also that people also see this as a dry run for what the city will be like in a couple of decades time and take the larger political lessons. There are some big decisions being made about priorities that lock us into a particular future which is unsustainable and resembles some mythical quarter-acre past. However, one commenter on the AKT thread probably has it right on that front:

    [Steven Joyce] is not even going to BLINK at this minor mishap. If he cares at all, he’s grinning, not feeling embarrassed. He’ll turn this to his favour with the ease of the political pro that he is. Watch him spout the “events like this show that we will always need a good road network, because PT can’t do everything” line for the forseeable future.

    Will be some interesting manouvering by Len Brown and Auckland leaders (Mayoral statement coming soon). This is a golden opportunity for the national political oppostion to step up and coherently communicate how their vision for transport, urban design and economic development is better for New Zealanders and our guests. If they stuff that chance (or tell us to 'wait for the election campaign'), then they richly deserve oblivion.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • chris,

    if you actually used MSM news as your source, you’d think that the mood at the wharfs was ugly

    In all fairness it all seemed to be a huge success from offshore, Sure there were a few niggles, that's par for the course when hosting. Personal inconveniences aside, New Zealand represented. Nice writing Ben.

    That was a brilliant (armchair) spectacle, all of it. O for awesome.


    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report

  • Sacha,

    Len Brown announces investigation.


    Brown said stoppages occurred because people feeling unsafe or constrained repeatedly pressed emergency safety buttons. In older carriages, this brought trains to a halt.

    He said the performance by trains was "not satisfactory at all" and improvements in reliability and communication would be needed.

    For those who did not make events, Brown said he would not want travellers left "out of pocket".

    Mr Brown expressed confidence in train operator Veolia and blamed Auckland's ancient rail stock.

    He praised Eden Park and said the public behaved with good-humour and patience. There was a "fabulous atmosphere".

    Veoila head Graham Sibery offered his second public apology in three days for failures on the service.

    Sibery said huge numbers of passengers added to a regular Friday commuters presented an exceptional situation. He said weekend matches would present fewer problems and trains would be able to move "manageable numbers" of people.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    A friend just texted, she is on a girly road trip to New Plymouth, to watch Ireland beat USA. Go Ireland ! :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Sacha,

    Setting up to fail, much? Los Angeles went further with the Great American Streetcar affair, but not by much.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Setting up to fail, much?

    which aspect?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Sacha,

    AKT gives more detail about what went wrong.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • George Darroch,

    You know how tightly the All Blacks have prepared for the RWC when you see a haka as clean and intense as this one. Sent shivers down me watching it last night.

    And because it's there, the second try of the night.

    Tonga were outplayed, and really didn't have much in it, something which has a lot to do with the nature of rugby as it's played at the highest level. Ordinarily I'd be happy with a win, but it was disappointing, really. If you wanted to show the world what rugby was about - asymmetry in teams meaning that upsets are rare and the stronger team almost always wins, this was a pretty good example.

    Still, more than enough to be happy about at the moment. I might pick up my camera and take a few photos of all the Tongan flags I see fluttering outside my window.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report

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