Pictures of the Week 19 and Stuff that Grinds my Wheels

It’s been a while since my last update. Apologies for that, but lately I just didn’t feel like turning the computer on in the evenings. Mainly because there is unusually much happening in my life. Work is great, really enjoy working for the kids and youth, but there is, unfortunately, lots happening in the background which just chews up my time and energy. I’m still running the Wharf to Wharf Marathon from Port FitzRoy to Tryphena. I’m preparing for it by eating lots of raw food and eating less in general.

By the way, I’m so fed up with people not being able to differentiate between intention and result; it seems that no matter what I do and where I am, you are not supposed to criticise anyone if they had/have good intentions and have worked hard…

I’ve been meeting many, many people lately, which is a good thing. People recognize me, know what I’m doing here, why I’m here and what I stand for. I’ve started with a retired mathematics teacher an after-school Science and Maths class. It’s not easy, I’m working in first gear and have to wait until others realize that science is not magic and that without resources and structure the results can only be poor. But hold on, that doesn’t matter, my intentions are good and I’m working hard… hehe

I had the pleasure to address and interact with Ngati Rehua and Ngati Wai during a youth development strategy programme. I must mention that there is a lot of Maori bashing going on in New Zealand and like most other disputes or issues, people nag and criticize without being rational and putting things into perspective first.  Well, I’m hoping for the best in terms of outcomes but was slightly put off when I heard ideas such as an innovation hub or becoming a world-leader in education and sustainable solutions.

It’s good to have aspirations, dreams and perhaps visions, but one must acknowledge that it is very easy to sell dreams, and that tangible and realistic outcomes require a step by step, progressive approach starting at the very beginning. Build your dreams and hopes, but don’t cry when it all collapses because you forgot to build the foundation first. Yes, one can spend money and build an innovation hub, but at some stage a person will ask: ‘So, what do you want to innovate…? Poverty and non-existing opportunities?

One more comment before getting to the pictures.

In their infinite governing wisdom, Auckland Council has – once again without any local consultation – introduced a novel waste minimisation scheme. I used to be charged for ‘Refuse Collection’ (which wasn’t collected…), at the beginning of the last rates assessment, this rates charge has been re-labelled to ‘Waste Management Rate’. The important bit is that it has increased by 39% (for me). Obviously, it is only me that sees it like this, Auckland Council will claim that – due to the relabelling – these rate descriptions are not comparable. Just like capital value of the land and rateable value of land. They just re-label the same thing, increase its cost and argue that they actually aren’t the same. Why am I not working for Auckland Council? I am able to create much more trickery…

However, this is old news. The new news is that they have gotten rid of all dumping stations. At this stage there are only recycle stations available on the island. Non-recyclable rubbish gets collected once a week or you have to bring it to the landfill You might think – just like those muppets who came up with the idea – that this is a great solution. As I’m being told by our local propagandists, waste minimisation and recycling is good. ‘Really, please continue to educate me!’ I’m a bit lost here, is environment good or bad, what about clean water, do I want clean or dirty water?

I’m, however, not the only one who realises that waste collection in plastic bags is stupid. It takes about 10 minutes until the first dog rips into the bags. Okay, I’m washing my rubbish now, it could be worse. But my main question is: ‘What the f**** am I supposed to do with rubbish that I didn’t produce at home?’ I’m driving 12 kids around in the van and after our event, there is quite a bit of rubbish. Am I supposed to take it home and put in my rubbish bag? What happens when I cook in a community building and want to get rid of my rubbish? Again, take it home?

What do I do with all the plastic bags and general rubbish I pick up on my way back when I was land-based fishing? Again, take it home? Nah, I just dump it by the recycle bins. I’ve noticed a new sign stating that you face a 400 NZD fine for disposing of non-recycle rubbish at recycle stations. Does that mean that there is no fine for just chucking it on the beach?

Hmm, what is a group of tourists supposed to do after a weeks worth of camping? Take all their rubbish back to Auckland, drive it to the landfill?

The worst thing of all, is that to get this very simple thing half-way right, it will mean that rates have to go up again. People make decisions without wanting to accept that not every local Islander lives in a residential area and that although getting rid of rubbish bins enforces waste minimization statistically, but that it results in contaminated recycle bins.

I often hear that our Local Board does not have the necessary authority to counteract decisions being made on the main land. Well, that is bullshit. Stop playing along, when the Auckland Mayor comes to the Barrier to campaign, don’t go and pick him up. When the Auckland Council delegates arrive, leave them on the airfield on their own. I’d go a step further and if you act collectively and think about measures to show our displeasure and often disgust, then you’ll come up with many meaningful and legal ways to make them fully aware of it. In such a way that they cannot ignore us!

And while we’re at this, you muppets working together with Auckland Council and ‘educating’ us on recycling, stop treating us like little kids and do your job. Tell me what happens with all the bottles that get shipped back to Auckland. What is this glass being recycled to? One might assume bottles, but I don’t believe this for a second until I see official statements. Where, how much does it costs, could this not be done here…?

Probably, some business gets its resource for free and turns it into whatever maximises its profit.

Okay, time to turn this thing off. Here are some pics for you. Cheers, Ben

I wasn't grumpy at all, it's this damn camera.
I wasn’t grumpy at all, it’s this damn camera.
An unusual visitor. Bloody Rani didn't listen and scared the cow off the property. I would have liked to domesticate it up here..., well, maybe next year...
An unusual visitor. Bloody Rani didn’t listen and scared the cow off the property. I would have liked to domesticate it up here…, well, maybe next year…
Nikau seed, I need to look up its nutritional value. It sure can be quite tasty.
Nikau seed, I need to look up its nutritional value. It sure can be quite tasty.


Motairehe Marae
Motairehe Marae


In Motairehe (up north)
In Motairehe (up north)


Looks like a 90 degree angle. Would be great to find some historical info on my land and all surrounding station rock.
Looks like a 90 degree angle. Would be great to find historical info about my land and all surrounding station rock.


If only everything grew like radish...
If only everything grew like radish…
Gherkin and spinach coming up.
Gherkin and spinach coming up.
Two raised beds reserved for climbing beans.
Two raised beds reserved for climbing beans.
Bush, nuff said.
Bush, nuff said.


6 thoughts on “Pictures of the Week 19 and Stuff that Grinds my Wheels”

  1. Nice! Thanks for sharing. Always good to read AND see that you are alive and kicking! Take care and talk again soon. Cheers, Johannes PS: really miss you, Mohamed & Rani (even if I never med her before…)

    1. Cheers Yo, good to hear from you, hope you’re doing well. Things are shaping up here, but there is a lot going on and sometimes I don’t really feel that lively
      and certainly haven’t been kicking either… hehe. It’s been two months since my last fishing session, too. Ah well, she’s all good. When you come over you’ll
      see how much energy Rani really has. She’ll be dragging you outside to play all day… Cheers Yo, bis bald, B

  2. Unfortunately as we well know those in Council are usually only interested in helping themselves/their business buddies. The only thing you can really expect is a total lack of interest/engagement “on the ground”. People will often say “They don’t know what they’re bloody doing!”. Oh yes they do, and you won’t stop it. Nor is it going to look very pretty by the time they’re done…..

    Whose cow was it? Good to see the garden is moving again. Indeed praise the Radish – My final batch of little heroes are just poking their heads up, but it’s getting pretty cold here now. Going to try sowing some beans now though, so we get an extra early crop in the spring!

    Rudy visited a couple of weeks ago which was cool. Then he went to Oktoberfest!

    Paul xxxxx

    1. Hey Paul, the cow was just from the farm next door. Happens every year, I’m sure there must be some stray/wild cows in the bush too. A bit more preparation
      and I can hopefully catch and keep a calf. Would be cool to have ‘domesticated’ stock up here.

      Re Council. Sometimes I actually think the people – yes, they are hugely overstaffed with people and enormously understaffed competent people but such is the case in most companies and institutions, anyway, at Council really try their best to get things better. At least they have some engaged people there, but I’m
      afraid that the entire system is wrong and there is hardly anyone there who can make good decisions for the future. So, every year they change things around
      talk and tackle the same problems, get new people in and forget what others had built up, and on she goes again. It is a vicious cycle really.

      In terms of rubbish, for instance, they could – like many other Councils – simply have restrictions and regulations for those who produce food. Ah, well, I could write for hours, but as you say, nothing will be changed anyway. The only realistic way would be to make Council employees accountable for their
      decisions. Actually, accountable for the long term results and outcomes of their decisions. Instead of raising the debt and promising better outcomes, wouldn’t it be great if they were remunerated via commissions on money, asset and value that they generated for the city.

      I take it was Rudy’s first time at your place, must have been good to catch up and good to hear that he’s on a proper Europe Trip. One day, I’m sure, he’ll come
      to the Barrier as well. Cheers, B

  3. I absolutely agree that rubbish could be massively reduced by making producers responsible for it. Unlikely to happen though…..

    I’m not sure if you are aware of Russel Brand? He’s from the UK, a comedian amongst other things but is currently making quite a stir with his recent interviews. Should you find yourself with a little time on your hands you may wish to take a look….

    Paul xxxxx

    1. I think my whole point is that Great Barrier Island – in many ways just like New Zealand itself – has such a low population density that one (government) can achieve all the things I talk about. After all, it’s like managing a small city. So yes, a lot more can be done than just to copy other governments and do what they did a few decades ago. Just in terms of recycling glass and bottles. How about recycling a bottle into a bottle again and have a refund system. Does it really have to take another decade before we do this in NZ?

      Yeah, I’m aware of Russell Brand but not the ‘interviews’ you’re relating to. Might have a look. Cheers, B.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *