How to spot top pot crop

Northland trampers have been helping the police with their enquiries. Apparently, the hot and cold weather makes a bumper dope crop more likely this year. The Northern Advocate lends a lazy journalistic hand by telling folks what to look out for on their country walks, like:

  • Stolen electric fencing from rural locations used to keep animals out of cannabis plots
  • Stolen black piping used for irrigating cannabis plots
  • Cars regularly parked on the side of the road in rural places
  • Pungent smells associated with hydroponic cannabis production

As someone who lives and spends a fair amount of time in the country, I have the following questions:

  • How do I tell whether electric fencing is stolen?
  • How do I know which black irrigation piping is stolen and which isn’t?
  • Couldn’t cars regularly parked on the side of the road in rural places belong to trampers or folks growing legal crops?
  • What if I am not familiar with the pungent smells associated with hydroponic cannabis production?

Those more schooled in the art of nosing out narcotics can ring 0800 BAN DRUGS (0800 226 3784) to report their finds – calls are free and can be anonymous.

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Shakespear Regional Park

Happy New Year to you! I know it’s a little late but I have had a few days out of the city at my favourite place in the whole world … I am blessed to have access to a beach house out on the end of the Whangaparaoa Peninsular about 40 mins drive north of Auckland – past the pretension of Gulf Harbour and just before the Shakespear Regional Park. The beach house overlooks this lovely park and during many summers there we’ve watched the Park grow from its original acquisition as a working farm to become established with walks and picnicing areas, information boards and excellent facilities. The Auckland Regional Council do us proud at this spot … the beaches are safe and I’m convinced it has it’s own micro-climate … the weather might be grim elsewehre in Auckland but the sun is shining in the park – magic! I suggest you go visit if you have the opportunity.

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NZ’s lowest holiday road death tally in 25 years

traffic c/o NZ Police

The cost of life in this year’s motorised mayhem was:

  • 1 driver died as the result of an impact at a junction.
  • 3 were killed in head-on collisions.
  • 5 drivers lost control and killed themselves in the process.

Thankfully, this equates to under half of the toll for the same period last year. That said, a motorcyclist became the first fatality in the post-holiday period and cyclists continue to be pinged, winged and run off the road on a daily basis, around here at least. For one, I am resolved to using the car less (though I can’t commute any other way), do my best to avoid becoming a statistic and drive more economically and safely.

More details via Stuff.co.nz, NewstalkZB and TVNZ

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Aotearoa – from space

Neil from our Metroblogging neighbours Melbourne tipped me off about a Digg science and space post concerning a stunning hi-res photo of the shuttle crew’s most recent space walk. The full size hi-res shot shows the bottom half of the North Island and the top half of the South way below the space walking astronauts. Click through and play spot the capital – amongst other places.

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The Return-To-Work Blues

Mission Bay

Has it been almost two weeks already? Spent the afternoon with what seemed like half of Auckland frying gently at Mission Bay, eating ‘fush and chups’ from The Fish Pot Cafe and trying to read the paper and trying to forget that I’ll be back at work tomorrow. Oh well, a couple of weeks hard work and I’ll be ready for a few days at a bach, the week after Auckland Day.

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Bombs in Bangkok

Please spare a thought for our fellow Metrobloggers and those in Bangkok whose New Year’s Day has seen bombings throughout the city.  Local bloggers are covering the events and aftermath in which it appears children and six foreign visitors were hurt by what are reported to be grenade explosion.

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Happy New Year, world!

Happy New Year from Aotearoa


Bethells Beach/Te Henga, West Auckland

The very first folks to greet the New Year will be the good people of Kahuitara Point on Pitt Island in the Chatham Islands.  Along with them and others as diverse as the Fijians in Suva and the Far East Russians of the Kamchatka Peninsula, we live just to the left of the International Date Line and so will be the first Metroblog city to greet the dawn of the new year.  A few hours later, Melbourne will pick up the baton and so it will continue for 50 cities around the globe until Hawaii greet the dawn and the circle is completed.

May the coming year bring more peace, less strife, more compassion and less conflict to the peoples of the world.  If you make just one resolution this year, may it be to make a difference.

Happy New Year!

Grab your own copy of the Metroblogging Auckland desktop here.

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Hep A with your fries, anyone?

Not so much Golden Arches as Jaundiced Arches for those who ate a late burger at the Greenlane McDonalds on December 15th.  A food handler (not a comforting term in this context) has sparked a public health hepatitis alert after working a late shift while highly infectious.

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Shedding a little light

A key feature of the new $207m Central Motorway Junction are the ramp lights which help phase traffic from the on ramps onto the motorways.  What a shame then that Transit have switched them off until January 8th, saying that that not enough operators have been rostered over the holidays to monitor the new signals.

I have two questions:

  1. $207 million and we have signals that need humans to monitor them?
  2. Not enough staff rostered? 

and two comments:

  1. I understand the need for folks to watch CCTV feeds and phase things accordingly in the past but in the age of advanced modeling and intelligent transport systems, this is the best we can do?
  2. Back in mid-December, the Transit big cheese Rick van Barnveld said that the “Christmas period is a crucial time [for the implementation of this scheme] when we don’t have peak traffic flows” and pleaded for Aucklanders to work with them.  It’s a shame his HR and Operations managers weren’t listening.

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The circus is in town

Varekai, the latest show from Cirque du Soleil, has just hit town.  The show, loosely  based on the story of Icarus, will play inside the CdS’s 20m big top at Greenlanes from January 5th until early February.

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NYE in AKL

If you’re here looking for places to go and things to do for New Year’s Eve in Auckland, let me point you in the right direction.

Families with younger kids who love to party should head over to Auckland Zoo for the Buzz Junior Jungle Rock Party where, to the cheers of the parents and the boos of the kids, the party will see in the New Year at 2100hrs.

For those who are allowed out by themselves and favour clubs and DJs, the city is your oyster.  Check out the NYE action via the Thread and View listings.

Looking for indulgent cuisine rather than frolics?  You could see if The Observatory still has space or withdraw to the seclusion of the Waitakere Estate.

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Summer Blossom

One of the glorious things about summer in Auckland is the profusion of Jacarandas and Bougainvilleas in bloom at this time of year. I know they’re both imported trees but the intensity of their colours – red and purple – is fabulous. I am fortunate to have a Scarlet O’Hara Bougainvillea Scarlet O’Hara Bougainvillea growing over the back of my house and out my lounge window can see a Jacaranda is all its purple glory. Fantastic!


You know you’re in Auckland when…

…a dolphin puts a woman in hospital.

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An Auckland tradition – by Auckland bloggers

The residents of Franklin Road in Auckland are renown for their annual Christmas light displays.  In the spirit of Christmas, I thought I’d link to other Auckland bloggers and Flickr folk who have posted on these festive folk’s frolics.

PJ – with an eye for the quirky

Idle Vice – taking the organisers to task

Click Attack – the lights at dusk

Robyn Gallagher – photographing the unlit lights

and

NZPA – the stock shots from the pros

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Happy Christmas, World!

Opening Christmas stockings a few minutes back

As the first Metroblogging city to see the dawning of Christmas Day, may me and mine wish you and yours a safe, healthy, peaceful Christmas Day, where ever you are and what ever you believe.

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