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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
On the subject of great New Zealand military fails, these guys deserve a shout-out.
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.
um for fear of being shot or hung as a traitor
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.
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.
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.”
Richard A: Looks like we beat Oregon to the post by about 25 years.
Glorious New Zealand Failure
RWC '91, '95, '99, '03, '07
Since you mentioned it, is future fail allowed?
Temporary insanity on Queen's Wharf. This has been well covered here, but it seems appropriate.
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.
Rogernomics? Cheesemaking? (Okay, I now accept that there are some exceptions to the cheesamking.)
Or what about the Trekka?
My parents had one for a while. What a total piece of shit. But it was ours.
"Too smart to do anything dumb"
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.
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?
Whanganui River: Bridge to Nowhere. Gorgeous, concrete, incongruous.
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.
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.
Too early to nominate Niki Caro's The Vintner's Luck?