Thursday, March 25, 2010

Save the Orange Hall for Future Generations

Orange Ballroom, 143-149 Newton Road, Eden Terrace.

This building is protected and therefore cannot be demolished. I believe it should be bought by the council or perhaps some joint council-private ownership provision. It is only a question of time when the Newton hillside is redeveloped into residential accommodation. The Orange Hall would be the centre piece of this community and would also fit well with any modern urban design.
My background is Fenian and to call for the retention of this building some may find surprising. Yes it has a history however not all of it is belligerent. It has been a hall for the people and enjoyed by tens of thousands

Seventy years ago Newton was thriving residential community. Much of the infrastructure from this time is still there and would only need some renewing. Not only is it a great location for redevelopment but with all the infrastructure there it would be cheaper than a green field site. The suggested underground rail link suggests a proposed station is in Symond's St in Newton. If this was placed near the top of Newton Rd, it would help revitalize the area and provide another great reason for a well thought out plan for urban design on this hillside.

With the community facility which also backs onto Basque Park, we will have the possibility of a fantastic recreational area. Being a sunny northern slope with its proximity to Ponsonby, it is a desirable place to live. Newton Rd is also part of The Link bus route. If we look at the Orange Hall not as a stand-alone building, but as a historic community asset and if we can get the hall right, it bodes well for the resettlement of the whole Newton hillside. The Orange hall symbolises much to Auckland and will live for another 100 years where people will have good times and fond memories.
If you are interested in the history of this Auckland land mark please read below.

The Orange Hall was designed in 1922 by A. Sinclair O'Connor [1] and completed the following year. It was altered in 1937, again to O'Connor's design, with the addition of a parapet roof and redesigned top storey [2], and an extension added in 1957, to the design of another noted Auckland architect, Clinton Savage [3]. At some point, an awning was added to the front entry, which now obscures much of the original 1922 design around the front doors from the road, but most of the combined 1922/1937 exterior design features appear to still be present. The hall's corner site and position on the Newton Road slope mean it is readily visible from Symonds Street.

The interior has seen various alterations over the years, with the dance floor replaced in 1954 [4], thought to be sprung and made of tawa ("the best dance floor in Auckland") [5], and an off-street car park added when 143 was purchased in 1983 by the Auckland Orange Hall Society [6].

The Orange Lodge has been in Auckland since 1840, forming a Grand Lodge in 1867 [7]. It appears that the Lodge which had the Orange Hall built in 1923 had immediate origins to a Deed of Trust dated 1912, the trustees having among their duties "to promulgate the principles and further the practice of the Protestant Religion and to afford its members the means of Social intercourse, spiritual improvement and rational recreation." [8] The Lodge had apparently been meeting in the Protestant Hall in Karanghape Road before this, but sold that hall to construct the Newton Road one. [9]

In 1932 the property's title was placed in the name of a list of trustees of the Lodge, including past Grand Master and noted timber merchant David Goldie, and auctioneer Edward Turner [10]. In July 1954 the Auckland Orange Hall Society Incorporated was created and duly incorporated [11], and are as at the time of writing this report still the owners of the Orange Hall [12].

"We're as slick as the Orange in Auckland" wrote Peter Cape in his 1958 song Down the Hall on a Saturday Night [13]. Ballroom dancing, up until the advent of television and other forms of entertainment in the latter half of the last century, was a popular and regular social event in Auckland. The heyday of the "Orange", short for Orange Ballroom, was the 1940s with the dance hall packed and queues stretching back down Newton Road [14]. During World War II especially "the Orange opened its doors six nights a week to the crowds queuing four deep down its steep steps and along Newton Road." [15] The supper room below the dance hall area catered for the crowds and even up to the late 1980s still served sandwiches, cakes, tea and coffee (no alcohol allowed on the premises by the owners.) [16] Long-running tenants and users of the dance hall included Arthur Skelton and his Dance Band and the Beau Regarde Dance Club. [17]

Arthur Wheelhouse, Skelton's partner, recalled in 1987 how dance halls, such as the Orange Ballroom, helped to start the careers of New Zealand musicians and entertainers, such as Mavis Rivers, Bill and Boyd, Howard Morrison and Kiri Te Kanawa. Tom Sharplin is said to have developed his rock and roll style at the Orange [18]. Auckland musician Bill Sevesi, who played at the Orange Ballroom for 23 years, received the Pacific Islands Artist Award in 1997 for his contribution to the development of the Pacific Islands arts in New Zealand. Musician for more than 50 years, composer of nearly 200 songs with 20 LPs to his credit, Sevesi was the first to record the Yandall Sisters and Annie Crummer when she was still an unknown. He started playing at the Orange Ballroom in 1958, his band finally ceasing in 1981.

In 1990 the ballroom underwent a colour change to its interior, repainted a cream colour by the Performing Arts School. The trademark interior orange colour is said to have originated just after World War II [19]. It is still rented out for functions, including weddings, today.

Lisa J Truttman
5 September 2006

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hottest show in May



Ute Lemper
Sunday 16 May, 7.30pm
Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall - view seat map (PDF)

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Every inch the modern diva and star of stage and screen, cabaret artist and singing sensation Ute Lemper returns with her brand new show Angels Over Berlin – a journey that starts in Berlin with Brecht and Weill and the Berlin Cabaret songs. It continues into the poetic universe of the French chansons by Brel, Piaf, Ferre and further to the Argentinian world of Tango by Astor Piazzollla. Stories of the lost, of love, survival, passion, dreams, societies, the past and the future.

Ticketing information
Concession available for Senior Citizens (65+)
Groups (10+) price available please call 09 357 3354

Auckland Folk Festival 2010

Many guests from The Great Ponsonby ArtHotel www.thegreatponsonby.co.nz are interested in our culture including music. This is a fine option.

Every Auckland anniversary weekend [last weekend of January] the Kumeu show grounds hosts the annual Auckland folk festival. This event established in 1973, is now New Zealand largest and longest running Folk festival. You can visit information on www.aucklandfolkfestival.co.nz


I was unable to attend for the full three days and had to content myself to the Sunday evening concert.

Two thousand people filled the marquee. It is a good idea to bring your own chair, blanket and refreshments. This show is equal to a town hall concert in professionalism and in quality.

The show MCed by folk veteran Roger Giles, was great. A cast containing guitarist Stefan Grossman, Emily Smith from Scotland, Cool Grass from Victoria and local acts Rhonda and the Ravers, Forbidden Joe as well as duo Mary Kippenberger and Peter Charlton.

Preceding the main concert were the finalists on the RAINZ TUI Best Folk Album Award for 2009. They were: West Coast vocalist Mel Parsons, Emeralds and Greenstones from Christchurch and then Chris Prowse from Wellington.

Parsons had a fine voice and was a great performer. She sang songs from her album ‘Over my shoulder’.Personally I would have preferred some songs in her repertoire which spoke of Aotearoa as well as personnel experience.

We were the beneficiaries of a great performance from Emeralds and Greenstone who sing songs from their self titled album. Their Celtic and Maori roots flows effortlessly into their music .Their skill with traditional Maori instruments, an Irish cleat and electric key boards were captivating. Their songs clearly of Aotearoa and the Celtic lands set the standard for the evening; which I believe will go down as one of the finest ever in our folk lands.

In the sprit of Pete Seeger, Chris Prowse, a Wellington singer with two others performed song from his album ‘Trouble on the Waterfront ‘about that the 1951 waterfront disputes. Chris sympathies clearly lie with the locked out watersiders and his concerns about the suspension of human rights and censorship- This album was to win the award and also Chris Prowse were to perform in the Wellington Fringe Festival in February.

Kumeu is one of New Zealand’s finest wine regions; and because the Waitakere Ranges are nearby, this makes a great venue for further exploring the western part of our city (plus it is only a 30 minute commute from Ponsonby).

Folk followers are fortunate that there are venues throughout the city to perform or sing-along to, with the iconic ‘The Bunker’ high up on the Devonport hills.

More comfortable are Café 121 Ponsonby Road, the Dogs Bollix in Newton and the Thirsty Dog in Karangahape Road. Living in Ponsonby with these venues we are spoiled rotten. Long may this last.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hotest show in May

We saw Ute at the Auckland Festival in 2003. History and life has never been told as Ute tells it . Book now and Sally and I will have he a drink
with you there.
The Great Ponsonby www.greatpons.co.nz has a few room left for you out of towners if you are able to get seats






Electrifying star, Ute Lemper returns to New Zealand



Auckland Town Hall
One night only: Sunday 16 May


THE EDGE pre sale

Ute Lemper, the international singing sensation described as the undisputed queen of cabaret, will return to Auckland in May to perform her new show, Angels over Berlin.

Her recent appearances in Europe and North American have wowed audiences and won the admiration of critics, bowled over by the sheer presence and vocal mastery of this talented and charismatic artist at the pinnacle of her career.

Opening in the Weimar Republic, Angels over Berlin journeys through the repertoire of Brecht and Weill for which Ute Lemper is justly renowned, and then continues into the poetic universe of the French chansons of Brel, Piaf and Ferre, before heading into the sultry Argentine world of tango by Astor Piazzolla.

It's six years since Ute Lemper's dazzling performance during AK03 and finally she is returning to New Zealand for one show only.

'Lemper grabs her audience by the throat the moment she marches into the spotlight ...' – The Guardian (July 2009)

'Lemper's voice is an extraordinary instrument ... a rare and rewarding night' – Graham Reid, NZ Herald (AK03)

Book your tickets to Ute Lemper during the THE EDGE Internet pre-sale which starts now. As one of our valued online customers, you can be amongst the first to secure tickets before they go on sale to the public on Friday 26 February.

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THE EDGE pre sale from Thursday 18 February - midnight, Thursday 25 February.
Public on sale 9.00am, Friday 26 February.

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Our View on GST Increase , Its Silly

We are very concerned about a potential increase in the rate of GST.

As a tourist operator and employer in a small business we have already set our rates until Oct 2011. These rates are published overseas and cannot be changed. These are written contracts we have made with international inbound agents.

We have not lifted our rates in real terms since 2008 because of the international situation. We have also provided our staff with regular wage increases and have worn the cost of increased charges for services provided such as post, internet, phone, electricity and other utilities.

We do not see any way of increasing our prices for the FIT traveller as hotels are reducing their rates and the market is extremely competitive. It is well known in the industry that in the last twelve months many operators have left or are planning to exit the industry.

We are appreciative of the efforts the government has made in providing funding for Tourism New Zealand for international marketing but the ability of the industry to sustain an increase in gst is doubtful.

We support the position of TIANZ which has also raised concerns about raising gst. Everyone we have spoken to in the last few days also supports the TIANZ position.

We believe that if gst goes up our staff will have expectations of wage increases to cover their extra costs. We also believe the Reserve Bank will lift interest rates next year which will not only affect our bottom line but coupled with an increase in gst will be inflationary.

Yours sincerely,
Sally James & Gerard Hill

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Super City Submisson

Local Government (Auckland Law Reform) Bill




General

The announcement just before Christmas that submissions were due the 14th of February provided insufficient time to allow for research and to be able to write up the submission.

As a small business owner/operator over the busy summer/Christmas holiday break I have found this difficult to accomplish on time. In essence to make this submission, it has also incurred additional costs for my business. I am not alone as other individuals and tourism businesses have indicated this to me also.

I wish to comment on a few of the clauses and i would urge that these be seriously considered by your committee.

They are as follows:

Clause 17- Power of the local boards

• Despite the commitment of Rodney Hide that the local boards would have local decision making power this had not happened with this bill.

• If the boards were to be truly democratic and able to represent their communities they need more decision making powers. It is not acceptable for a non elected Auckland Transition authority to make decisions on transport, libraries, main streets, swimming pools, community centers and also heritage and urban design. It is worthy of note that despite existing council policies and bylaws there is no protection for heritage and no provisions for urban design.

• This is a shocking omission and needs to be rectified. The transitional authority members can not possibly know all the areas let alone the nooks and crannies and the needs of all the local communities that will comprise of the new Auckland city.


Clause 24- Council Controlled Organisations

• If Auckland is to be truly a city in its own right and not a branch of the central government, local elected representatives should have the power to appoint the people who they think best understand the needs of Auckland. To place these decisions in the hands of cabinet ministers is to secede what should be local economic decisions. This will not suit or serve Auckland well in to the future should this happen.

• The Transition Authority should be just that, to act in the caretaker role of the CCO’s and the elected members of the Auckland City Council should fill the majority of the board positions.

• It is note worthy and wrong that one of the provisions prohibits councilors from being directors of CCO’s. There are councilors with commercial experience and as presumably councilors will know their city and will be able to advise on any proposal that may have potential adverse affects.

• The CCO models can work and definitely will have advantages for the super city. However we do live in a democracy and not a corporate state.

• Aucklanders should have the right to hold the CCO’s accountable who will be making important decisions.

• Transport, re development of the waterfront and economic development. The decisions that these boards will make will impact on various communities in Auckland. These communities need the right to hold CCO’s to account.

• This is best achieved by having elected councilors sitting on their boards who will be publicly accountable. Their decisions will also be more transparent and will actually help get Aucklanders to engage more with their city. This can only lead to civic pride and a better place to live.

• Failure to do this will lead to alienation with a number of unpleasant pleasant side effects to deal with.

• The Transport Agency should be a business unit in the new super city. With the increasing costs of petrol and the effects that this will have on public behavior will create major issues for Auckland from around the years 2014 onwards.

• People will use traditional cars less; we will walk more, some will use cycles and increasingly we will use public transport. The inevitable increase in the real price of petrol will lead to these changes. We will have smaller electric cars in time, which would be used for local trips.

• This futuristic planning is not something that should be left to an independent business unit but should be under the control Aucklanders who will hold the elective representatives accountable for all decisions.




Ward boundaries-

• The new ward boundaries are undemocratic and do not serve the interests of the various communities that make up Auckland. To continue to have these new boundaries intact after the 2013 election is short sighted.

• The newly elected council should have the ability to redraw the city boundaries to reflect the various communities of interest.

• In Auckland I refer to the Hauraki wards which should be extended to include the bulk of residential 1 heritage housing.

• This predominantly lies from Parnell in the east to Pt Chevallier in the west. The northern boundary of this area would be Mt Eden and the south would be Herne Bay. It would also include the existing suburbs of Grafton, Newton, Ponsonby, Grey Lynn, Westmere and Freemans Bay.

• This existing Auckland city council have made these areas protected areas by zoning them residential 1 areas which offers by and large almost comprehensive protection for housing stock.

• These areas also comprise heavily wooded streets and urban forest if you like, some inner city beaches, well established parks and other community facilities such as swimming pools, libraries, sports grounds, community centers and main street committees.

• These neighborhoods have a long term benefit to Auckland not only as a better place to live but from the economic value of tourism.

• Internationally heritage areas are recognised as important for various purposes including nation building, cultural records, and economic value that they bring to cities and regions through tourism. This is best protected, enhanced or developed by all these areas being included in the same ward.

• The number of elected councilors is too small to provide good governance for Auckland. The unequal population balance of the wards is an effect a Gerry Mander.


Clauses 11 and 24- Ethnic Advisory Boards

• I believe that the existing Pacifica boards should be co opted to the Pacific People’s Advisory Panel. These people remain long serving and have considerable community support and knowledge no to co op these folks would be a disservice to this community.




Part 6- Spatial Planning for Auckland

• This is perhaps the most important plan as to how Auckland will be in 50 years time. The council in its preparation must take in urban design and the specific characteristics that make up the unique areas of Auckland. How transport is provided and the provision of services will decide the quality of the city that we live in.

Clause 35J- Vesting of Assets for Water Care Services.

• There are provisions that water care will not be subject to Auckland City council policies and the setting of prices for water until after 30 June 2015.

• Further provisions also reduce the transparency of decision making at water care until after June 2012. There has also been mixed messages about whether cabinet has allowed for the new water company to be privatised after the year 2015.

• This whole area is a concern because of a lack of transparency hence the confusion. And there is no democratic control of the water services of Auckland. The provision of water and the affordability of water are major issues in all societies.

• The best way of ensuring that the public needs are met is by having elected councilors involved in the board that will say who will choose the directors who will be in charge of this asset and its functions.

Clause 45- Board promoting issues of significance for Mana Whenua and Tamaki Makaurau

• An advisory board fails to represent the important interest of the tangata whenua.

• It is worth noting that Prime Minister Key in his Waitangi speech spoke of the need to move forward and to settle all grievances by 2014. The failure to have two Maori representatives elected to Auckland City Council will create a new grievance. It would be far better to avoid this potential conflict by an amendment to the bill to allow elected Maori officials.