The City to Sea Walkway

March 25th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

City to Sea

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The City to Sea Walkway was the final walk of my summer of 13 big Wellington walks. Probably the most challenging as there are almost no flat parts to it, you go up and down almost a dozen times.

The official guide says this walk takes six hours but I managed to do it in just under three hours. Did this one solo as everyone else was busy so you go faster when not talking and walking! Got to listen to some the Economist podcasts until me headphones died.

Starts at the Bolton Street Cemetery and goes up into the Botanical Garden up to the Cable Car. Then down into Kelburn Park and through the Mount Street Cemetery at VUW. You then head along above the Terrace past Boyd Wilson Field and down into Aro Valley.

Then up through Tanera Park and the community gardens there passing into Central Park. You go up over the Renouf Tennis Centre and into Nairn Street Park and Prince of Wales Park. then through some town belt into McAlister Park .
After all the parks you hit the Berhampore Golf Course, then trek up from that to the Tawatawa Ridge and then mainly downhill until you hit the climb up to the Oku Street Reserve. From there you go down into Shorland Park in island Bay on the South coast.

It’s my favourite walkway as it just sneakily manages to link all these discrete parks together, while winding its way from the city to the South coast. Many great views to be enjoyed.

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Insurance in Wellington

March 14th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Alastair Thompson writes at Scoop:

Sources tell me that insurance chiefs from the biggest reinsurers in the world are now pricing Wellington as “ground Zero for earthquake reinsurance risk” in the world. Not the Asia-Pacific. Not the ring of fire. The world.

And as a result practically speaking earthquake reinsurance cover is not practically available for commercial property in Wellington.

Yes some policies are being written on some buildings (usually ones which are up to code and have blue chip tenants) for 400% to 600% premium increases.

My apartment’s building insurance has already doubled and off memory it is at 80% of code!

In the Wellington commercial property market full insurance is a condition of all the mortgage business. Full replacement earthquake insurance is a standard term and condition.

In NZ most companies which carry business interruption insurance also need to have earthquake interruption cover to satisfy the conditions of the bank credit facilities. These often include warrantees around the quality of the building that business is being conducted out of – including the existence of earthquake insurance cover.

So what does this mean?

It means that the Wellington CBD property market is frozen. The only purchasers are ones which are buying with cash. There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of distressed mortgaged unit title and company share owners in the city.

It means rentals are falling and landlords are getting creative.

A good description of the problem.

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Skyline Walkway

March 4th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar


EveryTrail – Find hiking trails in California and beyond

The Skyline Walk is one of the best walks in Wellington as you get a near continual view of not just the city and harbour, but also of the Western coastline.

The 12 km walk starts at Johnsonville and finishes at the South end of Karori at the saddle of Makara Road.

There is an initial climb up to Mt Kaukau, but after that it is a fairly easy walk to Karori (with the exception of one further steep climb). Very well signposted and the track varies from 4WD paths to narrow goat like paths. Fun when someone comes the other way!

The continual views make this a great walk. Took just over three and a half hours.

This was walk no 11 of the 13 walks over summer. Just two to go.

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Options for a Wellington super city

February 28th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Wellington would have the biggest council in New Zealand if either one of a working party’s super-city options for the region goes ahead.

A local government reform working party is proposing two options: one with a mayor and 29 councillors, the other with 22 elected members including a mayor, plus community boards.

Is there a third option?

Councils need to be manageable sizes. 29 and 22 is not.

You need fewer Councillors and more decisions done at local board level.



One unitary authority for the Greater Wellington region.

One mayor for the region, and 21 councillors elected by wards.

The wards would be Lower Hutt (4 councillors), Kapiti (2), Porirua (3), Upper Hutt (2), Wairarapa (2), North-Central Wellington (5), South Wellington (3).

Eight local community boards based on the seven wards, but with North-Central Wellington split into two.


One unitary authority.

One mayor for the region, and 29 councillors elected by wards.

The wards would be the same as the two-tier model, but with more representatives.

My preference is the first option but with fewer Councillors.

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Public Transport charges

February 26th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Michael Forbes at Dom Post reports:

A reduction in the discount traditionally enjoyed by those who pre-pay for their public transport is being proposed by Greater Wellington Regional Council officers.

The 2013-14 draft Annual Plan, which will be tabled at a council meeting today, also floats an average rates increase of 2.6 per cent.

Bus and train operators are required to offer a minimum 20 per cent discount on multi-trip tickets and stored value cards.

But changes being proposed by council officers would see that reduced to 17 per cent in zone 1 – an area of heavy public transport usage encompassing the Wellington CBD, Aro Valley and Thorndon.

That would be a silly decision.

If you look at successful public transport programmes overseas, one of the keys is to get almost everyone using cards such as Snapper. In London, almost no one buys tickets for single trips. They all have Oyster cards.

The key to getting everyone onto prepay cards is to have massive discounts on them (ie it is too expensive not to have one) and to have a daily limit on them.

Wellington should move to integrated ticketing, and increase the price difference between pre-paid cards and cash tickets.

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The fenceline walk

February 24th, 2013 at 1:32 pm by David Farrar


EveryTrail – Find trail maps for California and beyond

An 8.5 km hike around the fenceline of the Karori Sanctuary, Zealandia. It has 460 metres of vertical elevation so is a good challenge. It is the same route as the annual gutbuster run.

We started at the Zealandia and climb up to the Brooklyn Wind Turbine. The odd flat piece, but mainly uphill.

From the wind turbine you continue along the fence towards Hawkins Hill but then veer back towards Karori. You think you do not have much more climbing to go, but actually the track drops down into a valley which then gives you another big climb up to Wrights Hill.

From Wrights Hill, it is mainly downhill. The track next to the fenceline is so steep at parts you are advised to use an alternate zigzag down, which we did.

Some great views, and a reasonable distance to go from Karori to Brooklyn and back.

Big ups to all the cyclists on the shared path. Everyone helpfully yells out that they are approaching you, what side of the path they are on, and how many of them there are.

If anyone knows what the berries are in one of the photos, feel free to comment.

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Mt Victoria Loop Walk

December 23rd, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Did the Mt Vic loop walk this morning. At first overcast and looked like rain, but by the end of the walk, the sun had burnt all the cloud away and was sweltering. 85 minutes in total and you do 5 kms but a fair amount of uphill. It is basically a figure of eight loop.


You start at Charles Plimmer Park at the top of Majoribanks Street and head up on the Hataitai to City walk track. This is the one that had Lord of the Rings filmed just off it.


A view of central to southern suburbs as you head along the western side of Mt Vic.


That looks like some sort of observatory near Government House. Anyone know what it is exactly?


Nice shadowy bush track on the eastern side.


This tree is on a definite lean!


The Hataitai Velodrome, which you circle around.


Charles Plimmer Park where you start and finish.

There are literally scores of walking and cycling tracks on Mt Vic. If I loved lived next to it, I’d spend all my time exploring them.

The loop track isn’t signposted as such. It is a combination of four other tracks. But once you work out where to go, it is a great view of both the CBD and the eastern suburbs.

Last time I did this track, they found a dead person there the next day – hopefully no repeat this time!

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Taxi fares

December 22nd, 2012 at 8:11 am by David Farrar

Carla Penman at Stuff reports:

The most expensive cab company in Wellington can charge as much as a quarter more for a ride than the cheapest operators.

Yes, that is called competition.

And fares in the capital are twice as much as those in the regulated market of Melbourne, Australia.

Is it?

Prices for a simple 10-minute, 3.9-kilometre trip from Cuba St to Hobson St in Thorndon, at the same time of night, on the same route, in light traffic, ranged from $15.40 in a Kiwi Cab, to $18.40 in a Green Cab, to $20.20 in Combined Taxis – a massive 24 per cent difference. This included callout and eftpos charges.

It’s certainly easy to get a cab in Wellington. The city seems to be awash with taxis. On any given day, especially along Courtenay Place, dozens of cabs are lined up waiting for customers.

There are 11 companies chasing different kinds of customers.

Yet strangely, despite all this competition, prices are still around double what you’d pay in Melbourne – where taxi fares are regulated.

Okay, let us look at this Melbourne fare website. A 4 km, 10 min journey would be:

  • Booking Fee $2.00
  • Flagfall $3.00
  • Kms 4 x $1.62 = $6.48
  • Wait 6 x $33.96/60 = $3.40

That is a total of Au$14.88 or NZ$18.80, and that presumably the EFTPOS fee which was included in NZ and not known in Australia.

Each cab has to display its company’s charges both inside and outside the vehicle. Companies tell their drivers to have their meter set to charge a certain amount, depending on the time and distance travelled – this is called the tariff.

The meters are checked by New Zealand Land Transport, to ensure they are charging at the advertised rate.

That should mean the customer can quickly calculate the cheapest cab on the rank, right?

In theory, yes.

But it’s not easy for the average customer to figure out the total fare from the baffling array of charges listed.

For example, there’s the call-out fee, the flagfall (starting rate), the tariff (the price per kilometre travelled), a fee for using eftpos and waiting time per minute.

If you manage to add all those up, you then need to try to calculate the total fare by estimating the distance to be travelled and multiplying it by the tariff – and that’s just too much for most customers. Either they don’t bother and just grab the most available cab, or even if they do calculate it according to the rates, it’s not a reliable guess – because it depends on the route the driver takes, and the amount of congestion.

First of all many customers do not want the cheapest cab on the ramp. We have a market where you can choose cheap and nasty or more expensive and reliable. I will always choose a Combined cab over any other cab, for several reasons:

  • Their drivers speak English
  • Their drivers know where most roads are
  • Their cabs don’t tend to stink of food
  • They always have eftpos and take taxicard

But I do agree prices are hard to calculate. What I think would make a difference is having the NZ Transport Agency listing the tariff schedules for all taxi firms in each city on a website. I’d love to be able to compare the prices of Combined and Green Cabs (who aren’t too bad) so I know in advance the approx cost of each.

With most customers simply unable to figure out the likely fare, Combined Taxis has been able to quietly increase its fees, relying on its market dominance to keep customers rolling in.

This sounds like the normal competitors whining. Combined do well, because they provide the best service in my opinion. I also know a lot of women who will only use Combined because they feel safest with them.

Green Cabs Wellington manager Toni Shuker says people choose Combined Taxis because they have more vehicles available.

No, I choose them because of the good service I get from them.

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Spoilsport Council

December 18th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Photo by Phil Reid/Fairfax.

The Dom post reports:

A “public art installation” that has sprung up in a Wellington bus shelter will be dismantled in favour of wooden benches.

A Brooklyn bus shelter was mysteriously transformed into an impromptu lounge room at the weekend, complete with two tattered couches, a small library and a hot water bottle.

By early yesterday someone had added Christmas tinsel, a clock, a picture, an icecream container full of lemons and a life-sized plastic dog.

I think that is great. How cool would it be to have couches to sit on and books to read at a bus stop.

Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean said the council was no closer to uncovering who was responsible. He said the scene would be removed before contractors arrived tomorrow to reinstall benches.


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Wind Turbine to Red Rocks walk

December 16th, 2012 at 2:19 pm by David Farrar

Red Rocks

EveryTrail – Find hiking trails in California and beyond

This was a fun, but tough walk.

The first couple of kms are the popular walk from the Brooklyn Wind Turbine to the Hawkins Hill Radar. Uphill, but not too steep except at the end as you pass the Wellington Castle and the nice dogs there try to jump over the fence to rip your throat out.

Instead of turning back, you carry on past the radar, and carry along the 4WD track past a couple more communication buildings. You get great views of the western wind turbines as you head towards the trig station. Pretty windy up there.

The track from the trig on is more narrow and mainly downhill. It is incredibly steep in some places, and combined with gravel paths, the potential for disaster is high. I only fell over once (a nice grazed right leg to show for it) but at times had to side-step down the slope. It was tough going.

While mainly downhill, there are parts where you go back uphill again, and again very steep in parts. We did a total of around 250 metres vertically uphill and 600 metres vertically downhill.

Towards the end you hit the old WWII observation bunkers. Stunning views of the ocean and South Island. The map says there is a track to the right and to the left. However to the right looked like a cliff, smelt like a cliff, sounded like a cliff and we concluded was a cliff. We later learnt there is no path there now.

The path to the left (follow the yellow markers) turned out to have its challenges also. At first a nice walk down a valley, but then it joined another valley and the path turned into a stream. And while the stream had little water, it had a downhill gradient in places of 45 degrees or so. Think climbing down wet rocks, more than walking.

It was with some relief we hit Red Rocks below. A bach owner told us we were the only people that weekend to do the track. I was not totally surprised. Don’t get me wrong – I loved the challenge, and the views. But the steep downhill is not for the faint hearted.

We then had a three km walk or so around the coastline to the Te Kopahau car park. Almost 12 kms all up and took three hours 20 minutes.

Next week in the Mt Victoria loop track which will be considerably easier.

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Otari Skyline Loop Walk

December 1st, 2012 at 4:26 pm by David Farrar

Otari Skyline

EveryTrail – Find hiking trails in California and beyond

Did this afternoon the Otari Skyline loop walk, which starts at the Troup Picnic Area and up the blue trail too the 800 year old Rimu tree. Then carry on uphill, with a fairly steep incline, until you cross the pine forest and hit the open. A bit further uphill gets you to the Skyline Track and you follow this North for a bit and then head back down to Otari via the yellow trail.

Took 1 hr 45 minutes, which was good as the guide book said two and a half hours. Some great views and good workout for the calves.

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Help clean up Makara

November 23rd, 2012 at 12:10 pm by David Farrar

Makara is one of my favourite parts of Wellington. I love the drive over to the rugged coastline, and can spend hours just enjoying the view from the cafe there. Incidentally it is a very good date location – you take them to Makara, get the superb ice creams at the cafe, play foosball on the near antique table and take in the view.

You can also hike up to the old gun emplacements and I’ve even done a Makara to Island Bay weekend tramp on a couple of occasions around the bays.

Anyway Sustainable Coastlines and Meridian are having aa clean up of Makara Beach tomorrow (Sat 24).

This spectacular piece of coastline is well looked after by locals everywhere with public access, but the area is heavily affected by a regular flow of waste from fisheries in the Tasman Sea, the Whanganui River and Marlborough mussel farms.

The rugged terrain of Meridian’s West Wind Farm, usually closed to the public, will be opened-up for this special one-day event, marking Meridian’s commitment to work with the entire community look after their local stretch of coastline. This will give volunteers the opportunity to experience remarkable views next to the enormous windmills and areas like Te Ikaamaru Bay –
which is so stacked with rubbish that those who are familiar call it ‘plastic beach’.

Volunteers are invited to join the clean-up crew for a fantastic day out exploring the area and give something back to the beautiful Makara coastline.

Meet at the Sustainable Coastlines display container on Makara Beach at 10am, Saturday 24 November to sign-in and collect equipment.
From Makara participants will split into teams and head out along the coastline on foot and by 4WD to clean-up the area from Makara Beach around to Ohau Bay. Free lunch will be provided from 1pm at Makara Beach with the support of Meridian Energy, whose staff will be mucking-in to cleanup too.

Find out more and register online at

I’m in Dunedin otherwise I’d absolutely be there. A great way to make a difference to a special part of Wellington. I just ove the views from there. If you have some time available on Saturday consider helping out.

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State property costs

November 23rd, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Jonathan Coleman announced:

State Services Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman says a new Public Service property strategy is likely to reduce the office space foot print in Wellington by the equivalent of three Reserve Bank buildings.

Dr Coleman says Cabinet has approved the start of a centralised negotiation for future public service office space in the capital with accommodation leases due to expire for five large government agencies.

The leases due to expire include the Ministries of Social Development, Health, Education and Business Innovation and Employment, and the Crown Law Office.

The Property Management Centre of Expertise based within the Ministry of Social Development has been delegated to lead the negotiation for the accommodation needs. …

A business case presented to Cabinet indicated a reduction of the office footprint in Wellington of 30 per cent will save $338 million over 20 years, which is a 20 per cent reduction in cost compared with the status quo baseline.

Sounds good to me. If that achieve that, there are benefits beyond the direct savings. The ever increasing size of the public sector in the 2000s saw office rental costs in Wellington CBD skyrocket. This imposed significant costs on private businesses. Having reduced demand from the public sector should see smaller increases in rental prices for commercial tenants.

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The Southern Walkway

November 19th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Southern Walkway

EveryTrail – Find hiking trails in California and beyond

On Sunday myself and Jordan and Ski Bunny Girl and Gym Girl did the Southern Walkway. My plan is to do 13 great Wellington walks over 13 weekends. This was the first of them.

Despite growing up in the southern suburbs, I had never done the Southern Walkway before. We started off in Island Bay and walked around the bays to Houghton Bay. I bored everyone with stories of my how I used to deliver papers there and my techniques for maximising tips!

Then up the hill through Melrose and Mt Albert with good views of the Southern and Eastern suburbs. Then you head down through Newtown hitting the boundary of the zoo and seeing the orangutans. Go through the hidden away Truby King Park which looked so nice I’m going to head back just to explore.

We then headed down to near Kilbirnie, then up Mt Victoria. Eventually hitting the lookout where the girls doted on a huge dog (it was only 6 months old, so will grow to double its current size which was already close to a polar bear!), and finally a winding path down to Oriental Bay, with some stunning views on the way.

The guide says it takes four to five hours, and we did it in two and three quarters of an hour so a reasonably good pace considering there are two hills large hills to traverse.

Next weekend is the Sanctuary to Sea walkway.

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A Lord Mayor for Wellington?

October 31st, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Katie Chapman at Stuff reports:

One Lord Mayor for the region is being heralded as the future of local governance for Wellington.

An independent panel headed by Sir Geoffrey Palmer today revealed its proposal for how local councils should be structured.

Under the structure there would be:

* A Greater Wellington Council with 10 councillors headed by a Lord Mayor, who would be elected by the public.

* Six local area councils: Wellington, Porirua, Kapiti, Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt and Wairarapa.

* Each council would have a ‘‘mayoral figurehead’’, elected by the council, not the public.

* The current level of 107 elected mayors and councillors would reduce to 79.

* The Greater Wellington Council would be responsible for all finances, including setting a single rate for the region. It would also look after regional matters such as environmental issues and transport planning.

* The local area councils would be responsible for local service delivery, such as rubbish collection and park management, and local engagement and advocacy.

* Local area councils would have budgets negotiated with the Wellington Regional Council and would be responsible for funds allocated to them.

I think Sir Geoffrey’s proposed structure is a great improvement on the status quo.  The name Lord Mayor is silly, but having an elected Mayor for the whole Region would give Wellington a much more effective voice.

Councillors would sit for a four-year term, but would be restricted to a three-term maximum.

I am a huge fan of term limits, and think we should have them for Parliament also. A term limit means politicians focus more on what they can achieve in their limited tenure of service, rather than how to get re-elected for ever.

The proposal is here. However they have not put a suffix on it, so it comes up file type unknown. Open it as a pdf. It’s a weighty 208 pages long and the panel that unanimously recommends the structure is Sir Geoffrey, Sue Driver, Sir Wira Gardiner and Bryan Jackson.


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Wellington today

October 11th, 2012 at 3:06 pm by David Farrar

A reader took this photo from the train into Wellington from Wairarapa this morning. Lovely. Wish I was there.


Was this a pattern?

September 12th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reported at the weekend:

Sir Peter Jackson’s plans to build a world-class film museum in Shelly Bay were scuppered when Sir Ngatata Love’s partner sought $750,000 in consultancy fees to help secure the land.

I suggest people read the full article, which is potentially quite disturbing. I make no comment on the legality of what happened, recognising that there is an SFO investigation.

What I wonder about is whether this was a one off, or a regular thing. How many great Wellington projects may not have occurred because of such greedy demands?

Shelly Bay would be a wonderful location for a film museum. Hopefully the proposal can still happen one day.

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TheInsider App

August 20th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Wellingtonians are going to love this ap – you can get it from Apple App Store here.

TheInsider is an app which shows you in Wellington (I believe it will expand) where all the bar, cafe and restaurant specials are near you – or just generally in Wellington. I’ve been waiting for an app like this.

It is free for the month of August, so get in quick.

It is very easy to use, and you can view the specials in list order or on a map. I’ll be using it whenever I am drifting in town.


Wellington sea level

July 13th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Parts of coastal Wellington could be drowned if doomsday climate change predictions from a new study pan out over the next 100 years.

Two reports issued yesterday by Greater Wellington regional council show Wellington’s sea level is the fastest rising in New Zealand – made worse by seismic rumblings causing the city to sink 1.7mm a year since 2000.

Worst-case scenarios coupling massive sea level rise with intense storm floods show low-lying coastal parts of the Eastbourne bays, Petone, Pauatahanui, as well as the river mouths at Otaki, Hutt, Whakataki (near Castlepoint), and Waikanae and the lower Wairarapa valley, could be forever swamped if sea levels rose 1.5m by 2115.

The scenario of 1.5m in 100 years is rather detached from reality. It would be sea level rise 10 times faster than what is actually happening. A 1.7mm rise a year is 17cm over 100 years if the rate stayed the same. Now sure it may increase – but it is not going to be 10 times as fast.

A reminder that the latest IPCC forecast is that on average over 100 years sea levels will rise between 19 and 59 cm. A 1.5m increase is three times greater than the “maximum” forecast by the last IPCC report.

On the plus side, the doomsday map shows that my apartment block will become a beachfront property, which would be great. So I’m all in favour.

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Mt Victoria

July 12th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Police have named a Wellington woman whose body was found on Mt Victoria but say it could take six weeks to determine how she died.

She was Sofia Helen Athanassiou, of Newtown.

The 39-year-old was found by a group of joggers about 11am on Monday off a running track near Alexandra Park, above Wellington Girls’ East College.

By coincidence I was walking with a friend on the same area of Mt Vic the previous (Sunday) morning.  And there was a (in hindsight) slightly surreal conversation as at one point the track splits and we went down the path which was very bushy and surrounded by trees. My walking companion said “Are you taking me down this way so you can …”. I interrupted and said “No I only dispose of bodies in swamps, not forests”. She exclaimed back “I was going to say have sex with me, not kill me. Why are you thinking of killing me”. My response was “I’m not, why are you thinking of having sex with me”. We both laughed and carried on.

So it was rather weird to then read barely 24 hours later someone had been found dead in close to the same location.

He said an autopsy completed late yesterday was inconclusive and police were awaiting the results of further laboratory tests which may help explain how or why Athanassiou died.

Those tests could take up to six weeks.

“While it will ultimately be for the Coroner to determine the cause of death, we are still treating Sofia’s death as ‘unexplained’ and a key focus of the police investigation is establishing how or why she died.”

Twelve investigators continued to work on the case.

Hopefully it was natural causes, not homicide. A tragedy for her family and friends either way, but worse if foul play is involved.


Useful tool

July 9th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

I caught a bus yesterday down to Allen Street for a yum char. I remarked to the person I was seated next to that it would be great if there was a plugin for smart phones that tells you when the next bus is for your stop, rather than have to go and look up on their website which stop you are at, and then the schedules.

He remarked that in fact Wellington Metlink website has on its mobile site such a service. It can detect your position, and show you nearby bus stops. Click on the one you want and it will tell you the next buses due there. It even highlights the ones with GPS on the bus, so the time shown for those buses is the actual time, not just the scheduled time it will get to you.

So a handy wee site for Wellington bus users. Very useful to be seated next to someone who as it turned out worked for the NZ Transport Agency :-)

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A 7.0 quake

July 3rd, 2012 at 11:09 pm by David Farrar

This is the first time that I’ve actually freaked out over an earthquake. Being on the 10th floor, I felt it badly. Made it down 10 flights of steps in around 40 seconds. The first shake had me at my door frame. Then there was a pause and I had a gut feeling it may shake again so headed for the stairs. Just as I got there, then an even bigger shake and decided it was safer to get out, than head back in.

Hope those near Opunake are fine. Thank goodness it was 250 km deep. A shallow quake could have been very nasty.

One upside. I discovered an earthquake is a very good cure for the flu. My aching muscles and lethargy disappeared instantly as I fled the building!

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June 11th, 2012 at 4:30 pm by David Farrar


EveryTrail – Find trail maps for California and beyond

This walk is not one I am going to recommend, unless you are masochistic. At the very end of the Northern Walkway I had noted a track going up to the Stellin Memorial Park. Now I have been there before (via road from Northland) and on the map it didn’t look far up.

Most of the upwards tracks on Te Ahumairangi Hill are of moderate difficulty. They zig zag up for several hundred metres. This track basically just goes straight up the hill, with only a bit of sideways action.

On the way up I passed a couple heading down, and said I was looking forward to the downhill part. I was wrong. I did eventually get up to the lovely grass area with a great view. Rather exhausted, I have to say. Then I started back down.

The track was muddy, narrow and steep. A bad combination. Despite being as careful as I can, I managed to fall onto my backside no less than four times. My buttocks now look like an over-enthusiastic Dominatrix got let loose on them. I almost slid down the bank also.

This is not a track I would recommend unless you are a lot fitter and nimbler than me – and more masochistic.

After I got back down, I then crossed the road and did a short circuit of part of the Botanical Gardens. Went right to the southern end, which I had not been to before. Plan to do more jogs through there.

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The Eastern Walkway

June 10th, 2012 at 12:21 pm by David Farrar

Eastern Walkway

EveryTrail – Find hiking trails in California and beyond

Ever since DC Girl moved to Seatoun, have been keen to do the Eastern Walkway as so close to her place. We started at the Pass of Branda and it is a steep climb up the hill.

Once you get to the top, there are some excellent views of the harbour and hills.

Moving along coastline, you might think it is all flat once you are at the top. But actually you go up and down several more times, until you reach the Ataturk memorial at Tarakena Bay. A very nice grassed area with great views.

The walk is just under 5 kms, but the number of climbs means that it does take around 90 minutes to do the return trip, so you feel like it has been a longer trek.

A popular walk, with heaps of joggers and dog walkers. Rugby came along also, and did his best to trip me up while going down the steps.

There’s a number of side-routes one can do also, so plan to explore them at some stage.

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Wellington public transport

June 2nd, 2012 at 10:46 am by David Farrar

Lane Nichols at the Dom Post reports:

Frustrated Wellington rail commuters will benefit from a massive Government investment in public transport designed to reduce congestion and delays.

The announcement of nearly $900million for national public transport projects will buoy proponents of Wellington’s costly proposed light-rail system.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown immediately called for urgent work to establish a central city light-rail or tram system.

The Government has in fact spent a huge amount on public transport, and rail. I’d be quite keen to see costings of a tram system in Wellington, but we should make decisions based on the benefits and costs.

I’m a very regular user of Wellington buses in the CBD and Thorndon areas, and generally they work very well. Would trams be more efficient?

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