Monday, January 31, 2011

On leaky buildings

On Friday the newspapers were reporting the estimated $150 billion repair bill for leaky school buildings (see here and here). I am an employee of the Ministry of Education, but only tangentially involved with any of the leaky building stuff, and don’t want to talk about schools specifically. What surprises me is how accepting everyone is about the whole situation. Perhaps ‘resigned’ is a better word for it.

First it was leaky homes, then leaky apartments, and now everything in New Zealand constructed between 1994 and 2004 is high risk for ‘weather-tightness defects’. In hindsight it’s easy to say the deregulation of the building industry was a boo-boo (“look at Canada!” etc), that of course if you permit the use of untanalised timber you’re gonna encounter problems — but what about the human factor? For every leaky building, state- or privately-funded, someone had design it, someone had to sign-off on the designs and materials used and someone had to build it. The design flaws such as roofs with stuff-all gradient, parapets to trap the water in, and insufficient flashing are both the fault of designers and their clients who let themselves be duped by the fashions of the day (it is quite easy to recognise a leaky building by sight: like this one) and who were happy to pay bottom dollar. But I struggle to understand how the builders could have done such a bad job for such a long time. Even today, with Building Act changes and leaky home tribunals, I get the sense the building profession is a long way from being a ‘profession’. Where’s the duty of care, the pride in one’s work, the common sense?

When our landlords recently paid for double glazing to be installed in our flat (they plan to move here in a year or two when they retire, so it was not a selfless act), the workmen had to cut a larger hole in the bathroom to fit the new window. This meant our toilet roll holder had to be removed from the wall and repositioned once the new frame was in place. The problem was that it was screwed into the wall at least an arm’s length from the toilet. It seems like the sort of prank they’d play on candid camera, or something a handyman neighbour would do when a feud escalates to humorous home invasion territory. But seriously, what were they thinking? I suspect they were not thinking at all. Same as when they took gouges out of the walls in two bedrooms and the living room. I’m not so fussed about the walls (it ain’t my place after all), and these window men may not work on new builds, but it does seem symptomatic of the industry they are very much a part of.

I suspect part of it stretches way back before the changes to the Building Act in the 1990s. Anyone who has hosted exchange students or visitors from overseas will have heard how cold and draughty our homes are. It seems our climate is just mild enough not to warrant central heating (and until recently: decent insulation). But foreign visitors also remark on New Zealanders’ (and Australians’, to be fair) relationship with their homes. Whereas in most places in Europe, houses or even apartments, are thought of as multi-generational investments, here in New Zealand it is not uncommon for us to buy and sell a new house every decade, many times opting to build new only to need something bigger, smaller, grander or lower maintenance in a few years. In contrast, when we visited M’s family in Italy, the house was four hundred years old and inhabited by a mother, father and two children, a grandfather and his sister. It was still thought of as the grandfather’s house, though it was slowly becoming more and more the daughter’s. As the needs of the occupants changed, the internal layout of the house had changed, and will continue to change, but its firm foundation and cool-in-summer, warm-in-winter make-up will endure.

New Zealand is very much the land of disposable buildings. In accounting terms we talk of building lives in the range of forty years, rather than four hundred. We are a nation of property investors: our go-to move is to buy an old house on a large section, knock it down and subdivide. What do we build on these picnic-blanket sized sections? Townhouses. How much do we spend on them? As little as possible in order to sell them and make our return as large and a fast as possible. Why do we buy these shoddy townhouses with no section? Because there’s a decent rental market for something with fresh paint and no lawns. Why do we live in such cynical, soul-destroying abodes? Because it’s only for a year or two, until or needs change.

This is all to say that we asked for leaky buildings and we got them, and we will continue to get them (in different forms: subsiding buildings, toxic paint buildings, sticky door-jamb buildings) until we stop viewing property as a disposable commodity and think about it in multi-generational terms from the moment the designer puts mouse-point to CAD plan.

It makes sense to think about how much a building will cost to maintain over its life (be that 40 years or 400), rather than just the up-front costs of construction. Buyers of property should these days be waking up to the costliness of poor design and materials and factor this into their offering price. Something solid and well constructed with a nice sloping roof of whatever material experts agree will last for donkeys years should fetch you a premium on the resale market. But then, why would you ever want to sell your warm, dry home with enough space and a flexible layout to cater for the changing needs of your family? Oh, you’ve been transferred to Auckland. Fine.

And one wrinkle on a personal level: how’s a mid-level public servant supposed to afford a mortgage for a sustainable, multi-generational home? With M and my salaries combined, we’re mired in the market for a crappy three bedroom house that needs: a new kitchen, new bathroom, new hot water cylinder, insulation, window frames replaced and some bushwhacking to get any semblance of a garden. And if I were to revert to writing full time? It’s difficult to see us ever getting a foot on the property ladder.

So for now it seems I’ll write my grumpy, finger-pointing blog posts from the comfort of my double-glazed rental accommodations with great views and a well appointed, modern kitchen.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

January Reading in Review

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (novel, audiobook)

The Brothers KaramazovI actually started listening to this audiobook in December, but it’s really long. Like, more than 30 hours long. After taking a while to get used to the reader’s pompous British voice and very predictable stress pattern, I was able to sit back and revel in the greatness that is Part One of this book. Anyone who read my blog notes as I read the The Count of Monte Cristo will know I’m particularly interested in narrators who aren’t really characters in the action but somehow seem to be real people nonetheless (whether that be Dumas’ royal we, or the writer resident in the Karamzov’s town). Part One fairly races through the lives of the Karamazov clan to the point at which the action (Fyodor Pavlovich’s three adult sons all move back to town) starts, except action isn’t really the right word. When the dialogue starts, would be closer, though often it’s monologue, like Ivan’s Grand Inquisitor speech.

It’s impossible to skim read an audiobook (though you can speed up some of them), and I feel had I been reading a paper book, I wouldn’t have struggled as much.

One hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (novel)

One Hundred Years of SolitudeI just re-read my thoughts upon reading Love in the Time of Cholera last year and I have some similar things to say. I loved the beginning. I was completely drawn in to the world of Macondo, the wonders that the gypsies bought, the obsessions of Jose Aureliano. This is all told in rapid fire narration like the opening of The Brothers Karamazov, but there is no transition to dialogue, no slowing down the pace. This type of storytelling became a bit much by the time of the war – so much was happening, but I didn’t care about those affected – and by the end of the book I felt spent.

Nazi Literature in the Americas by Roberto Bolaño (fiction)

Nazi Literature in the Americas
I wrote about this book earlier in the month. January seems to have been the month of reading exciting but difficult books. Unlike Dostoyevski and Marquez, Bolaño is explicit about his stylistic constraints: his book is composed of fictional encyclopedia entries, so of course there’s not going to be much dialogue or access into the internal lives of the characters. It was a good read, but had to be taken in small doses in between reading other books.

After the Quake: UnabridgedAfter the Quake by Haruki Murakami (short stories, audiobook)

I wouldn’t recommend this book to people who claim they don’t enjoy, or don’t ‘get’, short stories. There’s plenty of the patented Murakami weirdness (like a giant frog who needs help saving Tokyo), and all the stories feature the 1995 Kobe earthquake in some way, but the endings are sudden and, on many levels, unsatisfying.

'Houdini, Tarzan, and the Perfect Man: The White Male Body and The Challenge of Modernity in America' by John F Kasson (non-fiction)

Houdini, Tarzan, and the Perfect ManI read this book primarily to research Eugen Sandow, the ‘perfect man’ referenced in the title (and flexing in the buff on the cover), who makes a prominent appearance in the novel I’m working on. However, I was equally interested in the sections on Harry Houdini and Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan, and how these three icons of the early twentieth century reflected attitudes to fitness and masculinity at that time.

I borrowed this book from the Wellington Library: perhaps it was also read by Nigel Cox when researching Tarzan Presley (soon to be re-released as Jungle Rock Blues) and Lynn Jenner when researching Dear Sweet Harry (as in Harry Houdini)?

'Leisure and Pleasure: Reshaping and Revealing the New Zealand Body 1900-1960' by Caroline Daley (Non-fiction)

Leisure and Pleasure: Reshaping and Revealing the New Zealand Body 1900-1960Another loaner from the library and another piece of Sandow research. Nice summary of Sandow’s 1902-03 tour of New Zealand and what that meant for the development of physical culture here. Lot's of head nodding from me re: Daley’s thesis that New Zealand wasn’t a world unto itself during this period, that the same trends could be seen in Australia, Britain, the US, Canada, and indeed we were being influenced by these other countries — and yet it’s still valid to look at how it played out in NZ and think about what that said – and says – about us.

Interesting fact I learnt on page 222: until the mid-1930s, Auckland City Council chained up swings and other playground equipment on the Sabbath. I assume something similar happened in other regions. Hard to fathom something like this happening nowadays.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Worksheet #57: Cooling off

It's Wednesday and no one has mentioned my being "hot" for a solid 24 hours. It seems I am back to being a lukewarm writer.


To keep myself occupied I read this great piece by Laura Miller at on the question of introducing the internet into novels. It contains mini-spoilers of three books on my TBR pile (Freedom, Super Sad True Love Story, A Visit from the Goon Squad) but I forgive her.

The novel I'm researching at the moment is set at the beginning of the twentieth century, so I did feel for a moment like I was letting Laura Miller (and David Foster Wallace) down, but then I realised A Man Melting is very much a book of the internet age (albeit short stories and not a novel). Online acquaintances share their browser histories, cheerleader porn and all, in an effort to "really connect". A pair of friends part ways in Paris and the biggest decision is who gets custody of their travel blog. Disgruntled astronomers spend their time updating Wikipedia entries. A middle manager begins receiving emails from Charles Darwin. A young boy looks for answers on message boards when extinct animals start reappearing. And a writer sets himself the task of writing a million words in a year and bores everyone with weekly word count updates on his blog.

Okay, so the last one isn't fiction. But I totally feel entitled to ignore the internet in my fiction for a little while.


My column in the Dom Post last Saturday was about how I've put on twelve kgs since returning to New Zealand in May 2009 and how Don Delillo is partly to blame.

No one at work has mentioned the literary side of things, but plenty have taken the chance to appraise my weight. Most say it doesn't show. Some look at me as I wait for the lift and say, 'Shouldn't you be taking the stairs.'

Though it wasn't fiction, this reminds me of another good online read this week: Writing from the Garret: The Joys and Dangers of Readership by Edan Lepuki at The Millions.

NZ Book month is approaching (March). I'm kinda sorta lined up for one event so far (date to be nailed down) but if anyone out there wants to add a hitherto hot writer to their event...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

So hot right now

The cover story of today's Sunday Star Times Sunday magazine is "The Hot List: Celebrating the best of New Zealand."  The article is an odd mix of genuine acclaim or acknowledgement (hot band: Spring Break; hot sportsperson: Sonny Bill Williams), oddball references (hot welcome sign: the Manaia loaves; hot fish: gurnard) and the surely-tongue-in-cheek (hot baby name: Renesmee Carlie, a la Twilight; hot pet: miniature Mediterranean donkeys).

I hope the "hot writer" on this list falls into the first category because it's me!

Here's what they had to say:
"HOT WRITER: Craig Cliff. Age: 27ish. City: Wellington. Day job: Ministry of Education. Not exactly the stuff of great literature, but with his debut book of short stories, A Man Melting, Cliff has the literati raving. Cliff has won the novice section of the Katherine Mansfield Awards and last year was a runner-up for the $10,000 premier award."
So that's kinda cool, eh?  Any time your on the same list as grapefruit & lemon frujus (hot ice-block) and the iPad (hot gadget) you're in good company. If only they'd managed to squeeze in a picture of my book's cover!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Not a drop to drink: Thoughts for Queensland

He edged the car back into traffic and we headed towards the river, following the bend around to Coronation Drive and down to Toowong, Taringa, Indooroopilly. We crossed the Walter Taylor Bridge to Chelmer, Corinda, Oxley, by which time I had eased myself down so that my cheek rested on the shoulder of the passenger seat. I looked out the window at the world moving past, keeping watch for a ghost in a black, crepey dress and thinking about the first time my father picked me up from school. When he said, “Hey there, bud. You okay to come to work with your old man?” and I said, “Yeah!” - not knowing what to expect, not caring what might come, trusting that all was well with the world.

That's the last paragraph of my short story, 'My Yale and My Harvard', which appeared in the Listener last week. This week, most of the Brisbane suburbs mentioned are underwater.

I lived and worked in Brisbane for three years, most of that time on the banks of the Brisbane River, so the images coming out of there (both through news outlets and friends on facebook) the last few days have been both familiar and otherworldly.

Photo credit: Matt McDermott via Facebook
It was interesting, also, to watch Premier Anna Bligh become choked up at a press conference today. Bligh was Treasurer for part of the time I worked for the State Treasury and she had a reputation for being hard-nosed and no nonsense (admittedly this could describe most Queensland politicians, especially the females who have to play the big boy's game and play it better to get just as far). The irony, of course, is that when I was working for the Government just four years ago they were pumping billions into water: dams, weirs, pipelines, desalination. South East Queensland was bone dry after years of drought (and denial: see my short story 'More Great Solos for Clarinet' for a taste of this).

The drought was all anyone ever talked about when I lived there, never the flood of '74 and definitely not 1896. Having seen the scale of the flooding this time around, I can see why a lot of construction activity in Brisbane in the eighties seemed to neglect the river. Some apartment buildings even face away from the river. This seemed ludicrous to me at the time, but makes more sense now. One wonders how long it will be before they construct another floating promenade.

A small, personal irony is that the original version of 'My Harvard and My Yale' was partly set in Christchurch. Then the earthquake struck in September and the Christchurch parts were jarring, wrong. So the Christchurch stuff was eased out leaving only Brisbane (and a brief mention of Auckland during the America's Cup heyday). Aucklanders: if you see a plague of locusts on the horizon, it's probably my fault.

For now though, the inundated and the dislodged are very much in the thoughts of the safe and dry, even if we can't quite fathom the extent of the disaster.  We will go on, not knowing what to expect, our trust that all is well with the world ever-so-slightly shaken.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A rack of farts and other insults: the joys of being mean

Why is it more interesting when someone is telling you how bad a book is rather than praising it? Perhaps 'interesting' isn't the word; perhaps it's: 'amusing'.

I remember in August last year when Anis Shivani listed his 15 most overrated American writers at The Huffington Post, and the buzz that created on the internet. While I didn't agree with many of his selections, it was fun to read his takedowns (and nice to see some poets get some attention, any attention).

Was it so interesting because such candour about books and writers is rare these days? Was it even candour, or grandstanding parading as candour? Either way, there's something fun about saying mean things.

I was reminded of this the other day when I came across stevereads' Worst Books of 2010 . Luckily, I haven't read any of these books yet (though I own Freedom; it's about third on my TBR pile), and that's kind of beside the point. The joy of a good takedown isn't always in the lowering of someone too big for their boots, sometimes the takedown itself is enough.

Insert any book that raised your ire last year into a phrase like: "[X] was not only a viciously cynical, lazy, and horrible scrap of trash, but it also stands as yet untoppled as the Single Worst Novel Ever Written" and I defy you not to crack a smile.

Some other "highlights" include:
...a putrid little squib like this from an internationally-regarded novelist
As a result, his stack of tellingly slender novels are as stinky and insubstantial as a rack of farts. This novel, like his previous two, doesn’t even bother to conclude – it just appears, offends, and vaguely dissipates.
Not one sentence of this novel is energetic; not one paragraph was profitably revised, not one ounce of heart is present throughout this whole exercise of socially-relevant ‘topical’ fiction reduced to the mindless driving of cap-and-piston.
...a big fat speeding ticket of a novel that’s as long as it is bland, as strident as it is dull, and as stilted as it is silly.
Any sort of analysis of these short takedowns -- another sort of 'putrid little squib' -- reveals there isn't any real criticism going on here. There's nothing to sink your teeth into. No examples of why a book/author is 'lazy' or 'cynical'. No sample sentences to demonstrate a lack of energy or editing. It's hard to be convinced by anything more than highly skewed personal opinion, but easy to be amused.

Speaking of being unconvinced, I didn't read nearly as many novels as stevereads did in 2010 (he claims to be able to read a average-sized novel in 90 minutes), but funnily enough one of the ones that would make it on to my 'worst' list comes in at number one on his 'best' list: The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris. Whereas I described it as, " so inconsistent structurally... and the writing so uneven that it feels like one of those paintings by Verrochio that would be long forgotten if it weren't for the cameo of a da Vinci angel", stevereads felt it was "haunting… a pure demonstration of the American spirit." I'm guessing most would find the negative comments more engaging, without knowing any more about the book, and that's my point.
[Another demonstration of the taste differential between myself and stevereads: He ranked Ferris' Then We Came To The End #1 on his worst list in 2007, whereas I enjoyed reading it so much in 2008 it made my top 10.]


Nazi Literature in the AmericasI'm not sure there's ever such a thing as coincidence when it comes to the books you are reading at a given moment - with so many books to choose from, it's difficult to ever get to the bottom of all the reasons you've singled out a particular volume (and why you devour it, persist with it, or leave it half finished on your nightstand). For whatever reason, I recently started reading Roberto Bolaño's Nazi Literature in the Americas, which is a kind of fictional encyclopedia of mostly South American facist writers. (It is also a book you think twice about reading on the bus or in the lunchroom, due to the title.)

The key players in Bolaño’s entries are all made up but they are slotted so well into the historical world (they have an audience with the Fuhrer, feud with the Perons, hang out with Ginsberg, etc) that they seem plausible. It's kind of a reverse 'Shanghai Knights effect', as I discussed with reference to The Hut Builder by Laurence Fearnley: the point of the book is the fictional world rubbing shoulders with the real, rather than the real world being a cynical added bonus to the fictional world.

Bolaño's fictional flawed, self-important writers seem purpose-built for a takedown of Anis Shivani proportions, but so far (I'm midway through the book), the criticism is muted: [a certain book] was not well received, that sort of thing.

The combination of Bolaño's unlikeable fake writers and stevereads' good-for-a-laugh vitriol have made me eager to try my hand at excoriation…

All I need to do now is find a target (or, do a Bolaño and make one up).

Monday, January 10, 2011

16 candles and then some...

Today is my twenty-eighth birthday which means that I have officially survived the deadly twenty-sevens.

It's hard to fathom that Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison were never as old as I am now. Kurt Cobain, yeah, I can see that. Some of my favourites from the 27 Club: Robert Johnson, D Boon (The Minutemen), Dave Alexander (Stooges).

Of course, not being a musician, my chances of making it to 28 were much improved. Is there a magical number for writers? I've certainly lived longer than Keats (25) and have a couple more years left until I surpass Sylvia Plath and Emily Bronte (30).

According to this article from The Guardian, if I leave the poetry alone and focus on the fiction the law of averages suggets I'd live four years longer (if I was to be an average novelist, though who aspires to that?).

I think 28 must be the magical age where birthdays become prompts for morbid thoughts rather than unmitigated celebration. Oh joy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Worksheet #55: Summer readin', havin' a blast

I'm back in Wellington after spending Christmas (and a bumpy Boxing Day) in Christchurch and more recently time with my whanau in Palmerston North.

It was nice yesterday to go out and buy three copies of this week's Listener, which is the annual 'Summer Reading' issue: one for my mum, one for my gran and one for the pool room (actually my filing cabinet).

The issue features fiction and poetry by Mary MacCullum, Alison Wong, Sarah Jane Barnett, Wes Lee, Sam Hunt, Luna Rushdi, Chris Price, Isobel Gabites, Nicholas Reid, Tim Wilson and little ole me.  The story of mine is 'My Yale and My Harvard', which I mentioned on this blog a couple of times while I was writing it (see 9 June, 16 June, 3 August).

A story by the same name (and author!) was runner up in this year's BNZ Literary Awards (see blog post from 4 November), but the version in the Listener has a different (i.e. improved) ending, so it's not really fair to compare this 'My Yale and My Harvard' with the winning story, 'Furniture' by Wes Lee, which just so happens to precede it in the magazine, and draw any conclusions about the judging of the BNZ Literary Awards...


Playlist for the day before going back to work

Side one

Box Tops - The Letter
Stephen Malkmus - Death and the Maiden
Kyuss - Demon Cleaner
OK Go - What to Do


On my Listener buying expedition I also needed to buy a copy of my own book for my gran to post to her brother in Nelson. Since July, I have been known to pop into bookstores and check out the C's in the NZ section. Frequently I'm disappointed. It didn't help that the Red Group (Whitcoulls and Borders) and Random House had some tiff which meant the stores wouldn't stock new titles till mid September. I'm not sure it matters either way as I've only ever seen copies of A Man Melting at the Whitcoulls in Wellington airport.

So it was with trepidation that I set out to find a copy in my hometown. I knew of relatives who'd found copies in Paper Plus (in the old McDonalds on the Square - a truly magical place to a Palmy child of the late 80's) and Bruce MacKenzies beneath the Library. Unfortunately there were no copies at either store. I may be biased, but these stores are missing a trick: hometown boy, book less than six months old, on the Listener's and Sunday Star Times' best books of 2010 lists, new story in that week's Listener… On the other hand, it's nice to know that howevermany copies they did stock have been sold.

To my surprise, Marbecks, which I'd always thought was more of a music and DVD store, had the best selection of NZ Fiction in town, including two copies (now one left) of A Man Melting. They had a pretty good selection of other books too. So props to Marbecks.

For those of you with book tokens burning a hole in your pocket and who don't yet own a copy of A Man Melting (gwon, you know you want one), the best bet is your local independent book store. I know Unity Books in Wellington still have a stack. If you can't find it on the shelves in your chosen store, ask at the counter - they can definitely order it in.

The easiest option by far, however, is to order online (not always an option if you're going down the book tokens route). I highly recommend, from whom I've bought a number of books and video games this past year. Note: the link (and the other links from the book covers on the sidebar to the right) are affiliate links, which means I get a slice of the action if you purchase something from fishpond. Just letting you know that. It's a bit weird that if you buy A Man Melting after clicking on the link, I'll earn more from pointing you to fishpond than from royalties for actually writing the book. Oh what a tangled interweb we weave.


Side Two

The Kinks - Sweet Lady Genevieve (a 'forgotten' Ray Davies gem)
Powderfinger – D.A.F.
Credence Clearwater Revival - Long as I Can See the Light
Bob Dylan - Make You Feel My Love (no Dylan version on YouTube at present, but here's Adele's cover)


2011 is going to be carnage, I can feel it. A wedding to plan (date set for 26 November), a book to write, a full-on project to keep on track at my day job, columns to fill every fortnight until I get shitcanned, a trip to Vietnam in March (part holiday, part wedding dress purchasing trip, part travel writing stimulus), a North Island Road trip with my German friends in December... Looks like I'll have to stick to my 5am starts on weekdays to fit the writing in.


Side Three

Gomez - Devil Will Ride
Plan B - Prayin'
Jann Arden - Insensitive
The Weakerthans - Sounds familiar


Things that happen after eleven days off work

Ironing shirts seems like cruel and unusual punishment
You consider taking jandels to slip on at lunchtime
You consider calling in sick
You're sure you've forgetten your work login
You consider never going in to work again
You've forgotten which of your workmates were going away, and where they were going
You've lost interest in your workmates
You go in to work; everyone talks about the weather.
You really have forgotten your work login but you also forgot that you knew you'd forget and left a handy post-it inside your drawer
Your eyes need to reconfigure themselves for squares and rectangles
You struggle to spell 'grammar', let alone employ it
You expect to be fed every two hours


Side Four

The National - Available
Spoon – The Way We Get By
Nada Surf – Blizzard of 77
REM – South Central Rain
The Zombies – She's Not There

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Harvey McQueen, 1934-2010

Sad news. I just found out via @modernletters that "the much admired poet & educator Harvey McQueen died on Christmas Day".

Here's Harvey's NZ Book Council page for a brief overview of his published work. His last book, These I have loved: My favourite New Zealand poems, was published in October 2010.

I never met Harvey but was a regular reader of his fantastic blog, Stoatspring, which he updated regularly these past two years on a range of topics from his declining health due to inclusion body myositis, politics and current events, gardening, birds, his career as a teacher, then public servant for the Department of Education, and of course books and poetry.

I was going to provide links to exemplar posts for all of these topics, but there are so many to wade through and each post is striking in its own way for their erudition and simple honesty. I would encourage you to dip in and out of Stoatspring yourself - your time will be richly rewarded. The world and cyberspace is a poorer place with Harvey's passing but I'm sure he's taking the chance to visit some exotic locale, or just take a stroll to the Karori mall.

A public memorial service will be held on January 28, at Old St Pauls, Wellington.