Wednesday, April 23, 2008

We built this city on rock and lava

I came across this letter in the New Zealand Herald of Monday, 21st April:

Pacific City?

It is time for change in Auckland. We can start by giving our place on this planet another name, such as Pacific City?

A new democratic structure is needed, as illustrated by the Auckland Regional Council. It is sad we can focus only on celebratory candidates for election to councils because there should be no place for lord mayors or grandstanding in our "new city of many."

Democracy, as defined in the Local Government Act, is "maximum feasible participation" by citizens, and that means not only voting every year but being heard and responded to in public forums.

With change, it is important these democratic traditions are not eroded and that public involvement is promoted. A name change might be the catalyst to start getting greater public interest on the governance of our Pacific City.

Kit Howden, Mt Eden.


Pacific City? I like it. I particularly like the daring use of the question mark. It it would make ours the first place in the world to use a question mark in its name and only the second to use a punctuation mark: we could be twinned with Westward Ho!

I think we could go further with this concept. You will recall, gentle reader, the occasion when our Mayor saved us from ignominy and Legal Ramifications by deftly adding (with his own hand) some stars to our new logo and so making it look quite unlike the logo for Triangle Television. He did this inspired act before Triangle Television's lawyers, who showed their astonishment and gratitude by demanding only $10,000 for their time, which citizens and ratepayers would be happy to pay, such is the esteem in which our Mayor is held; not that they had the choice, mind you.

Perhaps I might suggest a similar gesture, although the circumstances are quite different and my gesture more modest? We could take Mr (or is it Ms?) Howden's elegant and bold idea and enhance it by the use of the Spanish inverted question mark.
So Pacific City? becomes ¿Pacific City?
¡Sorchio! Now we have an even bolder title to replace boring old Auckland (a name taken from some dead white aristocrat and shared with Bishop Auckland, which is not a bishop but a place in County Durham which, for some reason, is not called Durham County and which should not be confused with Derby County, which is an Association Football club or with County Clare, which is in Eire, or Planet Clare, which is an air, by the B-52s).

To continue: with our new title, ¿Pacific City? we could reach out to the millions of people with Spanish culture and ethnicity, who will come flocking to us with their maracas and their pesetas. ¡Cha, Cha, Cha!

With our new name, we would also become the first citizenry in the world to question formally our own identity. ¡Yes, it's PoMo and it's fun! Here in New Zealand we spend much of our time asking ourselves what it means to be a New Zealander, or an Aotearoan, or both. So it is fitting that our largest city, with its diverse population and the constant threat of being blown to extinction by the lava field on which we are standing, should be the most questioning place of all. ¿Who are we, why are we here and will be still be here tomorrow?

So there we have it: a new day, a new name and, what's more, a catalyst for greater public interest on governance. As Mr (or possibly Ms) Howden observes, "it is sad we can focus only on celebratory candidates for election to councils because there should be no place for lord mayors or grandstanding in our 'new city of many.'" Quite so; this blogeur knows several celebratory candidates, people who will drop everything for a celebration; most of them can barely focus. They don't call us City Blurred Vision for nothing.

And of course there will be no place for grandstanding, because the grandstand will not be built on time.

96 Tears:


david, fan of obscure punctuation said...

There's another direction you might want to with the punctuation: ؟.

Jake said...

Also, punching above our weight on the global stage.

¡Sí se puede!

A. J. Chesswas said...

nice work paul...

Lyndon said...

Sorry, jake, did you say 'punctuating above our weight'?

Jake said...

Yes Lyndon, that's exactly what I said.

Anonymous said...

change the flag..change everything...why not...somebody else will pay to keep the money going round

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much Paul, that was a great laugh and a fantastic way to start the day.


Anonymous said...

We should not rename Auckland to "Pacific City?"

A better name would be "Tasman City!"

Tasman City! would be better because we would only upset Australians, not half the peoples of the world.