Editorial Column August

I went to Kaikoura late last month. When I picked up my rental car at Christchurch airport I was informed the coastal road had been closed by a slip but would “no doubt be open by the time you get that far”. I rang the Transport Authority, but got just about word-for-word the same answer. So I set off, hoping this was not going to be a wasted journey. I should have had more faith in the “she’ll be right” attitudes because, of course, she was. The road was open, although only just in some parts. There was a worrying number of boulders on either side of the road and a couple slap-bang in the middle. In between there were numerous little slips, lots of roadworks, and part of a cliff festooned in cables and strewn with workers like some bizarre Christmas tree decoration replacing tinsel with cable and baubles with workers. 

The STMS crews were a cheerful lot. Everyone waved. Everyone, whether they were the Stop/Go supervisor or someone merely standing nearby. I wondered if there had been a mandate that everyone should wave to the passing traffic as some sort of public relations exercise. I also wondered if there was an ACC category for RSI caused by constant waving. I’m not kidding – EVERYONE waved.

It was interesting to see the mess and how many people it is taking to repair the damage. Every aspect of civil engineering was on show, so although the trip was slow and frustrating, it was also interesting and entertaining and I didn’t envy those crews enduring that dank, cold, day. 

And for those of you with an interest in welding, check out this site – The reason I was in Kaikoura was to interview Ben, who bends and welds aluminium sheeting into the most beautiful sculptures. 

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