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AUCKLAND MUSEUM - EXHIBIT:

Darwin - the most in depth exhibition ever
SCOOP - Wednesday, 1 August 2007, 10:51 am

The American Museum of Natural History’s prestigious DARWIN exhibition opens in New Zealand exclusively at Auckland Museum at the end of September and runs to January 18 2008. This comprehensive exhibition features the broadest and most complete collection ever assembled of specimens, artifacts and original manuscripts related to Darwin. Darwin offers visitors an engaging and enlightening exploration of the extraordinary life and mind of Charles Darwin (1809–1882), whose curiosity, observations, and discoveries nearly 150 years ago forever changed the perception of the origin and nature of our own species, as well as the myriad other species on this planet, and launched modern biological science. Visitors experience the wonders Darwin witnessed on his journey as a curious and adventurous young man aboard the HMS Beagle on its historic five-year voyage (1831–1836) to South America, the Galápagos Islands, and beyond, including a fleeting visit to New Zealand.

The first clues that led Darwin to his theory of evolution came into focus during his voyage on the Beagle as the ship’s naturalist. The exhibition re-creates this experience with live animals, like those Darwin himself encountered, along with actual fossil specimens he collected. Darwin also features an elaborate reconstruction of the naturalist’s study at Down House, where, as a keen observer and dedicated experimenter, he proposed the revolutionary theory that all life evolves according to the mechanism of natural selection. It was a theory that Darwin would keep secret for 21 years while he continued his research and studies. Rare objects on display, coupled with descriptive text, illuminate the patterns he observed among species, which led to the publication of the astonishing and brilliant The Origin of Species, wherein he assembled the massive evidence of life’s diversity, animal and plant domestication, and the geologic and fossil record to support his theory of evolution.

Visitors learn how Darwin arrived at the startling conclusion that life on Earth is not static, but changing, and how his controversial theory of natural selection offered a mechanism to explain the existence of the amazing diversity of life on Earth. These insights continue to guide Museum scientists and their colleagues worldwide today as they apply Darwinian concepts to global inventories of life, conservation biology, reconstruction of the evolutionary Tree of Life, and the treatment of diseases ranging from AIDS to SARS. “Having presented the face of science to our visitors since we were founded in 1852 Auckland Museum is delighted to presented the life and work of Charles Darwin, a remarkable naturalist whose views on the origins of life and evolution changed forever our knowledge of the natural world, “said outgoing Museum Director Rodney Wilson, whose retirement coincides with the opening of this exhibition. “One of our key purposes is to present and apply the biological sciences, and we look forward to hosting this landmark exhibit about a critically important subject and continuing to engage our audiences in the wonders of scientific discovery.”
 
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NEWS:

Voters favour Auckland 'super city'
NZ HERALD - 5:00AM Wednesday August 01, 2007



Nearly two out of three Auckland City voters back the push for one super council for the region. In a Herald-DigiPoll survey taken last week, before the Government announced a royal commission of inquiry into Auckland's governance, 61.4 per cent were in favour of one Auckland authority and just 29.7 per cent opposed. In the weeks leading to the poll, a lobby group led by the Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern) began a high-profile advertising campaign in favour of One Auckland. The survey's finding of support for one city authority is a strong turnaround from a similar poll last September that found voters split, with just 47.8 per cent in favour and 49.5 per cent opposed.

The EMA's chief executive, Alasdair Thompson, tried to build on his group's success with the royal commission decision by offering Prime Minister Helen Clark draft terms of reference for the inquiry. Its 12 points begin with a call for Auckland to have a unique solution, not one copied from overseas, and a council that reduces local government operating costs by 10 per cent. An unscientific poll on nzherald.co.nz yesterday that attracted 2240 responses found 85 per cent support for a super city.
 
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VECTOR ARENA - CONCERTS:

This is a fantastic article and it goes to show how badly we needed an indoor arena .... just imagine when we get a Convention Centre ....

Top music acts flood NZ with the arrival of Vector Arena
NZ HERALD - 1:00PM Thursday July 26, 2007

As Gwen Stefani prepares to play her first-ever New Zealand show at Auckland's Vector Arena tonight, Linkin Park have just announced a one-off Auckland show at the venue on October 12. Despite various criticisms of the venue's sound quality, no one can deny the influx of international artists visiting Auckland these days. Since Vector Arena opened it's doors in March, it seems not a week has passed that a major tour announcement hasn't been made. We compared the number of international acts visiting Auckland in recent times, compared to that of three years ago.

Looking at the lists below, you can see not only have the number of visitors increased, but so has the calibre of visiting artists.

INTERNATIONAL ACTS IN AUCKLAND

May '04 to October '04

Dizzee Rascal
Franz Ferdinand
Sonic Youth
Missy Elliot
Kelis
Natalie Cole
Jurassic 5
The Seekers
UB40
Black Eyed Peas
Muse
Busta Rhymes
Alicia Keyes
TOTAL: 14

May '07 to Oct '07
Pink (Vector)
Christina Aguilera (Vector)
Gwen Stefani (Vector)
Linkin Park (Vector)
Snow Patrol (Vector)
Guns N' Roses (Vector)
Steely Dan (Vector)
Bob Dylan (Vector)
Akon with Naughty by Nature (Vector)
The Cure (Vector)
Silverchair and Powderfinger (Vector)
Crowded House (Vector)
Bloc Party
Xzibit
Regina Spektor
OK Go
Jose Gonzalez
Heaven and Hell - Black Sabbath the Dio Years
Ryan Adams
Ice Cube
Fall Out Boy
Marilyn Manson
The Editors
Hinder
TOTAL: 24
 
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I really hope the Commission of Enquiry comes to the conclusion that we all want...a super city for Auckland! woop woop! lol.
Yeah - I am with you all the way. No more red tape and unnecessary delays due to bickering fat cats.
 
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ASB SHOWGROUNDS - EXHIBIT:

The Food Show Is Back
SCOOP - Wednesday, 1 August 2007, 10:23 am

New Zealand's most popular food and beverage exhibition, The Food Show, is returning to Auckland this week, 2 - 5 August at the ASB Showgrounds. Headlining the The Food Show are Sydney culinary icons Tetsuya Wakuda, Bill Granger and Charmaine Solomon. Local celebrity chefs such as Annabel Langbein, Julie Le Clerc, Ray McVinnie, Annabel White, Ruth Pretty, Julie Biuso, Belinda Jackson and Vic Williams will all be showcasing their superior skills in the Electrolux Cooking Theatre over the four day event. Visitors to The Food Show who love eating, drinking, cooking and entertaining will find all their culinary cravings and sources for inspiration under one roof. Hundreds of exhibitors will be showcasing, sampling and selling hundreds of innovative foods and wines, as well as associated products and kitchen equipment.

There will be a Preview Day on Thursday 2 August, with only 2,500 tickets available at $30 each. This day, designed for VIPs and die-hard foodies, will be the only chance for fans to get a glimpse of Tetsuya, who will be showcasing his skill at 2.30pm in the Electrolux Cooking Theatre. An exclusive Official Opening function will take place from 6pm - 8pm on Thursday 2 August, with celebrity chefs, culinary personalities and fine food lovers celebrating the opening of The Food Show 2007. Visit www.foodshow.co.nz for the Electrolux Cooking Theatre timetable, and for more information. Tickets can be purchased from this website.
 
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CELEBRATION:

Sky Tower Turns It Up for 10th Birthday Celebrations

SCOOP - Tuesday, 31 July 2007, 1:43 pm



The Sky Tower in Auckland will be the place to be this weekend when it celebrates its 10th birthday. Kids can go up the Tower for FREE and adult tickets will be just $10 from Friday, August 3 to Sunday, August 5. To ring in a big 10 years of fun and entertainment, the Sky Tower will become its very own birthday candle, when it is lit up blue and gold this weekend. Observatory and Orbit Restaurants will also be celebrating, offering adult diners a free glass of wine or bubbles and kids a free 250ml Coca-Cola with their meals, from August 3–5.

10th birthday entertainment line-up:

Friday, August 3:
- 5.00pm-7.00pm: Vodafone Warriors players will be signing autographs and giving away prizes on the Main Observation Deck
- 5.00pm–8.00pm: The fantastic Nairobi Trio will be entertaining the crowd at Sky Lounge. Enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail, with the best view in town, while enjoying their special brand of jazz
- 5.30pm: The Sky Tower will be lit up blue at the bottom and gold at the top and laser lights will project a special birthday message onto the side of the Tower
- Free bubbles or wine for adults or 250ml Coca-Cola for kids at Orbit and Observatory restaurants

Saturday, August 4:
- 9.00am: The first 1500 Sky Tower visitors will receive their very own birthday cake on entry
- 9.00am–5.00pm: Face painters, balloonists, entertainers and Scottie Sky Tower will be roving between the floors of the Tower
- 12.00pm-2.00pm: Vodafone Warriors Cheerleaders will be performing in the Atrium
- 5.00pm-8.00pm: The Nairobi Trio will be playing in the newly refurbished Sky Lounge
- Free bubbles or wine for adults or 250ml Coca-Cola for kids at Orbit and Observatory restaurants

Sunday, August 5:
- From 9.00am: The first 1500 people to visit the Sky Tower will receive their very own birthday cake on entry
- 9.00am–5.00pm: Face painters, balloonists, entertainers and Scottie Sky Tower will be roving between the floors of the Tower
- 12.00pm-2.00pm: Auckland Rugby players will be signing autographs and giving away prizes with MR SKYCITY in Sky Lounge
- Free bubbles or wine for adults or 250ml Coca-Cola for kids at Orbit and Observatory restaurants

So head on down to the Sky Tower for a whole lot of fun and birthday entertainment this weekend. See the Sky Tower website www.skytower.co.nz for further information as well as terms and conditions.
 

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Yay 10 yrs old Sky Tower! I remember watching it grow and grow when i was a kid, I thought it was sooo cool. Still do lol.
I'm gonna go this weekend for sure!
Kiwiscrapers meet anyone?
 
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Yay 10 yrs old Sky Tower! I remember watching it grow and grow when i was a kid, I thought it was sooo cool. Still do lol.
I'm gonna go this weekend for sure!
Kiwiscrapers meet anyone?
The Friday event at 5:30 sounds fanny-tastic .... I think that the Doc is working though :(
 
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More photo opportunities - Groooovy (giving my age away ;) )

NEWS:

New street performance and busking policy

Wednesday, 1 August 2007, 3:08 pm
Press Release: Auckland City Council

The Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee today endorsed a policy to manage and encourage diverse, high quality street performance in Auckland city's public spaces. The street performance Policy outlines a code of conduct for performers to observe and aims to assist musicians and other entertainers to gain experience while ensuring that they carry out activities safely and in appropriate areas. Twelve-month licences will be issued free-of-charge to street performers who agree to comply with the criteria outlined in the Code of Conduct, which seeks to balance a performer's creative needs with everyday activities taking place in the city.

Councillor Penny Sefuiva, chairperson of the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee, says the new approach will ensure that the city's streets are alive with entertainment. "Quality and creative street performance is integral to enhance our city's ambience and vitality. We anticipate that clarifying expectations through this policy will ensure that the city attracts and fosters a wide range of street performance. "At no cost to the performers, the policy will assist them in choosing suitable locations to perform in and provide a fair system for the use of optimum sites," she says.

A street performance guidebook will help performers, residents and retailers to understand the code of conduct required to perform in Auckland's streets. It will also direct performers to appropriate locations for particular activities, such as special sites identified for pavement art and areas designated for acts that attract large audiences. It will also provide tips for performers wanting to make the most of their performance. The policy will come into effect in once the public places and street trading bylaws have been amended to include it. This is likely to be in early 2008.

 
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MARKET DAY:

First Saturday - Nuffield Street Party

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Nuffield Street, Newmarket’s stylish shopping street behind Broadway, is hosting First Saturday, a monthly street party held on the first Saturday in every month. First Saturday will launch with an outdoor art exhibition curated by local gallery, Seed. George FM will play funk, soul and jazz tunes on the street, and shoppers will be treated with chocolates and giveaways. Shoppers, art, fashion, and music lovers are invited to join the free party.

In wet weather, the exhibition will move in stores. Parking is available in the Nuffield Street car park behind Nest.

Venue: Nuffield Street, Newmarket, Auckland

Admission is free.
 
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NEWS:
Brighter prospects for broadband access

SCOOP - Thursday, 2 August 2007, 12:33 pm

Auckland City Council’s push for greater access to an urban fibre broadband network has led to a possible combined approach with Waitakere and Manukau city councils. A proposed network in Auckland city, funded by the council, central government and private investors, is ready for Expressions of Interest. However, the outcome of current discussions with Manukau and Waitakere cities may well provide a more secure base for private investment decisions and reduce the risk of confusing and dividing the market, Auckland City Council’s Economic Development and Sustainable Business Committee has heard.

“There are some exciting, tangible prospects for the early introduction of broadband to more areas of the city,” said committee chairperson, Councillor Richard Northey. "The council has recognised the heavy demand for improved broadband access and is keen to facilitate this for business and residential users throughout Auckland’s business districts and suburbs.” There is also an opportunity to link Waitakere, Auckland and Manukau districts via existing rail corridor ducts which are due to be transferred from the Auckland Regional Transport Network Ltd (ARTNL) to Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA). If these ducts have spare capacity and can effectively be accessed on a favourable basis, this would boost the network’s potential and make it more attractive to government and to private investors.

In the meantime, the committee approved a trial in micro-ducting (shallow trenching) as part of footpath upgrades planned in Mt Eden and Epsom in August and September. This would lay the foundation for a range of operators to deliver fibre services to homes. Micro-ducting under the pavement during the Newmarket business centre footpath upgrade is also being considered. Additionally, the possibility of laying fibre cabling to the ceiling of large stormwater and sewerage pipes via robot is being investigated. Progress on introducing high-speed wireless broadband to Auckland city’s CBD and CBD fringe has included a Request for Information process which attracted enquiries from 200 organisations in New Zealand, Australia and other countries.

Responses are being evaluated for a shortlist and for negotiations that will enable the council to understand the level of direct financial and in-kind contributions it may have to make. Councils around the world are developing public wireless access in partnership with broadband providers, often based on low-cost or no-cost access to points such as council buildings, bridges and light poles. A business case will go to the September meeting of the committee.
 
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FASHION:

Air New Zealand Fashion Week kicks off the first of many fashionable soirees on Tuesday night at the Hilton’s Bellini bar when we’ll hear the official word on the designer lineup for the runway shows in September. Runway Reporter has been hearing scuttlebutt and tittle tattle about who’s in and who’s out for weeks now. So, in advance of the announcements, we’re bringing you our own early predictions. The big news is that five of the biggest names in New Zealand fashion - Trelise Cooper, Kate Sylvester, Zambesi, Nom.d and Carlson – will be showing. Other names you may recognise: Huffer and Deborah Sweeney who won the Air New Zealand export awards at last year’s event. Also back from last year’s roster for the individual shows will be Juliette Hogan, Cybele, Hailwood, Federation and Yvonne Bennetti. We’re also tipping that Lonely Hearts Club and Stolen Girlfriends Club will do solo shows. Doubling up to do shows together will be Love Lies Bleeding and Sera Lily plus Gisborne girl Chelsea Thorpe with the Hawkes’ Bay’s Salasai. Quirk of the year is the addition of three labels that are better known as retail stores: High Street’s Ricochet, Ponsonby’s Thomas Valentine and Parnell’s The Cupboard.

Other names on our supposed-to-show list: Annah Stretton, Petrena Miller, Michael Pattison, LadyLore, Sakaguchi, TAV, Mille Feuille, Nicola Berti, Catherine Hansby, Brooke Tyson, Ellen Apparel, Elusiv, Euinton, Serdoun, Jaeha and Oyl. After last year’s fab bash in support of her eyewear, Karen Walker is back on the official schedule but her presentation will be in a similar vein as last year. Walker will not do runway as the New Zealand event runs too close to New York where she also shows. Other designers who we predict we won’t be seeing on the runway include: Kingan Jones, World, Mala Brajkovic, Sabatini, Jimmy D, Helen Cherry & Workshop, Little Brother, Doris de Pont, Andrea Moore, Catalyst, Obi, IPG, Liz Mitchell and young bloods including MAW, Beth Ellery, Des Rusk and Jaimie.
 

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Isnt the North Shore already laying fibre cables? i thought it was goin to be the frst. Anyone know?
 
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MAYORAL RACE:

We have lift off!

SCOOP - Friday, 3 August 2007, 1:40 pm



Mayoral Candidate and community activist Lisa Prager today launched her website www.council-watch.com On the site she outlines exactly what she will do if elected Mayor and the pro public policies she has been campaigning on now for some years. Countering comments about her cowboy hat Ms. Prager says, “Get over the hat and check out the ideas under the hat!”

It’s Time to Clean Up this Town
Like most people I am appalled by how Auckland City Council is run: budget blow-outs, secret meetings, fake consultations and the arrests of concerned citizens at council meetings. Confidentiality has become the way the public are shut out of the democratic process.

If elected I will help to:

1.
Stop the sale of public assets such as our airport.
2.
End contracting out for private profit of water services, roads and housing.
3.
Instigate an independent financial audit into council over-spending, consultants fees & contracting out.
4.
Restructure Metrowater as a not for profit organisation. End user charges for water services.
5.
Review rates & create a fairer system of charging for council services.
6.
End chemical spraying in our streets and parks.
7.
Increase the public open spaces by purchasing more land for that purpose.
6.
Open all meetings to the public and actively encourage genuine public participation (in Enee's own word ...talk,talk, talk long delays and no action).
7.
Remove all confidentiality from council business.
8.
Support arts & theatre by dedicating more funding to it and make funds easier to access.
9.
Protect our natural heritage like volcanic cones by ceasing all development on or near them.
10.
Protect our heritage suburbs by creating preservation precincts in association with each community.
11.
Fix the storm-water system, and support alternative methods for household waste, such as Biolytix.
12.
Address the unsustainability of the Regional Growth Strategy.

I will insist on Open, Transparent and Accountable Democratic Governance by all councillors regardless of their party or political persuasion.

^^^ Dick Hubbard has done most of what she "proposes" .... duh !
 
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FREE-TO-AIR TV ADDICTS:
Friday's TV highlights

4:59AM Friday August 03, 2007

8pm, TV2
MEN BEHAVING BADLY
This buddy comedy revolves around four New Yorkers - Barry (Seth Green), Bobby (Shane McRae), Ben (Josh Cooke) and Jason (Todd Grinnell) who have been friends since childhood. When Ben's grandmother, who dubbed them the "Four Kings of New York", passes away, Ben inherits her swanky apartment and decides to share it with his mates. None of the four wants to grow up and their attempts to deal with the responsibilities of adulthood, such as careers and relationships, tend to end in disaster. While this sitcom has a promising pedigree, having been created by the makers of Will & Grace, the critics hated it and it was pulled from NBC's schedule halfway through its 13 episodes. In tonight's premiere, after Ben asks his friends to move into his apartment, his girlfriend decides it is time they live together and gives Ben an ultimatum: his friends or her. Guess who gets the boot?

7.30PM, TV ONE
TRINNY AND SUSANNAH UNDRESS
The fashion Nazis descend on a couple whose wardrobes have been decimated by apathy. Jo has lost weight but forgotten how to dress, and chain-smoking hubby Mark doesn't care what he wears.

7.30PM, TV3
PROJECT RUNWAY (SEASON 3)
If you'd rather see high couture than styling, check this out. The designers must modernise a fashion designer's look, during which time one of the contestants is accused of sending an Amish rug down the runway. Ouch.

8.30PM, TV2
WHAT ABOUT BRIAN
Brian's new girlfriend brings out Marjorie's jealous streak, Dave embarks on a stakeout to follow Deena, and Nicole hides the fact she's on fertility treatments from Angelo.

8.30PM, TV3
THE STARTER WIFE
Molly (Debra Messing) reaches a new level in her relationship with Sam but her other relationships aren't going so well. There's the divorce to think about, and she's trying to be strong for Cricket, who has taken her husband back, but is unable to forgive him. Molly's attempts to get Joan on the wagon have also opened a rift between them.

MOVIES (NOT FREE-TO-AIR)

11.25PM, TV3
THE PIANIST
Herald rating: * * * * *
Drama by director Roman Polanski, set in Warsaw during World War II. It's the true story of Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody) who in the 1930s was renowned as the most accomplished piano player in Poland. Szpilman is conscripted into forced labour and goes into hiding as a Jewish refugee where he is witness to the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. (2002)

8.30PM, SKY MOVIES 1
THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN
Herald rating: * * * *
Great comedy from director Judd Apatow, who co-wrote the script with Steve Carell (The Office US, Little Miss Sunshine). Carell plays Andy, a nice guy who just hasn't got around to it. He hits it off with a woman (Catherine Keener) and they mutually agree to abstain from sex until their 20th date, much to the discomfort of his friends. (2005)

10.25PM, SKY MOVIES 1
THE OMEN
Herald rating: * * *
Remake of the classic 1976 fright-flick about a child raised by an American diplomat, who bears the number of the beast. In the role made famous by Gregory Peck, Liev Schreiber plays Robert Thorn, the US Ambassador in Britain. It pretty much sticks to the formula, with skewered priests, decapitations and Mia Farrow as the Satan-following nanny. (2006)

SPORT

7.30PM, SKY SPORT 1 AND RUGBY LIVE
AIR NEW ZEALAND CUP: BAY OF PLENTY V AUCKLAND
The Bay copped a pasting from Canterbury in the opening round, and Auckland will be disappointed if they don't deliver more of the same. Live on Sky Sport 2 at the same time is Otago v Northland.
 
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EXHIBIT:
Be inspired by design

02 August 2007



Auckland City Council is proud to be a sponsor of New Zealand's largest design event - Semi-Permanent 07. The one-day event on Saturday, 11 August will showcase the entire design and creative spectrum, ranging from graphic design, animation and advertising through to fashion and graffiti art. Featuring guest speakers and displays from New Zealand and around the globe, Semi-Permanent aims to engage with and inspire those already involved in the industry and design enthusiasts alike. Guest speakers at this year's event at the Aotea Centre include Misery, Glue Society, MadeThought and United Visual Artists.

"Semi-Permanent provides a unique opportunity for people to be inspired by the passion of key achievers in the creative sector," says Councillor Richard Northey, chairperson of the Economic Development and Sustainable Business Committee. "Being the only event of its type in Australasia, Semi-Permanent gives exposure to different perspectives, providing expertise and insight into the design world on a whole new level," says Mr Northey. "Auckland is the hub for New Zealand's creative industries, and Semi-Permanent contributes to the goals of the council's creative industries action plan, Blueprint."

Last year's event was attended by over 1200 people, so be sure to purchase your ticket early. Visit the website for more information. Auckland city is home to 79 per cent of the region's creative sector. Employment in the creative industries in Auckland city in the period between 2000 and 2006 grew at nearly three times the national growth rate.
 

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GREG ROUGHAN: The Sky cower

Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 5 August 2007


By GREG ROUGHAN It's the tallest 10-year-old you're likely to meet - 328 metres of Auckland icon - and such a natural part of the city's identity, it's strange to think that it's only a decade old.


When I first arrived in Auckland, my first sight of the Sky Tower as I crested the Bombay Hills (in an old station wagon, stuffed with everything I owned) was like a welcome to a new home. It was a pole stuck in the ground that said "this is the end of your journey". It gave me something to aim for on that last stretch of State Highway 1. And now that this place is home, the Sky Tower is a familiar friend, and the first sight of it after trips away is comforting - like turning the key in your door after a holiday.
But last week my feelings for the Sky Tower weren't so homely. Clinging to the uttermost top, sweating, trembling -stomach doing back flips as the slender tip of the mast swayed in the wind - I could only think that this was the most terrifying thing I'd ever done. That, and "don't look down".
So how did I get in this precarious position?
Well, despite never having been up it, I've always admired the tower. The way, like Rangitoto, it has the same profile from any point of view. The way its Nasa look has dated well. And the way it represents Auckland's can-do commerciality with a big middle finger to the rest of the country. So when SkyCity asked me on a modest behind-the-scenes tour to promote the tower's 10-year anniversary, I jumped at the chance.
Except the clever communications lady failed to mention we were going to the top. The clever comms lady just smiled sweetly when the safety harness came out. And the clever comms lady didn't say what it was for, until it was too late to chicken out. (So clever comms lady will get hers later. Embarrassing stories about Miss Haley McCrystal in via email please. Thanks.)
Anyway, that's all by the by because now I've survived the ordeal, I can say, without exaggerating, that it was the most astonishing experience I've ever had.
The view from Orbit restaurant is great. The view from the observation platform is better - and the view from the first open-air platform up the mast is... well, I don't know - that's when the sweating and trembling set in.
If you're heading for the very top, you leave the open-air platform and climb higher, inside the steel mast. This is tiring, but feels safe. After that, the antenna becomes too narrow to climb on the inside, and you do the last few metres on rungs welded to the outside. This is tiring and terrifying.
There are no barriers, no cages or nets. Oh sure, if you slipped, your single rope would catch you - but that rational thought doesn't stop every cell in your body from screaming this is wrong!
You think odd things when you're that far out of your comfort zone. Searching desperately inside myself for a scrap of courage, like a starving man fishing for the last pistachio in a bag of empty husks, my thoughts turned to VC recipient Colonel Apiata.
Now, normally I'm the kind of peacenik who's deeply suspicious of glamorising violence with medals and awards. But clinging to the mast with a bad case of the wobbles -despite being (if I thought about it) perfectly safe - I realised it's easy to criticise from a position of security, and that courage doesn't come as easily as in the movies. I'm not saying the view changed my views -but I learned something about earning the right to have one.
Oh, and something else I learned about: Stockholm syndrome.
When your fate is completely in someone else's hands, you very quickly subjugate your will to theirs. My gratitude goes to Adrian, Paul and Jamie who got Haley and me safely up. It was Adrian who led the climb to the tip of the mast and made sure we were firmly attached to its giant lightbulb. If Adrian had said "now clip on to that strut there - and by the way, I'm a member of al Qaeda", I would have said "thanks -and where can I sign up?"
Luckily, not only did Adrian and co seem ideologically sound, they radiated calm competence. Which is reassuring, as SkyCity is planning a scary new extension which will be open to the general public. It's called Sky Walk, and once the rope attachments have been built, it will let you walk freely around the outside rim of the observation deck, 250m up. It will help keep the Sky Tower experience fresh, and give visitors another way to test their mettle. So don't wait another 10 years - get up the tower. It's Auckland on a stick.
 
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