Hunting Fails

  • Russell Brown,

    Te Radar's comedy exposition Eating the Dog celebrates New Zealand's "misfits, failures and those who died trying". And he's offering a double pass to the show this Friday to the PA reader who contributes the best comment on Glorious New Zealand Failure.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

55 Responses

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  • Te Radar,

    Yes, thanks Russell.

    I'm generally not a fan of the first in first served type giveway system as they always seem to be posted in those few minutes when we are all off doing something non computer related, so i thought here's a good way to flick someone some tickets and maybe start a dialogue about some of the more obscure and fascinating parts of our history.

    If you are out of Auckland and have some input fear not, the show's traveling round the country, and has 2 weeks in Wellington mid year, so i can always reward you with tickets to another venue.

    Of course you might win them from afar and have someone to pass them onto in Auckland.

    So, anecdotes ahoy:

    Perhaps my favourite one currently not in the show is the story of Douglas Cook, founder of the Eastwoodhill Arboretum, at Ngatapa, near Gisbourne, who apparently planted many of the trees there wearing nothing but a single gumboot. Why? Well it seems he was something of a naturist, and wore the gumboot simply to help him dig into the hard soil.

    the result? one of the great (largely) unsung treasures of our landscape, and the largest and most comprehensive collection of Northern Hemisphere trees south of the equator.

    Well worth a jaunt into the countryside, especially about now, as the leaves of the tress run the full palette of their autumnal spectrum.

    It's a fascinating place with a colourful history.

    Check it out:

    www.eastwoodhill.org.nz

    Auckland • Since Apr 2010 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    dammit, I wish I could find that TradeMe auction from last year for a pulse jet powered pushbike. Mind you, probably even better would be whoever bought it and then took it for the first test drive.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Great topic.

    My favourite Glorious New Zealand Failure? The Semple Tank.

    An ingenious Kiwi war machine, to be sure, but a war machine with some issues. Such as, well, being based on a Caterpillar bulldozer, not the most blitzkrieg-friendly of vehicle platforms - even before they added in several tons of corrugated iron "armour", and eight unfortunate blokes trying to man several machine guns studded all over the rattly great mess.

    Slow, heavy and generally useless, the brainchild of the minister of works didn't find favour with the army. They had a thing about tanks that have to come to a complete stop to change gears. However, it it did get paraded down Auckland's Queen Street during the Second World War to good effect - complete with nicely indigenous manuka planks added to its tracks to protect the road surface.

    Thank God its capabilities were never put to the test, but this thing stands out for me as a charming New Zealand failure of the first order.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Te Radar,

    Ah yes Sam, the Semple tank is actually in the show. I had to track down some images for it off a Russian website. In many ways it is a great example of the nature of these unsung stories. Many people have heard tales of them, but are never sure if they actually existed.

    Semples Tanks certainly did, and if they are a great example of kiwi vehicle modification, what happened to many military machines after the war was something else again.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2010 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    On the subject of great New Zealand military fails, these guys deserve a shout-out.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    For members of Generation Pacman like myself, it'd have to be the POLY-1 computer, developed @ Welly Polytech (now Massey Wgtn campus) for the education market. Muldoon pulled the plug on the project under pressure from the monetarists, followed by a knockout blow by IBM & Apple undercutting the project.

    Silicon Welly isn't a new concept. What could have been indeed.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5426 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    um for fear of being shot or hung as a traitor

    Gallipoli ?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Ah yes Sam, the Semple tank is actually in the show. I had to track down some images for it off a Russian website. In many ways it is a great example of the nature of these unsung stories.

    I remember a model of it at Auckland Museum as well, tucked away in one of the upper galleries.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Shona Sangster,

    How about the giant chain strung across the entrance to the Waitemata Harbour as an underwater trip wire style defense against submarines? Not sure how effective that would have been.

    Since Apr 2010 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    From a great book - West: The History of Waitakere – I offer this as a wonderful example of a great New Zealand failure perhaps or a just a classic example of “give it a crack mate”.

    “ ‘experts’ blew up a 35 tonne whale stranded on a beach near Huia in the late 1940s.

    The Auckland Harbour Board demolition crew decided, in their wisdom, to plug the 17.4m whale with gelignite and fuel oil and blow it up. As you do!

    According to reports, a 91m plume of sand, smoke, blubber and bone rained down on the dozen or so unsuspecting spectators, who raced for cover. One 68 kg ‘steak’ flew 230m into the air but most of the carcass remained intact, despite being hurled about 6m out of the mud. Having withstood the blast, the remains proved immune even to fire.

    Despite the ‘experts’ declaring the operation “highly successful – having achieved all it set out to do”, locals blubbered about the mess! However, assurances that “time, tide and sharks” would take care of the remains proved correct.

    The incident inspired Waitakere’s most famous artist son – Colin McCahon – to produce Whale Beach II in September 1954.”

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Richard A: Looks like we beat Oregon to the post by about 25 years.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5426 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    Glorious New Zealand Failure

    RWC '91, '95, '99, '03, '07

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 501 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Since you mentioned it, is future fail allowed?

    Temporary insanity on Queen's Wharf. This has been well covered here, but it seems appropriate.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Ruth Kerr,

    Grand failure or growing success story? Turns out most prisons teach gardening using hydroponics and upon release a goodly number of prisoners put their new-acquired skills to good use ... growing dope! Big ups to Corrections for creating jobs and making sure people's dreams are not over.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2010 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Rogernomics? Cheesemaking? (Okay, I now accept that there are some exceptions to the cheesamking.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    We had far too many glorious failures in World War One. What about Chunik Bair? Or Passchendaele?

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Or what about the Trekka?

    My parents had one for a while. What a total piece of shit. But it was ours.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Erm, Democracy?

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    Ferrit

    AAPT

    Go Large

    "Too smart to do anything dumb"

    XT

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Robbie Siataga,

    the treaty ?

    ...and on a musical note everything from 'true bliss' and 'NZ idol' to 'music month' and NZ on Air's Brendan Smyth supporting shitty wannabe popsters for the last 10 yrs.

    Since Feb 2010 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    You forgot Telecom's original broadband rollout, which was cancelled when they realised they could milk the copper network for years yet.

    This made available a huge digital TV server (Silicon Graphics, if I recall correctly) -- which was snapped up at a knockdown price by the Wood brothers at Ihug.

    Enter Ihug TV. There were boxes, branded IDTV. There was an office -- I went there! There were entire channels being broadcast from the Sky Tower.

    Not sure if anyone watched it, but it was enough to attract the attention of Sky Television, which made an offer to buy Ihug. The bothers accepted it but apparently realised they'd been suckered so badly they'd have to misbehave until Sky walked away. Which they proceeded to do.

    As fails go, it was ballsy and elaborate. But what actually happened to that giant SGI video server?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • annamarama,

    Whanganui River: Bridge to Nowhere. Gorgeous, concrete, incongruous.

    Kingsland • Since Apr 2010 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    But what actually happened to that giant SGI video server?

    It'll probably turn up one year in the inorganic refuse collection. Along with copies of Bird on A Wire.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    The SkyHawks been mentioned? Apparently the deal may still go through, but it was, and still is, a major fail. You know what you do with planes aye? You fly them. Who knew?
    Skyhawk sale still happening.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Too early to nominate Niki Caro's The Vintner's Luck?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

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