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GUNDRY'S GRUMBLES with Simon Gundry

Three splendid days of sport … But I wish Billy T was still around

Simon Gundry is a Devonport and North Shore identity, and character, who is known for calling a spade a spade. He is a director of contracting company Gill & Gundry, is an enthusiastic and active sailor (past crew-member of Ceramco New Zealand and Lion New Zealand in Whitbread Round The World races and Shockwave in Admiral’s Cup) and is a life member of the North Shore Rugby Football Club. This is his regular and lively contribution to Channel Magazine..

During my visit to the States last month, I was privileged to be taken to a couple of sporting events. I have been very lucky over the years, attending sporting theatre – having attended Olympic Games, Super Bowl, America’s Cup, All Blacks in Europe and other bits and pieces. On this occasion, friends took me to three splendid days of sport, two involving the San Francisco Giants Baseball team in the purpose stadium on San Francisco Harbour and also spending a day at the US Open at the Olympic Golf Club in SF. What I noticed about the three particular visits I had was the visible lack of security and high viz jackets.
AT & T Park, which is home to the San Francisco Giants, fills every game with its’ capacity of 45,000 people. Security is obviously there, but is so unobtrusive and so ‘not in your face’ as it is in the rugby stadiums of NZ. One doesn’t even notice it. The AT & T Stadium is, as I said, a purpose built stadium on the Harbour and it made we wonder how magnificently it would have worked in downtown Auckland, but I have discussed that in previous columns, so I won’t go there at this stage.
The US Open was another wonderful day, and lacking huge security issues – after initially going through a check in going into the Course, to make sure there were no cell phones or cameras, one was free to roam wherever without the bullying tactics of the high viz wearing Gestapo type gorillas that seem to infest our sporting events.
I was staying in the middle of Silicone Valley where the technology boom all started, and I visited an Apple I shop in down town Los Gatos, where no fewer than 35 staff were working at unbelievable speed to service their customers’ needs. I couldn’t believe the efficiency and helpfulness of the staff.
On talking about the efficiencies of staff members, and thinking about my constant bagging of some of the balloon heads in Council, I would like to take this time to thank all the efficient front people who have to deal on a daily basis with the public. I have to communicate with them several times a week to arrange building inspections – they are unbelievably helpful and polite, and so efficient and go out of their way to ensure things get done in the right manner. It’s just a pity some of the people above them couldn’t learn from them.
Another thing that is wearing me a little thin these days is the constant cry from some Maori factions that they do not have the same opportunities as everyone else. I am almost over it. One of the worst things to ever happen in this country was the death of Billy T James, with his passing we lost a huge ability to laugh at ourselves and at one another. He could say things that other people couldn’t say. If we keep on dragging up the Treaty of Waitangi we will never get anywhere, it is time to live in this wonderful country as one people without a “them and us” mentality.


If we keep on looking back over our shoulders at past hurts, then nothing will ever be healed and we won’t be able to move on. I almost feel the right to free speech is being eroded in this country, as if somebody speaks out with an opinion about the Waitangi Gravy train, then you are deemed as being racist. I do wonder at times that so many of our fine Maori people have travelled across the Tasman to seek new lives and opportunities in Australia, invariably they do very well, without any Government assistance. It seems to me that a lot of them go over there to get away from all this divisive rubbish that we have to listen to and put up with on a daily basis. They don’t want to come back, to the negativity and the entitlement mind set that so many people have in this country. They do well by their own efforts and have pride they are supporting themselves and their families with their own hard work.
This is only one man’s opinion, but I have listened to a respected Elder who I know and have worked with for many years, and he has spoken the same language as I do over this situation.
Let’s just remember that the Treaty of Waitangi was a treaty between two peoples, to move forward and live together in harmony in this land, and in the main, this has happened.
I see there is no respite from the Parking Wardens around the Devonport area these days; in fact I think they are multiplying. Anyway, I may get onto that in next month’s column.

by Simon Gundry

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