Barking up the wrong tree

Daniel Hutchinson
From The Hutch

I might be paranoid but is anyone else worried about Muffin Mclay?

All over the world people are tearing down symbols of colonialism and here we have an Old English Sheepdog hanging out on the waterfront, bold as brass, with Hairy Maclary and his other friends.

In Christchurch this week, even brass statues of the Queen’s corgis were the target of a graffiti attack. Is nothing sacred?

Thankfully our shaggy interloper seems to be the only overt symbol of slobbering, armed-to-the-teeth empire building in Tauranga.

Being Scottish means Hairy Maclary is probably OK because even though the Scots are British, they do seem quite reluctant about the whole relationship. Almost like they are only staying together for the sake of the children.

I was actually totally shocked at how few statues we have of anything around here. There is Tangaroa in the harbour entrance, Hairy Maclary and Friends and not much else that I could find.

Oh, there is a statue of an Anglican minister flanked by canons in Tauranga but don’t read anything into that. As far as I can tell the canons are a pun because Charles Jordan was a canon.

Come to think of it, what happened to that silver surfer over in the Mount? Mountie I think his name was. Has he been quietly disposed of? What did he do to anyone? Bloody colonials, always dropping in on other people’s waves. You don’t want to do that around here.

Personally I really don’t care about statues that glorify some stuffy character from the past. There’s a statue of Sri Chinmoy in Taupo that I quite like but only because the smooth, bald head is weirdly mesmerising.

So, when John Hamilton’s bronzed body got hoisted on a hi-ab version of a hangman’s noose this week, it was a bit like – okay, what did he do?

We didn’t get taught very much NZ history in school so I don’t know what he did but it must have been bad for him to get carted away like that.

And this is where it gets complicated. I’m not sure if anyone else has picked up on this, but John Hamilton’s statue is not the only reminder of his influence on that area. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say the whole city is named after him.

Keeping things civil

In the interests of not starting a civil war, I won’t invite Bay of Plenty folk to suggest new names for Hamilton, but rather I will give all of our English sounding cities new names that don’t offend anyone.

And the answer to this has been staring us in the face for generations – let’s just continue the whole North Island – South Island theme.

Auckland will simply be known as North North, Hamilton becomes Middle North, Wellington becomes South North.

Down south, Invercargill is OK because it’s Scottish but Christchurch becomes Middle South, Nelson is North South and Blenheim is obviously colonial too so we’ll call that North-East South.

Dunedin can stay because nobody knows what it means and it’s Scottish. Best guess is that it’s a Gaelic word that someone adapted into something people could actually say.

Tauranga Moana, Papamoa, Te Puke, Katikati, Waihi Beach, Rotorua and Whakatane are all ample proof that the Bay of Plenty is the most culturally enlightened place in the country. Just don’t mention the street names.

Actually, don’t talk about any of this. It just gets everyone riled up and there is nothing worse than not knowing what you’re annoyed about.

Let’s just sacrifice Muffin to the cause and move on although I will leave you with this profound message, sent in by a reader this week.

"All statues are equal in the eyes of a pigeon."

We are on a roll

Here in our bunker on The Strand we have been getting a lot of feedback this week after inviting suggestions on what to do with the recently incompleted transport hub on Harington St.

This multi storey building has been “abandoned” by the Tauranga City Council because it might fall down in an earthquake.

And a theme has definitely emerged.

Pete, Tony, Gareth and Gary have all suggested that it be used as the new council offices. Gary goes on to say the entire structure could be wrapped in bubble wrap because he read somewhere that it was a good insulation. He is ‘rapt’ with his solution.

Gary goes a bit further with his suggestion and has invented what can best be described as cerebral mechanics.

“I think we should put all the council, plus management, in there and when they come up with an idea it can roll down the floor, fall out of the building and hit the rate payers on the head. And because it is too high we cannot throw it back so we have to pay for it.”

Problem solved, thanks Gary!

daniel@thesun.co.nz



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